“I don’t know what’s going to come of us….where we will be next July 10th….”
I wrote that here on July 10, 2011… a week after we had broken up for the third & final time. Both pushed beyond our limits, I no longer believed I could make him happy, and he couldn’t carry the weight of the previous two years any longer. He knew he had to let me go, I spent the months following our break up resenting and hating him for doing so. I didn’t know how to articulate the turmoil and pain I had been in during and after my pregnancy with Alex, he felt he had to walk on egg shells around me. (He did. My rage was explosive) While we were aware that I was fighting PPD, neither of us knew I BP was causing my mental instability. He didn’t know how to help me, I felt he didn’t understand and didn’t care to. I felt abandoned and rejected, he felt abused and like his life had spiraled out of control.
To be honest it had. Both of our lives were a wreck. What had started off as a casual date back in July 2009 had turned into something neither of us were prepared for. Take two people at two very different stages in life who have a budding friendship and mutual attraction to each other, add an unexpected pregnancy, a fledgling romantic relationship, and a then unknown mental illness and you’ve got a world of chaos to sort through and carry. By the time we neared our two-year anniversary last summer we were both bloodied and bruised from the beatings we had given each other during our tumultuous time together. We wanted to keep it together for the kids, and even for ourselves, but the wounds ran too deep, the pain was too raw, our treatment of each other too ugly, our anger and resentment toward each other boiling over and exploding into abrasive, rage filled arguments in our home, our car, and in parking lots.
I tried….he tried… but neither of us believed the other was giving their all and no matter what we did, our interactions with each other became so toxic we had to separate. So we did. There was a finality to our breakup last summer that I believed we couldn’t recover from. The shock of our life together ending left me numb for months afterward. Every time I tried to process everything that had happened between us I only felt more hurt and confusion. The pain left me reeling emotionally but I tried to make myself believe our being apart was for the best.
“We tried & tried to loosen the knots, thinking once we’re untangled we’ll be better off….but it’s these failures & faults that hold us together…”
I tried moving on. He encouraged me to and he expressed his desire to do so as well. I dated an amazing guy only to realize 2 months later it wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted my family back. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around us living and going about our daily lives separated from each other. When he took Alex full-time in January, the hole in my heart only deepened and the shock of our separation left me shaken. I finally started talking about our break up in therapy and made the decision to finally let go of “us” so I could heal…and move on with my life; not necessarily with someone new, but so that the reality of being a single mother wouldn’t pain me as much as it was.I told him that co-parenting Alex with him was difficult enough; being friends was out of the question…It hurt too much. I spent the whole month of February and two weeks of March crying my eyes out every night and begging God to heal my heart. I vividly remember saying one night as I sobbed into my pillow, “God if this isn’t what you want for me…if I’m supposed to let this go, I’ll do it. But dammit you’ve got to f*cking help me. I don’t know how to get over this.”
“This beautiful tangle that’s bruising us blue, it’s a beautiful knot that we just can’t undo. Together we’re one, but apart tell me who are we fooling ?”
When he dropped Brennan & I off at the airport when we went to Austin for spring break, I remember seeing a softness in his eyes as he said goodbye and admonished me to be careful…it was a gentleness I hadn’t seen in over a year, but I told myself I was imagining things and ejected that thought along with any attached heart-strings completely out of my mind. But then I felt it when he hugged me as he picked us up. Again I ignored it, but couldn’t help but wonder what to make of it. He asked me a lot about Austin, said he wanted to spend some time talking about it after I settled back into the swing of things. Two weeks later, on a Wednesday evening, after I’d had a pretty hellish day, he called. Asked me if I could skip class, come down to Philly while the boys were in school. He wanted to talk. Said there was a lot he wanted to talk about. The only hope I was that he’d want to talk about helping me move to Austin or better yet, want to move there with me, even though we weren’t together.
That talk, that day changed our lives. We found our way back to each other as we sat in the IHOP on the corner of 13th & Walnut sipping on coffee & stuffing our faces full of steak tips & pancakes. Conversation flowed easier than it had in the past, both of us freely and openly sharing our thoughts and feelings about a variety of things. We did what we couldn’t do a year ago-give up the grounds we were standing on & meet in the middle. Our love for each other both as friends and partners found us as we stood on our common ground that day. We both shared things we had previously been afraid to, and we both agreed we were better off trying to make our relationship work than remain apart.
That was 8 weeks ago. We’ve had some rough moments between then & now but we’ve laughed more than we ever have in the past. The boys are happier than they’ve ever been…having us all under the same roof and seeing their parents making it work is fueling that I think.
If you would’ve asked me at the beginning of this year if I thought this would happen, I would’ve said absolutely not…but now that we’re here with our future ahead of us, all I can do is just be so grateful that it did.
“Cause real love, is hard love, it’s all we have….So we’re back here again, turning away from the edge of the end, arm in arm…”
We’re moving to Austin this fall…and getting married.
We know it won’t be easy. But this time around we’re stronger than we were before and committed to making this work.
“Together we’re one but apart tell me who are we fooling?”