One year ago today, I learned what it was like to have my heart broken. The heart that I kept so very guarded throughout high school and my 20s. The heart that I never fully let a man into for fear that he wasn’t the right one. But as I approached my 30th birthday, I realized that if I was ever going to love one day, I had to lower the Great Wall of China around my heart just a teeny bit. So I did.
I didn’t fully give my whole heart away, I will save that for my wedding day, but I think I let a little part of it feel for the first time what it really meant to care for another person in a romantic way.
So because of the chance that I took, one part of my heart broke in a couple hundred pieces the evening of March 4, 2016. I always knew getting into a relationship was a risk. Allowing myself to feel romantically towards another person was a risk. A risk I never wanted to take before. But this time was different. I felt it was worth the risk. And despite the relationship ending with tears and pain, on my good days, I still believe it was all worth it.
As most of you know, being in a relationship was new for me and I learned a tremendous amount. One of the most important things that I learned was that my desire for marriage is more real now than ever. I always thought I wanted to get married, but I had never loved anyone before, so a part of me wondered if I was capable of caring for another human being in such a strong way. The relationship that I was in taught me I had the potential to love.
With today being the one year anniversary of my breakup, I wanted to take you back through my journey of heartbreak picking up with this past September – 6 months after the actual breakup. However, I will admit, I do wonder if people will roll their eyes and think, “There she goes again, writing about her one and only heartbreak and how no dates ever work out for her. Can’t she write about anything else?!” And the answer to that is, yes, I could. But it’s not where I am being called at this very moment. I could write about a number of different topics besides dating, but it’s not why this blog was started. Selfishly, I don’t want people to think I only think about dating and getting married one day.
But since today is March 4, I am allowing myself to reminisce and share this story with you. Maybe just to remind myself that the more time goes by, the more those little broken pieces of my heart will find their way to being whole again. Plus all the comments, likes, and encouraging messages will help me get past this day with a smile on my face. So if you roll your eyes, at least I won’t be able to see it 😉
So maybe I am writing this just for me.
Or maybe you will need to read this because you are going through a similar situation. Maybe you will need to read this to know how to better pray for someone close to you. Or maybe you will need to read this for the future.
So here goes –
One day at the end of September, I came home from work and had this unusual feeling that I was going to receive something from Mr. KJWTS. I have referred to him by name before, but reverting back to Mr. KJWTS just seems appropriate at this time. If you don’t know the story, you can catch up here (Can It Be Three?) – when Mr. KJWTS was introduced as the third date in my thirty dates journey. He stuck around for several dates in between until we officially entered into a relationship on my thirtieth birthday (The Final Date – Number 30). He was the one that became my first official boyfriend and then the one that ended our relationship a year ago this very weekend (Skydiving).
The reason I had a feeling that I would hear from him that particular day was because it was very close to the anniversary of our first date back in 2014. So I got home from work and immediately checked my front porch for a package from Mr. KJWTS. There wasn’t one.
What was I thinking anyway?
But then I walked to my mailbox. Sure enough, I pulled out an envelope addressed to me with an address I didn’t recognize and no name. However, I immediately knew who it was from and my stomach dropped and my hands began to tremble as I grasped the thick, white envelope.
I walked in and sat down gingerly on the royal blue chair in my living room and opened the envelope to read his letter.
It started off explaining to me that he wanted to give me sufficient time to process our breakup on my own, but now that it had been six months he wanted to reach out to me. I won’t type out the entire letter, but I will share one part that brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes all at the same time.
What I truly wanted you to know in this letter is that you absolutely were special to me, in ways even I never realized until after you were gone. When people ask about you, I always answer by saying you are the greatest person I have ever dated! It doesn’t get much better than that.
The letter consisted of more sweet words like the ones above and a paragraph that stung a bit as he shared about not feeling “at home” in the role he was playing in our relationship. He went on to explain that “letting me go,” as difficult as it was for him, was the right decision for us. However, he wanted me to know that his heart still broke the day he said goodbye and that he was still in the healing process as well. It was actually a good feeling to read that he hurt as well. Not that I wished hurt on him, by any means. But when you are the one being broken up with, you question how much the other person even cared. The fact that he was hurting, showed me that he cared. So I appreciated the time he took in sending me that letter and trying to explain himself after six months.
I read the letter once more with tears in my eyes and pushed it aside to get ready for my evening plans.
Later on that evening, after I returned home, I read the letter two more times and then went to bed with tears staining my cheeks. After a few minutes of laying there, all I could think about is what I would say if I wrote him back. So I got up, fired up my laptop and began to write him an email.
