Often times when we hear the word relapse we think of relapsing from drugs or alcohol, but, you can relapse from anything you try to cut out of your life. One day you give up sugar, salt and binge watching Hulu, and the next thing you know you relapse and find yourself plastered to the sofa all weekend watching The Handmaids Tale while knocking back Haagen-Dazs and salted popcorn.

But what about love relapse? Let’s say you break up with your partner and make a vow to close that chapter in your life and start fresh. You do all the necessary means to try and make a clean break and you seem to be doing great. You start therapy, you find new hobbies, you make more of an effort to see your friends. You do whatever it takes to avoid a relapse. But, you are human. Weeks can go by and your fine, months go by and you think you are free then something happens to trigger a relapse. Maybe you get an email from your EX or he or she starts calling you a lot and sending emails to try and get back in your life and all of a sudden your ten steps back.

Next thing you know, you answer the calls, you reply to the emails, you respond to the texts and you wonder what the heck happened?

And the worse thing is when you find yourself alone in the relapse. You are embarrassed to admit to your loved ones that you are back in communication with your EX which has been deemed as a toxic person. And even worse is when you hide it to your therapist.

When I entered therapy a couple years ago one of my main goals was to work through breaking free from my EX. It took a lot of work and eventually his name left the table and I could move onto other topics of discussion but then things change.

I’ve been relapsing with my EX for months, and what’s worse is I’ve been hiding it from everyone, even my therapist. Last weekend I finally broke down in my session. The toxicity of our communication became overwhelming and next thing I know I am crying on the coach and admitted to my therapist that I feel bad for him and ashamed for me. I felt bad cause we did so much work to get me where I am and it must be disappointing to a therapist that has put so much effort and time helping me move on. I know that therapy is meant to work through this type of occurrence but it didn’t help that I had months of being alone in my relapse and now had to fess up to my therapist the truth.

He didn’t flinch. He did his job and we worked through it.

There are a lot of painful feelings you endure during a relapse and it’s only worse when you go through it alone. Should you find yourself in a relapse from any toxic element in your life you can choose to keep it a secret or reach out to those you love and trust to not judge and be there for you. We are human and one step forward but two steps back is okay. If you can keep it moving forward and keep making steps it’s okay if you have set backs. Just don’t feel like you need to endure relapses alone. It’s life, it happens.

Photo by Willian_Ferreira_Soares