“You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.”

I know, that quote is totally unoriginal and I probably could have done a better job with getting your attention.  But, alas, here you are!  This quote has certainly stuck with me over the past few months as I’ve gone through so many unexpected changes in a relatively short amount of time.

I addressed this in my previous blog post, but on June 10th, Ed and I’s relationship, 10 days short of 1.5 years, came to an end.  I was the one who facilitated the break up, but I think I had been pushed to calling it quits for awhile before I actually had the nerve to end it.  There was so much that influenced how, when, where, and why I broke up with him.  The most frequently asked question I’ve received in the two months since is simply, “why?”  Honestly, this is the hardest question to answer.  There were so many factors that played into my decision.  I had been feeling like I was on the receiving end of an undetermined amount of empty promises for the last quarter of our relationship; I wasn’t sure that Ed would be the only man to make me as happy as he did, without the constant bickering and compromising on things that I shouldn’t have had to sacrifice; my 5 year plan was vastly different than his was and would have ultimately ended in my sacrificing things that I’m passionate about (getting married and starting a family young).  Alongside the big issues were smaller ones like feeling as though I wasn’t as big of a priority as I felt like I deserved to be – this is NOT to say that I expect to be tended to 24/7, but rather that I would constantly be put on the back burner to his friends, skateboarding, and work.

There were nights where we fought so loudly that I woke my roommate up from the other side of the wall, nights where I didn’t have the courage or energy to muster myself from my bed for fear that I would burst into tears, nights spent with him where I wished I was back at school.  And on the flip side, there were nights where I could picture doing whatever it was that we were doing for the rest of our lives and being so content.  Days spent with his family, evenings spent with our friends, phone calls and text messages professing our love for one another, and so many times where we sat and talked about how our future would look.  I think, looking back on it now, that I had on my rose colored glasses for a good majority of our relationship.  Whether that’s something that I should be ashamed of or impressed by, I’m not sure at this point.  I do know that there are days where I take my memories and experiences and thrive from everything I’ve learned both in the year and a half spent with him and the past two months being away, but there are also days where I want to take everything back and scream at the younger version of me, “GUARD YOUR HEART.  BE SMART.  LISTEN TO MOM AND DAD,” but I don’t think that either of these feelings are totally fair.  While it’s important to learn from mistakes and experiences, it’s also important to know which is a mistake and which is an experience and try not to confuse the two in the future.

I know this post makes it seem like I was trapped in a miserable relationship for the better part of two years, and I want to be 100% clear that that’s not how it was at all.  When Ed and I were good, it was as good as anything I’ve ever known.  I had someone who appreciated me for everything that I was and maybe even a little more at times, someone who loved me unconditionally and unapologetically, and someone who made me believe in the good in people again.  Above all, Ed made me feel beautiful.  That’s one of the most important things I can stress to people who ask me for relationship advice: if your significant other doesn’t make you feel beautiful without question, there’s probably something missing.  It just so happened that there was something missing in my relationship, too.  Sometimes, it happens.  I’m a firm believer in the fact that everything happens for a reason and also that if it’s meant to be, it will be.  Pretty much, those sayings (and a few others) have been playing in my head like a record.  I know it was hard for Ed and I both to walk away from something that seemed to be working well enough, but I had to ask myself if I was willing to settle for “good enough” at 19.  Ultimately, it wasn’t something I felt like I had to do at this point in my life.

I haven’t spoken to him in great length since the break up – we communicated briefly about returning sweatshirts and the like a few weeks after I ended it, but since then we have had no communication – but I saw his mom once when I went to pick my clothes up at his house.  Saying goodbye to Ed’s family was one of the hardest things I had to do, and it also made it 10x more real in my mind.  I didn’t say goodbye to Noah for a variety of reasons, mostly because I hadn’t made up my mind by the last time I saw him but also I think it’s for the best because that would have been confusing for him and extremely upsetting for me.  He made Ed and I’s happy days so much happier and I feel lucky that I got to watch him grow up, even if it was only for a little while.  I didn’t personally say goodbye to any of Ed’s family, but a few days after the 10th both his mom and sister texted me, wishing me well and saying that they’d miss me and that I was good for Ed.  I thought I had wrapped up my emotions for awhile until I got his mom’s text and then everything unraveled again for awhile.  I had formed such an amazing connection with his family, but especially with his mom, so saying goodbye to someone I really cared about (and I know she cared about me as much) was so hard, and is something that I get emotional about if I think too hard about it.

Still, there was nothing harder than saying goodbye to Ed.  Some days, it still doesn’t feel real; kind of like the past year and a half was some sort of subconscious dream that I was observing instead of actually participating in.  It’s weird to think that the person I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with might actually never speak with me again.  However, I did something that I needed to do for myself – I was selfish, yes, but I would have cheated myself out of being 100% confident and happy going further if I hadn’t drawn the line.  Do I wish I had never fallen in love with Ed?  Some days, I do, but only because it still hurts a little.  I wrote a prose piece years ago about how it’s okay to be sad after you’re the one who did the ending (attached below!) but sometimes it’s still hard to remember.

When I’m in doubt, I think of the confidence and pride that my mother has for me; she is undoubtedly sure that I’m on my path to greatness, and I’m so thankful that she’s going through this journey with me and has picked me up and carried me when I no longer could.  I’m certainly blessed with the best family and friends anyone could ask for, and while this summer hasn’t especially gone as planned, I don’t think I would change anything.

Be proud of yourself for being brave.

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