Relationships, Transitions

When Living in Truth Leads to a Break Up

It was the beginning of April and I was four months into a break with my boyfriend. Neither of us were moving on, yet neither of us were fully committed to each other. It was around that time that I started exploring how the concept of truthfulness shows up in my life. When you’re forced to truly live in truth, we’re forced to bring our blind spots out of the dark and into the right.  I was starting to develop a sick, gut-punching feeling that couldn’t be ignored anymore . When I looked across all the areas of my life, the area where I was being the least honest was my relationship. The glaring truth is that I wanted us to be together, and not only that but to be working toward a future together but in reality he was at a very uncertain time in his life and didn’t think he could commit to that.

One night at dinner, we casually started a conversation about our status. It wasn’t planned or confrontational. But I mustered up the courage to ask if he wanted to be together right now. 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 voiced that he wanted the same things and we made our relationship official again.

But. 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 it didn’t seem like we were working toward what we talked about.  There seemed to be obstacles placed in his way keeping him from moving on and it became apparent that it would be a long time before we could start building a life together. I 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 could plan some nice long day trips to reconnect with each other.  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.

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. In the process I was ignoring my needs and putting them to the side.  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. As they say in yoga, the only way out is through.

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. We were able to break up in a friendly way,  acknowledging that we still love each other, but that we want each other to be happy and 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. 

What I also can’t ignore is the connection that we had from the beginning. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before, and I’m afraid I won’t ever feel it again. Even in the days after the breakup, I question whether it was the right thing to do. Only time will tell if we are destined to be together. I still wonder if some of the “truth” I was experiencing was really separation anxiety and if we were just going through a busy time. There is no feeling in my gut either way so I will just have to sit with it until the truth reveals itself. This relationship taught me how to trust again though. In my last relationship I was ghosted on and since then carry a fear of it happening again. On our first date, he gave me comfort by saying that he doesn’t ghost people and would tell me the next day if he didn’t think we were a fit.  

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