Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Someday, Someday It Will Be Okay

I don’t avoid talking about difficult things on this blog, but sometimes I need time to process and think through things before I talk about them.  So now’s the time to talk about the fact that my boyfriend of three and a half years and I broke up, and as of a few days ago, I’ve moved back to Michigan.

I’m sad.  More than sad.  But I also realize that maybe my ex-boyfriend would never be the partner I really needed him to be, and maybe I never would have been the partner he needed me to be for him.  That’s a hard realization after almost four years of dating someone.

I’ve also realized that I can feel bad about myself without anyone making me feel bad about myself, and I can handle my stuff alone, and I don’t need to be with someone who says it will be okay because I am the one who has to make it okay.

Part of me thinks that it’s really hard to judge a relationship on a time in our lives that was so difficult.  We moved from Michigan to New York, I started a new academic program, my boyfriend struggled to find work, my grandpa died, my dad died, after spending a year and a half living with my boyfriend’s dad, we moved into our own place, I got a job, that job ended, I got a job, and that job ended.  That’s a lot for anyone to experience in that amount of time.  You think that when you’ve made it through things like that, you can survive anything. 

Maybe things would have been different if we lived somewhere neutral, where neither of us was surrounded by our family and friends.

Maybe things would have been different if my dad hadn’t died.

Maybe, maybe, maybe.  Maybe not.

I’ve come to the conclusion, which I probably should have figured out a while ago, that I don’t think I would ever truly be happy in New York, even if I had the best job and the most loving and supportive significant other.  And I’ve been lying to myself for a long time, because when I have envisioned my future, I have envisioned it in the Midwest.  And I’ve wasted too much time listening to others put that choice down, even when my heart and my head both knew that, that was the best option for me.

I am filled with so much guilt and regret that I wasn’t there when my grandfather died and I wasn’t there when my dad died, and while maybe that guilt is misplaced, I don’t want to feel that way again.  And I don’t think I could take getting another call like I got when my grandfather died and when my dad died. 

I’ve never felt like New York was home.  I’ve been surrounded by millions of people all the time, and I’ve never felt so alone.  The pressure to be everything all at once is too much.  And the truth is, I wasn’t my best self.  I lost my best self in the constant wave of strangers that surrounded me.  While in Michigan I was a hustler, in New York, I wasn’t even average.

Somewhere along the way, I became totally couple focused.  It wasn’t just about me.  It was about us.  I put us first, instead of me first, which is stupid when the other person is focused on themselves first.  And when I started asserting my wants and needs, that just wasn’t okay. 

A relationship takes two people.  And if two people aren’t in it, it’s not going to work.  A lot was put on me, but chances are, this was inevitable, whether it happened now or later.  It’s just hard when you truly believe that, that person is the one, and then you find out that they’re not. 

It’s also hard because I was so naïve and so caught up in it all that I didn’t think this person was capable of hurting me.

When we laughed, we laughed hard.  And when we cried, we cried hard.  But lately, there’s been too much crying, and I’ve done most of it.

Right now, I’m not okay.  There are things I have to work on, mostly focusing on myself and putting my time and energy back into the things that used to make me really happy.

I’m not going to apologize for my illnesses, I’m not going to apologize for my dad dying, and I’m not going to apologize for being me.

Not only did I no longer recognize the person I was with, I no longer recognize myself.  We were two ships passing in the night.  Two strangers living parallel lives. 

I took second string to everything and everyone around me.  And I don’t want someone who is going to put me first as a favor.  I want someone to put me first because they genuinely want to.

I also want someone who isn’t going to rush me through my grief over my dad’s death, especially someone who has been through a loss of a parent themselves.

This is not where I thought I’d be at 30.  Two Master’s degrees and a PhD, uncoupled, unemployed, and moved home to live with my mom.  But things can only go up from here, right? 

I kind of feel like Annie in “Bridesmaids”.  I’ve hit bottom.  But as I always do, I’ll get up, dust myself off, and move forward. 

I am going to leave you with the lyrics to a song that I just discovered, that really speaks to where I’m at right now:

“I know they say, you can’t go home again
Well, I just had to come back one last time […]
You leave home, you move on
And you do the best you can
I got lost in this whole world
And forgot who I am
I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it's like I'm someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself
If I could walk around, I swear I'll leave
Won't take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me”

“The House That Built Me”, Miranda Lambert 


  1. I'm sorry to read this Leslie. I hope Michigan is better for you!

  2. My thoughts are with you as you enter 2016. I ended a 3 year relationship this year too so I understand your pain. Hang in there. Greater things are coming.

  3. Leslie, you have *two masters and a PhD!* That's quite the accomplishment for someone who is thirty, nevermind for someone that has the health challenges you do, and who has been so much. Give yourself the credit you deserve, ok? You have contributed so much to the patients for a moment and really touch people's hearts through your presentations and through this blog. I always look forward to your posts. I am isolated, and have been for a few years, and even just reading your blog posts make me feel less alone.

    There is no shame in staying with your mom. I don't know why any of us put so much pressure on ourselves. Staying with her will hopefully be good for you, it will allow you to have some space/time to recuperate and just focus on taking care of yourself.

    I am sorry that your relationship came to an end. Its so painful to say goodbye to someone we love, and you have done so much of that the last few years. I hope that 2016 is a year full of peaceful moments and other good things. Hang in there. {{{hugs}}}

  4. You have to be true to yourself and the sounds like an awful lot of things about New York didn’t do that. Following your own unique North star, on the path towards authentic living, can be hard because it’s often not what other people/the world thinks you should be doing. Ignore them. Do what feels right to you. That way lies happiness.

  5. So sorry you have to go through this. It is not fun, I've been there and yes it is hard. (4 years together, we also had moved away together but it didn't work out.) The good news.. I know you might not want to hear it.. but, there is someone else out there for you and you just haven't found him yet. After ending my long-term relationship I did find my spouse 2 years later and it was with an old friend that I ran into out of the blue. We became just friends and dated a year later and have now been married 10 years this Oct. The universe is telling you that this relationship wasn't the one but now you are stronger, wiser and can be as picky as you'd like when searching for someone new. And, it might come when you aren't even looking for it. Hugs to you and know that you will be okay and your future is full of amazing potential!!