“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
The day of my fiance’s final departure left me feeling completely lost and hopeless. I remember entering the front door and noticing things missing, and then immediately running upstairs in a panic to find that everything of hers was gone. The pain I felt inside was indescribable. I called my Mom and Dad just minutes later, and I could barely put the words together to tell them what had happened. They were completely shocked as well. How could she have made it into town, from Florida nonetheless, and cleared everything out in a matter of a couple of hours leaving virtually no signs of being there at all? That’s a question that we all still ponder to this day. She must have devised quite the covert operation.
It took me a long time to calm myself that day. Losing her was one thing, but losing her with so many questions remaining and zero closure was another. It was all so puzzling and shocking. I searched for answers in my friends and family, but everyone else was just as confused and at a loss for words as I was. This was going to be something that I’d be forced to surrender to…I wasn’t ever going to understand her reasoning or her motives. And that was a tough pillow to swallow. I had fought many tough battles internally, but this one would require a different strategy. I would need to learn to let go and accept that some things in this world are out of your control.
Nevertheless, from time to time I couldn’t help but attempt to piece together the truth. I came to the conclusion that her plan to take “Family Medical Leave” had all been orchestrated in an effort to create an excuse to escape to Florida. Her father did indeed have back surgery, but I remember from speaking to her on the phone that he was out riding his motorcycle in less than a week’s time. And I’m pretty confident that her last day on the job at the hospital came prior to her departure. I was able to draw that conclusion with the knowledge that her position had been posted for quite some time prior to her telling me that she quit. And in addition, I remembered her coming home on her last day of work with a “Goodbye” or “Good Luck” card from one of her patients. She told me that the woman had given it to her because by the time she returned she would have been done with the treatments in her unit. But in reality, it was likely given to her as a final farewell. She had also continually mentioned that she needed to speak to her father’s doctor for information on his surgery so that she could submit some paperwork for her leave, and I never saw her with any of that either. Again, I’m not denying the fact that her father had the operation, but I don’t believe that it was nearly as severe as she made it out to be, and I believe that she had resigned from her job prior to July 7th.
This means that the entire thing had been in the works for months. I can’t tell you how sick that makes me feel, even here today as I write this entry. How could you do that to someone? I wouldn’t wish that kind of treatment on my worst enemy, let alone the person that I loved and was engaged to marry. I felt that I deserved much better from that standpoint. I recognize that I didn’t do everything right in the relationship and that I also played a part in our eventual demise…trust me, I am not a man without faults. But I truly believed that she cared for me far more as a person than she ultimately demonstrated. To deceive me in the manner in which she did showed a complete lack of class and character. I just wish that she would have taken the time to look me in the eyes and say goodbye the right way…to my face. As much as that would have hurt, I could have respected her for it in the long run. But instead she cowardly avoided dealing with every aspect of emotion associated with the situation. She had effectively maintained her distance and separation from me since the moment she hugged me, kissed me, and told me she loved me that day at the airport.
In the end, I would learn to survive without her. It was initially very hard for me to envision my life without her in it, but I had been preparing for that and adjusting to it for two months prior to her driving the final nail in the coffin. None of the speculation from above really mattered. Even if I was able to uncover all of the answers to the questions that I pondered, it still was not going to bring her back or give me peace. I needed to find my own strength and create my own closure.
One positive about breakups is that you are given the opportunity to learn from your mistakes. I did that by taking a look at myself and my actions during the course of our time together. I realized some things quickly…for instance, I was ready to be a married man and a more fully devoted partner, and I knew that I wanted to be more flexible and open-minded with my significant other in the future. With my next love, I would put less emphasis on my needs and give a stronger consideration to theirs, and I’d do my best not to allow my own personal issues interfere with our relationship. Those considerations were quite easily made.
But I’ve chosen to use this blog as an opportunity for me to fully disclose my shortcomings and apologize and take responsibility for them…so that’s exactly what I intend on doing now. I can’t say that I was this honest with myself back then…I wish I had been.
My anxiety was a factor…I’m sure of that. Although it was never really brought to my attention as being an issue in our relationship, I can tell you that at times it was very destructive. In many instances, the presence of a disorder like this can bring two people closer together. You become far more reliant on your partner, and given the right person with a strong, caring demeanor present, it can really create a level on intimacy that most relationships never achieve. Unfortunately, it can also have the opposite effect. It can create distance and tension when the afflicted feels that their needs are being ignored or not being fulfilled to their expectations. And anxiety creates unrealistic expectations at times, leading to inescapable doom. I’m certain that there were instances when it caused conflict between us. I should have been more aware of that and toned it back at times. She was not my caretaker, she was my partner and she deserved to be treated that way.
Coupled with anxiety is often a sense of wanting to control the environment around you. In the midst of an attack, everything spins wildly out of your grasp. You want nothing more than to be able to get a hold on the situation and limit any factors that are contributing to the way you feel. In relationships, I think it’s easier for people like me to find themselves wanting more control. I can see now how this need negatively impacted our time together. For instance, I asked her to postpone the wedding planning because we had too much going on (control)…I’d discourage her from buying things for the house or starting new projects because of my financial worries (control)…and I’d be very non-receptive about visiting her family and friends in Florida because I didn’t want them steering her away from our new life together (control). I’m very sorry that I allowed that to become a dimension of my personality, because it is certainly not the type of person I ever envisioned myself being or becoming.
And finally, my irresponsible gambling habits were undoubtedly a problem our relationship. My fiance and I were not at a place where we were sharing a bank account, but we were sharing in our bill responsibilities and in our personal expenses. My propensity for wagering online was not hurting her pocket book, but it was most certainly corrupting the good man that she deserved. In the midst of one of my runs, I’d be short, edgy, and easily distracted. I wasn’t concerned with our life together at all…I was only concerned with money and the next big win. I’d detach from intimacy. And when I’d lose, I’d tighten up my wallet and convince her to do the same. Gambling could spark my insecurities like nothing else, and I’d often find myself acting far more anxious and controlling in the relationship. It was an awful habit, on so many different levels. I’m truly regretful for its impact on us.
To my ex…if you’re out there and you happen to be following along, I’d like to tell you first that I am sorry for my reckless neglect of our relationship at times. I acknowledge that I played a part in our downfall as well…I will never deny that. I remember one day you told me “you can’t change who you are, Matt – it’s just your personality”. I’m here to tell you now that I can and I am.
And secondly, I’d like to wish you peace and happiness in your life. You stole my heart like no other. I found amazing things in you and in spite of our eventual troubles, we still had two plus really great years together…some of the best times of my life. I don’t agree with the way that you decided to end things between us – that was not characteristic of you as a person. But I forgive you for that. I know that you’ve found love and have since taken another man’s hand in marriage. I hope that you and your husband create a remarkable longstanding bond with one another. God Bless.