Breakup Diaries | Ending a 10-year relationship at 24 years old… Now what?

12

October 10, 2020 by Cláudia

Last week, my long-term almost-10 year relationship ended, leaving me with this overarching feeling of… Now what?

A big part of my identity, whether I’d like to admit it or not, was being in a serious long-term relationship. Since I remember being a person, basically. At least a part of my future was defined and somewhat safe. We would live together and build our future lives together, whatever they would end up looking like.

And now… The future is not so certain anymore. And I’ve been feeling a bit more lost than usual. Struggling to find meaning for my existence. Struggling to feel safe and to be able to think about the future.

It’s funny because I’ve always said that finding a romantic partner should not be a woman’s main/only end-goal in life. That being in a relationship is not a meaning to life, that we should find our own meaning for ourselves. That, despite what we’re told, we are a complete person by ourselves. That’s all wise and true. And yet… whenever I was filled with existential dread, insomnia, and my brain kept asking me all these questions about my purpose that I didn’t have the answers to, the thought of having someone to share this journey with calmed me down and reassured me I was doing something right.

Right now, easing my soul-searching mind has not been as easy as it once was, which is why instead of sleeping I am writing this in the middle of the night, even though I’ll have to wake up in… 5 hours. I don’t know the answers that I demand of myself. I don’t know why I was given this life and what I should do with it. Or how to know if I’m doing something right. I don’t know and I’ve been telling myself it’s okay to not know for the moment.

It’s hard to let go of plans and projects that seemed like a promise of a happy and fulfilling future. For the moment, I am feeling quite lost and unmotivated. And, while I know I am extremely lucky for many different reasons… right now I feel like I need to be sad and lost for a while. Which is okay.

So, going back to the initial question: What now?

Well, I really don’t know. I’m so frustrated with this answer but it’s the only one I can provide at the moment. It’s okay that I don’t know exactly what will come next for the moment. I’ve had things figured out for a while and I’m allowed to just stay still for now. I will slow down my activism and my productivity for a bit and trust that I am exactly where I need to be. I’m going back to therapy, as soon as I manage the courage to call the clinic (not that I’m afraid of going back to therapy, I just have this intense aversion to making phone calls). Sidenote: I saw this really funny meme about GenZ that was something like: Is too afraid to ask for more ketchup but will bodyslam a cop. I’m not GenZ but I thought it was hilarious.

My mind is all over the place just like this post, but I’m letting it be. I trust the process. Or at least I want to be open to trusting the process.

For the moment, I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself to do certain things or feel certain ways. I’m just letting myself be.

Eventually, I’ll want to get back to some of my routines. Morning yoga. Language lessons. Climate and social justice activism. I’ve also been toying with starting to write fiction again, something I haven’t done in literal years, even if it’s just short stories. Just to try something new. Or something old in this case.

But for now, I need rest.

Credit: @illysstrate

12 thoughts on “Breakup Diaries | Ending a 10-year relationship at 24 years old… Now what?

  1. Hi Claudia,
    I’ll going to go on different comment path than many would. It’s not advice, but another view, one to help validate your thoughts and getting – if you need it:

    It’s okay to want a partner to make the big life plans with, and you can believe you don’t need one to be your own person at the same time.

    I hate that the desire for companionship and autonomy had become two different things – like you can’t be both. I know it’s a complex issue/idea set but I don’t want to write a thesis on it, lol.

    Just know that, being your own person and wanting to share your own person with another is valid. Don’t put undue pressure on yourself to feel different.

    Hope you continue to heal and grow! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cláudia says:

      Wow Elizabeth, thank you so much for your empathic view. I agree with you and I allow myself to be in the ambivalent and the contradictory. “I hate that the desire for companionship and autonomy had become two different things” you are so right. I too find myself falling into that dicothomy.

      With uncertainty comes growth and I really do appreciate those special people like you who are compassionate and thoughtful.

      Wishing you all the best. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  2. aviottjohn says:

    Hi Claudia, I’ve been there twice before. Each time, I found myself through activism (in a cause greater than self) and by writing fiction (perhaps this was a form of obtaining detachment through fictional characters). Whatever the case, be assured that this too shall pass. Warm regards.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Cláudia says:

      Hey! Thanks for reaching out.
      I’m okay, honestly. It’s really interesting that you mention activism and writing fiction because that’s what I’m hoping to be doing soon!

      Wishing you all the best.

      Like

  3. A breakup after a long time is kind of like becoming a widow or widower after a long marriage. You suddenly face this stark question: who am I NOW?

    It is heartbreaking, but it’s also a passage. A gateway. A portal to a new world. Your case is unusual, because you are so young, and were in a committed relationship since “forever.” “Since I remember being a person,” you said, and that makes it especially hard.

    But trust me: you are a person, all by yourself. You have the strength to BE a full person, all by yourself. You don’t need a “partner” to define you. Here is your chance to lift your head, and spread your wings, and discover more fully than ever before your own power, your own beauty, your own gifts.

    Your life is still before you: ripe with possibility, rich with people you haven’t met yet. They will guide, love, bruise, and hone you. You are only just now on the cusp of becoming more fully yourself. You’ll need a time to mourn. But you also will find, as you move forward, that you’ll emerge into a time to more fully bloom.

    Best of success to you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Cláudia says:

      Hello Jan, I really appreciate your thoughtful answer. Thank you for reading and giving your insight.

      I do feel like that, like there is so much ahead of me. I don’t really feel like a widow, more like I went through a peaceful divorce. It’s all good.

      Best of luck to you too!

      Like

  4. sheandlouisv says:

    I’m so sorry things didn’t work out. Let me know if you need to chat 💕

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Song For Ella 8 October 2020 [4:15] https://youtu.be/m9AnYKxCNyY

    Manuel Garcia, Jr. http://manuelgarciajr.com

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Cláudia, I am sorry you are going through this low point these days. As you are 24, it might help to realize that you are very likely to have many many more years of interesting living ahead of you, and very likely other close and satisfying relationships — in time. Aside from that, I might suggest you channel some energy into those activities at the core of who you view yourself as (for me is was educating myself and practice in engineering science/physics), and/or just physical exertion (for me it was often gardening/yard work) to help move you out of the doldrums. But most of all, you have to be patient with yourself: grief has to work its way out on its own timescale, and recovering one’s equanimity after a major emotional blow like that just takes time.

    Liked by 1 person

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