The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Last week for this publication, my article focused on tried and true study tips to increase motivation and start of the school year strong. And while I still stand by these techniques and try to stick by them, all rules go out the door when you’re going through a breakup. After about a month of trying different self-care habits ranging from meditation (even though I’ve fallen back asleep and missed my 9 a.m. classes) and yoga practices (with a pulled knee to prove it), I finally feel as if I have a better grasp on what my first queer relationship has taught me about myself. In an attempt to try not to romanticize my relationship, this article is a bit more personal and a lot messier for anyone who has recently been through a heartbreak.
To provide some context, my ex-partner was my closest friend since about 7th grade and we finally confessed our feelings for each other at the beginning of senior year in high school. Before our relationship had even begun, they had committed to play sports at a D1 college in the Midwest. Both of us being from California, there was always a sense of not enough time and a deadline to how long our relationship could last. In addition, this relationship was also my first experience dating someone who identified as nonbinary. Being someone who was heavily surrounded by a more conservative, Christian community, my coming out experience and this relationship were heavily intertwined.
Upon initially telling my close Christian friends, they told me that they are willing to still love me but they can not actively support my relationship. After our years of friendship, it was clear to me that their response was not something that I could emotionally handle as someone who was struggling with my queer identity myself. Most of my friendships within my religious community had ended on good terms and had taught me the importance of redefining what spirituality means for yourself. With all of that being said, one of the most important things I have learned about relationships that I hope to remember is that sharing a part of your life with someone takes conviction, vulnerability and resilient compassion. Being in a relationship that was considered “unconventional” or “wrong” by several people who were in my life made me look deeper into my prejudices and realize how inner work is required before any successful relationship. This sense of internalized homophobia and the stresses of long-distance were ultimately what made us both realize that we have a lot more work on ourselves to do before we can be with another person. I still have all the love in the world for this person and I’m really grateful for the way everything had played out.
While I’m still going through the early stages of a breakup, here are some of my main takeaways that I hope are useful to anyone who lost a partner in their life. The first is that your own voice about how you feel about your relationship is what’s most important. Regardless of how other people may view your relationship, you ultimately know your relationship the best and have an understanding of what is making yourself happy or unhappy. That isn’t to say that the opinions around you aren’t important, but if they are deeply rooted in prejudice or even ignorance, I hope that your own voice is strengthened. The second takeaway is that sitting in the emotion that heartbreak provides actually feels much better than constantly trying to distract yourself from it. While I can only speak from my own experience, avoiding your feelings almost resembles procrastinating to study for a final exam. Eventually, you have to face it, and it’s a lot more manageable to face it head-on. Lastly, I was reminded that we are all a lot more reliant and strong than we think that we are.
To anyone going through hard times, we will both become better people for going through this experience and we will keep learning more about ourselves as we introspect and treat ourselves with kindness.