Contrary to my last post only a week ago, living in Houston is not sounding that appealing anymore. Thursday night, Dan broke up with me. Ultimately we’re not equally yoked; his feelings for me are not as strong as mine are for him, and that isn’t fair to either of us.
To say “We need to talk” flew in far left-field, that it threw me for a curve ball, it utterly blind-sided me… all would be understatements. Lord knows I wouldn’t have been publicly writing about how awesome it is to be living in the same city otherwise. It was surreal; as he spoke, it felt like everything was in slow-motion. My thoughts jumped to the conclusion that weeks of off-the-grid separation this past summer at camp brought me to: that if Dan and I ever broke up, I would be okay. But that was theoretical. As it took place I could not really absorb that it was actually happening. I was too shocked for tears – it was a comically emotionless, cordial conversation, talking out future logistics, and how long he had been thinking about this, and finally verbalizing the primary question that has plagued my internal thoughts the last few months: Why don’t you love me?
Unrequited love is the worst.
I sucked in a big gulp of air. “Well. I don’t really know what else to say…”
“I’m gonna go now.”
Okay?! No this is not okay! What the hell is happening right now??
Just like a disastrous tornado materializing out of the abyss, in the course of half an hour, one of the most important people in my life uprooted massive pieces of my heart and left me to sift through the debris and damage.
I need affirmation, and that hadn’t been doled out in abundance. I was more committed, I was all in. I wasn’t ready to get married in the next two years, but I was still more ready than he was. I tried not to base too much of my future on him, but I’m sure I did in my sub-conscience anyway. I verbalized on multiple occasions that sometimes all I could trust in was the reality that we were indeed still dating and hadn’t broken up. That there must be something worth pursuing in this. Evidently it was time to not trust that anymore. Even I knew the contrasting amounts of affection we had toward each other was an issue, but I tried to be as present as possible, to be patient. I figured time would remedy the difference in feelings; it will just take longer for him.
What sucks is that his lack of romantic feelings toward me is really the only major issue I knew of in our relationship. That fact became increasingly difficult to deal with the longer we dated. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty integral problem, and no amount of compatibility and fun times together can overcome it.
I admit that I was too emotionally attached. I did not guard my heart very well. But I can’t help it. I write more on this blog than a solid 99% of people would ever reveal about their thoughts and feelings. It is a direct parallel, though, to the way I also live. I’m not very good at holding back. I’m an open book. I give almost everything my all, be it relationships, work, or hobbies. This is not just a Dan thing. It is simply how I live, who I am, and who I will always be. Most of the time, I think it is a good quality about myself. It allows me to love others well and pursue them intentionally.
But I am currently incurring the negative repercussions for loving with abandon. I loved big, and now I’m hurting equally as badly. Damn it’s painful.
I have watched enough chick-flicks and listened to enough country songs to know that break ups suck. Going through it yourself is another experience entirely. Raw emotion. Vulnerability. All your insides getting thrown in a blender and dumped out. Restless nights and little sleep. Feeling pretty stable, and then, nope, think again, here comes the next contraction of pain, another wave of breakdowns. I was dry-eyed talking to him, but, as I called my two best friends after he left, that did not last long. I cried the next morning on the way to work and in-between some team huddles at school. My mantra for the day was Just a few more hours JComp. Get it together. In an act of the Lord’s providence (and probably well-thought-out timing on Dan’s part), I happened to be going to Greenville to reunite with the Compton Clan for Furman family weekend. The mantra did not work all the way to South Carolina. The tears streamed as I gulped down bland Panda Express vegetables in the airport food court. They streamed harder in the corner of the IAH bathroom. A concerned middle-aged woman came up to me.
“Honey is there anything I can do?”
“Just give me a hug!” I heaved.
She, mother to four daughters, did, holding and consoling me.
“I’ll pray for you on my flight.”
