My Relationship Happened When I Stopped Looking
I am starting to feel again—and it’s safe and healthy and exhilarating.
Anyone even remotely close to me knows what a horror show my last relationship was. Any analogy that you could think of to explain two things that do not mix (oil and water, toothpaste and orange juice, Kanye and Taylor) doesn’t compare to how incompatible we were. It’s a miracle we didn’t kill each other. So naturally, there was a lot of wreckage at the end of that relationship.
It’s taken a long time to heal.
Like two years long. For me, that’s a long time. I took the space I needed. My pattern was always to find new relationships to fill the “void.” I feel like as women in recovery we are always talking about that void. What is it? I had no idea.
I just knew that something was wrong with me and that if I got into another relationship it would be history repeating itself.
So this time I stayed alone.
At least until the point where my sponsor told me that it was time to go out and date. “You’re not a martyr, you need more in your life than your daughter. You need to provide her with an example of how to be happy.” She was right. (She pretty much always is—but don’t tell her that.)
So, I tried dating.
My first date was with this wonderful gentleman who fancied himself a DJ. He picked me up with a bouquet of flowers, took me to a decent restaurant, was a cocky bastard to the waiter, and then on the drive home proceeded to tell me he was a psychic and could feel that I was emotionally broken but he was willing to have sex with me to help heal my soul.
I took a pause for a bit and then a few months later decided to try date number two. It was pretty awkward but not terrible…until his children showed up and he was screaming at them and actually dragged one of them across the room by the ear. I cried the whole way home feeling sad for those children and so powerless.
He called me a snowflake.
Date number three was crap. Absolute crap. He made me dinner and then after I ate it, thought it would be funny to tell me that he used canna oil in the food. “I thought it would be fun if we could loosen up a bit. It’s just weed.” It took me an hour to realize that in fact I was not drugged and it was a prank.
That was super fun.
As the dates went on they did start to get better but they just didn’t feel right. I felt like I was trying to force something that wasn’t there. I felt like I was going on dates just to go on dates.
I finally concluded that I really was not interested in dating anymore.
I decided that since I was not attracting the kind of men that I wanted, I would just work on myself. Another famous quote from my sponsor is “shit attracts shit.” I figured if I was attracting shit men then maybe I had some work to do on myself.
I made some changes.
I re-assessed what I want to do with my life. I started a fitness routine. I transferred to a more intensive degree program at my college. I got a promotion at work. I started to put more effort into my appearance.
I started to feel better inside and out and realized that I was perfectly content and happy in my life without a relationship. In fact, the thought of being in one didn’t seem too appealing to me anymore.
And poof—he showed up.
Now, it’s very new. Who knows what will come of it. But for the first time in years, it just feels healthy and safe and organic. He is kind and compassionate and I trust him. I recently threw out a casual invite to an event that was very important to me—he showed up.
I find myself smiling when my phone goes off.
We were up until 4 AM the other night just talking about nonsense. At the same time, we can go the whole day without talking and there’s none of the separation anxiety or fear that I used to experience in relationships.
There’s independence and security without a touch of codependency. How refreshing.
We are making plans. Small ones, but I believe them.
Maybe it won’t last. Or maybe this will be the “happily ever after” everyone is talking about. I don’t know. But for the first time in years—I have hope.
Hillary Dumas is a woman with five years in recovery from substance use disorder and is from central Massachusetts. Hillary is a single mother to a strong willed two year old girl.
Hillary manages a substance abuse treatment program. She has a certificate in Alcohol and Drug Counseling and is halfway through her Bachelor’s in Business Administration Management. She believes in transparency and sharing her raw experiences to help others feel less alone.