If Not Now, When? (Part 1)

if-not-now-when-part-1.jpg

Last week I posted about how I've had some pretty significant changes in my life and how I wasn't exactly ready to talk about them. Honestly, I'm still nervous to talk about them, but the more I wait, the more anxious I get. So, here is part 1 of my "If not now when" changes.

I've been dating my boyfriend for over two and a half years, and recently we took a new step in our relationship.

We separated.

For most this was completely unexpected. We were supposed to be getting engaged any day now. I love this man. I respect and admire this man. A man I have known since I was 15 years old, who I dated in college, who I stayed friends with for over 7 years, who I live with, built a home with, and who I saw my future with.

We have supported each other, been there when shit got hard, and encouraged each other throughout everything. He embodies everything I thought I ever wanted in a partner, and what I imagine almost all women want in a man.

And we are ending our relationship.

The first question we got was why. Why are we doing this? What happened? What went wrong? Except, nothing went wrong. Nothing happened. There was no massive argument or disagreement that couldn't be worked out. There is still so much love between us.

But I guess, as it turns out, that was the "problem."

See, for as much love as the two of us had (and have) for each other, I have always struggled with loving myself as an individual in the same way. And the closer we got to spending the rest of our lives together, the more I worried about how little love I had for myself, and what that would mean for us long-term as a couple.

I'm also turning 30 this year. And despite age being just a number, the closer I got to 30, the more I started looking back at my experiences and wondering if I had accomplished all my goals or maybe missed out on something before committing and settling down.

Over the last few months as I slowly began to question these things, I went back and forth on what to do. I kept should-ing all over our relationship and what, if any, decision to make. I shouldn't feel this way, it doesn't make sense. I should stop questioning everything and just enjoy our relationship where it is right now. I should just be happy - I have a great man who loves me and whom I love.

But at some point, I couldn't should anymore. Eventually, I had to own up to the fact that, I'm not really my biggest fan. And if I'm not my biggest fan, and if I can't give myself the same love I give to my partner, how can we continue to grow and have a great relationship 10, 20, 30 years down the road?

I also had to admit that yea, selfishly, I do feel like I missed out on some stuff in my 20's, most notably - getting a chance to be on my own for an extended period of time so I can finally get to know and like myself. I've been in relationships for half of life. I've never been single for more than a few months. I felt like I missed the chance to do that stereotypical soul-searching that supposedly goes on in your 20's.

Remarkably (although, somewhat not remarkably as this is the type of person he is) despite these reasons maybe not being the "best" or easiest to understand, and despite how difficult separating has been, my best friend has offered me more kindness, love, and understanding during this entire exchange than I could have ever hoped for. His limitless compassion has made this experience both more bearable and more painful (in the best way possible), and I couldn't be more thankful or grateful.

So, with a lot of boxes and about three times as many tears, we moved out of our apartment, the home we built together (and with pinterest) over the past year, and moved into our own separate places two weekends ago.

I'm equal parts excited and afraid for this new period of my life - the single, alone, on my own, see what I am made of period. And while I consciously made this decision, and believe it is the right decision for me right now, I am anxious, hesitant and a bit fearful.

But, this is real life. This is sometimes what happens. And this is why I'm telling you. Because I made a promise to myself, and to you, that I would talk about all the messy, sad and confusing shit life brings.

I have 4 major changes happening all at once and I've revealed 2 of them so far (1. break up 2. move/new apartment). Make sure to subscribe to the blog and check back this Thursday for Part 2 for the rest of my big changes.

-SS