Relationships, Transitions

When Living in Truth Leads to a Break Up

It was the beginning of April when I started exploring the concept of how truthfulness or lack of it plays a role in my confidence level.  It was four months into a break with my boyfriend, neither of us moving on yet neither of us fully committed to each other.  I had a sick feeling in my stomach because when looking at all facets of my life, the glaring truth was that I wanted us to be committed but knew that he was in really uncertain time in his life, unemployed and transitioning into post-divorce life.  If I really wanted to achieve the things I want in life, I needed to start being honest with myself about what’s not working and advocating my needs to those around me.  It was apparent that we needed to make a decision then about whether to move forward or move on and one night when we were out to dinner, a conversation about our status came up in a natural, non-confrontational way.  He didn’t want to break up, and deep down I didn’t want to either we talked about what our future would look like, what I wanted and what he wanted and seemed to quickly decide. 

Getting back together wasn’t filled with bliss.  April was a busy month between long yoga training weekends for me, his school vacation trip with his kids and then getting his house ready to sell when he got back. We weren’t seeing each other as much as we used to and weren’t working toward what we had talked about.  Deep down I knew that it would be a long time before we could start building a life together but still continued to wonder what I could do to make things work. Could I change my behavior and be more supportive?  Maybe we just need to get through these next couple of weeks and then we can plan some nice long day trips to reconnect and work things out.  But I was near the end of my patience, and the reality is that the year ahead was going to require much more transition on his end, and deep down I knew it would be a few years before we could start building a life together. 

The defining moment of truth was in a Spirituality lecture during my 300-hour yoga training retreat.  The teacher asked us three questions: Where are you from? Where are you now? And Where are you going?  The first question was easy to answer.  But the next two were harder, the words that came to my mind were “I don’t know”.  What I wanted to say was that I’m in a beautiful relationship, have a great job, and a great family right now and that I’m working toward building a life with my partner, but I didn’t truly believe that was happening and that we would get there.  In that moment I made the decision to let go of my relationship and that it was necessary to move forward in my life. 

In order to cultivate the confidence to end my relationship , I had to take a few steps in order to do get there:

Acknowledge the Suffering and the Root of It

We humans ignore the truth in so many ways. Denial, avoidance, making excuses.  In his chapter on Satya, Michael Stone states, “the first step of yoga is to start where we are, and this usually means recognizing where there is discontent or suffering.”  He goes on to say that much of this comes from our attachments and aversions (what I call avoidances).  I was clinging to the good times in our relationship and continued to maintain optimism that we could get back to where we once were rather than face the reality of where he was in life.  The truth was, he wasn’t in a position to fulfill my needs in the way that I needed him to, and it was affecting my emotional wellbeing. 

Recognize that You Have a Choice 

We have the power to change the course of our life with a single choice. And that is empowering stuff! But sometimes we have to make a difficult choice in the short term to do what’s best for the long term.   Sometimes we settle because we are afraid of what’s on the other side and it takes trust, faith and courage to take the harder road.  It was hard but I knew deep down that the future I want is on the otherside.

Be Open to All Consequences 

Michael Stone poses the question, “Can attention to honesty be a strategy by which we can wake up to interconnectedness and act from a place of friendliness, compassion, delight and equanimity?” I didn’t go into our break up conversation thinking it was going to be just that, I really wanted to try and work things out because we still loved each other as people.  We talked about where we are, and I was honest about my needs not being met.  He acknowledged that his priorities were in a different place right now and that he needed to work on rebuilding his life.  In order to get to this place, I needed the self-assurance that things would be ok no matter what and they were. Michael and I were able to break up in a friendly way.  We acknowledged that we still love each other, but that we want each other to be happy and each have the space that we need to flourish.  Right now, he can’t make me a priority and he acknowledged that I deserve better than that. 

When we entered our relationship, I had been dealing with lack of trust due to being ghosted on in my last relationship.  He gave me comfort on our first date by saying that he doesn’t ghost people and that if he decided we weren’t a fit, he would tell me right away.  In a way this relationship allowed me to work through my trust issues in a safe space.  

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