Sign up for the newsletter

Get the latest story right in your inbox!

Popular Topics

4 AM Monday morning

April 16, 2018 Karianne 4 min read 4 Comments

I didn’t think I could feel any more pain than the night my ex-fiance told me he wanted to see other people. But he promised he loved me, so I stayed loyal to him—dangling like the loose string of a worn out sweater. It wasn’t until I met Joel that I had the courage to leave for good.

Like a coward, I ended the pseudo-relationship with a text. I spent most of the next day in the shower, crumbled to my knees. All I could do was let the water wash over my back like rain and mix with my tears as it spiraled down the drain.

Fast-forward eight years. It’s 4 AM and a similar pain has stolen my peaceful sleep.

My heart hurts, and there’s nothing I can do to make it hurt any less.

I’m crying because I’m weak.
Because I’m stressed.
Because my dog is dying.
Because of school.
Because there’s no love between Joel and me.

We spent 7 years together, only to be farther from each other than when we started.

When I left my ex-fiance, I had time to cry. I could spend a week in pajamas and eat nothing but ice cream. But now I have school, full-time employment, side-jobs, hobbies, and relationships that require attention and sanity. Like an automobile held together with chewed gum, I don’t let myself slow down to feel anything. I don’t have time to fall apart.

But my wheels fell off and my frame just collapsed in the dust.

Does Joel feel it to? There’s no joy when we’re together. Sometimes we joke but mostly we argue. He likes to “debate” because he does it with his friends. I’m just a friend now. A friend to argue with and watch movies.

I’m sinking into something that’s not quite depression—I don’t feel like I have no hope. Rather, it’s like a seed that dies in the ground to grow. It feels good to actually feel something—but the feelings hurt. Like placing my heart against a cheese-grater, pieces of me come off and never return.

It’s 4AM and I’m stuck wondering if our purposes for life can co-exist in one family.

He saturates himself with entertainment, having decided that the purpose for life is to be happy. It’s not a bad purpose—happiness is a nice feeling. But what if you can’t? What happens when making yourself happy is your purpose and you’re not happy?

You fail.

Fail at not being happy, and fail and the purpose for life. Existing as an un-happy, double-failure sucks. I know becacuse I’ve been there. Happiness used to be the gauge by which I made all my choices, too. Does this make me happy now? No? Get rid of it.

My purpose is different from what it was when we started dating. Maybe that’s the struggle now. We remain committed to each other, but now we’re different people. I live my life based on showing others they are valued and loved. Are happiness and value really that far apart?

How much of these fears are from dreams?

I don’t have words to describe my heart-ache right now. It just seems like…a terrible waste of life.

I wanted to be married so badly—and after 7 years I thought surely Joel was the one. If we had been married 3 years ago it might have worked out. But I wonder, can either of us honestly claim to love the other now?

He hates that I’m always “trying to change him based on my extreme-Christian views.”

I hate that I’m not safe to be vulnerable around him—anything I say or do can and will be used against me. As the only Christian “representative” I have to be strong, ALWAYS. I can never show weakness or admit when I’m hurting. So Joel thinks I’m a stone-cold radical and he doesn’t know that hurt too.

I wish he loved me.
I wish I loved him.

Maybe I still do, and that’s why I’m hurting now. But if this is love, it doesn’t feel like I thought it would. It hurts. Is love supposed to hurt?

Maybe I’m still dreaming—we’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Maybe I missed the point entirely, cocooned in a world of sleep-deprived, stress-induced thoughts.

Maybe Joel doesn’t think any of this?

Maybe I’m dead on.

We’ll see.

I should sleep…

But I had to share my fears with you. Just in case you think you’re the only one that’s broken, or afraid.


You’re not alone.

Meet the author
Founder - Art Director - Animator | Website

Book progressBucket list

Karianne is the founder of Windmill Ways. She plays the cello professionally and currently works as an Art Director for a charity. Because she loves animated shows and movies, she studies 3D animation and graduated with a BFA with the unfortunate class of 2020. Her dream vacation would be just staying home, but "home" being a glamorous cabin somewhere in the mountains surrounded by forest.

Favorite band: Lord Huron
Favorite book: This Present Darkness
Favorite quote: "Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail." Proverbs 19:20-21 (NLT)

Would you like to share your story on Windmill Ways? Apply here.


  • TheBookLady April 17, 2018 at 5:36 am

    Such a heart-wrenching, insightful, BEAUTIFUL post. You have the maturity to look into the mirror of truth, and are finally seeing the honest picture of your life. Kudos for putting your pain into words, and having the courage to share it with others.

    • Karianne June 21, 2018 at 1:58 pm

      Thank you. I still can’t believe I shared these deep fears, but I’ve been so overwhelmed by the love from you and others. I think being afraid is something that people need to talk about more. We need to share our fears and help each other pull through. Don’t know that I agree with the “maturity” part, because I still feel like a whiny child. But thank you for the encouragement.

  • Cathy April 17, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    The pain you are feeling is grief for the lost love you wanted. The loss is real. The pain is real. The relationship was not real. You need to grieve your loss, feel your pain, go through the stages and eventually you will recognize what was missing. You are more eloquent in the telling of this story. You will see what you need and deserve. And you will not need years to know when your future loves are right. And you have friends who care deeply that are hurting now.

    • Karianne June 21, 2018 at 2:00 pm

      Thank you. I truly felt like all my fears came alive and just spilled over. That doesn’t happen a lot, but when it does I really appreciate your willingness to work through it with me. It means a lot!

    Share your thoughts