I have to admit I’m pretty proud of myself. See, when you’re going through a break up, a small part of you wishes you could get back together. Even though I know this is for the best… It’s like there’s a disconnect between my brain and my heart. My brain logically understands this is the best thing for everyone involved. My heart feels otherwise.
Ever since we broke up, my ex has texted to check in with me. The first few weeks even the most innocent check ins somehow turned into disagreements. I decided it best to just keep my responses short and to the point because I didn’t have the mental or emotional energy to go through that every other day. Then things got better for the most part and the texts would lead back to conversations of why do things have to be this way and can’t we get back together.
I knew that as temping as it sounded, the reality is, we broke up for a reason. Going back without changing anything just doesn’t make sense. So the last time he asked me if we could just try to make it work, I was very honest. I told him that the definition of insanity (according to a quote I saw on the internet attributed to Einstein) is doing the same thing but expecting different results. So I asked him, what we would do differently if we gave it another try, and could he guarantee that things wouldn’t end up worse than what they are now.
You see one thing I’ve learned by leaving my ex husband of 10 years was that we left things before we broke them beyond repair. So many people try to fix and force the relationship to work that they break it beyond repair and cause damage that lasts a lifetime. While things didn’t work out romantically for my ex-husband and I, we’re still good friends. We can be in the same room together. When he video chats with the girls, they don’t have to dodge me so that he doesn’t see me because there’s no tension there.
So having been able to have a clean break and remain friends after spending a third of my life with someone, I’m not exactly willing to go down a path that will lead to us being like so many separated couples we all know. Not that I’m better, I just know better and want to avoid that in my life.
Back to the point. I mentioned the definition of insanity and asked my ex what we’d do differently and if he could guarantee it wouldn’t make things worse. Well obviously, there are no guarantees. Even if we both went back with the intention of not breaking things beyond repair, we can’t guarantee that wouldn’t happen. As for what we’d do differently, he didn’t know. Fair enough.
I took some time to think about it and sent him the longest text I think I’ve ever written. I let him know that the only way I’d even consider investing in us emotionally again, is if he could agree to my non-negotiables. The first of which was that we wouldn’t pick up where we left off. This wouldn’t be a case of him moving back in and us being a happy family. The reality is, that would last all of a week before things went back to how they were. I’m not going to disrupt my daughters’ lives or cause confusion or play with their emotions like that.
That means that we’d have to start over from square one and go back to the dating phase. Which is pretty funny considering I’m 6 months pregnant with his child. But that’s the foundation of this scenario. Beyond that, I outlined nine other non-negotiables that ranged from communication to mindset. I’m not going to lie, the text was daunting to say the least. And you know what? That’s just what I came up with off the top of my head. It’s not a set of demands, it’s an outline of the values in my life. It’s a map of the boundaries I’ve drawn. It’s the essential things I’ve learned since we broke up that I know I need in order for a relationship to be healthy.
I shared that with him because it felt good to share my truth. It felt good to speak up. It felt good to have such clarity. It felt good to have a blueprint of what’s important to me. I’m not saying that we’re making plans to get back together. I think we broke up for a reason. But, I did want to give him a clear sense of what it would take for me to even consider trying again. The truth is, it would take a lot of time, work, energy, and dedication. I know because it’s very similar to the process I had to go through to overcome depression. At the end of the day it took everything out of me and some.
I don’t know if he’s up for it. I don’t know if he has the desire. It might not even be fair to him to have to go through all of that in order for us to be together. But if that’s the case, then we just aren’t meant to be. Like I said, the things on that list are non-negotiables. I’m reasonable and willing to bend and compromise but what I won’t compromise is my values or the way I live my life. I strive to grow, serve, and live from a place of love and kindness. I cannot be with someone who doesn’t live life that same way because it makes me feel like I’m out of alignment.
So while I don’t know for sure what will happen, I feel damn good that this is so clear to me. I’m proud of myself for mapping it out and sharing it. I’m proud of myself for not caving into my emotions and running back into his arms because it would bring a temporary sense of pleasure. I’m proud that I can stand my ground and share my truth and hold my head up high. Either way this plays out, I know that I’m going to be ok.