I went to the mailbox to look for a letter from you and knew it was there as soon as I saw the envelope. It’s because I know you. And I knew on the eve of our First Date Anniversary, that is something you would do. It’s such a weird feeling actually, feeling like you know someone so well and then also feeling like you don’t know them at all. A weird feeling.
But thanks for sending it. If it wasn’t there today or tomorrow when I looked, I think a piece of me would have been a bit disappointed to not have heard from you around this time. Especially because you are always in my thoughts. Everything reminds me of you. But I guess that is what happens when you date someone for over a year. It’s hard to not go somewhere where we don’t have memories.
Thank you for waiting 6 months to contact me and allowing me that time to begin the healing process. Sometimes I think I am out of the woods and sometimes I still cry. I was just asking God the other day to help me think about you less. Although, I have asked him that same request several months back too. I guess we never know God’s timing.
My email was a lot longer than that (I have a tendency to write too long of emails- and blog posts for that matter) and I touched on a few things he wrote about in his letter.
At the end of his letter he explained that he actually moved to a different house, which was the reason for the unknown address, but was still in the same city and said that if I ever found myself in the area, I could stop by. When I read that, I actually thought, “yeah right, like I am just going to stop by to see how you are doing the next time I am in your city…”
But as the week went on, my thoughts started changing.
Because, ironically, I already had lunch plans set for the upcoming Saturday with a friend from out of town about 25 minutes from his house. Something inside of me wanted to contact him and let him know how close I would be, while something else told me that it might not be a good idea. I decided to go to lunch and play it by ear, depending on how I was feeling that particular day. As my friend and I were finishing up lunch, my thoughts turned to Mr. KJWTS and I knew I wouldn’t be able to leave the city without reaching out to him. So I texted him and explained I was in the area.
He asked if I wanted to stop by and see his new house. I stared at the text a bit and then answered that I did.
I drove up to his house, got out of my car, and went to ring the doorbell. It was weird walking up to a different house, knowing this is now where he lived, but in a way it seemed appropriate. Nothing was the same anymore.
When he opened the door we hugged and he started talking about his move and some things about the house. I was listening, but wasn’t really hearing him. Instead, I remember just looking at him and thinking he looked different. I didn’t see the usual joy in his face as I had the countless other times we said hello to one another. But that makes sense again too. Nothing was the same anymore.
He showed me around and I helped him brainstorm ideas on how to arrange his furniture in the living room. At one point he asked about going to get dinner together, but I didn’t answer him.
We sat on the couch and I brought up the letter he wrote me. I managed to hold it together emotionally despite a few tears I could see forming in his eyes. Maybe it was to protect him as I knew he already felt horrible for breaking my heart in the first place. He didn’t need to see me cry.
Eventually he asked me if I wanted to go get dinner again. After going back and forth a few more times in my head, I agreed to dinner.
“What does it look like to be friends after a break up?” I asked him, as I sat on his stairs, putting my shoes back on. I obviously didn’t have any experience with how to handle this. He had. “It depends on the person really,” he stated, “some of my past girlfriends didn’t want anything to do with me afterwards, while some I could still be friends with.” I nodded, wondering which category I would fit in.
Dinner went well and for almost an hour it felt normal. It felt like I was hanging out with an old friend and I was enjoying myself way more than any of the dates I had been on in the previous months. We walked out of the restaurant and walked around the corner to where there was a small courtyard and swing. We decided to sit down for a bit, both of us probably not wanting the evening to come to an end. I think he put his arm on the back of the swing, but I sat far enough away from him that our bodies were no where near touching. That’s when I remembered, nothing was the same anymore.
After awhile, we decided to leave and he drove me back to his house where my car was parked. I was forcing myself to leave him, wondering if it would be the last time I would ever see him. But before I did, I asked him if I could pray for him. We walked back in his house and sat on his couch. I wasn’t sure what was going on in his head, but for some reason as I prayed, I said this “God, please let him feel confident and secure in his decision about breaking up with me, I don’t want to leave with him feeling confused and second guessing himself.” I am not saying that I think he regretted his decision for us to break up, he didn’t lead me to believe that in any way, those words came out of my mouth before I had much time to think about what I was saying.
After I prayed, we stood up from his couch and he hugged me and kissed me on the cheek. I think I remained stiff when he hugged me, determined to not let myself feel much emotionally and cry. He walked me out to my car and stood standing in his garage as I drove away.
