I am the quintessential overachiever. After graduating from a top university, I moved to the big city and took pride in the fact that I was able to independently support myself on very little money. I followed that up by going to a top grad school, and managed to get a great job in my field. Every step of the way, I have always worked exceedingly hard to get myself to the place I want to be. And, so far, I’ve managed to do it. So, once I found and was with the man who I thought I was going to marry, it seemed only rational to me that I’d be an overachiever in that regard, too. That we’d have the best relationship of anyone I’ve ever known, which would lead to the best marriage of anyone I’ve ever known, and then we’d have the best kids of anyone I’ve ever known. And, once I got together with this man, that all seemed to be going according to the way that I had envisioned it — we had a great relationship, we were open and honest with each other, had an incredible time together, we loved each other. He made me realise just how much I valued having a partner who was there for me — being the exceedingly independent overachiever that I am, I had never really let someone in the way I did with him. Never let my guard down the way I did with him. Never loved someone the way that I loved him. He truly was my best friend, and he made me really, really happy… until he unceremoniously dumped me, seemingly out of nowhere, and, contrary to how our relationship had gone prior to this day, refused to openly talk about it with me. All of a sudden, it was just… over.
After a few days of constant tears, lost appetite (something that NEVER happens to me), and general sadness, I thought to myself, “okay overachiever, you can handle this.” I thought, “I will get past this faster than anyone else has gotten past a breakup this significant in his or her entire life. It doesn’t matter that I thought I was going to marry this man and be with him for the rest of my life. It doesn’t matter that he was the first person who I ever truly, deeply loved.” I was going to get past it better than anyone else had done before. But, unfortunately for me and my overachieving ways, I was wrong. Dead. Wrong.
We split nearly a month ago now, and it still sometimes aches in places I never thought possible. I still get that sting in the pit of my stomach when something reminds me of our happy times together, or when I think about our final conversations. I’m learning how to adjust to my new life without this man. Without my best friend and partner. But, a thing that I truly have been struggling with is the realisation that I can’t overachieve my way out of this sadness. I can’t overachieve my way out of the hurt. I can’t overachieve my way out of the confusion. And I can’t overachieve my way through time. Though I am lucky enough to have the support of my incredible family and friends, I know that the main thing that will make this better is, unfortunately and simply, time. This is something that I have to re-tell myself each and every day.
I know that I will have good days, and that I will have bad days. I’ve struggled to come to terms with this because I have generally been able to “get myself out of” sadness before. I’ve been able to say to myself, “nope, today will not be a bad day for you,” and, under most circumstances, have been able to get pick myself up and get myself through it. But, I simply can’t do it with this one. This is a new experience for me. I’m learning how to let myself feel more. I’m learning how to be sad, and to be okay and comfortable with being sad. To be “okay” being sad has been a HUGE adjustment for me. I’ve never been “okay” being sad before. I don’t want to feel sad or alone. I don’t want to feel upset or betrayed. But, I feel ALL of those things right now, every day. And you know what? It really sucks. Anyone who tells you that pain, sadness, and heartache is fun and exciting for them – I am not that person, nor will I ever be that person. But, I’m working on becoming a little bit of that person, and taking that time to figure things out about myself, and to figure out what I need and what I can do to grow from this relationship.
I know that this process will get better with time and space. I know that I will eventually come out of this a stronger person. I know that I will love someone again, and will be loved by someone again – maybe even in a better way than before. But in the meantime, I’m trudging through the sadness and pain, and admitting that I can’t overachieve my way out.