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  • Writer's pictureCiara Titus

Finding Peace with Failed Relationships

There are several important relationships that have helped shape and define who I am today. Two of them have ended in divorce. The failure still haunts me. I can usually put it in the back of my mind so I don’t have to deal with the emotional repercussions. But lately, I’ve had recurring dreams and nightmares about them so I can no longer ignore the bubbling up of past hurts and disappointments. I just have to face it. I have to clean up the mess otherwise, I’ll be stuck in the emotional muck.

My marriage to my first husband, Adam, felt like a fairytale. I was so happy and in soul mate love. We got along so well for years and loved being with each other every moment. Unfortunately, our paths diverged slowly over our ten-year marriage. We grew apart and our hearts and minds were led elsewhere. I loved him immensely, but it became tense and toxic. He had the courage to push it forward to a divorce. I don’t think I would have had the courage to end it without being pushed. I would have stayed and been miserable forever. I would have continued to passive-aggressively act out and silently torture the both of us. He had the maturity to show me that the best thing we could do for each other was to walk away from the decade of life we had built together. The year following the divorce was one of the darkest and loneliest points in my life.

I was still recovering from the divorce when the next love, Gary, came into my life. We were young and immature, We were both struggling to find our identities. We barely knew ourselves so we weren’t capable of being our honest selves. Which caused our relationship to be built on falsehoods and persona. It’s hard to establish a strong base when it’s based on the fragility of ego, not authenticity.

We were just getting to know each other when I found out I was pregnant. One minute, we’re dating, the next we're thrust into parenthood when our daughter Talia arrived. She is truly a miraculous product of what was such a disaster. Because I didn’t want to be a single mom, I agreed to get married. And of course, the marriage didn’t last. Our personal and financial struggles didn’t get any better because we were married. It just added pressure and tension to an already fragile relationship. We were not in a good place and the arguing and fighting just got worse.

I knew I had to leave because the situation had gotten so toxic. We were both so miserable and it wasn’t getting better. We couldn’t offer each other unconditional love and support, only anger and resentment. Wanting a better life for Talia gave me the courage to leave this unhappy marriage and move back to California, back with my parents.

I was emotionally and financially depleted when we arrived in California. With the divorce finalized, my life was officially dust. This was another dark and lonely point in my life. I couldn’t see it at the time, but it was the best thing to happen. In my humbled state, I began to seek deeper spiritual answers because all my perceptions were destroyed. The shift in perspective allowed me to turn the wound of my hurts and disappointments into a source of power.

Always listen to my heart. It’s the best guidance there is. When I ignore my gut, I go off track.

Looking back, I can see how certain choices in which I ignored my gut led me astray. I was led by my ego not my heart. I was guided more by what people would think, not what I felt. I was more concerned with how people perceived me. Looking back it’s easy to point out how I could have made better choices, but at the time it was such a whirlwind, it felt like a tornado most of the time.

Forgiveness allows love to flow. Anger and resentment are poison that blocks one from connecting to others.

I have a much better relationship with Gary now because we both forgave each other. The time and space apart has allowed mutual respect and love to grow. For years I didn’t take into account how deep his love for Talia is. My anger didn’t allow me to think about the loss he may feel at not being with her every day. In my struggle for survival, I ignored his pain and loss. Now I see the pain and loss in Talia when she misses her dad and it must mirror his feelings because the two are so strongly connected. So now I make it a point to have him involved as much as possible because that is what is best for all of us. He will always be her father which means he will always be family.

Release control and accept things as they are.

So much of life is about accepting and coming to terms with the truth. Being at peace with circumstances we are unhappy with, not grasping for it to be different. I’m not going to stop being hopeful that things get better. But there is freedom in accepting that circumstances are sometimes beyond our control. It was better to break off the relationship than to force a tense connection to work.

Take time to heal. The ending of a relationship can be painful and traumatizing so allow recovery time.

I didn’t have self-awareness back then. I see now how I never truly healed between each relationship. Instead of facing my pain and loneliness, I would just go to another one to distract myself. Being in a relationship allowed me to ignore things about myself and blame others for what I lacked. I didn’t have the confidence to be on my own. If I had given myself more recovery time and spent time alone, I would have been able to face my mistakes and the impact of my actions on others.

While the ending of each relationship felt miserable, it forced me into a period of growth and expansion. I had to rethink everything about myself and rebuilt my life again. It gave me the time to work on myself, to become a better version, and to find peace with failure.

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