S. Conclusion--Life Goes On

The last two years have been difficult for me. Without a doubt, other that coming out to my parents ten years ago, this has been the greatest emotional crisis of my life. I was in a lot of pain, things werenít really getting better, but at the same time I loved you, relished our good times together, and couldnít bear the thought of leaving you. I kept remembering how horrible I felt in March--racked with tears, wanting you back. I guess at that time I just wasnít ready for it. However, this time I was.

Iíve been doing okay. As I told you, I bought a computer, which Iím having a lot of fun with. I have direct access to the Internet, and I signed up with AOL and Prodigy as well. Iím actually enjoying work more--I feel like theyíre trusting me more. It feels good to be given more responsibility. Iíve been traveling quite a bit (weekend trips). Iím actually enjoying life. Iíve been more connected with my friends, who I feel Iíve somewhat neglected over the past two years (my fault). Iím continuing to see my therapist--thereís certainly no dearth of things to talk about with him. Iíve really appreciated his support, as well as that of my friends and family.

In therapy, I am trying to understand several things about myself--for example, why I allowed myself to be so diminished in this relationship, why I tolerated such internal conflict, and why it was so difficult for me to extricate myself. I am examining the role I played in the various vicious circles I described. After all, we were two people relating to each other; I realize that I cannot blame it all on you! I am still coping with a great deal of pain and anger. However, I am doing everything I can to face these feelings and to try to resolve them; the last thing I want to do is just push them aside, as I know they will only rear their ugly heads somewhere else. I donít want to take my angry feelings out on the next person! Finally, I am trying to place the joys and sorrows of our relationship in perspective. After all, we were friends and companions for two years; we shared a lot together and we gave each other gifts that will last a lifetime. I loved you, and I know you loved me. I learned a lot about myself and about life. Despite the pain, I can also see that much good came from this relationship, and I am allowing myself to grieve its ending.

Hopefully, you will be able to see this ending in a positive light also. It is my genuine wish that you will be able to derive some good from this letter, and from the whole experience. I really hope you can find a good therapist and work with him or her. (If you donít know where to begin with a therapist, perhaps you can start with this letter.) Change is always possible, but it takes a lot of time and effort. Being in therapy is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. It shows that you are willing to learn about yourself in order to set a better course for the future. Why do you think Iíve been seeing John for eight years?? I hope you can begin dealing directly with your anger, bitterness and low self-esteem, and that you can learn how to express your feelings in a better way. "Blowing up" and "shutting down" are not healthy means of communication. Besides raising the defenses of the people around you, they will also eventually impact negatively on your own physical and emotional well-being. I also hope that you can begin to empower yourself a little more. You cannot make anyone else responsible for this, or wait for someone to come along and "make your life better."  It is up to you to determine the path your life will take.

I donít know if this will make you feel any better. But I want you to know that despite everything, despite my anger and hurt over what has transpired, I know that you never meant to hurt me, as I never meant to hurt you. I know you were doing the best you could at the time. There were things in your past that drove you to behave in certain ways, out of your control. Deep inside your heart and soul, you are a good person, worthy of love and entitled to happiness. I canít be with you anymore. But just because it didnít work out between us, that doesnít mean you canít have a great future with someone else. Please donít give up on yourself, or become even more embittered--that would be the greatest tragedy of all.

After A While

by Veronica A. Shoffstall

After a while, you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesnít mean leaning
And company doesnít mean security,
And you begin to learn that kisses arenít contracts
And presents arenít promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrowís ground is too uncertain for plans.
And futures have a way of falling down in midflight.
After a while, you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure...
That you really are strong.
And you really do have worth.
And you learn and learn...
With every goodbye you learn.

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