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A coward’s escape or a brave step?

I have been travelling for the last 2 years, 1 Month, 2 weeks and 4 days. It has been an amazing journey, especially when I think of how it started. I had made the decision that constantly returning to the same train wreck of a relationship wasn’t doing well for me physically or mentally. I was underweight and the stress heightened my IBS, meaning when I did eat it didn’t stay in my system for long. I didn’t realise it at the time but I was also a little depressed. Getting on that plane could be seen as a cowards way out to break free from something I couldn’t just walk away from then and there, but I don’t care, because it would be the best decision I ever made.

Before I got into a relationship I always thought that if a man, or should I say boy, hurt me in any way then I would instantly leave him. Regrettably, I would judge the girls who were constantly forgiving lying, cheating and aggressive boyfriends. I just couldn’t understand it. Then I got into a relationship and it all became clear, or actually it didn’t. I became blinded.

Blinded by lies.

Blinded by sorry.

Blinded by “I love you”.

Blinded by excuses.

Blinded by promises to never hurt me again.

Blinded by blame; it really wasn’t his fault this time.

Mostly I was blinded by the fact we had been together so long. I couldn’t just throw away those years because I was blinded by the good memories. Even though there were more bad memories, which surprisingly I seemed to easily put a side.

Even when I was on the other side of the world I would receive messages from this person, containing more lies. After a month of reading more promises and lies about how we could work things out I remember eventually reading one message and just laughing. I laughed at how stupid these lies were written down in front of me.  I decided then and there to block him from any form of contact. Then I had a good think about how many similar lies this person had said to my face and I felt silly for believing them. My eyes were opened.

Gradually I started to look back more and more and analyse just what this person had put me through and what I had put myself through by constantly going back to them because I believed it was love.

I now know it wasn’t love. Love shouldn’t be constantly forgiving and putting up with a person because you don’t want to feel like all those years have been for nothing. Love shouldn’t be a one-sided relationship where the same person is putting in all the effort only to get hurt the most. I know there are a lot of different opinions and ideas of love, but for me that was my conclusion and it made me realise it definitely wasn’t love. Just by giving myself enough distance I was able to actually evaluate my past relationship and see I stayed there for comfort rather then love. More importantly, without that person around to constantly poison my thoughts with what I should believe, I was able to see them for what they really were and I moved on from that comfort zone.

I moved on to a relationship where we work mutually as a team. I now have a relationship where we can have months apart and I am at ease because I have no concerns about him being unfaithful (with my ex I was paranoid when I hadn’t seen him in a day). I now have a relationship with my best friend. It’s a relationship where I am happy. If I had known I could swap my previous relationship for a one I wanted I would have flown away sooner. But I now put those mistakes into practice and my current partner is fully aware that if he hurts me physically or is unfaithful just once then it is over and the same vice versa (YES! – I actually discovered MUTUAL respect in a relationship).

Whenever my girlfriends now come to me with concerns over their boyfriends, I have never once suggested they immediately break up with this person. I know from experience they won’t listen anyway. I simply suggest they get themselves some space for however long they can, away from their partner, to try and look at the relationship with a clear head.

When it comes down to it, your friends can say whatever they want about your partner and even when you know what they are saying is true, as soon as you go home to his cuddles and kind words, all is forgiven. It’s a decision that can only be made by you not your friends. Obviously not everyone has the choice to disappear to the other side of the world like me, but even going to a different town or staying at a parent’s house for a while with him unable to contact you may give you the evaluation space you need. It’s not breaking up; it’s giving yourself room to decide for yourself if you want your future to continue on the path this relationship has created and deciding how this path can change, if you want it to.

I have booked my flight home for 10 weeks time and I feel like a different person. Even just months after I left I would speak to my girlfriends on Skype, who would all comment that I look happy and healthy. I tried to act happy when I was home but they didn’t buy it. When speaking to family I learned a lot about how they were worried for my health.

 If you look at yourself and see that you’re a different person from the girl at the start of the relationship (for the wrong reasons) it’s time to take a step away. It’s not a cowardly run at all, it’s a brave step for your mental and physical health. Do not see it as giving up on the time you have put into this relationship because I look at mine as a lesson learned and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. It’s about taking a breath of fresh air and deciding how you would like your own future and future relationships to be.

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