The Gift of Goodbye: Letting Him Go


It was New Years Eve 2013. I was at church receiving a timely word, as I prepared to enter 2014. I was determined to enter it in a different space than 2013 had provided. A place of freedom and change. As I sat in the church, I set up a block feature that proved to be one of the greatest contributions to the newest iPhone software.

The sermon ended with a few minutes to spare before January 1, 2014. I got home a little after 12 midnight to be the lucky recipient of an unexpected FaceTime call. That'd be the last time I'd talk to him for months. As I hung up the phone wishing him the last of my Happy New Year blessing, I confirmed his new location on my phone's block list. I shed my last tear - burned a picture of us for dramatic effect - and went to bed. I promised myself that I'd wake up in a much better place than I'd gone to sleep. I promised myself that this year would be far different than last - and this was one of the things I needed to make that happen.

My friends called that a gift. Every time one of them checked in to see how "we" were doing and I let them know there's still no "we", they informed me how brave it was. How incredibly strong I was for going through with it, because they knew how shattered my heart was. They knew how hard I tried to pick up the pieces from the last 7 times he managed to crush it. Or step on it. Or completely disregard it.

But it wasn't bravery that made that decision; it was necessity. I knew that if I was ever going to be anything, find anything or love anyone else in this world, this needed to be done. I knew that it was time for me to stop holding on so tight to the very thing God was trying to remove.

So I did; and the first two months were treacherous. How am I going to get through this? Who am I going to call when life happens? Who am I going to joke with when I'm in a funk? Tons of questions infiltrated my mind as I pushed through. For a long time I was sure he was the only one in my corner. I was certain that he was the only one who'd ever truly understand me. I was positive that no matter how intentionally or unintentionally we decided to hurt each other, that he was made for me, and I him. So I laid comfortably in that padded room that only he had the key to, for so long. It was such a challenge being out of that bondage. I didn't even bother answering the questions that constantly parading around my mind, though. I didn't need to answer them. I didn't care. I refused to go back. And I didn't.

But I'd be lying if I said it wasn't hard; if I said I didn't want to cry every day. I didn't cry, but I wanted to! There were tons of sleepless nights and lonely days. Tons of unanswered questions that sent my heart on emotional rollercoasters. There were subliminal tweets and Facebook statuses that made me want to reach out and coddle him, or call and scream at him. Never in between. I wanted my friend back desperately. But I realized - after being in the cycle so long - that with us, it was an all or nothing. It was a confusing situation or no situation at all. We couldn't be friends. We passed that phase long ago. We ended the possibility of platonic friendship the night I stayed at his apartment, drove him to the airport and kissed him goodbye for the first time. We ended that possibility the time when me finding a boyfriend made him irate. We ended that possibility the first time we laid down together. 

A few months later, after I felt like I'd gotten over 'us' and our damaging idea of friendship, I unblocked him. I was sure that my months of being unresponsive to whatever he may have been texting or calling me about, would show him that we're done. That I had washed my hands of our 'situationship', and left it for dead. But it didn't, because in May he contacted me to share some of his stories. And then in late August he contacted me to pry about my life, explaining that I'd changed. And then again a few times after. Each time chatting with him became a little less painful. Each conversation a little less enticing than the one prior. Each discussion, a little more freeing.

Most recently we hung out. Caught up. And I can say it was the most awkward/unwanted moment of this year, so far. But I was so happy; because the parts of my life he had such a large grasp on before, he no longer had. Even in my face, I no longer cared to entertain him, nor the friendship.

I share this with you to say that you can do it too. That ex that's holding up your relational progress; that partner that just doesn't seem like it for you; that friendship that seems to be more draining than empowering - you can let go. You can get rid of the leeches and set yourself free. You deserve to set yourself free.

It'll be hard. There will be days that feel like 56 hours and some days that feel like 5. There will be some conversations you want to start - about your day, your family or what just happened to you - and some you wish you never had.

There will be inside jokes that no one else will ever understand. There will be memories you want to think back on. There will be restaurants you revisit that remind you of that person. But as each day passes it'll get easier. You'll think of them less; check for them less and worry about them less. As you become more engulfed in you, they'll drift further away. Their existence will become less of a factor and your freedom will remain the motivation behind such a drastic shift.

At some point you'll stop wondering what he's thinking, if he's texted you or if he knows he's blocked. You'll stop scouring his social media pages and looking at old pictures. There will come a day, that you won't even think of him. A day that he won't even cross your mind. Then there will be two...

But it won't be bravery that does that, it'll be necessity. 

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