When it came to dating, I never seemed to choose the right people for me. I had a terrible pattern of dating people that were emotionally stunted or had personal issues beyond any help I could give. I ignored red flags that were waving directly in my face for as long as I could. I spent so much time playing therapist to my partners that I never allowed myself to confront my issues. I knew I had them; I just never knew how bad my emotional trauma was until recently.
I started dating my now partner a little before the pandemic began. A whole new can of worms had opened up for me in this relationship, and it opened my eyes to the amount of self-healing I needed to do. My partner deserved the best version of me, so I decided it was time to go back to therapy. All of the trauma I had subconsciously buried deep down was finally rising to the surface, and I had no idea how to handle it. Though the beginning of our relationship wasn’t easy due to external factors out of our control, my issues were not making it any easier. I was causing unnecessary arguments because I was having difficulty dealing with my insecurities and triggers that stemmed from previous relationships. My trust issues were at an all-time high, and I felt terrible that I brought all of these issues into my newfound relationship. I started out seeing my therapist weekly as I knew there was a lot to unpack within myself. I became more aware of my emotional triggers, and after a couple of months, I was finally able to let go of some of the pain I had been carrying with me for years. It felt like my emotional well-being was starting to improve, but I was unprepared for what the pandemic was about to cause.
We had planned trips, cute dates and were looking forward to the boundless concerts we were going to attend when we first got together. Unfortunately, the pandemic began, and our adventures were cut short. We only had five months of freedom under our belt. We found ourselves self quarantining together since we decided to move in together at the start of the pandemic. Days went by, and things didn’t feel any different. I was already used to staying home often, and I preferred it that way. Or so I thought. I had never shared my personal space with anybody other than my siblings before. It was a new experience for both of us. I, however, did not handle it very well in the beginning. The pandemic started to take its toll on me. Quarantining in one bedroom, constantly in the presence of each other while being the only one financially providing due to my partner losing their job, anybody would start to feel overwhelmed. Since I could not see my therapist weekly because I could not afford the copay anymore, I was stuck seeing her monthly. The threat of the virus started weighing me down mentally. My anxiety and depression worsened the more I was stuck inside with my thoughts, and the disagreements between my partner and I grew more frequent. I couldn’t help but feel robbed of time, experiences, of everything we had planned, and it made me angry. Even though things weren’t going great, I was not about to let this relationship go without a fight.
I did my best to utilize the tools my therapist provided to me outside of our sessions. I couldn’t allow myself to lay in bed sulking anymore, so I had to start using my time productively. I forced myself to read more, going to the park with my partner and dog, and writing. I even went as far as socializing with my friends whenever safely possible. I knew I had to keep myself occupied as much as possible as not to allow myself to fall back into a depressive state. Slowly but surely, my mental health and my relationship have drastically improved from where it was at the start of the pandemic, thanks to my partner’s support and cooperation and my therapy sessions. My partner eventually found a job after weeks of applying, and we went back to sharing the finances. They even agreed to attend couple’s sessions with my therapist and me to work on our communication issues. As a person with a cynical view of life, I can’t help but feel extremely grateful to have a partner who is as understanding as they are and offers optimism to my world.
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