What Recovering From Relationship & Love Withdrawals Really Looks Like

Photo by Yvraj Singh via Unsplash

My family and friends would likely prefer I stop writing about this. Maybe I should. Then again, I think about it for a bit and realize, I’m a creative — I don’t suppress or ignore my troubles, I put them into my writing and my music. Its my therapy, the only method of which that is beneficial in more ways than one. So here I sit, writing yet another piece about how I feel amidst all I’m going through, trying to unpack it all in the healthiest way I know how.

If I didn’t have this or music, I can’t imagine how much worse this would all be for me. Yeah sure I’ve been hitting the gym and spending time outside as is highly suggested by those who feel the need to offer some kind of assistance to all of us going through rough times, but for the most part its writing that seems to be helping more than anything else.

This all still seems so surreal. Its like my soul has been in limbo for the past 3 1/2 months and I honestly cant even begin to tell you what has happened around me in all that time. What about current events and pressing social issues? Yeah I could care less at the moment. Who has Donald Trump pissed off now and why with his ongoing shenanigans? Who gives a damn. What celebrity-culture gossip nonsense is being discussed on social media? Not that I ever cared to begin with but what the hell is social media again? Truth be told, I’m just trying to make it through the day without wanting to bury myself in a hole 500 feet under the earth and never come out.

Hard to think that 6 months ago I thought life couldn’t be getting any better for me. I was getting ready to re-lease my cozy, one bedroom apartment, just an earshot from downtown Austin for another year with the love of my life. I was maintaining consistency with my work for all my side project passions in addition to the work at my day-job going quite well, or as well as it could be considering all the frustrations a day-job can give us at any given moment. Yep, it was going to be a promising 2018 for me, one of the best years yet in a while even. Little did I know within 2 months it would all come crashing down in a fiery hailstorm of unfathomable proportions.

By the start of May my relationship of 3 years with the person I love most in this world had imploded in spectacular fashion — complete with a “there’s someone else” scenario, leaving me in a state of hurt and confusion that I’m still trying to recover from at this very moment. Of course with the devastation from that, everything else that had been going well for me went downhill with it. So here I sit, still licking my wounds, trying my damndest to get back up and take another crack at life — yet still coming up just shy of achieving any amount of nominal success in doing so. Funny how fast it can all change in the blink of an eye… Funny indeed.

I’m a mess. Plain and simple — its just the hard, ugly truth. Whether its just my state of mind or how I’m still letting my emotions take me on the most nauseating rollercoaster ride of my life, I’m lost in every sense of the word, and I’m not even ashamed to admit it because lets be real here, it is what it is.

Every morning it takes work just to get out of bed and make a plan for some kind of productive day — work, the gym, motivational YT videos and self-help articles to try to keep me in a positive mind-state in order to not succumb to this despair, time outdoors, ya know, the usual routine.

Some days I get a glimpse of this new person thats rebirthing as a result of this. He pokes his head out with a sly grin, whispering to me, “dude you’re gonna be the baddest mf’er thats ever lived before this is all said & done” before going back into hiding for what often feels like an eternity. Though he still hasn’t fully arisen yet, I know he’s there — growing within as the former shell of who I once was continues to dry up and wither away. Maybe he’s just waiting for his moment, or maybe I’m just going crazy and have yet to fully realize it.

Yes I’ve learned a few things here and there through all this. I’ve spoken to friends and family, joined a couple support groups I found on MeetUp that discuss their struggle with heartbreak from recently failed relationships and marriages, and have a made a few new friends as well as decided to pick up a few extra hobbies. Its a work in progress, I know that — its just a lot of work and has only offered me the slightest bit of hopefulness for what really comes out of this experience.

Its only been 3 1/2 months. I get reminded by those who’ve been through this that that’s not long at all and the progress I’ve made has been by leaps and bounds compared to most. I get reminded of how strong I am and wonder if those same people who say such words of encouragement would still feel that way if they saw how many times a day on average I break down and cry like a child who’s lost and feels like they’ll never find home again.

I still replay a handful of moments towards the end of my relationship over and over again — trying to really pinpoint just wtf I could’ve done to try to stop this or what signs were there, prior to those last couple weeks, that I could’ve noticed to take the right course of action for a different outcome. Yes I know thats pointless and will only drive you crazy but we all do it, until we learn to stop — which I assume just takes time.

I still look back on my most cherished memories with my ex, wishing I could have another chance to do things differently b/c beneath the typical problems we might have had that I didn’t even realize were there was a love that was unlike anything I’d ever felt before. For much of our time together she felt it too — possibly more than I did.

Maybe that’s what the biggest problem of all was — the fact that I failed to show her just how much I loved her by doing all the things a “perfect boyfriend” is supposed to do. No there is no such thing as a perfect relationship but in this day and age with all the information at our disposal and observation of others’ past experiences, you’d think we’d have learned how to avoid the mistakes our parents and grandparents made by now. We’re only human though right? I guess that’s all there is to it.

I wish I could paint you a pretty picture of healing and recovering from what looks and likely feels very much like a withdrawal from drug addiction — a picture of people singing hymns and holding hands, sharing heartfelt sentiments of hope and harmony. Instead it looks more like a grieving widow or widower, drowning in a sea of tears of sorrow and searching for answers they’ll likely never receive.

I miss my ex. I miss those moments when we’d joke back forth about how we couldn’t decide whether it was the rest of the world who was crazy for seeing everything the way they saw it or whether it was us. I miss holding hands, going for downtown cruises and strolls, going to sleep and waking up together every day for well over 2 years. I miss the fact that in all that time, we fought only twice — one of which was in the final days of the relationship. I miss saying I love you while she was sleeping just to hear her say it back while still unconscious, reminding me that true love exists in a place that even the conscious mind can’t fully encompass in all its power.

Still, with all of how I feel about her and about us, I have to let her go — every day I have to let her go because that’s what you do when you love someone who no longer feels your journeys are meant to be taken together, right? Isn’t that what we’re told by life coaches/motivational speakers, love songs and movie romance plots? If you love them let them go & hope they find the happiness they truly deserve, whether with or without you, right? Or so they say.

Truth be told I don’t know how that works but if its what I have to do then every day that’s what I’ll do — no matter how painstaking it is and how much it hurts every fucking moment of every day, that’s what I’ll do. Just know its the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with and I’m sure one day, I’ll be a better person for it.

So though it doesn’t look or feel pretty, this is what being in recovery after a relationship fails and a love is lost looks like. Its a dogfight damn near every day and wherever its meant to lead, know that I’m doing all I can and even when I really wanna give up, I know I can’t because if I did, then it would’ve been all for nothing — which isn’t fair to me, her, or anyone else who’s blessed me with their love and support through this ongoing struggle. So onward I go, with faith in myself and love in my heart, I’ll walk through this desert of pain until I reach the oasis that comes with healing, knowing there’s something better waiting on the other-side.