It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today we hear from “Birth Mother” who was struggling in her relationship and personal life after giving her baby up for adoption, saying that, because of her depression and stress, she and her boyfriend were at a “breaking point” and she wasn’t sure how to proceed. Keep reading to see how she’s doing now.
About four and a half years ago I wrote to you asking for advice on ending a relationship I had been in for over two years with a man who was with me through the adoption of my son (whom I conceived with someone else prior to dating him). I recently remembered I had written you, and I wanted to respond after re-reading my column, your response, and the wonderful comments from your readers.
Although I claimed to be asking for advice, what I was really seeking was permission to end the relationship. You see, I knew that I no longer wanted to date this person; I just couldn’t find the courage to admit that because of the incredible guilt and fear I was experiencing. I had not given myself time to understand the grief and loss I was experiencing in t he aftermath of the adoption. Giving my son up for adoption was a hard decision, one that I can’t take back. I’ve since learned it was only a small part of the pain I was experiencing.
As for an update on where I am now…well, it’s been quite a journey, one that I am incredibly grateful for. Within a couple years of writing to you, I ended my relationship, I graduated, and I moved to a new city, which catapulted me into a life of recovery. Many of your readers recommended attending a support group. I’ve been attending 12-step meetings for two and a half years, and they’ve been such a gift of healing for me. After my breakup, I dated someone else who wasn’t the right partner for me, and then I found myself single for over a year.
Being single was something I was so afraid of, albeit something I was unwilling to admit. Yet, it was the best thing I could have done for myself. I’ve been on a journey of learning who I am, what my limits are, what I like, and whom I want to spend my time with. I’ve healed old relationships from the past: with myself, with my family, and with my friends. I’ve developed connections in my new city, and I have built confidence in myself and my abilities.
I feel the most content I have ever felt in my life. I have hope, and I am learning to take care of myself before taking care of others. I want to thank you and the letter readers for their kind words. Although I wish I could have taken your advice sooner, I wasn’t in a place where I could do so. I must say, it has been worth the time it took to get here. I believe all of the well wishes and love in the comments were a part of the journey, even if they were a very small part.
Currently, I’m in a relationship with a fantastically supportive man. It feels great to be with someone because I genuinely want to be and not because I’m scared of what will happen if I’m not. Now I know, whatever I’m feeling is ok, and the only thing I can do is listen to it at the moment. When I don’t, I’m doing myself a disservice.
What a wonderful update, and a great reminder that, in the journey toward finding a healthy relationship, taking time to be (happily) single is as important as taking time to date. I wish you continued happiness and success!
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.