I should begin by prefacing that this is by far the most honest and vulnerable blog I have posted yet. Some of you reading this may know my ex-boyfriend and it is not my intention to influence your opinion of him in any way. There are two sides to every story and this is simply my experience. If you know me, you know that I am extremely open, honest and transparent, and I am writing this post mainly for myself, as a step on my path toward healing.
As you know by now, I have decided to end my travels in Asia at this time and return home. My decision was influenced by many factors, the largest being my recent breakup. I was with my ex-boyfriend for three years and we had a lovely relationship. We had a strong partnership; we loved, supported and cared for each other deeply. We got along great, laughed all the time and very rarely had disagreements. I went through a lot of life changes while I was with him, mainly career influenced and he was very supportive of me through all of these changes and the emotional and financial stress that came along with them.
About a year and a half ago I began to feel that in spite of our good relationship, we had started moving in separate directions. Ever since I began teaching yoga, spirituality has become an increasingly important part of my life and this was something that was not a priority in his life. As I began to move down this spiritual path, I also began to crave a partner who I could share this with and I began to feel lonely in my relationship. Teaching yoga and exploring my spirituality started to consume my life and because this was separate from my relationship, it began to create distance between us. There was something within me that was telling me that this relationship, although easy and comfortable, was not moving forward in the ways that I needed for my own growth and expansion as a spiritual being. Still, I loved him very much and couldn’t bring myself to leave.
Around the same time that I began feeling this shift in our relationship, I also started feeling something driving me to explore international travel on a larger scale than I had ever before. We discussed the possibility of traveling together but it was clear that he was not interested in what I wanted to do; this was not his path. I felt that I still needed to follow my path and so I began making plans. He stuck by my side and supported me through a year of planning and preparation for this trip that would ultimately end our relationship. We both knew it was coming but carried on as if it weren’t. We talked about the possibility of getting back together someday if it felt right, but agreed it wouldn’t make sense to try to stay together while I was gone. The day I finally left Denver was incredibly heartbreaking and one of the hardest days either of us have ever experienced.
I spent a month in Arizona with my mom before leaving the country and we carried on talking everyday as if nothing had changed. As my departure grew closer, I began to experience fear and anxiety. Thoughts of regret began to enter my mind and I began to worry about whether I was making the right decision. I tried to ignore it, convincing myself it was just cold feet and did my best to focus on the excitement of my new adventure. My departure date came and it was one of the scariest days of my life. When I finally arrived at the silent retreat in Bali after 36 hours of travel, I immediately began to hyperventilate and panic about this decision. Leaving was so much harder than I ever thought it was going to be and I had never before felt so alone. I wasn’t sure what the hell I was doing halfway across the world all by myself, away from everyone I knew and loved. What exactly was I searching for? And what put the idea in my head that I would find it so far away from my family, friends and comforts?
During the first half of my six week stay at the retreat, my ex and I continued speaking regularly, still not really letting go and carrying on as if I was just going to come home after a long vacation. And then suddenly he started becoming less responsive to my messages and more distant in the way he was communicating with me. Paranoid thoughts that he had found someone else began to run through my mind. I reassured myself that he still loved me and I was just creating stories. Still, I took this as a sign that space was needed for both of us to begin to heal our hearts, so we began communicating less. A week or more would pass between our communications. Although he was always on my mind, not communicating as often seemed to help me get used to the idea of us not being together and I felt that I was getting stronger and more independent every day. Still, I was lonely. The places I was staying during the first couple months of my trip weren’t exactly conducive to helping me meet people and as the weeks passed I started growing more and more homesick. I tried to remain positive and tell myself that with time it would get easier especially once I got to Thailand and started making more friends.
There was a weekend in early September when I reached out to my ex and several days passed with no response until I reached out again. The paranoid thoughts returned and something inside me kept telling me he had moved on. I did my best to ignore it. Although we were no longer together and he was free to do what he wanted, I was still in love with him and the thought of him being with someone else this soon hurt my heart deeply. And at this point in my trip, I had begun questioning whether I had made the right decision. I wondered whether I could even enjoy and be present with this experience without him. He was still always on my mind and I started to feel more and more lonely, depressed and anxious. Thoughts of going home began to make their way through to the surface. But before making any rash decisions, I felt I needed to at least give Thailand and TEFL a chance. And so I carried on with my trip.
