Moving beyond an unhealthy relationship

I accidentally spied my ex the other day. By accidentally, I mean, he’s not someone I associate with any more and seeing him was, most definitely, unexpected.

I was jogging, and he was stopped at an intersection along my route. I got a bit of a fright when I realised I was looking directly at him in an unintentional way, in that way you aimlessly look at your surroundings when you’re trying to motivate yourself to keep moving.

You see … things did not end well between us.

In fact, I’d wager a bet that we didn’t wish each other well in life for a long, long time after we split up. No, I know we didn’t.

We had an unhealthy, co-dependent relationship that was not particularly stable. I think we were, at that time, two people who put each other into an unhealthy situation and then, when the time came to get out of it, we exited it in an unhealthy way.

The thing that time teaches you is that, beyond an unhealthy relationship, you realise how much time you spent wailing about how badly you were treated, yet don’t realise how badly you treat the other person at some point.

I’m not talking about a domestically abusive situation, in which there is a victim and a perpetrator. The emotionally unhealthy relationship he and I had experienced through each other was far more a picture of two victims and not enough therapeutic interventions.

It took me two years to forgive him. It took me even longer to forgive myself. At some point, the indistinguishable rage I felt towards him, faded, and it became a non-entity in my life. What had served me as a type of life quasi-fuel became a faded page in my history book.

With hindsight, though, I see what I learnt through that emotionally unhealthy relationship, and I own the things I did — not because I’m proud of them, but because I realise that I learnt from them. Those events have made me strong in a way, and created a steely resolve against my own, sometimes negative, inner monologue. I’ll probably never know if he learnt anything, but that’s not my department to deal with. It never really was in the first place.

In the end, the unhealthy relationship led me to reassess everything in my life. It’s because of it that I began to understand myself better, and the possibly destructive things I used to do. Through that experience, among other things, I learnt that a sense of security doesn’t come from anyone else, but within our very own selves.

I don’t think I would have learnt that lesson without that unhealthy relationship.

And that’s why, when I saw you idling at the traffic light, I looked across the seas of life that have washed past us since then … and waved.

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