I’ll admit that a few times after the break up, I wondered if Mr. KJWTS was just weaker than I originally thought. I wondered if he wasn’t who I thought he was in the first place because of his inability to make a relationship work with me. But sitting on his couch that evening, I realized he was a very strong man. He felt the Lord leading him out of a relationship with me and he followed that leading. He knew that by giving me up, I would one day meet a man who could love me with his whole heart with a pursuit like Jesus has for the church. He knew it wasn’t him. He was not the man that wanted to take care of me for the rest of my life.
So who am I to question our break up? I heard on the radio a few days ago that we need to remember to filter everything through God’s perfect love, instead of filtering it through our own heart. Because if I filtered our break up through my heart, which was now a little bit broken, I would question myself. I would keep bringing up my flaws and wondering where I went wrong or what made me unlovable in that particular relationship. Don’t filter things through the heart, the heart is deceitful. So instead, I chose to filter it through God’s perfect love. And when I do that, I realize that God loves me so much that he wants the very best for me. And Mr. KJWTS was not the best for me. I was not the best for him.
I am so glad that was revealed to me, although to be honest, not all days do I choose the correct filter.
As I drove home that evening I thanked the Lord for allowing me that time with him. I can’t remember if I finally cried on my drive home or if I held it together.
The next weekend, Mr. KJWTS texted me, “last week at this time, you were sitting on my couch, thanks for ushering in my favorite month with me.”
We both agreed that we missed each other and that it was nice to have spent an evening together the weekend prior.
For the next few months, we went about every other week with one of us texting the other person. I sent him a Christmas ornament in November, it was something I had bought for him the previous two Novembers. For a Christmas present, he sent me my favorite popcorn from a small shop in Gatlinburg (I raved about it when we were there the summer before). It was very thoughtful of him.
On Christmas Eve and Christmas we texted two straight days in a row. I am sure the holidays made our loneliness come out even more so than before. I began to look forward to his texts, especially because in about half of them he still referred to me as “beautiful” and I could sense that he missed me. It was a good feeling to be missed.
And then New Years Eve came. I had a few invites for that night, but had absolutely zero desire to be with anyone. I thought that if I couldn’t be with Mr. KJWTS, I would rather just be alone that night. So I sat on my couch and watched the ball drop and sobbed. 2016 certainly was a year that looked way different than my dreams had intended the New Years prior. 2016 was a year of heartache for me.
I refuse to let 2017 be the same. I want 2017 to be a year that I choose to believe truth. I want to choose to believe that my dreams will still happen and my future is still so very bright. I want to leave the darkness of 2016 behind and stop re-living it.
Although, I must say that when you experience heartbreak, the Lord feels closer than ever. During a heartbreak, you feel like trust is broken and you realize the fragility of life – how one person can be in your life one minute and then not the next. But that is not how our God works. God will never break our hearts. He will always be right by our side, whether we feel Him or not. And the nights that I laid crying in my bed throughout 2016, I knew God was near me. I knew because of what it says in His Word.
Pslam 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
A week or so into January, I was laying in my bed on a Saturday trying to get warmed up from the chill in the air and I received a text from Mr. KJWTS. I don’t even remember what it said, I just remember knowing this wasn’t healthy for me. I had such a desire for friends, that I thought I wanted to be his friend. When I told some of my friends that we would still text every other week or so, they asked how that affected me emotionally. Many times I told them I felt good about it. It was nice to still be in contact with him.
But then I started noticing that with his texts, I started re-living our time together. At first I thought it was good to re-live our relationship because we really didn’t have any bad times, so it was mostly all wonderful memories. But then that would lead me to re-live our break up and the ache would come back. This happened more than a few times, until I knew I couldn’t keep doing this. I knew I had to take some action.
So I decided that I would tell him we could no longer communicate. I waited a few hours and then changed my mind and texted him back something generic. That night, I was an emotional wreck, but had some sweet people speak truth into me.
The next morning, I went to church and out to lunch with a dear, new friend of mine. During lunch, she shared a story about her past relationship. And the more she talked, the more I realized that I needed to stop communication with Mr. KJWTS altogether. As I told her my story and my thinking, she stated, “I know how you are feeling and I also know that no one can tell you what to do, this has to be your decision, but I think it is a good one.” God placed this sweet woman in my life at the most perfect time.
So I went home and wrote an email. Here is a condensed version.
I need to let you go. Like completely. There is not one part of me that WANTS to do this, I am forcing myself to do this. And I feel like my heart is breaking all over again. You are a comfort to me, you are my safe place and your texts make me smile. I so badly want to be apart of your life, but I can’t.
