I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

[Note: Sorry about the lack of posts lately, I’ve been dealing with some crazy moving stress.  You can expect new posts every Monday so be sure to check back next week!]

My best friend Sendal was engaged to an insecure little man who made her life miserable.  Controlling and obsessive, he managed every aspect of her life from who she could hang out with to how she spent her money.  He had big plans to transform her into a doting housewife, a role she could never step into.  Yet still she stayed, she made excuses and assured her friends that he was working on his issues and that they were happy.  Others suggested hosting an intervention, but I refused to get involved.  After all, I had been in a similar situation and I knew the more we meddled, the farther we would push her away.  I tried to assure everyone else that she would come to her senses before the wedding, but I wasn’t so certain.  I hoped and prayed she would go back to being the independent, strong woman I first became friends with, I knew if she made the decision to marry him, she would be out of my life forever.

Imagine my surprise when one night she called me to say it was over.  Now this was a statement she tended to make on a regular basis, usually followed by a copious amount of crying and a declaration that they were back together mere hours later.  But this time was different.  There was a calmness to her voice, an inner peace.  She stated that they had ended things a week prior and she was now beginning to hard process of informing her friends and family.  No contact had occurred between them and she had sent him her engagement ring.  Gone was the girl who couldn’t stand on her own and in her place was this confident, self-assured woman.  Her strength and her courage to take control of her future happiness was so inspiring.  I couldn’t believe she had ended it all, cut off all contact and uprooted her entire life because she realized she deserved better.  Her strength inspired me and stayed with me and she gave me the courage to end my own unhappy relationship.

Over the course of my breakup, she was my rock, helping me through it and giving me advice.  Here are some of
Sendal’s Break Up Do’s and Dont’s:

Don’t do anything that will give him false hope.  This can include:

  • Speaking to him on a regular basis
  • Going out for dinner or any other date-like activities
  • Sleeping in the same house, albeit the same room/bed
  • Using sanguine language, i.e.: “We might still work it out” “It’s not you it’s me” “I just need some time”

This proved especially true for me as he really thought i was bluffing in an effort to provoke change.  He begged me not only to stay in the house with him, but to spend another week sleeping in our bed.  First chance I got, I packed my shit and stayed with a friend.  He also tried to convince me to join him on a dinner date, I kindly declined and suggested a platonic meeting over coffee to tie up any loose ends.  It wasn’t acting out of pettiness, I was just aware of how easy it is to slip back into a relationship.  It’s easy because after spending every day of the last 5 years with someone it feels natural to to continue in such a manner.  People get sucked back up simply because it seems the easier option.  But I digress…

Don’t pick a fight.
Sometimes anger still exists and picking a fight seems like an easier option then simply walk away.

Don’t give into threats or bullying.  He insisted that I call his parents and tell them our relationship was over while he listened.  I refused.  Sendal’s ex acted in a similarly immature way and demanded that she call his mother to say she wouldn’t be coming along on their family vacation.  Remember, you don’t HAVE to do anything you DON’T WANT TO DO!

Do surround yourself with friends and family, people who have known you from the beginning and fully support your decision.  People who are willing to listen and show you love and patience.  My family adored my ex and although they may have not understood my decision, they never questioned it.
Sendal couldn’t help but think about her ex whenever she was alone and the temptation to call him was just too much.  By keeping herself busy with social activities it distracted her thoughts.

Do tell your friends and family about the breakup and subsequent relationship problems.  If they know how you really feel it will make it that much harder for you to “suddenly change your mind.”
Sendal told us all about some abusive patterns she saw in her ex, she knew that if she considered taking him back that we would all talk her out of it.

Do keep an optimistic perspective.  We both agreed that in our former situations we had only two options for our future:
1) Stay together for now, prolong the suffering and breakup eventually (after so much wasted youth) or
2) Get married, have kids and be unhappy for life (or until the kids move out and you feel you can finally split-up, a page from my own parents’ book).
Now that we’re both single we have an infinite amount of options.  I may not have a plan yet, but when I do choose my path there will be nothing to hold me back.

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