Hello my lovelies,
As I type this, there is a bag in front of me and in that bag there’s a shoebox full of things and a hoodie. Memories from a relationship that ended about a year and 2 months ago.
When the relationship ended, I wasn’t ready to get rid of these things because getting rid of them to me felt like it meant deleting memories and it would mean admitting it was over and I wasn’t ready to do that, so I put all these things in a shoebox in my wardrobe. I didn’t have to see them every day but they were still there if I wanted them. This is not a healthy way to live but I implore you if all you take from this post is do things when you’re ready to, not when your friends or family tell you to do it, do it when you’re ready. Whatever that step, be it, going on dates again, deleting their number, deleting pictures… do it when you’re ready.
And I’m now at a point when I’m ready to do this, I was ready to do it about 2 months ago, but I wanted to be sure, there’s no rush. Healing takes time and it’s not a linear process.
So without giving you too much detail, I want to talk you through I got here and hopefully, this story might help you too.
My relationship with (let’s call him Dave for the purposes of this, even though if Dave or any of my close friends read this, they’ll know exactly who I’m talking about…oops). My relationship with Dave ended because he had a history of depression and anxiety, we spoke about this very little, I think part of it stemmed from his ex. But yes, we spoke about it very little so when it ended I was kind of left in the dark, I didn’t know how to help. I read a lot of forums, I read Matt Haig’s Reasons To Stay Alive. I didn’t want the relationship to end, I wanted to make him better, I wanted to ‘fix’ whatever problem has caused this because I loved him and he knew this. Looking back and also now being a sufferer of depression and anxiety, I know it was not fair for him to treat me like this. It was made even worse by being told stuff like ‘you have a pure heart’ and ‘it’s just very much a case of right person, wrong time’, ‘it’s not you, I just need to be on my own for a while’. Thanks Dave, for giving me false hope.
Things other people told me around this time hurt too, my best friend told me that being with him made me more me, he brought out my true self. Another close friend told me my relationship with Dave reminded him of his 3-year year relationship with his girlfriend. He said he could see that we had a similar bond.
My mental health went into free fall for a long while after this, anxiety ravaged my brain and so I stopped writing my blog, lots of other things happened. I went to see a counsellor (I 100% recommend doing this if you feel it will help, there is no shame in admitting your pain). I decided to get a new hobby, also recommend this, choose something that wasn’t part of your relationship and not a hobby of theirs. I chose skateboarding (lol), can I skateboard? No. Do I still have a really sick board if I want to pick it up again? Hell yeah, I do! I also suggest reading, television doesn’t take up your whole mind, you can be endlessly scrolling while watching something, reading transports you to another place.
At this point, I also apologise to my friends and thank them, endless thank yous. Sorry, he was all I seemed to talk about for a long time and thank you, thank you for all your patience and advice, thank you for the late night beach walks in the rain. Thank you for being with me when I didn’t want to be on my own and thank you for being my constant support and shoulder to cry on.
Going to the gym and exercise will help too, but in the initial stages, I recommend pizza and ice cream. See my post on self care I actually wrote that about a month after it ended with Dave, I was still in the pizza and ice cream phase. Later when I spoke to Dave around Christmas, he told me he read that post, I didn’t like the idea of that.
After this point, spend as much time as possible with your friends, do all the things you stopped doing when you were in a relationship, and if it feels like a struggle then get a friend to join you, do it together, make new happy memories.
Also if you’re ready, I recommend you block them or unfriend them on social media, it’s a difficult one but trust me, not seeing them and being reminded of their life without you, this will help.
For about 2 months after it ended, I still felt like I was in a relationship. I didn’t feel single and the thought of being with someone else was an impossibility. After 3 months I re-downloaded tinder, I wasn’t looking for anything, I think I just wanted to talk to people. I found Dave’s profile on there…sorry what was that about not wanting to be with someone?? This set me off big-time, I continued to defend his actions to my friends when really I should have seen it for what it was.
Anyway, time continued to pass. I went on a date with a law school drop out, a builder, a guy who I went to the Tate with, realised I don’t get art. Had a few other dates I cancelled on. I compared all of these guys to him, a bad habit. You have to take each individual as they come, they are them and to be fair, none of them were right anyway and I definitely wasn’t ready to date again. Plus I was moving back up north soon. I reconnected with a guy I once went on a date with before I met Dave and now he’s a close friend, let’s call him Barry.
I moved back to uni, dated a guy for a month, let’s call him Mario. Mario was a bad choice, the red flag should’ve been that he was 21 and had already been married (didn’t tell my mum this, also another lesson learnt, don’t date someone if you have to hide part of it from friends/family). Mario made moving back to uni a little easier but my anxiety skyrocketed, on our second date he talked about having kids, I had a panic attack in a park. It should’ve ended there, but he made me feel a little less lonely. I don’t regret Mario, it taught me never to force something that’s not going to work.
After Mario I moved home for a bit before uni started, I met let’s call him Mark, Mark and I got on very well, we ended up having a date in Huddersfield (oh so romantic, not! But it was the easiest place to meet). Me and Mark didn’t work out because he wasn’t ready for something. But what I learnt from this and this was a big one, I learnt that I could find that connection again and just from that one date I knew it meant I’d fall in love again. Unfortunately not with Mark, but it showed me it could be possible. This was what I needed. I started comparing guys to Mark instead.
At some point after this, I’m not sure on the order, I went on two dates with a guy called ‘Dylan’, he asked me if other ‘restaurants’ had an app…we were sat in Whetherspoons. I dated a guy called ‘John’ for 2 weeks, he used to constantly call me middle-class even if I coughed. On our fourth date, we had an argument and he ghosted me. I had a very dull last minute date where I turned up in a hoodie and no makeup on, I can’t even remember his actual name, so let’s call him Orange. Had two dates with a guy called ‘Adam’, that just didn’t work out, no spark. Oh also forgot this one, there was a date a guy training to be a pharmacist, I can’t remember his name either, let’s call him ‘Ibrupfron’, he was a bit starey, no spark.
I met ‘Callum’, Callum has become a close friend and a very good listener. Talking to him has helped me a lot at times when I’ve struggled to cope with things.
Before Christmas I messaged Dave, Dave was dating someone new, he was shocked to hear from me. He’s moved to the opposite end of the country to where I met him. His mental health is better and he said he thought that he had a very small share of the blame as to why my mental health crumbled. This pissed me off quite a lot. But that helped with closure, I stopped defending him. I got angry and I could see that I no longer meant very much to him.
My mental health was all over the place for a few days after this.
A few weeks ago I went on a date with a guy whose name I can’t remember, he spent most of it looking past me or at his phone. The conversation was awkward and his only hobby was rugby.
After this, I deleted dating apps.
And we’re about up-to-date. Sometimes when I’m down and Dave pops into my mind, I think about all the things I’ve achieved/experienced/gained BECAUSE our relationship ended. I might not have become friends with Barry or Callum, I wouldn’t have all the experience I have now, my chances of failing uni would be higher because I’d spend all my time travelling to see him, I might not have joined burlesque. My life wouldn’t have been as rich, I have felt the euphoric feeling of love and the despair of heartbreak and I’ll always hold the memories of my relationship with Dave dear, some of the memories I have now act as a benchmark of how I expect to be treated. Anyone else who comes along now has to go above that. Dave will always be my first love and my first serious heartbreak, it doesn’t mean I want to talk to him or hear about his life, having a bag of stuff or not having a bag of stuff isn’t going to change that.
Thank you for listening, I’m off to go bin some stuff and truly set myself free.
Lots of love,