I don’t regret our communication this past year, so I am not saying we did the wrong thing in our break up. I am just not healed and I want so badly to be. I want out of this place of sadness.
When I didn’t hear from you on NYE, I missed you. If I would have heard from you that night, I would have missed you all the same. I am so tired of missing you. So I have to say goodbye. I didn’t know how to navigate our break up, much like I didn’t know how to navigate a relationship, but I learned. And so I am learning in this time of grieving as well. And the reality is, God chose to reveal to you that we were not supposed to be together. And so I put my trust in that. It’s not your fault and I know that it wasn’t easy for you. You did what God asked of you, what more could I ask for? There is no bitterness in my heart towards you.
I thought we could “be friends,” because I never wanted you out of my life completely. But I can’t sit around wishing all of the time and re-living our good moments just waiting for the day you start dating someone else. I don’t want to know when that day happens. I want to heal, I want to move on and I want to meet someone that will fall in love with me and never let me go.
So, I am sorry I am not strong enough to be able to be your friend. I know how lonely I am and how lonely you might be one day as well and I know that a simple text from one another can make that loneliness feel just a little bit better in that moment. But I have to give that up to allow what is supposed to come next for me in my life.
Please know that I miss you so much and I probably will for a long time to come. And so I wish you nothing but the best and hope that you find happiness in all that you do whether you are completely healed or still on a journey of healing yourself.
He wrote back some time later that night after I was already in bed, so I read it in the morning. It was well penned, just like everything else he writes and it gave me a good closure.
Here is just a portion of how he ended his email to me.
For what it’s worth, I strongly believe you will find love again one day, and when you do you’ll look back at me and realize I was only a fraction of the love you will soon experience.
I really don’t want to end this email (been looking at this draft for hours now, not wanting to hit send), for having you back in my life these past few months has made me more whole again. But it isn’t fair to you that I can’t give you what you so desperately need in exchange. I miss you more than you will EVER EVER know … you are MY Beautiful … the girl that always made me feel like a lucky guy to have by my side.
I never wanted to let you go … nor do I now … but I know I must so that you can let me go this time. Be strong, Babe! I will love you always & forever, Beautiful! =]
PS – I will cherish your sweet letter for many years to come as a reminder of the beautiful & precious relationship we had.
I read his email a few times that next day and then I deleted his number. I also taught myself how to dismiss any thoughts that would come into my head that were about him. I don’t need to sit and dwell on our good moments anymore. Maybe one day I can, but not right now. And so I told my parents and a few friends that I would no longer talk about him. It has helped for the most part. Every once and awhile, I think I let his name slip and every once and awhile a memory will sneak in and stay for longer than invited, but it’s still a process.
I felt like I needed to break my new rule of dismissing thoughts about him to write this post though. I wanted to give a final conclusion to my break up story.
Because it is the final ending. I am done being heartbroken. I am moving on. I am determined to do so.
The sadness may still linger for some time to come, but I don’t think it is necessarily because of the break up anymore. I think it is because of what it says in Proverbs 13:12.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
While I had a year of my hope being deferred and my heart sick, I am looking forward to the day that my longing is fulfilled. When that day comes, I will certainly write about that as well and maybe even double the word count! Just kidding, as this is already a ridiculously long post. I am aware of that, thank you.
So as I close, I will share one more verse in Psalm.
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22
I love that! I will not be shaken. While my hope of being in a healthy relationship that could one day lead to marriage is not my present situation, I will remember that my hope is found in Jesus Christ alone. And because of that, I will not be shaken.
One day if the Lord sees fit to take me through another heart break (I really hope not Lord, I really really hope not…), then I will not be shaken. One day if I am blessed enough to find a husband (I really hope so Lord, I really really hope so…), he will one day hurt my feelings or possibly even not meet all of my expectations. But, I will not be shaken.
I hope the same goes for you today, as you have read my story. Stay firm. Stay strong. And even when your circumstances change for the worse, do not be shaken, because we have a loving Heavenly Father that is always by our side, willing and waiting to hold us up…if we let Him.
If you feel weak or broken right now…that is okay. Just reach up and hold your hand out, and before you know it you will feel our loving Father’s hand reach down toward you. Slowly, He will lift you up and you will get stronger. And then one day, you will find yourself standing again.
I know this because I have experienced feeling weak. I have experienced the pain of heartbreak. And I did the only thing I knew what to do – asked the Lord to lift me up.
And He did.
I know-because today- I am standing.