How I treat someone, or how I am treated by someone post breakup — can really show me what kind of love I was in. Was it a selfless love? Or, was it the selfish kind?
Kari of BeautyMindSpirit
Yesterday, my boyfriend and I started to work on the yard to get ready for Spring. We walked around the house to get to the back of the shed to see if anything else needed to be picked up. When we peeked behind the shed, we discovered a hidden, giant pile of bagged leaves we had raked up from the previous fall. The bags that my ex-fiance said he, “took care of.”
My ex-fiance and I shared a home together until recently. We purchased it together. We started and ended a new chapter in this house in a matter of months after we bought it. After our breakup, we both tried to live there and co-parent our 5-year-old son, until we either sold the house, or one of us bought the other one out. During this time, we both moved on and started to date other people (mine, was an unexpected and un-searched romance, while his new girl was a coping mechanism for his codependency issues — I’ll save this for another story).
For most of the year after our breakup, nearly everything about the well-being and responsibilities of the house fell on my shoulders. So while my boyfriend and I spent hours raking up leaves and getting the yard cleaned up last fall, the least my ex-fiance had to do was drop the bags off with his SUV (we both have cars), and take them to the nearest compost site. I thought that was pretty easy right? I guess I was wrong.
Normally, this would have set me off, because it had been a year of this kind of treatment from him. I was also used to allowing him to set me off all of the time. I was the one that left, and he was angry about it. I was the one who tried to be friends and co-parent as such, and he was the one that was constantly sabotaging it.
However, in this moment I realized that the impact of his actions no longer bothered me in the ways that they used to. I knew he smiled when he knew I discovered what he did, but I didn’t care. I felt free from a negative reaction just as I felt free from him and the life I thought that was full of a healthy kind of love but was actually a prison of confinement and co-dependent manipulation.
During the first few months after our breakup, he began to date an ex-friend of mine (like I said, for another story), and we didn’t get along. We fought. A lot. He lied, constantly. He broke my trust, constantly. He was spiraling along with the death of his ideas and plans he had for our life. And, for a long time, he was taking me down with him.
It was during those first few months that I remained hopeful for a friendship with him and remained compassionate for what he was experiencing. I tried to understand his anger. I said to him, “I will not let the last few months define the last 7 years we had together.” — in another attempt to create peace and closeness with him. He really liked that, because at that time he was hoping to gain the ok to let his then, girlfriend come to the house since she and I didn’t get along. It was never really about making friends with me. It was never really about not letting that ugly part define the entirety of our time together. It was about getting what he wanted. It was always about that.
As time went onward…as more pain and more betrayal and more lies occurred, I realized that my once optimistic perspective didn’t necessarily ring true.
In fact, after our breakup, I realized it was possible for me to see what kind of love I was actually a part of. Was I in a selfless love or a selfish one? Now, over a year later, I believe the treatment of others and myself after a breakup can really show that.
I now believe that the time after our breakup, can actually help define the entirety of before.
I believe that 7 years of a serious relationship I have with someone is worth respecting and shaping into a new, healthier dynamic — instead of the one that no longer works, despite the emotions of hardship I may feel when it ends. I believe that how I treat someone after I break up with them, reflects the kind of love I had for them the entire time.
I think if someone allows for space to get through those rough emotions, but comes back offering peace and respectful behavior through a friendship or permanent distance, shows they loved selflessly and wholly. They loved someone else from a place of self-wholeness and genuine love.
However, any sort of constant and longer-termed mistreatment post breakup shows a different story. One of selfish love. One that was self-serving. One that I realized, I had been in for those 7 years.
I loved selflessly, and he loved me selfishly.
It was a hard realization to accept, but I’m grateful to him (and others) — for showing me that difference. A difference I am now working on identifying before a breakup could ever occur.