Believe it not I started writing this blog post 2 years ago!! It has sat in my drafts ever since. I have edited it, added to it, removed parts, even at one time I deleted it! Each time it has had a very different tone. When I first read it back months after initially writing it, I felt like I was reading something written by someone else. It certainly wasn’t ‘me’ at all and in actual fact quite a surreal experience to see just how affected I was by everything at the time of my first draft. I will warn you now it is long!
Fast forward 2 years and how things have changed! I am finally ready to publish my inner thoughts on the subject. What I went through and how things are on the other side of the nasty experience that is a broken heart….
During the Summer of 2015 for the first time in my life I went through something I honestly thought I would never experience; being heartbroken. People throw that term around a lot these days but my gosh, that didn’t prepare me one bit for the truly devastating feelings and pain that heartbreak brings.
The quick overview to bring you up to speed is that I was with someone for 5 years. Someone that I moved countries to be with and a someone, that at one point, I thought that I would spend the rest of my life with. Someone that was the single most important thing let alone person in my little world at the time. I genuinely mean this, I put this person before my friends, family and even myself.
The last one is something I now feel I will probably never do again. That last sentence was written in the original 2015 post….my feelings on this have now changed but for all the right reasons.
We spent 6 years together after meeting each other one night whilst the drinks were flowing in the summer heat of 2008 on a little island in the Ionian ocean. We spent a lot of time together and eventually in early 2009 we took the plunge and became an official couple (my first serious relationship – scary stuff!) and a year later in early 2010 I was packing up my belongings from my bedroom in my family home in rainy England and shipping it permanently to warmer climates.
Although generally having the time of my life and being happy with him for the most part, I did miss out on some major life events by being away from the other place I also called home, not to mention my sister announcing to my parents and other sister that she was pregnant with the first baby to be brought into our now ever growing family. Not being able to see my parents reaction to them becoming Grandparents for the first time is something that will probably upset me forever. However, it was my decision to move in the first place but as time went on I began to feel like I was constantly torn between two places and two worlds. The price you pay for having a piece of your heart elsewhere I guess.
I began to feel homesick more than on just the odd occasion and things in the relationship became strained due to this, as well as other various reason. Towards the end of the relationship for a good few months, maybe even the last year I felt I came second place to a lot of things. For me this wasn’t good enough and certainly not what I moved countries for, I don’t feel any shame in admitting this either because a relationship is a two way street and I know I had made the biggest sacrifices in my life to make this work.
Easter 2014 I had decided I wasn’t prepared to be second best any longer and made the decision to spend some time back home and have a break to see where my head was at. I know this really hurt him and that was never my intention, for that I do feel very sorry. I know he suffered badly and struggled with this decision. I never wanted to be the cause of that. Despite being officially apart I still spent a large amount of time and every opportunity back on the island with him and things were very blurred between us. We were technically ‘single’ but still spoke everyday, we spent every minute together when I was there, I even stayed in our old place together with him. This was our biggest mistake, we both couldn’t move on. There was never a clean cut break or separation…..So when he met someone else during one of my periods of time spent back in England, actually they met while I was on a holiday that we supposed to be with me on, (and not finding out until a considerable amount of time later) it came as a huge blow. We had still been spending time together, staying over at each others and basically still acting as a couple for almost another year after the actual break up. Except I didn’t know this was also happening with the girl he had met…
I finally discovered the truth from a couple of people as he still denied everything. Maybe it was because he knew the truth would hurt me too much or maybe he was just too scared to admit it. Either way I so wanted to believe his version was true that I lived in total denial for a while. The feelings that hit me are like nothing I have ever felt before.
For the first time in my life I felt pain like I’ve never felt before. It was horrendous, a constant physical pain deep in the pit of my stomach like nervous butterflies so severe that it actually hurt. I felt sick. ALL. THE. TIME. I couldn’t even think about food let alone actually eat any and so as a result my weight plummeted. I couldn’t sleep and when I finally drifted off to sleep through exhaustion I would have dreams, well more like nightmares, about the horrid situation which would startle me and wake me up. Then for 20 blissful seconds in my half asleep state I would be OK….until I would suddenly remember the reality and the biggest wave of sadness would wash over me and the tears that never seemed to stop would come again. I really can’t believe how much I cried, constantly.
Weeks passed by in a blur that I still don’t even remember much about that summer to be completely honest. I missed a lot of work and started having panic attacks. Looking back I can see I was slipping into depression. That is something I never in a million years thought I would experience. I certainly never thought a broken heart could send you down that road.
