Today is a special day. Well, technically tomorrow is a special day, but tomorrow I may not feel like waking up at 6 a.m. to write a blog.
I really struggled with if I should write this post. I do not want this post to be about my exes faults. We both had faults, he isn’t a bad person, but we weren’t right for each other. Please keep that in mind as you read forward.
Two years ago tomorrow, on August 25th, I made a really big decision to change my life because I was unhappy. I was unhappy in my relationship, in my job (not the nanny job. The nanny job was the only thing that kept me going most days), in my hobbies; the list goes on. I constantly told myself that I had to improve myself and I’d find happiness. If I worked out and ate better, if I read more self help books, if I learned to be appreciative of what I had, I would be happy.
Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.
The things listed above are all good things. Actually, now that I think about it, they’re all things I do now. But there was one glaringly obvious thing I had to come to terms with before I could get myself out of that hole: My relationship was failing, I was unhappy, and I had to be the one to extract myself from the situation.
So I did.
Moving out of that apartment (leaving my two, sweet kitties behind as well) was the hardest thing I’ve ever done to this day. I had good friends who took me in and distracted me from the situation, but the following months were hard. I moved out the day before my first semester back in college started, so I was busy, but I was also broke and depressed. I constantly wondered if I had made the right decision. I felt guilty because I knew my ex was hurting. I made lists in my head of ways we could probably work through things, and felt like a terrible person because he was working on himself and I didn’t stick around.
But then something occurred to me. Why is general unhappiness not an acceptable reason for ending a relationship? Knowing that you don’t want to spend the rest of your life with someone should be a perfectly good reason to cut off a relationship, but for some reason we tend to lean towards thinking that we should stay so things will get better. You don’t need a reason like abuse or infidelity to leave a relationship (though those are two very good ones!). Leaving because you are unhappy is a reason. You owe it to yourself, and to the other person.
This is not to say that I feel any twinge of an unhappy moment is a get-out-of-relationship-free card. There’s a difference between moments of discontent and being unhappy in a relationship overall. When I came to the decision that this was no longer a fleeting moment of discontent, but a consistent, long-term unhappiness, I realized I had to be the one to go.
Over time, things got better. I moved back in with my parents, who sacrificed a lot to make that possible. This gave me some stability to grasp onto and made it a lot easier to get through that first semester back in school. My sister and I grew closer than we ever were beforehand. I started writing again, which was extremely cathartic. I started seeing people, and most of them sucked 😉 But it was fun, and I got to know a lot about myself in that time.
It’s strange to think that it’s been two years. On one hand, it feels like yesterday. On the other, it feels like that was a whole lifetime ago. Two years later I can honestly say that was the hardest, most stressful time in my life, but of course I wouldn’t change it. Moving on and taking time to learn about myself was the best decision I’ve ever made. Today I am happily engaged to the love of my life, and I wake up happier every single day. That’s not to say we don’t have our ups and downs, but the overwhelming happiness I feel as a whole makes even those bad times better than my best times a few years back. Going back to school to focus on something I loved gave me a newfound confidence I never thought I could have, and gave me friends and mentors who I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I was able to do something I never, ever thought possible: graduate college and get a job that I love. I have gained a fiancé, and a wonderful family that came along with him. And I even got to adopt some really cute animals along the way (not to mention the rats that live in our walls during the summer and the ghost that lives in our living room).
Don’t stay in a situation that makes you miserable just because you’re afraid of the unknown, and don’t let people treat you badly because you don’t think you’re not worth any better. Don’t hold yourself back because you feel like you owe it to someone else. Do things that will benefit you, even if they’re hard.