Well, there’s good news and then there’s better news. Which do you want first? Well, the good news is there is a new guy in my life. Dannie B is collaborating with me to share more of his serious and single swag. The better news is that I will still be talking about being single as well so this will be a dialogue between Dannie and me. We’ll be discussing what it’s like to be a 30 something dating in the Midwest. Consider this the millennial version of the movie He Said, She Said. (Minus Kevin Bacon) I truly hope you enjoy my friend Dannie’s point of view as much as I do because it’s always nice to hear how things look from his side.
First off let me say that I’m excited to be partnering with Oh Wize One on Seriously Single!!! For a limited time, I will be providing some male perspective to the awesome topics she brings you. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to hear both male and female perspectives so be sure to tune in regularly to see what we have in store for you!
And now this month’s story:
A few days ago I attended my homegirl’s book release party for her book of poetry titled “The Art of Hurting” and the experience gave me the inspiration to write on the topic of dealing with hurt. The concept behind the book entails living in toxic relationship and gradually building up the courage to move on, learning to work through the hurt you’ve experienced. During the release Sunni Hutton, that’s her name, explained the feelings and events behind the select poems that she read from her book, and within her stories I found myself feeling that internal rumbling of knowing that I could relate to some of the things she was saying.
Anyone who’s ever been in a failed relationship, or a situationship, was moved by what Sunni had to offer. One of the things that stuck out for me was the idea of needing to be happy with yourself first before you can be happy with someone else. A part of being happy with yourself includes letting go of the emotional baggage that you drag around with you from the past. As we all know there are thousands of memes that say this over and over but I felt compelled to write on this because I was able to see this as an entire process rather than a simple phrase that you can tell yourself just to feel better about your situation.
I experienced a relationship that I considered toxic years ago that left some lasting effects on me for nearly three years after it had ended. Before I jump into the details let me say right off the bat that there is a stigma associated with the phrase “toxic relationship.” When we hear it we immediately think of an evil-doing someone who was intentionally trying to be harmful to us. However, in most cases whatever hurt was caused was not intentional. Toxic relationships can be born out of misunderstanding each other, external forces that affect the partnership, and much more.
During this relationship I felt an indescribable tension with my former partner that began to appear after that coveted newness wore off. A portion of that tension was related to preexisting family issues that she disclosed prior to us starting a relationship and some of it was related to our personal differences. At the center of it all what our undefined yet opposing views on when each of us saw ourselves getting married. She desired to be married much sooner than I did. She made the assumption that when I said I wanted to be married that I meant before I was 25. For me, I thought it was ok to assume that her timeline was closer to 30. While we both had the same end goal neither of us was experienced enough to know that having the same end goal means nothing if you don’t have the same timeline for reaching it.
Being young and naive, like all of us were once upon a time, I thought our opposing ideals were manageable and that it would all make for some magical ending. And yeah, that didn’t work out too well (#WhereBaggageBegins). The relationship eventually came to a crashing end one gloomy day and I found myself upset that I didn’t end things when I first got the feeling to end things after an inexcusable event. To explain it as simply as possible, she became involved with a coworker.
After the relationship ended I did everything I could to conjure up a negative image of my ex with the intention of reassuring myself that separating from her was the best thing that ever happened to me. I couldn’t have a conversation about her with friends without saying something negative. Given how things concluded I was justified in being angry with her, however, I let that anger overshadow all of the good things that came from our two years together. This eventually led to me saying less than desirable things about my ex when running down past relationship experiences with new people I would meet.
When I break down the phrase “The Art of Hurting” as it relates to my situation I think of a long, drawn-out process of trying to cope with something that I didn’t realize I needed to deal with. I also think of trying to move past something that was hurtful without fully understanding how exactly it was hurtful to me. It’s easy to identify a past relationship as having a degree of toxicity to it but unless you can understand the source you’ll be taking it right along with you into your next situation, even if you weren’t the source. Looking back, I’ve learned that starting a new relationship with negative feelings about someone from your past only serves to keep you in the past and prevents the full potential of a new union from being realized.
So what helped me drop my baggage? When I realized how I was still being affected by something that happened years earlier I decided to do what I do best, write. I decided to make a list of all the negative feelings that I had about my ex and our relationship. This included personal traits about her and specific conflicts that we had. One by one I went through the topics and indulged myself on why I felt the way I did. With time I had grown to be able to better understand things from a more neutral perspective. I realized that I had led myself to believe that all of the hurt was intentional but I was able to make peace with the fact that none of it really was. This was one of the most liberating experiences that I’ve ever had.
Have you dealt with feelings of hurt that you’ve experienced in the past? Are you willing to be honest with yourself about what’s hurting you so you can move forward to the relationship you really want?
To learn more about Sunni Hutton’s “The Art of Hurting” visit her website below:
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