He Left Me Because I Inspired Him To Find His Purpose
The beginning of this new decade has had the world vibrating on some high energies. But, for some us, after only a month in, life's already hit us in the face and all the hype of starting a new year and getting our lives together has flown away. I'm one of those who've been hit. In fact, life literally knocked me down. And as I'm writing this today, my heart is completely shattered.
Last November, during my trip to Atlanta, God introduced me to my soulmate. At the time, my life was already a little bit of a mess: I was burnt out and quit my job, moved back in with my mother whom I don't really get along with and my need for isolation was having a significant impact on all my relationships. I was visiting from Belgium to attend one of my friends' wedding but, secretly, I was hoping for this trip to be some kind of rebirth for me. I expected it to get me back on my feet and bring me closer to my dream life in some ways. Was I expecting it to bring me closer to my dream life in that way, though? Absolutely not.
Just like any other good modern love story would start, my soulmate and I met on Tinder. It was on a Saturday morning, I was laying in bed in my hotel room, binge-watching Being Mary Jane on Netflix, swiping left more often than right on my phone screen, only aiming to be entertained by some hot dudes. He, too, was bored, at his house, trying to take some beautiful women out on dates. In both cases, we just wanted to pass the time. Neither of us were looking for anything special. To be honest, I kinda sorta wanted a free meal (and why not the D as a dessert?).
But, for two people who weren't looking for anything special, we were strangely digging deep into the things that makes us who we are when we first talked.
I remember us chatting all day long that day. Eventually, he asked if he could take me out. The very next evening, I was getting ready to go on my first Tinder date ever. I was feeling like doing something fancy that night, so I suggested going to the Sun Dial, a bar-restaurant located on the uppermost floors of the Westin Peachtree Plaza that has a 360° breathtaking view of Atlanta. I was looking forward to meeting him but darn, I was so nervous.
One thing you need to know about me is that I never go on dates. In fact, I absolutely hate dating. It makes me feel way too uncomfortable. I could write a whole piece explaining why it does, but that night, not only was I nervous because of all the sex trafficking stories I'd heard, but I wasn't sure if there would be any chemistry between us, let alone if I'd find him attractive. Because yes, sisters, against all Tinder rules, I accepted his invitation to take me out based on the interesting conversations we had, his pictures didn't really reveal much. To make matters worse, the man had no social media. No Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, no nothing. I was literally going in blind on this one. Blind, but not entirely.
My intuition had been guiding me from the moment that we matched and I could feel that it was pushing me to take the risk to go and see where all of this would lead me. And as crazy as it may sound, when I saw him walk towards me at the bar and felt every ounce of my body freeze, I understood why exactly I was standing there. At that moment, I knew...
"Oh, there it is... Here's the rest of my life. It's finally arrived."
Our date lasted for a couple of hours and every second of it was a confirmation of the revelation I'd had earlier. We started by digging even deeper into each other's souls, wanting to know about each other's dreams and biggest regrets. About our love languages, our way of communicating when we're angry and whether or not we feel fulfilled. About how we picture the future, how important family is to the both of us and how our mothers would react if we ever were to bring one another home. I'd always let him go first; I didn't want him to analyze my answers and say the right things on purpose -- I wasn't about to be played.
But despite that, every one of his responses still matched with mine and it made my heart race a little faster every time. Considering the way he was making me feel, it was necessary for me to ask him, before I accidentally let three my walls down and allow him in, whether he just wanted to have a good time or if he actually wanted something, to which he replied: "If you just want to have a good time, then so be it. But if you want something, I'm DOWN."
I nodded and smiled slightly but in my head, I was already planning the wedding. He dropped me off at my hotel and before I got out of the car, we exchanged our first kiss. Contrary to what one might expect, I didn't invite him upstairs. I knew the opportunity to spend the night with him would come again. And indeed, from then on, we didn't let go of each other. I spent the rest of my trip in his company. We went on more dates, ate some food, had a few drinks... We sometimes talked for hours, sometimes had sex, sometimes simply enjoyed each other's presence in complete silence.
Getting to know him was like getting to know a new version of me.
I didn't know it was possible to feel this happy, this peaceful and somehow so appreciated for who I truly am and all the things that I bring to the table. In the midst of my mess, life seemed enjoyable again. The more time we were spending together, the more I would notice how similar we were and how different we could be at the same time. Yet, just like the Yin and the Yang, we assembled perfectly. At a later stage, I was defining our relationship not as the comfort zone that we have to get out of in order to grow, but as the comfort zone that requires us to constantly grow as individuals. Both of us were aware that that type of bond doesn't happen often in a lifetime. So, we decided to take it long-distance. This is how, on my end, these six years of singleness and loneliness came to an end...finally.
