This is not a love story. In fact, there weren’t even 500 days of it. Welcome to my take on a bad breakup (yes, there are multiple kinds and mine was the worst, ok?) [kidding. kind of.]
Phase one is no joke. Despite the fact that I lured you in here with one, when you’re going through a breakup it does feel like you’re the only person in the world to have hurt that bad. Every drippy love song on the radio, every friend who offers their condolences, every real life occurrence that used to bring you well, anything STILL pales in comparison the the hollow space once occupied in your chest.
Everything hurts. It may sound like a gross exaggeration, but I truly believe that there is no substitute for heartbreak. The flip side of that ever appealing shot at happiness comes in the form of half drunk whisky sours and Robbie Hart speaking to your soul. The end hurts, and unfortunately it isn’t near.
As the pain of the initial break subsides as you begin to relearn life without your ex there are moments of channeling your inner Amy Poehler and harnessing your inner Taylor Swift. It goes something like this:
When you’re still in your ‘breakup grace period’ [which as we know from Charlotte encompasses half the amount of time you were together to get over them] you can do things like drink Rosé and shamelessly listen to Taylor Swift without remorse. If you’re me, this period may have never ended nor began because those are 2 of the things I like to do in general. This element of a breakup is usually welcomed, arms outstretched. It helps to soften the blow of…
No matter how empowering and motivating new found freedom can be, there are always going to be those moments that make you return to The End. No matter how shitty the resolution or how terrible things may have become, the slightest thing can trigger a memory to overtake the last few days of happiness that had actually begun to string themselves together. For this, I offer the following advice from a lovely advice column I stumbled upon:
There is absolutely no shame or time limit on how long you’re allowed to feel whatever it is your feeling. Yes, eventually the Taylor Swift sit ins should become fewer and fewer, and the spontaneous Rosé (alcohol in general) consumption should fade out, but that “half the time” rule only applies to the hard truths. One of the best things I’ve read is that there truth I listed out above. There is muscle memory for love. In a sense its a phenomenon that can’t explained. Some days are going to hurt worse than others. Some days you’re going to feel like you’re 16. Somedays you might contemplate writing a Dracula Opera.
Just be honest with yourself. Pace yourself. Breathe. Just like that you’re alright again.
If we can get past the disillusion there is a new found perspective that can only come from nights not used to being spent alone. Looking back at the milestones,shifting from what went wrong to what we are able to salvage. A piece of that time to keep. It started out so lovely…it always does. But that distorts the facts, dilutes the rest of the story.There is a reason that you’ve ended up here, and though it may be the most painful part of the process, they’re important to remember.
-Don’t forget to include yourself in this equation. –
When you are in a relationship, you always have an out. You have an excuse for why. Or you can convince yourself you do. Allowing yourself the absence of guilt based on situations and character traits that undoubtedly became distorted as the relationship began to unravel only ensures that you make those same mistakes.
At the bottom of everything there is a place to admit them. We’re all capable of change, of being happy. But happiness is earned. The longer you cut yourself slack or place blame on others to distract from the thoughts that keep you up at night the more you’ll wish you were asleep. Focus on your good but know your bad parts better. The idea of an inherent vice is what dooms us all.
The beautiful thing about love is even after all of the ache, empty bottles, and slammed doors, there is still a piece of the beginning that remains as long as you need it to. Perhaps until your heart has found another way to heal. There is no absolution in heartache, but that is just as much as a gift as a curse. Loneliness shouldn’t be ignored, but perhaps the furthest thing you need is another pulse. We can be lonely for all kinds of things at the end of a broken heart. Find them out. Fill yourself up. Do something where the sole purpose of the effort is to make yourself smile, or maybe even just make yourself get out of bed. It will subside. Two feet on the ground.
The What If.
Ah, the most dreaded of all phases by the ones who love us the most.
We are never-ever-ever-getting back together. Like Ever…
On the heels of the achy reminiscent past period, this can be an incredibly intense storm to weather. Weather it.
Those wonderful friends and family who brought you dinner and listened to hours and hours (and hours) of your agonizing debates between whether or not your ex might have meant/said/felt ______? … They are living in fear that one of these days you’ll throw caution to the wind and revert back to undoing the last few weeks of progress with out so much of a half glance in their direction. In no way am I trying to trivialize the willpower this effort requires, but honestly your friends and family have suffered through the breakup right along with you. They didn’t sign up for a second round(which will be worse, it always is) or any rounds for that matter.
