I got an overwhelming response from readers of The Art of Being Alone and felt that I had to do part two because I feel there is more to the story. In part one I discussed my feelings on being single for the first time in eight years, I described it as an awesome place to be and I agree that it is. However, I need to address the other side of the story after some responses I received.
It is unfortunate that many of my close friends are too, recovering from heartbreak and are in different stages of recovery and their responses affected me a great deal. One friend in particular who is going through an especially tough break-up had said to me that she wishes she felt the same as I did about being single. I then thought that she saw me motoring through this difficult experience easily and that I gave that impression in the blog post. Being single is fantastic, I feel closer to and happier with myself but I really am struggling to find closure on the relationship that had such a profound impact on me.
I feel like my recovery is much slower than I would like. I have spent almost half the time of the relationship trying to get over him and some days it feels as though the pain is worse than the day before. The worst of it though has been this new and immovable sense of regret. Initially I had felt as though I had no regrets, that I did all I could in that relationship and nothing I could have said or done would have changed the outcome but of late, I feel the opposite. I feel as though I was cowardly in my expression of feelings, that I never took control of the relationship and that I certainly didn’t give of my best. It is terrible to look back in hindsight, but is perhaps natural to do when trying to find answers through your biased frame of reference.
I have had two long-term relationships previous to this, one of which I lived with for almost two years, but I never experienced this level of pain and regret. When he made the decision to end the relationship it came from left-field and I didn’t get the opportunity to have a conversation once reality sunk in. He ended it, we spoke for about an hour and then I drove away knowing I would never be able to talk to him again. I just wanted to recover from the initial shock and then tell him how I feel and move on. But instead I am left with a “what if…” in my mind that will never be answered. In some ways I am grateful for the way in which he has cut himself off from me but I also feel as though I haven’t been able to close that chapter of my life.
Weeks can go by where I feel fantastic about being single but then difficult days can come unexpectedly. I can become overwhelmed with disbelief that he is no longer around and it can take me days more to pull myself out of that funk. It has been a great help to write about my experience, I can go back to see how far I’ve come, how feelings have evolved and realise that the bad patches will also pass. It has been somewhat paradoxical, I am thoroughly enjoying the single life but still miss him and what we had.