Today, however, I'm writing about my pain. It's a kind of pain that I've never experienced before. A kind of pain that's had me curled up in my bed for a week, suffocating at the idea of having to live another day every time the sun rises. A pain that makes me hate myself for all the things that I am, and all the things that I'm not.
He left me.
A week after my visit this January, he made the decision to end our relationship because of a conversation that we had back when we first met that triggered his desire to live more purposefully and caused him to turn his life around completely. It made him do everything that I've done. He quit his job, moved in with a family member and went back to school to set the ground for his new career. There again, we were in alignment. But this time, our singularities literally disconnected him from me:
"Our relationship isn't part of my priorities right now. And, clearly, me not giving you enough attention makes you unhappy. Then, you become needy. I don't have time for that. [...] I'm unable to give you even the bare minimum of what you need right now. I know that you can do that but I'm a man; I'm incapable of focusing on figuring out my future as an individual and my future with you at the same time."
It doesn't sound that bad, I know. And from the outside, there's a lot of hope that we rekindle when the time is right for us both. The thing is, when I asked him if he still wanted me in his life, he never responded. And to this day, he still hasn't hit my line.
What would you answer to the question, "What's your biggest fear"?
Mine is to be abandoned.
My biggest fear is to see the people that I love walking away from me without looking back like I never mattered. It's being down on my knees, eyes full of tears, begging them to stay. It's reading their sweet words over and over again, not understanding how feelings can expire just like that. It's needing that closure in order to move on that I never really seem to find. It's wondering what's so wrong with me that always causes people to want to exit my life. It's feeling my heart constantly aching because it's never going to be whole again.
It's all the late nights spent questioning my worth and the importance of my own existence. It's looking for everything that makes me not enough of one thing and too much of another and trying so hard to find that balance between the two so that someone can come and finally be willing to stay. It's desperately hoping that someday, I'll hear the words "I love you" coming from someone other than me.
This isn't the first time I've been rejected by someone I love. As a matter of fact, I know the feeling too well. The more I mature, the more I'm able to recognize my fears, understand them and, by doing so, find a way to overcome them. Though I wish I could share with you the secret to beat rejection, unfortunately, this one still defeats me every single time.
The one thing that I can share with you however is the title of the book that I've read multiple times for all the reassurance and inner peace it instantly provides me with: What a Time to Be Alone: The Slumflower's Guide to Why You Are Already Enough by Chidera Eggerue.
Here are some of my favorite passages from the book:
1. “You are allowed to outgrow people and people are allowed to outgrow you [...]"
"We cannot expect the people we love to move at our pace. And we can't expect the same from them either. It just isn't fair. People grow, their priorities change with their opinions and, before you know it, they just might not have time for you anymore. [...] learning to let go of what no longer serves us is key."
2. “For the world, I’ll always be too much of one thing or not enough of another, but for myself, I’ll always be enough.”
3. “Anytime you find yourself in an environment that dilutes your self-esteem, picture four-year-old you and try your best to be her hero.”
4. “Nothing everybody ultimately does is because of you.”
5. “The sooner we stop pretending to be immune to feelings that scare us, the sooner life will begin to make sense.”
6. "What's mine won't miss me [...]"
"Life really doesn't require the amount of stress we exert on it most of the time. Learning to accept that everything is where it needs to be will give you the peace and clarity that you need to focus on what really matters: yourself."
When I met this man, it was clear that I was going to write about our love story, but not once had I imagined myself writing about its ending. Yet, here I am, 2,000+ words in. I don't usually allow myself to be this transparent and vulnerable to the eyes of the world, especially if the difficulties that I go through can't serve as a lesson.
But, I realize that it's not always about having it all figured out and seeing the positive side of every breakdown. Sometimes, it's about letting your sisters know that you're fighting the same battles. That no matter how successful they think you are at life, you, too, are hurting and that you're in this together.
If you haven't done so already, check out Chidera Eggerue ode to self-love:
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The most Gemini woman you'll ever meet. Communications & community enthusiast, I run a media platform centered around spirituality, and I'm always looking to connect with fellow creatives. Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @savannahtaider
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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