Announcing the news that me and Adam had broken up was so difficult, but since then I have been completely overwhelmed by the love and support people have shown us and I feel so relieved that I finally let it out. Going through a break up is always rough for both parties, but going through it kind of publicly in the way that we are really adds to how hard it feels. It was impossible for me to find the words to tell people, and it’s hard to explain what’s going on while still respecting each other and having some healthy boundaries. Lots of people have called me gracious, and while I’m not entirely sure that I’ll be able to remain that completely, he is still someone I care about immensely; there is so much love there still for me, and very few bad feelings. I guess actually that makes the whole thing even sadder really.
I remember break ups when I was younger; sobbing hysterically into my pillow, wallowing in misery for a while and then planning the greatest revenge with my best friends. We’d inevitably end up getting dressed up and going out, then I’d drown my sorrows in cheap alco-pops, end the night kissing a random guy or throwing up in a dust bin and I’d have forgotten about the whole thing. The thing is that now we are older everything is much more intense and real. We aren’t dealing with little high school crushes anymore, it isn’t so easy to recover, and a night out isn’t quite the quick fix it used to be. Once you’ve spent part of your life with someone, you’ve let them into your world and your heart and dreamt of a future with them in it, it isn’t as easy to walk away.
I’ve learnt some things now that I’ve got two failed serious relationships under my belt. I’ve learnt that second time around the pain is just as intense, if anything more so because I am devastated to be back here again. Back to being alone, back to square one, back to wondering if everlasting romantic love will ever happen to me. Wondering if it’s me, if I’m just not worthy of love or if I could ever be enough for someone else, because why else would it be happening again. Wondering what I should’ve done differently, how I should’ve changed, why I’m not capable of making someone else happy, why people always leave. Wondering if all these happy endings really are just fairy tale and make believe. I’ve learnt that heartbreak really can be a physical pain, that it consumes you entirely and hurts you so deeply that it feels like you literally might die of a broken heart. There is no escaping it, no distraction from it, and the only way to survive it is to take each day as it comes and ride the awful feelings out.
I’ve learnt that things can change dramatically in quite a small space of time – within 12 months we went from being completely loved up with a baby on the way to where we are now. It’s made me feel quite embarrassed about how smug I’ve been over the last few years. I felt like I barely survived the heart break of becoming a single mum the first time, and it never ever occurred to me that I’d be doing it all over again. I felt so much happiness and contentment, wrapped up in my own happy ending. I was sure that all the awful stuff in my past was meant to lead me here; to him, to us, to this new little family – complicated and messy but perfect for me. I met someone who took on all of the chaos and the baggage, who accepted who I was and what I came with happily. Someone who would ride out the bad with me and share my joy in all the good. I remember other single mums messaging me, telling me that my story had given them hope that love was out there. True love finally I thought, and this time I was sure it would last forever. I think it always feels that way, until it leaves.
I’ve learnt that in these situations it’s much easier to be angry, because that gives you something to focus on, an energy to use to drive yourself forward. Kicking someone out after you find their Tinder profile is easy compared to having to say goodbye to someone you love desperately, because they don’t think it’s going to work out. That having a real tangible cause for your break up is easier to explain, and to accept, than someone you love deciding to leave. That being unable to change their mind and get them to stay, and resisting the urge to beg them to try to love you again will be some of the most painful and difficult experiences of your life.
I’ve learnt that when you’re in love you jump in with both feet, and you don’t give those ‘what ifs’ much of a thought. You make yourself vulnerable when you do this, you replace independence with co dependence and that becomes so damn hard to untangle. I gave up a secure home that I had with Dil to move to our dream little cottage with Adam, and now that our relationship is over we have to leave. I own a mattress but no bed and a dishwasher but no washing machine, because we pooled our resources when we moved in. We made decisions about Dil’s education and our future based on being together, living here, and sharing the load financially. We created a brand, we worked together on each other’s businesses, shared knowledge and skills, but now we are no longer a team. I feel lost and alone, because all those decisions are on my head and I have to figure them all out again. We have 3 weeks until we need to be out of this house, and currently I have no idea where we will go.
I already knew that parenting with a broken heart was one of the hardest things in the world, but this time around having a child who’s old enough to notice the sadness in my eyes, I’m learning it’s even worse that I thought. The problem is that now my heart isn’t only broken for myself, but for my baby too. My baby who can barely remember when it was just me and him, and certainly can’t remember his little life without Adam in it. When his dad and I broke up it was difficult, but we all knew that they would be in each other’s lives forever – our family dynamic changed but Dil didn’t really lose anything. This feels so different to that, and I don’t know how to explain it to him. How to say that this man he loves and looks up to, the man who knows just how he likes his drink and which superhero is his favourite and how many books he likes to read before bed, won’t be around to read them any more.
For now we carry on, and I’m sure I will continue to learn things. I’ll learn how to support Dil through something that will probably be quite tough for him, and I’ll learn how to find my independence again. I will learn that I have even more strength than I thought, and I am sure that me and Dil will absolutely be okay. It’s really hard being here again after thinking I’d found real happiness, and the sadness I feel at the moment is deeper than I could ever articulate. But it’s not my first time down here in the darkness of rock bottom, and I know that I can make it out again.