The funny thing about this break up was that it wasn’t something profound that gave me that little shove to move on, it was something quite small and simple and inherently female, thus confirming that yes I am in fact a girl. The relationship was so profound that it changed me, it changed everything about me. I felt content, comfortable, safe and most importantly good enough, for the first time in my life.
He consumed every part of my life including every waking minute of my present and every thought about my future. I had convinced myself that without him I was nothing and would never be anything. Every thought that I had was something that I was sure he had thought of first, every fact I knew I thought he had told me, I did not even own my own knowledge he was such a part of me. I needed nothing except him and I did everything to make sure that he was happy and content with me. I made sure that I was his world and that he could not live without me.
We got dogs together, lived together, went on holiday together and I unconsciously injected myself into his life and made him need me too. I planned everything, did everything and lost myself in the process. The problem with giving yourself to someone so completely is that you inadvertently lose yourself and you inevitably become someone different to the person that they fell in love with.
I went from being an independent, don’t-give-a-fuck person to a 1950’s housewife with no purpose meaning or direction. I became something that I thought would keep him there instead of being the person that he fell in love with in the first place. I realised that the only thing I could do to get him to stay would be to leave him. I went through the filofax of me and remembered that somewhere deep inside and almost long forgotten I had a dream. I told him I was leaving to achieve my dream hoping with every fibre of my being that he would follow. This is not when I realised I could live without him.
We were still technically in a relationship although my plan of making him miss me, pine for me and come for me did not work. Instead he drifted further and further away emotionally and I started to remember who I was again. You know when you ask someone how they knew that the person they are going to marry is “the one” and they say “I just knew”? Well I just knew with him and I thought I just had to wait for him to follow me. When he didn’t, this was not when I realised I could live without him.
About 6 months after I had left the town where our eternal love began he said those 4 words that I NEVER expected to hear “we need to talk”. This was not when I realised I could live without him. I cancelled my flight down to see him and lied and said there were no seats in an attempt to delay the inevitable and allow him some more time to come to his senses. Eventually two months later I could not put it off anymore and went down to lose the only thing I have ever felt worthy of having in my life. I gave him the choice and he said he wanted to live with “absolute freedom and no responsibility”. That was it. This was also not when I realised I could live without him.
After months of drunk dialing, suicidal ideation, regret, self-loathing, loss and having no sense of self I started to pull myself together. 4 months after we broke up I got wind of him being in a relationship with one of my closest friends. Saying I was crushed, broken, beaten, finished and pulverised does not come close to how I felt. This was not when I felt I could live without him.
I deleted them both off Facebook and never spoke to her again. The drunk dialing and pining and misery continued until a few months later. I went to visit one of my favourite people in the world, my sanity, my support, my best friend. After a week of drinking and crying and laughing and lots and lots of driving, something happened. I was driving the 1300kms home and found a dusty, forgotten CD in my car. I put it in my CD player and Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart started playing and I didn’t cry.
This was the first time I realised I could live without him.