My dear reader, Happiness is meant to be experienced; sadness is meant to be written, and read. Maybe it's my inner Russian cynic or hopeless romantic, but I find it dauntingly difficult to write when I'm happy. There is something about defining happy feelings into words, that seems like defying happiness in itself. In most cases, I would reserve writing to my moments of despair. Filling up notebooks with my fears, sharing my sorrows on Instagram stories, or scrabbling my sadness on the notes app; misery truly loves (written) company. The sole fact of knowing I could express my emotions on (digital) paper made me feel like they were valid, and that my experiences were valid too. Or even more so, that me, existing as an emotive human being in this often inherently inexplicable world, was valid. However, when life would hit me so hard, my heart would feel like it was bleeding out, and the tears would start rolling down my cheeks while I type away on this keyboard, my writing would become truly transformative. A form of therapy, where I was both the patient and the therapist. The storyteller and the listener. The writer, and the audience. And in those moments, my writing would be more interesting to read for you, my dearest reader, if I can say so myself. So when life would knock me down, I found solace in being able to translate my emotions into meaningful phrases, others can relate to or learn from. That is why I am here today, on this blog I haven't posted on in a long time. To find some solace, after life has torn out my heart.
"As the narrator of my own story, I can now say that in retrospect, this would have been the moment to part ways. It's a peculiar feeling, looking back at your life and realizing that your love life was a war zone filled with red flags, yet you were too blinded by his empty promises, meaningless words, and manipulative behavior to notice."
I knew from the start that 2021 would not be an easy year for me. After finding love in the city that is known for being impossible to find love in, I thought I had a part of my life figured out. It felt as if I checked off a major task on my never-ending to-do list. And boy, do I love to-do lists. However, finding love does not mean that it is the love you want, the love you deserve, or even more importantly, the love you need. When I would dream about what kind of relationship I wanted, I would imagine a couple that worked together as a team. Lifting each other up, pushing each other further, and helping achieve each other's dreams and aspirations; that was the type of love I wanted in life. However, I never thought that realizing this dream would mean I had to accept a long-distance, military relationship in order to be the supportive partner I ought to be. I did not want that life for me, but I also knew I was in love. And love would always win in the end, right?
As the narrator of my own story, I can now say that in retrospect, this would have been the moment to part ways. It's a peculiar feeling, looking back at your life and realizing that your love life was a war zone filled with red flags, yet you were too blinded by his empty promises, meaningless words, and manipulative behavior to notice. I didn't realize it at the time, but we both wanted different things, were in separate chapters of our journey, and would therefore struggle walking the path of life, side by side. I should have let go. Instead, I decided to hold on even stronger, and overcompensate the love I needed but was not given. Being a supportive partner is in my relationship book a must, and that also meant that I would not quit when times were hard. My resilience and dedication have always been defining characteristics of my personality I was proud of, but sometimes they would lead me to make the wrong decisions. I am not a stranger to holding onto things or people, even if they did not serve me anymore. I found myself holding on to this relationship, and trying to find acceptance with the situation I was in. I agreed to wait almost five months on somebody who I only knew for half a year. I was so focused on being the best person I could be for my significant other, I failed to notice that this mentality was not reciprocated. I thought that if I would put in the work, my partner would do the same. I thought we were on the same page. But we weren't. He cultivated a persona I fell in love with, but the real him stayed a mystery.
The five months of being apart were hard, for both of us. Neither of us has ever been in a long-distance relationship before, let alone in a long-distance relationship while in the military, during a pandemic, in a place both new to us. Some of my dear readers might think like I'm exaggerating - 5 months apart, is not thát long right? Considering the fact that I have been apart from my family for almost two years, aren't I already used to this? Even though I understand these sentiments, when it comes to distance, I believe in two rules:
- Goodbyes never get easier. On the contrary, saying farewell to your loved ones seems to get harder the more often you do it.
- Being apart from the people you love is not like a muscle you can train to avoid feeling the pain. Some moments the pain is bearable, other moments like this one right now, you want to book the first flight back home to Amsterdam.