My best friend just showed up at my house one day ready to give me a hug as I answered the door in tears. She listened to all I had to say which was basically how much I missed him and wanted him back, how lost I was and it was all my fault for leaving and all the usual phrases broken hearted people seem to reel off. She had not long before been through a similar kind of experience and being best friends from the age of 5 she is someone I trust with all my heart and soul. Her response which was brutally honest but probably much needed was ‘he’s made his choice and now you have to accept that and move on’. I never wanted to accept that notion and almost felt a touch of anger at this statement. Now I can see how helpful those words were and in actual fact the complete truth of it all. She is never wrong.
I was dreading the reality of doing this. I knew she was right and that it was my time to do so but I was no where near ready to move on, he was my first serious relationship and I loved him so much. However, I also couldn’t bear feeling the way I was anymore and something had to change. I started to question why I was crying over someone that after spending 6 years together couldn’t be honest with me and just admit he had met someone and moved on. The fact that he suddenly started ghosting me and stopped all communication didn’t do me any good either. I never did this to him during the bad time he was going through and it hurt me a lot. I couldn’t believe the way he was treating me after such a long time together and telling me he would still be in love with me for the rest of his life. I was left in limbo for a long time after him telling me the last time we were together that he loved me, wanted to be together again and just ‘needed some time’. Total head f**k. For me this is what caused so much of the anxiety which lead to the panic attacks. When I finally found out all the facts the anxiety seemed to slowly disappear and the panic attacks got less and less frequent. It was the unknown that caused it all. Letting me learn the truth through friends (his friends in fact!) I felt like a total fool. Everyone knew except me. I started to feel flashes of anger towards him for the first time. I deserved better than that. No one deserves to be in that position.
I am about to say some of the many cliche things people will say to you if you ever find yourself with a broken heart. They are the last things on earth that you will ever want to hear BUT they are in fact 100% true.
Time is great healer – Time is not just a great healer….it is the ONLY healer. No matter what happens, in time you will hurt less and less. You will start to have better days and some day will come when you rarely think about the whole ordeal anymore let alone feel it. For some people the ‘time’ can be 2 weeks, others 2 months and some even 2 years or longer. Everyone is different and everyone deals with things in their own way and at their own pace. Anyone that has been through this will tell you is that time heals all.
You WILL be OK – There isn’t much else to add to this one. YOU WILL BE OK.
Everything happens for a reason – This is more of a personal belief of mine. Some people don’t believe in all this ‘malarkey’. I do and I strongly feel that some things fall apart so that even better things can come together. I also believe that there isn’t just ‘The One’ I think there is ‘The One For Right Now’ and you have different people meant for different times in your life. Each experience is a learning curve and preparing you for the next phase in your life. Some people do meet someone from a young age and end up marrying that person and growing old with them and that is fantastic. However, if that doesn’t happen for you then do not lose hope. Someday it will and everything will make sense.
He doesn’t deserve you anyway – If a person can lie to you and deceive you then sorry but bye! No one deserves that, it works the same in reverse not just for the guy towards the girl. If you lie to your partner then you shouldn’t be with that person. Period. I have done this myself and it taught me that you shouldn’t need to lie to the one you love.
You will meet someone better – and when you do you will finally realise how wrong your previous relationship was. You will see how things should work and how they should be when you fall in love. You don’t question any more, you just go with it because it feels great…..and so it should.
When you hear these phrases you will probably want to punch the person who just said them to you straight in the face. I strongly advise against doing so. The people saying these things have probably been through what you are going through, they know.
After a while I had an impending holiday with one of my best friends and to be honest she was probably dreading it more than me because she knew the royal state I had gotten myself into over the course of the summer. We had to go to on this holiday because a friend of mine was getting married in Italy and from there I was flying over to Corfu because I had initially booked the holiday to visit my ex and was in Corfu for a month with him. I am SO glad the holiday had to start in Italy for the wedding as if it was just to and from Corfu I may never have gone….
I was on the up a little bit and not wanting to ruin my friends holiday I put on my best happy face and off we went. I was excited to visit somewhere new and we actually had a really great holiday. Watching one of my oldest school friends marry her love was beautiful and I actually had a fun few days there. As the flight to Corfu came closer I felt nervous especially as my friend was only with me for 3 days then I was flying solo.
