Guest Post | On How to Be Single

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Going through a breakup? Our intern Kaitlyn bravely shares her story today about what it’s like to find yourself single after being in a relationship for 7 years. Take it away Kaitlyn! (illustration credit: Erick Davila)

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I‘ve realized that I do not know how to be single. Not just single –  but independent.

I knew this year was going to be filled with challenges. I’m attending a school where I don’t have any friends and my lover is attending a school two hours away. I knew what I was up against from the beginning. Or so I thought.

The first three months of college were great. I had my own little group of friends, something I’ve always wanted. It was a huge self-esteem boost, because thinking back to high school, I didn’t really have friends there either. In hindsight, it was my fault. My lover didn’t approve of my preference for guy friends over girls. When I finally did make a really good girlfriend, I heard rumors about how some of her life choices weren’t the greatest. I distinctively remember thinking “it’s her life, I’m not going to let it affect mine” and I didn’t. I remained her friend for as long as I could, but eventually time and distance pulled us apart.

Going to college was the fresh start I needed. I woke up every day and actually looked forward to going to school. It was my little group against the world. We were constantly going out and making the best of everything and anything. However, as the saying goes, “don’t cross oceans for people who won’t cross puddles for you.” Gradually, my little group got smaller. Three amigos turned into two. Can you even have two amigos? Can my dog count as the third?

Now it’s just me and my roommate.

And of course I still had my lover. Key word had.

As my group got smaller, I found myself back at square one. I hated waking up every morning to go to school. The thought of it made me sick to my stomach to the point I would cry myself to sleep every night because it felt like I just couldn’t continue. All the independence I had gained when I moved was gone. Just. Like. That.

I dragged my roommate to my lover’s college. I was hoping that I could convince her to leave with me and start over at a new school.

That weekend, we toured the college and living arrangements. But, when I met up with my lover he told me, “I don’t want you to start over. Also, we can’t live together because I need to live with my friends for assignments and I don’t think they would be okay with you being there.” So yeah. Ouch.

Now is a good time to mention that I have been struggling with depression since grade six. My lover had rejected me. I was pretty close to failing half of my classes and I didn’t have a support system at school. Cue: depression.

I slowly began cutting myself off from life. First was my school and the teachers. I had no motivation to be in class and just felt was numb. I was a zombie. Wake up. Go to school. Go home. Sleep. Repeat.

And then something happened. More so like someone.

An old high school friend that is one of my roommates.

We’ve experienced similar yet different challenges that have defined who we are today.

As much as I hate to admit it, I live in the past. I’ve carried the past with me because I thought I needed a constant reminder that “this is the shit that got you here” or “this is how things were back then and how they need to be now.” My past hurt was my anchor. I thought that if  I let go of it, then I might fall backward. The irony being, that hanging on to this emotional baggage is what’s kept me from moving forward.

I was bullied and a bully. I was abused emotionally and physically. Because of this, I feel like I carry this incredible weight on my shoulders to get everything right; to be the kid in the family that has the “perfect” life. You know the one where you go off to school, get a kick ass internship (thanks Simone!) find the love of your life, settle down, get married and have babies. Just kidding re: the babies. I don’t want human babies. Or do I?

My roommate is one of the happiest people I know despite everything life has thrown at him. He’s inspired me to not only to let my bygones be bygone, but to grow as a person and to be the best that I can be.

Remember when I said I “had” my boyfriend? As of a week ago I am officially single for the first time in seven years.

I loved him and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, to the point where we were talking about engagement rings and future plans. But, he was a crutch. He was my crutch. Someone for me to lean on. I depended on him to tell me what I needed to do, even though I didn’t always agree.

We skyped. I cried, he cried and then we were free.

A weight has been lifted off my shoulders. My lover and I both had very different priorities this year. His top three priorities were: school, money, friends, job. Mine on the other hand, was our relationship. I wasn’t on his list of priorities and for some reason I thought this was okay. Now I know that it’s not.

I told him I need time for me. I need to figure out what I am meant to do and how to do it. I knew that if I stayed in the relationship any longer I wouldn’t have the strength for the soul searching I so desperately need to do in order to begin the process of healing and moving on from my past.

“You have to hurt to heal,” a wise man once told me.

So here I am in the first time in seven years, single, on a journey of self-discovery and learning how to be independent. Wish me luck!