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Quarantining With My Ex is the Confirmation I Needed: It’s Time to Let Go
by Jonnelle Ballard
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April 28, 2020

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Quarantining With My Ex is the Confirmation I Needed: It’s Time to Let Go

Jonnelle Ballard and her family. (Photo courtesy of Juhs Photography)
Jonnelle Ballard and her family. (Photo courtesy of Juhs Photography)

This time of social distancing and quarantine has indeed affected each and everyone of us in different ways. Some have picked up new hobbies or have become more in tune with what’s important in their day-to-day. While others are wheeling in feelings of chaos and confusion because of the uncertainty transpiring in our world. As for me, this time has made me dig deep into my internal compass to finally reveal inner truths often camouflaged with keeping up with the everyday hustle and bustle before the coronavirus outbreak.

I am six months post break up with the father of my three children; however, we still share the same residence and are learning how to co-parent effectively. While this has been a significant adjustment for us, the mandatory stay-at-home order made me accept the finality of our relationship. It also allowed me to do some soul searching! When I say soul searching, I mean peeling back layers of emotional scars and wounds. Ultimately, leading me down a much-needed journey of growth and self-fulfillment. It was intentional. It was healing. 

He has experience from previous relationships with breaking up and co-parenting, I do not. Since the beginning, my life has revolved around our relationship and our children (both biological and my bonus kids). I was given the experience of being a mom before I ever gave birth, and we’ve built a family that for me, wasn’t so simple to walk away from completely. Prior to the stay-at-home order going into effect, I lived in limbo with our “situationship.” It became the norm for all of us. 

Related: How I Found the Courage Within to Be My Own Best Friend

However, when there were rumblings of the possibility of a state-mandated stay-at-home order, I specifically asked him, “If we are quarantined to our home for a few weeks, are you going to be with us or somewhere else?” He confidently and instantly replied, without question, he would be with us. At that moment, that was the comfort I needed because it had been months of back and forth, ups and downs, apologies, and just not giving a (you know what). 

It seemed we were coming to some resolve! Finally, something we both agreed on that made sense for our family. But things quickly changed. The moment he was not there once the order was put in place was my final wake-up call. Every day leading up to this point was solely based on the energy between us. 

Jonnelle Ballard and her children. (Photo courtesy of Juhs Photography)
Jonnelle Ballard and her children. (Photo courtesy of Juhs Photography)

That is not a healthy way to survive, especially when you’re not just trying to survive but thrive, both individually and together as a unit. We blocked each other on our cellphones only to turn around and hug, make-up, function like a healthy family then go back to arguing. We’ve gone days without saying a word at all, which actually says a lot, in my opinion. It was exhausting, but that particular day, I was officially burnt out.

Being an essential employee as a registered nurse (RN) working during this pandemic has proven to be a major stressor. Honestly, I don’t always have the energy to breathe life into both my personal and professional, especially right now. 

Related: In Search Of: Fulfillment

Some days, I only want to come home and crawl into bed. I will admit, I do miss sharing every detail and little things with my once best friend, but change is inevitable, and sometimes holding onto the promises of the past can limit your emotional, mental and physical state if you allow it to. Now that I’ve had a moment to process many of my thoughts and feelings, what I’ve discovered about myself is more rewarding than figuring out what was lost. The reality is no matter how much you love someone, sometimes things don’t work out, but that’s okay! 

You still have options such as accepting “what was” and moving forward with “what is” or staying stuck. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned throughout this ordeal is that I never want to “stay stuck” in a particular state of mind or situation that is limiting instead of evolving because either way, life still moves forward. Although it was not an easy feat in keeping it real with myself and finding the courage from within, here’s what I discovered. 

The Blame Game

It’s not about how it started or ended. It is 50/50, with each of us taking accountability for our wrongdoings or shortcomings that contributed to the situation. Owning my part in allowing certain things to transpire from day one that continued was, unfortunately, one of my contributions that negatively affected our foundation. 

Blurry Vision and Boundaries

Having grey areas of uncertainty in your relationship cannot coexist with a fruitful, longstanding commitment. Of course, I cried more times than I thought I could handle. But that wasn’t the root of what was blocking my sight. It was because I was still in a committed place and engaging in relationship behavior. I learned the hard way that you cannot set new boundaries by old definitions. 

Jonnelle Ballard. (Photo courtesy of Juhs Photography)
Jonnelle Ballard. (Photo courtesy of Juhs Photography)

You’re Not Lost. Just in Need of a Tune-Up! 

I cringed when people would say things such as, “Just wait until you find yourself again.” Excuse me? I am now a mother of three, so the old me is not coming back, nor is she welcomed into this new place in my life. I’ve had to make a few adjustments and as Alicia Keys so effortlessly reminds us: 

I’m too busy finding myself/I got this/I found me, I found me/Don’t be mad, it’s just the brand-new kind of free/ That ain’t bad, I found a brand-new kind of me.” 

On the contrary, I’ve been beyond grateful to every person who reminded me of just how truly dope I am. Sometimes life can get us down, and to be reminded of this while going through a break-up helped me tremendously in more ways than one. 

Be Cautious With Unsolicited Advice

It took me months to get to this place, but every ear is not for talking to. This is crucial because, despite the circumstances, I still want to see this man win. Everyone won’t understand this, but also, they aren’t in my position, so they don’t have to. Sometimes, separating the negative feedback from constructive criticism for the betterment of our situation was challenging. Just remember, the choices you make are the choices you have to live with, not anyone else. 

Words of Wisdom

And lastly, a quote I’ve come to love is that “Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it’s better to leave them broken than try to hurt yourself putting it back together.” Instead of trying to fix the broken pieces I’ve learned sometimes, it’s more about starting over to create something better, first beginning with me. And in the process giving myself the grace I need and deserve to do just that. 

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