Part of the perilous journey of singldom in your thirties, is that it seemly looks like every other human of your age (or thereabouts) is in one of 2 camps. They are either putting a ring on it/have a ring on it/holding a baby in the hand that has a ring on it, or (as I used to assume) they have weird Mummy attachments/find humour in wearing boxer shorts with days of the week on them but on the wrong day/have halitosis and don’t know about it.
Now, I know this was an unfair presumption, but when I first found myself faced with the open market, these were my biggest fears. And in my research since, I’ve found that these fears are a) unfounded (mostly) and b) echoed throughout many unhappy relationships.
Here’s the deal.
Us humans get scared, easily. The fear of change is normal and inherent. It’s what kept us alive way back in caveman days … Something in our environment changes, our body physically reacts in fear and we fight or flight... You know the drill.
Basically, fear kept us alive. Yay.
Now, I don’t know about you but I haven’t seen many Sabre Toothed Tigers roaming the streets of Melbourne recently. If you’re reading this, it’s safe to assume that you are blessed enough to live in a place of relative safety. But the instinct of fear hasn’t evolved as we have. That bastard feeling is hanging around, forcing us to stay ‘safe’. How many of you have heard this type of bullshit before…?
“Go to college, artists don’t make money.”
“Well if you’re going to have a family, you should really get on with it. Don’t leave it too late...”
“I know he’s not perfect, but everyone has to compromise right?”
We all crave safety, we equate it to staying alive. So we make those safe decisions which keep us in the same job, in societies mould and in those Godawful relationships. Change is the opposite of safe so when it comes upon us, we feel scared. Basically what I’m saying is that even being in a shit relationship is considered safer than the fear of the unknown (i.e. not being in the shit relationship).
And as a result of this, I speak to droves of people in unhappy, unfulfilling, shithouse relationships! Some are even abusive! And it’s not until the perceived fear of leaving becomes less painful than the actual pain of staying that anyone does anything about it.
Now some people find what I’m about to say uncomfortable, but here it is anyway. I’m glad my ex had the balls to set us free. It was petrifying at the time, but really, we weren’t ‘right’ for each other (whatever that means). And I’m proud that he wanted more for himself, and by proxy, for me. It took a courage that I didn’t have for him to move past the safety of what we had and to embrace the fear of the unknown.
Just because I’m grateful now, doesn’t mean it wasn’t horrendously scary at the time, and sometimes continues to be. Change of that magnitude ignites your deepest fears.
Am I enough?
Do I belong?
Am I loved?
But now, I appreciate that my ex had the balls to embrace fear and change what wasn’t working. It took a while, at lot of work and hours of coaching, but eventually I’ve found myself on the other-side, where I truly believe that I am worth a phenomenal relationship and I am pleased to say that I think he does too. Now that doesn’t mean I’m not gonna date some fuck-tards along the way…it’s an elimination process after all and a girls got needs, but this girl is refusing to settle for the safety of mediocracy.
Sure it’s daunting to readjust to single life (I have to put petrol in the car myself???) and even now it can be heart-stoppingly lonely (see my last blog). The truth of the matter is, there are actually men out there who wear Monday boxer shorts on a Wednesday and think it’s a pick up line (believe me, I met him), but I’d rather be in this whirlwind of continual change, embracing the fear of the unknown and sorting through my own fears of being enough, than be in a relationship that wasn’t serving either of us.
If you’re struggling post break up, or need a helping hand in moving on, get in touch here
You’re not alone!