What Feels Like the End is Often the Beginning

When you begin a new relationship, no one ever tells you the bad things that could happen. No one tells you that they could have any angry side. No one tells you that you will end up with bruises on your heart and your confidence. No one tells you that you will give it your all with nothing in return.

These are the things I wish I knew when I opened up my heart and my life to someone who destroyed me. Those who knew me before this relationship said I had a sparkle in my eye, a contagious smile, and an attitude which always looked on the bright side of things. Those who knew me during this relationship said I had a chip on my shoulder, a disappearing smile, and a “stressed beyond belief” demeanor. Those who knew me after this relationship said I got my sparkle back, that my smile was brighter than ever, and I seemed like a new person.

From the outside looking in, our relationship seemed so great, even perfect at times. Pictures showed us smiling, having a good time, and experiencing life together. What those photos failed to show is how the girl in them was feeling inside. They failed to show how she felt after being vulnerable, sharing her feelings, and being ignored. They failed to show what was going on in her head after days without being seen, the fights that ended in tears, and the long, confusing drives home as she tried to make sense of it all. After enduring what I did, I figured out what the issue was and why I felt the way I did. I had become so engulfed in always making sure he was happy and had everything he needed, that I forgot about myself and my needs. I forgot about the things I loved and the people who made my world go round. I started living life with a constant stomach ache, always wondering if my next move was going to make him happy or if he was going to get mad.

Why couldn’t I walk away? It was almost as if I felt guilty walking away from someone and something I had worked so hard at. I put everything into loving this boy and I thought that if I walked away, I was quitting. I thought if I stuck around, things would change, he would change, and that he would notice all the hard work I was putting in everyday to make sure he was happy. After much reflection, I realized how wrong I was in that mode of thinking. A healthy relationship isn’t a tension-filled job and it shouldn’t bring unnecessary difficulties into your life. It should not create so much stress that you end up in the hospital with a sickness that leads back to stress. What I was experiencing was not right and I knew I had to do something about it.

"I knew that I was destined for happiness, but I knew I couldn’t go out and look for it; it had to come to be at the most unexpected time and I couldn’t be scared to let it happen." Whitewater, WI (Photo Credit: Ryan Magnuson)
“I knew that I was destined for happiness, but I knew I couldn’t go out and look for it; it had to come to be at the most unexpected time and I couldn’t be scared to let it happen.”
Whitewater, WI (Photo Credit: Ryan Magnuson)

I finally decided to speak my mind and put everything out on the table when it came to this relationship I was in. I told him I felt unloved and it was not fair for me to feel this way, which resulted in me being ignored for over 12 hours and being treated like I never spoke my mind at all. I should have walked away right then and there when he acted like everything was fine and dandy with us, but I didn’t. I let things continue down the path they were going. I continued to put forth my best effort to make him happy, even if it meant I was falling apart on the inside. I had to go through a little more pain before realizing that me and my heart  were worth so much more.

“The heart gets confused when it’s constantly told I love you by the same person who destroys it.” – R.H Sin

I know the exact day when everything clicked in my head and I fell out of love with him for good. It was supposed to be a great ending to an amazing weekend. We had just returned from a weekend away together for his birthday and we were in his bedroom. He laid down on the bed with a pillow over his face and the next thing I know, I was being screamed at. Not yelling, it was red-in-the-face screaming. I had never felt more unsafe with him than I had in that moment. I grabbed my bags and began to walk out of the room, but the next thing I know, I am lying next to him in bed falling asleep.

I woke up with his arms wrapped around me and so many thoughts running through my mind. Why didn’t I leave when I had the chance? When he woke up, he acted like nothing had happened once again. When I finally left his house that night, I cried the whole way home and I could feel my heart breaking because this thing I had worked so hard at was finally over. I knew I was no longer in love with him and I could not go on any longer. I told very few people about the incident, but you should have seen the look on their faces when I told them we were still together. I was beginning to feel trapped in my own relationship because I couldn’t find the way out. It was like I was lost in a dark tunnel without a flashlight.

“There are wounds that never show on the body, that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.” – L. Hamilton

Very soon after, life became too stressful for him and he decided the best solution for us was to take a “break”. I felt a breath of fresh air. I finally had time for myself and began to re-evaluate the last few months of my life. I mentally prepared myself for the outcome of this “break”. I knew I wanted it to be the end. I knew my health and my mind could not  handle the stress of loving someone who let me go to bed every night with tears in my eyes and an ache in my heart.

Am I angry for allowing myself to endure so much pain for so many months? No. Honestly, I am more thankful things happened how they did. I am not mad at him and I am definitely not mad at myself. Do I wish things would have ended sooner? Yes. I wish I had had the strength to walk away when I saw the first red flag, but I have decided not to dwell on the past. I am moving on with my life and feeling good about my decision.

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” –Buddha.

After things ended, I bounced back relatively quickly. The one thing I had wanted all along was to be free of the toxicity in my life. Now that this is the case, my life could not be never better. I am back to loving myself and doing things for me. I am focusing on my future and my happiness. I no longer walk around with a constant stomach ache or the feeling that I may upset someone. No one deserves to live life feeling broken, scared or unloved. I knew I was destined for happiness, but I knew I could not go out and look for it. The happiness I sought had to find me at the most unexpected time and I could not be scared to let it happen.

“Everything has changed and yet, I am more me than I’ve ever been.” – Iain Thomas

Have you ever just met someone and  automatically just click with them? Well, in the last month, I have let a someone like that into my life. He is like no man I have ever met. I knew there was something special about him way before our first date. He had this way of making me blush and feel good about myself, which were things I had never really experienced before. On our first date, I may have had one glass too many of red wine, but we were just sitting there on the couch and I opened up to him about my life. I told him about the good, the bad. and the ugly and I did not regret that for one second. For the first time in my life, I felt safe sharing my history with someone. My new-found comfort was the result of witnessing incredible character in this man, a character which continues to grow on me in the best possible way. After taking me to volunteer at Feed My Starving Children on our second date, I knew this character was here to stay and that I found a keeper. I look forward to talking about our days, seeing each other after long work weeks, and just enjoying life together.

When a relationship ends, everyone tells you that you will get through this. Everyone tells you that it is for the best. Everyone tells you that it is their loss, not yours. Everyone tells you that this is not the end, it is just the beginning. In this case, I believe everyone.


-Janessa Bradley


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