For those hopeless romantics who don’t want to hear that (and with whom I often identify with) I will remind you again of this: you broke up for a reason. Most likely reasons. The tides of love can overcome a great deal, but sometimes the levee breaks.
[In short: this is not you]
Yes it sucks. Yes it will get better. Yes it will take TIME. The single most important thing you can do in a breakup is accept that you did in fact break up. Sound insane? It kind of is, but it can take up until this phase for some of us to truly come to terms with that. In 99.9% of cases, any second chance should be decided much further down the road…after those changes you promised to make actually happen. Because they might not. Honestly they likely will not. Remember this when every fiber of your being wants to succumb to the false promise of comfort reopening the ex-wound would bring. Concentrate on how good it will feel when the day comes when you go out without your phone harnessed into your tights in case it vibrates. [baby steps] That special place they held in your heart will begin to fill up with other things. And other people. Soon enough, the storm will subside. And it will feel amazing.
The And Now?
Inside all of us is our Hillary Duff metamorphosis phase waiting to get out. While we’re not completely out of the woods yet, a breakup can provide a certain form of clarity for various aspects of our lives. Rather than mope around or jump head first into another relationship (please, please don’t do that) take the time to map out the things in your life you want to be different by the time you blow out the candles on a cake. Most likely you’ve been neglecting certain things including other relationships. It is depressing to look at the friendship casualties that often occur when two people start dating but if its any consolation they tend to weed out the true friends from the ones who just need someone to surround them. There are people you’ve lost touch with that you miss and there are people you’ve lost touch with you don’t. Differentiate between the two to start.
Realigning ourselves with people who genuinely want to be in our lives is essential, but don’t be afraid to reach out to some of the friends you may have lost along the way. Often times we’re put in a situation where we really don’t know whether or not its worth it to make the effort to salvage the friendship or just move on. Everyone has had a friend who fell of the face of the earth when they had a boyfriend only to come running back when the relationship ended along with their social life.
There isn’t a sure fire way to know if someone is worth it until you put yourself out there and ask them to talk about it with you. In my experience, this will tell you all you need to know about someone. While some people are forgiving, considerate individuals who would rather repair a relationship than focus on the faults… there are those people who would rather watch you grovel. Its depressing. Its harsh. But man is it ever true. There are going to be some people in your life that disappeared for the better when you tried your shot at happiness. Don’t focus on those people.
Partners are seldom the only thing to change during a breakup, channel the fresh start into a positive spectrum of change. The world is too big and life too short to dwell on people to whom you don’t matter. Surround yourself with people who allow you to be you. The Dr. Seus kind of you that comes with ups and downs and goods and bads and firsts and lasts and apologies and forgiveness. No one who truly loves you is going to blame you for those parts of yourself that you’re working to change. So love them back. And love you too.
You’ve made to the end of both this post and the most difficult part of a broken heart. To reinstate my point of focusing on yourself, I wanted to dive a little deeper into that whole ‘who am I?”‘ question asked earlier.
For a long time I tried to keep my writing a secret and was embarrassed whenever someone asked me about my Live Journal. Alas, I’ve always loved writing and there is nothing else I can think of that has provided me with a healthy, often cathartic outlet for whatever I’m facing in my life.
A pattern I’ve identified occurs when I am most happy and most sad… I write. I’ve somehow only managed to post things when I am in the middle of some Greek Tragedy or floating on the promise of something good. I want to change that.
For me, writing fills the void. I think that anyone going through this stuff knows that any (healthy) distraction is welcome when the goal is positive days in a row. Coming off of a not-so-great period, implementing constructive patterns for the future will do nothing but set you up to get back on your feet [possibly even heels].
And then you can get right back at it, eat up the promise of a full heart like you didn’t once have your heart broke. Sarcastic or not, there is a part of me that does believe in True Romance. I think that no matter how shitty the end of a relationship can feel, in that ending there is the promise of meeting the person that ensures we’ll never having that feeling again.
In the words of the voice of our generation, Miss Lana Del Rey,
Be Young, Be Dope, Be Proud.
And don’t be too hard on yourself. Chin up, darlin. You’re gonna be fine.