It just so happened that an old flame of mine (my first love actually, while we’re on the subject) had recently become single and was going through a rather messy time himself. We actually met up for old times sake and in all honesty it was great! We reminisced about all our memories together and in the month I was there I saw him quite often and we spoke pretty much every day. It was almost as if we had never been with anyone else and no time had passed when in reality it had been 3 years since I spoke to him last. This was exactly what we both needed at the time, having the company of not just someone going through the same but a close friend going through the same, we kind of helped each other out. It was like free therapy! Pouring our hearts out, feeling totally comfortable discussing both of our misfortunes and offering advice. Having him around at this time showed me I wasn’t the only one going through this, in fact his situation was a lot worse as he was actually married and a child was involved.
I had a bit of a light bulb moment one night after seeing him and one of the many conversations we had at the time. I thought to myself I am not broken-hearted for my ex at all. I don’t want him back because when I sat and really thought about it, the relationship wasn’t actually all that great towards the end, who wants to be second best? Sometimes even 3rd or 4th best!! I realised I was broken-hearted for the memories and all the great times we had because there was plenty of those. For the fear of being single again. For my life on the island I loved so much. I was broken-hearted for entirely the wrong reasons and suddenly it was like a fog had lifted.
Heartbreak is very comparable to the 5 stages you go through when you are grieving – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I had been through every single one and had now reached my end point. Acceptance.
This is when everything replayed in my head, years whizzed by and it all came to this epiphany moment.
I was supposed to fall in love with the guy I did at first and the timing was always going be against us, it was never meant to be but it’s what bought me back to the island time and time again and played a part in deciding to spend a whole summer here (silly me still held out hope that one day it would happen).
I was then supposed to meet my ex I am talking about in this post because despite some of the downs there were also many, many ups. We mostly had a great time together and I did love him very much, it goes without saying. Again, it just wasn’t to be – maybe we met too young? He was there to help me to move on from my first love and teach me a lot of lessons and he was the one for that period of my life (almost all of my 20’s). Although admittedly, deep down, during the entire relationship I was never really 100% fully over the first, we always had ‘unfinished business’. Looking back I now realise that I was living with a buried lie for a long time. It got to the point when it got harder and harder to ignore and more questions would arise about our own relationship. Don’t take this the wrong way, this isn’t to say I never truly loved my boyfriend at the time or never cared for him, because I did very much so and he was a great guy. You can be in love with someone and still hold onto some feelings for someone else. I should have probably finished our relationship earlier than I did though because that wasn’t at all fair to him. You can call me all sorts for admitting that but I was too scared to actually go through with it because at least I had someone, maybe not the right someone but if I broke it off then I would be without either of them and that scared me far too much. I know I am not the first to be in that position and I know I won’t be the last but it has certainly taught me a dear lesson and never to waste another second again because life is too short to settle.
I was supposed to see my first love again and realise we weren’t made for each other after all and the timing was always off because it wasn’t him I was to end up with. After 10 years we finally got our closure. I felt good, in fact I felt great!
I dusted myself off and found myself wondering what was next. This was when a good friend told me ‘the Island was yours before (your ex) and it’s still yours after’. She was totally right. I came to this island on my own initially. I had a great summer on my own before meeting either of the guys I’ve told you about. If I loved the island that much and wanted to return then who is he or anyone else to make me question doing so again?!
So this brings me to 2016 aka one of the best years of my life. Back on my island, I was happy. Truly happy. I had changed as a person from the previous years experience, I cared much less and I became more selfish but I don’t necessarily see this as a negative thing. I did what made ME happy and not others. I had an absolute blast and I was for the first time in over a year thankful for everything that had happened to me in order to bring me to this moment of pure joy and contentment.
As the end of the summer drew closer I met someone and at first I was quite reluctant to go out for the drink he had asked me for. I wasn’t sure I still felt ready and also what was the point when my departure date seemed to rapidly approach. Being slightly more careless than the old Gillian, I thought what’s the worst that can happen….
Well 1 year on I am beyond glad that I took the plunge. Not only did he turn out to be the most wonderful, caring, positive guy I have ever met, he made me fall head over heels in love with him. Now I am living once again back on my little island with a man who makes me burst with happiness. He has showed me what it is supposed to feel like when you fall in love and he has made me care for him in a way I never once felt to care for my past relationships. Every girl wants to find her Prince Charming and although I kissed some frogs along the way and definitely learnt some very valuable life lessons….It was ALL worth it.