The Balancing Act…


Whatever people tell you
they can’t ever love you more-
It’s just I wish I’d known to love you right before
Kate Tempest- Best Intentions

N and I didn’t break up because we didn’t love each other. We broke up because being together had become unbearable. We met when we were both Quite OK, then gradually begun a descent to a point where neither of us could be.

I remember it all in snapshots and waves now. April 2010, the first time I was ever really unwell while with N. We had been together for seven or eight months and I hit a ridiculous low; she came home from her sister’s house because I had been sacked from my job for drunkenness and lateness, and phoned her. I went over to hers and had a beer and fainted, just like that, from exhaustion and blood loss and dehydration. It must have been terrifying. N looked after me. Two nights later, I spent hours trying to instigate an argument, chucking insults and mean comments, because sometimes depression doesn’t let you accept kindness. That was the first time the bubble around us ever popped, just a pinprick, but enough to let out some of the love. And I would love to say it never became a pattern but I don’t enjoy lying.

Forward a few months and we were on a mini-break in Berwick.  This is one of the nights I tend to take all the blame for but actually we were both drunk, and irresponsible, and stupid. Still, it was the first time I was ever physically hurtful to someone I love. I would love to say it was the last. It’s the first thing my mind flies to when I flick through my internal guilt catalogue.

N only once got to see me “up” and it only lasted a few days. Flower-buying, giggly, world-defeating me was probably quite nice until she toppled. But I suppose what could have been a relationship of “ups and downs” was basically flea-jumping from down to down, draining blood on the way. There were so many times that N wanted me to go to hospital, even asked people I saw at A&E and it never happened. Sometimes I wonder if it might have saved us, but I wonder that about a lot of things.

By the time we broke up, N was depressed and on medication. It isn’t my fault, I try to realise that. You can’t make someone depressed, though you can make them stressed and unhappy. I know I was a trigger, though.

There were other reasons for us breaking up but I think that’s the main one- that by the end of it, we couldn’t make each other happy or stop each other from being unhappy.

I spoke to a friend about N the other day and I said that if I knew she was happy now, I would be over her. Does that make sense?   If I spoke to her and she said, you know what, I’m seeing someone, we’re really happy/ I have an awesome job/ my life is good… then I would be sad in a way but I would be able to let go. For as long as she isn’t really happy, though, I feel our lives are like a see-saw. I speak to her sometimes now and I am always waiting for her to say she’s fine…  When I got my scholarship one of my first feelings (after OMG Yes!, obviously) was guilt.  One of the reasons for the split was that I couldn’t have stayed in Scotland much longer without falling to pieces (all my support is here and so, I imagined, was any hope of getting a job- ha!)  Had I not moved away from N, I would never have got the bursary.

My friend says, that only makes sense if you feel responsible for N’s happiness, if you feel some of her unhappiness is your fault.  And in a way, I do feel responsible.  But I don’t think that’s the whole of it. It’s about balance. We ended with neither of us OK, and I would like us both to be OK, in tandem, just once.

And I would stop wondering if we wouldn’t be happier together…


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