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Aimee Vlachos Headshot

Breaking the Cycle of Bad Relationships

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After I left my five-year marriage, I did not cry; I felt that I was free. I even started dating someone. I had really fooled myself into thinking that I had grieved enough during the last two years of my marriage and that I was happy. I joked with friends that I felt like a 165 pound weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I reconnected with an old friend who happened to be single. We quickly began spending a lot of time together, and I remember thinking that this was going to be an easy-transition from married life to the dating world. I even ignored my best friend's warning that it is never this easy after divorce.

The man that I dated last winter, he puts his work before anything else and he was/is emotionally unavailable. I realize now that I chose him because I knew that I would never have to open myself up to him and feel vulnerable and exposed. Dating someone while going through a divorce was a recipe for disaster anyways. There were days that I had to pretend that I was happy and easygoing when all I wanted to do was have him hold me while I cried. But when you are dating someone who doesn't deal with emotions, this is not an option. We broke up in a parking lot next to the highway because, in his words, he just "wasn't feeling it." But how could he? I was pretending the entire time we dated that I was easy-breezy and nothing got me down; I wasn't showing him the real me. But I felt that if I showed him who I really was, he would run for the hills, or the ocean in this case (he's a surfer). He wants an easy and uncomplicated relationship, which may be why he is still alone and why it didn't work with me.

After we broke up, I realized that this relationship was never as good as I had believed it to be. Once again, I repeated my pattern of losing myself and identity in a relationship and letting it be all about them and their needs. I am a pretty outgoing person but for some reason when I am in a relationship, I lose my voice. One night over dinner, he told me that I should show a greater interest in his friends' lives and try to engage them in conversation more, and I apologized and said that I would try harder. Why didn't I mention to him that he had never even met my friends, and refused to do anything with them? Why didn't I tell him that his friends didn't engage me in conversation either? I realize now without taking the time to grieve the death of my 10-year relationship, that I was dating the same man that I had married, only this one was shorter, heavier, and had a beard.

At yoga yesterday I saw a man giving a woman a bouquet of flowers in the parking lot, and then the tears came. I have realized during this time that it is OK to grieve what you have lost, but you also have to take time to reflect on how you can live your life going forward. I do not want to keep repeating mistakes from the past. Going forward I want to be in a healthy and happy relationship, but I know that I need to keep working on myself before this can happen. Now that I am truly alone I can begin to grieve my lost love, lost family, and begin to put the pieces back together.