The 10-day vipassana arrived and my anxiety began to increase. As soon as I began meditating, the anxiety became difficult to bear. The distance from home suddenly felt suffocating and I started to realize how unhappy I had been throughout the entire trip. It wasn’t getting easier; in fact, it was getting harder as time went on. I quickly began to regret this decision and walking away from my relationship. I was still in love with my ex and the only thing that got me through the constant anxiety attacks during the 10-day course was thinking about going home to him. The paranoid thoughts of him being with someone else continued to torture me throughout the course. I couldn’t wait for the 10 days to be over so that I could tell him how I felt, apologize for making this terrible mistake and ask him if he’d forgive me and take me back.
The day we left the course, I did just that…except I didn’t get the response I was hoping for. Instead, something had shifted, as if a light switch had been turned off. The person who had once spoken to me in the most loving, caring and compassionate way I have ever been spoken to had suddenly turned that part of him off. I finally asked the question that I dreaded the answer to, ”are you seeing someone else?” To my horror, the answer was “yes.” He began seeing her just weeks after I left the country. The things that he said to me after finally admitting this were incredibly painful. Without coming right out and saying it, his words were laced with undertones of resentment, vengeance and “you did this, now you have to suffer for it.” And I certainly am suffering. I feel humiliated, deceived and utterly heartbroken. And I had known all along on some level but had been ignoring my intuition.
This is the deepest cutting pain I have ever experienced. I felt physically ill, my heart fluttered as if I had had too much coffee and my body became weak. I had just lost my best friend and I had no one to go to for the support, love and care I needed so badly. Even calling my loved ones was a challenge because of the time difference; I had to wait until late at night or early in the morning. Everything in my life was new, uncomfortable and difficult and now I had to try to navigate this new life with a broken heart and no self-confidence.
My TEFL training began the next day and I was a complete mess. I could barely keep the tears back let alone focus on learning a new job. Even trying to get to know the others was completely exhausting. I couldn’t be present with the training or with the group and everything inside of me was crying out to just go home. After the month-long training in Chiang Mai, I was supposed to move to a province in Thailand a couple hours outside of Bangkok for a four-month semester. There were only four other foreigners in my school and not many more than that in the entire city. The thought of this gave me intense anxiety and I continued to contemplate going home. I considered staying through the month and at least getting the TEFL certificate, but as we progressed through the first week of training, I realized that teaching English as a foreign language was not really something that I wanted to do.
As the week continued, it became more and more apparent to me that I wasn’t going to be able to pull myself out of this alone in this environment. I kept myself as busy as possible, avoiding being alone, but each day was a struggle just to get through. My mother was so amazing during that week, talking to me every night before I went to bed. Thursday night I was still debating my options and I had dinner with one of my new friends from the training. She said to me, “putting all logic about money, certificates and what anyone else will think aside, what do you truly feel in your heart?” The answer was crystal clear: I needed to go home. At this point nothing else mattered.
As I sit in the airport writing this post, I am doing my very best to see things as they really are, not as my emotions are trying to convince me of. Our minds are funny and can be very selective. I have been out of my relationship for several months now and in very vulnerable situations. I have been lonely and afraid and my mind is choosing to focus only on the good memories and forget about the things that weren’t right in the relationship. There were other disconnects between my ex and I besides the spiritual aspect, and earlier this week a friend reminded me that my inner guidance led me on this path and away from him. Perhaps I needed something this drastic and painful to happen to get me to really let go of him. If this hadn’t happened, I likely would have gone back to him. Maybe it would have been good for a while, but eventually those disconnects would have resurfaced. I also have wanted to leave Denver for some time and I had found myself considering compromising and just putting up with the things that initially drove me away. But I know that I deserve complete happiness and fulfillment and I shouldn’t have to make compromises or settle for anything less than exactly what I truly want.
Of course my logical mind knows all of this, but as it turns out, love is not logical. I can’t quite figure out how to convince my heart to stop loving him. I would do just about anything to get this feeling to go away. But I truly do believe that everything happens for a reason, and I am hopeful that there is something beautiful and amazing for me on the other side of all of this. For now, I am looking forward to allowing myself the time and space I need to heal, surrounded by the comforts and love that I need. And to remembering and reconnecting with who I really am. I can’t wait to see what’s next for me.