The 1,000 mile plane ride to visit my boyfriend had been joyful; my hope about the relationship had been growing.
Over the next four days we walked along the ocean, hung out with family, and got to be around each other and know each other more. Toward the end of the week my boyfriend decided we weren’t a great match and ended our relationship without much warning. I fought for the relationship for a day and a half and then let him go. Hours later I got on a plane to fly home.
The plane ride away from a dream sucks. Shock, sadness, and questioning whirled through my head. After the plane left the ground, I looked out of the window and quietly cried. I didn’t want the gals next to me to see I was crying, so I pretended to sleep, and later studied the billowy clouds, hiding my red eyes. Even though my head knew the “Why” to what had just happened, my heart didn’t want to accept that the dream I had been nurturing about my boyfriend and I was dead. I was flying away from a place from which I probably won’t ever return.
I knew I had an option: To shut down again like I had five years before (when a different relationship had ended) or to learn from the ending of this relationship (that I had wanted to keep working on). Since I couldn’t keep working on this relationship, I could work on myself and on being open to new relationships!
This time instead of hiding and shutting down, I let others see my pain and I stayed open. On that plane ride, one of the gals next to me started talking with me, so we had an interesting conversation about Islam. A few minutes before landing, I told that new acquaintance that I had just had a break-up, and she surprised me: She responded with compassion! She had been through even worse than I had, and she empathized with me. This was the start of processing the pain WITH people. The compassion and support from even distant friends and family surprised me; I felt more connected to the human race. My old housemates hung out with me that night and helped me process, and just loved me and let me cry.
The transition through a break-up is a bumpy road. It combines the steps of grief, the letting go of hopes about the relationship, the processing of anger, the loneliness of not having that friendship anymore, and the choice to stay open to new relationships.
The break-up was a transition I didn’t expect. The change was abrupt and painful, but it taught me so much. It connected me more to people that I love, and it has helped me focus my life more pointedly. I have more hope about life and for future relationships. A breakup is an end to one relationship, but it can be a dark stairway that leads to an even better future.