No, this is not click-bait! For the past year, I have been in a relationship with someone who most of my friends thought is fake because many have never actually met him… There lies part of the reason we ended things.
He was perfect on paper! In practice, not so much. Everything we thought of each other was an exaggerated version of what we actually were.
We met online in December 2015. In April 2016 I moved to Denver where he lived, and by May we had moved into an apartment together. (side note – I had previously decided to go to Denver in Sept. 2015 after visiting with my friend Lauren). Everyone warned us to slow down. Everyone told us to wait. Everyone told us to rethink our decision. But we made our decision, and I am honestly glad we did. Sometimes you have to make your own mistakes to learn from and understand them truly.
Before I continue to describe all the ways our relationship fell apart over the first year, I want to tell you some of the things we did right.
We started our relationship with God at the center. We prayed together, went to church together and spent time talking about God on a regular basis.
Because we were long distance for three months, we did get to spend a lot of time getting to know each other without having weird sexual tension.
We laughed a lot.
Despite all of these amazing things we had going for us and how secure we felt as individuals, we forgot to factor in how much work relationships are, and this strange idea of compromise!
Almost the same moment I moved to Denver, we started to drift apart. I was training for my second bikini competition, and he was struggling to find balance in his new career.
One thing about both of us- we are STUBBORN. We push ourselves to the limits, sometimes surviving off pure caffeine and adrenaline. I think that’s what attracted us to each other in some regards. It was refreshing to meet someone who wasn’t settling on being average.
The combination of us both chasing dreams that required all of our strength and energy, adding to the stress of living with a stranger, and being at pivotal points in our lives, SOMETHING WAS BOUND TO BREAK. And it did!
We had so much going on that it was hard to identify anything was wrong. On top of all of this, we adopted a deaf dog. Hahaha. Some call it crazy; we call it love.
Anyways, the days and months went by, and we had many good, bad, and indifferent moments. Most weeks we really wouldn’t see each other or spend significant time together. And we lived together! Seems weird, right? Right! But we let this become our normal: two separate lives living under one roof.
We started to fight about everything. We became bitter. We avoided each other. I would often pretend to be asleep just to escape a conversation I knew would end in a fight, and he would often avoid coming home to dodge the same thing.
I think it really hit me that things were BAD when the Holiday’s came around. I made plans to go to Arizona for a week at Thanksgiving and home to New Mexico for two more weeks at Christmas without once thinking about him… In my head, he was no longer a part of my life.
When I finally returned home, we had “The Talk.” We broke up. He moved onto an air mattress in the living room, and I remained in the bedroom. Breaking up was something that needed to happen. We had forgotten why we were even together. We had taken each other for granted the past year, and without a breakup, I don’t think we would have realized any new truths.
For the past month, we have had countless conversations about next steps. We have shared our darkest secrets with each other; we have cried, we have yelled, we have slammed doors, we have stayed at friends and family member’s houses to create more space.
It was when we stopped trying to hide our real feelings that we became free from the lies 2016 held.
We forgave each other. We prayed with and for each other. We have let down our walls and have been completely honest with each other the last few weeks. Yep, it’s only been weeks!
We still do not know what our future holds, but we are giving this one last shot before we throw in the towel.
For those of you out there struggling in your relationships, you are not alone. I don’t know much about love, but what I have learned thus far is, to be honest. Like 100% honest. To yourself and your partner. And to compromise. These two things will get you through the hard times and enjoy the good!
In our society, we find it easier to think the grass is greener on the other side and if you aren’t sublimely happy every single moment of every day something is wrong with you or your relationship. The people I have spoken with about their long lasting relationships have told me some uncomfortable stories about their marital trials. What sets them apart is they didn’t run away from the problems but instead, tried to work through them. I am not saying some relationships shouldn’t end because there are those. What I am referring to are the relationships that have their bumps, but you have some strong shared core values, and you still feel something for despite the hard times.
Do the thing that most people run from and stay. All options should be considered: time apart, counseling together and separate, finding a new schedule, a new place to live… The list goes on!
One other note – I realized through all of this a hard truth about myself. I AM A GOSSIPER. Sure, it is natural to vent to your gal pals about your struggles, but it is another thing to only talk to them about the bad times and never of the good. Of course, your friends are going to tell you to leave him if all they hear is the garbage. hahaha. Once I realized how toxic this was to me and my relationship, I stopped sharing everything.
Zach and I are in a new and fun place. We are taking it day by day, with no expectations of one another besides honesty. We are checking in with each other on a regular basis, which is so uncomfortable for me because I hate emotions! But I know for this or any relationship to be successful, I must learn to talk about my feelings.
The bottom line is this: Have integrity when it comes to your relationship and be your relationships’ best advocate! Feel all the feelings that each season of your relationship has to offer and be open to change. Love yourself enough to know when to walk away and also love your partner enough to fully commit or say goodbye.
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