Having my significant other far away from me was that last drop that made my bucket of long-distance relations overflow. I felt so isolated from my support system, that these months seem impossible to overcome alone. In addition, we did not leave things great when he left. He expressed his doubts about loving me one month before his departure. However, he came back to me and said he made the worst mistake of his life letting me go. I gave in, and I gladly forgave him. I assumed he was under a lot of stress and this wasn't the "real him". It's ironic to realize that the moment of him questioning his love for me, was one of the only times he did not try to avoid confrontation or people please me, and spoke his true feelings. I wish I would have known this at the time, but these are only sentiments I hold in hindsight. I agreed to wait on him, because I thought everything would get better when he would come back home. But for some reason, throughout the waiting time, I carried a perpetual sense of saying goodbye with me, but I didn't know to what, or rather who. Now I know that this was my intuition preparing me for what was coming.
After waiting for him for almost 5 months, he left after 2 weeks of being back. There were no warning signs from his side. He told me all the beautiful lies every person wants to hear from the one they love. We talked about moving in together, our travel plans, how our future would look like... Our one year of love disappeared after a brief conversation. Two hours later he was packed and disappeared too. I have not seen nor talked to him ever since.
"When it comes to distance, I believe in two rules:
1. Goodbyes never get easier. On the contrary, saying farewell to your loved ones seems to get harder the more often you do it.
2. Being apart from the people you love is not like a muscle you can train to avoid feeling the pain. Some moments the pain is bearable, other moments like this one right now, you want to book the first flight back home to Amsterdam."
"Aside from writing as a form of therapy, it can serve another purpose: it's a time capsule for our experiences, as well as a reminder of the tough lessons learned."
Aside from writing as a form of therapy, it can serve another purpose: it's a time capsule for our experiences, as well as a reminder of the tough lessons learned. Before writing this, I revisited my blogpost about my pathological liar ex-boyfriend, and reading this particular part felt like a sting:
"How could he do something like that, especially because it would probably be our last week together? Not only did this make me feel sad, but I also thought it was unjust. And if there's one thing that triggers a libra, it's injustice. I started thinking about all the things I had put up with, just because I wanted to be a 'chill girlfriend'. Maybe I wasn't meant to be a chill girlfriend, or maybe he wasn't boyfriend material, to begin with. The only thing that I was certain of, was that I didn't do anything so wrong, to deserve being mistreated like that. And although I understand that stories and feelings are always subjective, it can never be an excuse to treat a person so disrespectfully. Except for a casual 'happy birthday' text on my birthday, I never heard from him again. Just imagine being in a relationship, and then never hearing anything again from the person you love. It still amazes me how someone could treat their own girlfriend like that, being a grown human being."
When I read this, I felt like I wrote this for my current breakup. At first, it made me embarrassed and ashamed. After everything I've been through, I allowed another dishonest person to enter my life. Obviously, this was not as crazy of an experience, but there were similarities. Don't you ever learn, Lilia? Why do you keep choosing these men that do not deserve you? But then I realized, yes Lilia, you are so right. These men do not deserve you. And it is time to stop settling for less, for men that make you feel like you are too much, and you should be less. Because the truth is, they are just not enough.
I finally arrived at the moment of the story when both me as the narrator and the listener become one. Even though my wounds are still fresh, and my heart aches from the lies, I have come to understand that this breakup is one of the best things that happened to me. To be quite frank, I have felt miserable and in pain the majority of this year. It took a breakup for me to realize I haven't been happy in this relationship for a long time. When he returned my spare key, and drove away without looking back, it felt unfair. But after taking some time to process, and talking to my friends and family, I started noticing all the red flags and toxic manipulation I went through. And then it clicked. I am truly, sincerely, better off without him. I've always longed to feel loved, but if this is what being loved means, I did not care for it anymore. I was supposed to be his little girl, his baby, but then he left. Now I am a woman larger than life, and I will never make myself small for any man again. This instilled an incredible sense of freedom and relief inside me. I realized I do not have to worry about anyone else anymore, except for myself. I do not have to feel undervalued and unappreciated anymore. I have no sacrifices or compromises to make in order to be loved. All the love that I gave away, I can give to somebody who will appreciate it - me. The void I feel inside can be filled with my own self love. For the first time in my life, I stopped seeking external love and validation, and realized that all I ever longed for was already inside me. And it was in that moment, I discovered the art of healing a heart.
P.S.Want to know more? Watch my Dating Storytime video about what's really been going on and how I've healed my heart.
P.P.S. Curious about my previous love story I referred to? Read about my experience with a compulsive liar here.