On my own flight, I wanted to send out a PSA to the concerned and curious fellow plane passengers who kept looking behind at me, the girl who couldn’t hold it together: My heart was broken last night, and it’s still very shattered. My apologies for the next two hours of congested nose-blowings and breathless heaves.
There’s been a lot more crying since then too.
I figured the sobs were inevitable, further exacerbated by PMS. Awesome. What I wasn’t prepared for were the physical manifestations of grief – nausea, lack of appetite, an upset stomach, even upchucking in the toilet.
In a way, that’s really what this is, too: grief, which I have been fortunate enough to not have experienced an abundance of in my life. Goodbye man that matters so much to me. Except, oh wait, you’re still alive, you’re twenty minutes from me, and I have to cut you out anyway. And all the people I know through you. Like your family, who I like a lot, and many of the friends you’ve introduced me to. So here we go open heart surgery.
It’s not just a one-time operation though. Every time I wake up, it’s like the surgeons missed a piece. I re-internalize reality, and the stitches rip back open, just to feel the searing pain in its fullness all over again. Who do I want to seek for support? The very person I cannot. Every time I see something beautiful, like the sunset as I boarded the plane, or hear something funny, who do I want to share it with? The one who has been ripped from me. This hurts so bad! Why Jesus??
Fortunately, there is Jesus. Dan is not my foundation and my center. Christ is. A rudimentary but fundamental lesson I re-learned over the summer at Camp Timberline is that Jesus is Enough. (If you’ve got eight minutes, click the link and watch the YouTube video. It’s worth it.) He is my rock, my salvation, and my hope. He does love me and pursue me, even unto death, and He is good, regardless of circumstance. My takeaway leaving camp and semi-officially entering young adulthood was that Jesus would be faithful, no matter what. He has been. He is. He will continue to be.
He has showered scriptural promises upon me and surrounded me with prayer and support from friends and mentors. In the last forty-eight hours, I have been reminded how abundant those loved ones in my life are. I can only imagine how much more miserable this past weekend would have been without the stronghold and presence of my family anchoring me.
Rennie, a woman I consider to be a second mom, had some of the most helpful wisdom.
Oh Jess… Most of me wants to say how sorry I am…and I am, precious girl…Another part wants to say, good heavens, there is so much ahead of you!!!! Although I know how much you have invested in that relationship, if it’s not time for it to culminate, then take a breath…let it go…You’ll be headed on a great adventure soon, to grad school…to foreign lands…space can be a wonderful thing…for freedom, for focus on what means the most to you. There is such happiness ahead for you Jessica Compton. You are the best, and the best will come to you. Love you.
My mom looked at me squarely this morning and said, “Jessica. You are the same person you have always been. You are going to be okay.”
As hard as it is to believe them now, I know they are right. I fear the next two and a half months in Houston will be nearly unbearable, but the initial clouds of this breakup are already dissipating to rationale and perspective. There will certainly be very tough days. There will also be new days, though, where I embrace the freedom and autonomy of singleness with a really good relationship under my belt.
Dan told me Thursday that he had enjoyed all the time we’ve spent together these last 11 months. I agree, it has been great. I am hurting now, but I’m not walking away from this scarred. In my sister’s church this morning, the sermon series they are going through is on dating and marriage (Of course. More tearing up ensued.) The pastor reminded the congregation that dating is not usually for the “one.” It is for exploring the “kind.” It looks like Dan is not the one, but he is the kind of man for me. We had a good relationship, and he is a good person, that I know. But I also know that I yearn for a man to be head over heels for me, to pursue me and protect me and love me. So as painful as it is right now, I am also thankful that Dan first gave us a really good shot, but also had the courage to not lead me on.
Amidst the heartbreak, I will be entering a period of recovery. I am grateful that I have time to ready myself now, rather than in December when I will be dealing with other transitions. God especially puts us through times of testing when he is preparing to use us for Kingdom building (James 1:2-4). I submit myself to his refining fire for the rest of this season, entering the new year as a shining light for Him. Despite the mess I am now, there will be good and growth that come from this. I will trust that promise.