So it’s nearly 2 years since my now ex-boyfriend started breaking up with me and I’m only now just starting to realise how to actually deal with it in a proper way.
I guess this is part of the therapy.
We had been together 2 years ish. I had been graduated a year, and he was about to finish his masters when he got an amazing job offer in London. He started in 3 weeks, and I was going too.
So that settled it, we were going to move to London together. We started to plan things. Where we would live, where I would work, what we should do with all our stuff.
One night we went out to dinner to celebrate. I don’t know how I didn’t see it coming. He totally blindsided me.
“Once we’re settled, I think we should live separately.”
It was like a bullet to the heart. I broke down in the middle of the restaurant. He ushered me into a cab and took me home.
I completely blocked it out. I tried not to think about what he had said and just continued with the move. There was, after all, a lot to organise.
He didn’t bring it up again. We moved to London, into a family friend’s house — the pair of us sharing a room, a bed.
Then one night, about 2 months later, we were in bed. “We should break up.” He said, and I was as hurt as ever. I knew it was coming, but I had ignored it. Pretended it wasn’t happening.
But it was happening.
I cried for 20 minutes. He shut me up the only way he knew how. We had sex and fell asleep.
When I woke up, I said to myself ‘no more’. I told myself to be strong. I wasn’t going to waste any more tears on him.
So I tried to toughen up. In hindsight, I wasn’t being tough — I was just ignoring the issue at hand. But at the time, in my mind, I was dealing with it and I was dealing with it well.
I prided myself on how ‘well’ I dealt with it. People would say to me ‘oh my god, isn’t it awkward? You still share a bed!”
I’d laugh and say it was fine. Say that it didn’t matter. Who cares right? We didn’t love each other anymore.
In my naivety, I just thought love was like a switch. If I just told myself that it didn’t matter, it wouldn’t. So I told myself it didn’t matter.
I stopped thinking about it. I completely shut off that issue from myself, and that’s what I prided myself on. Dealing with it ‘properly’.
At work, people would tell me how well I was dealing with it. How I seemed so normal. This only further reinforced my belief that I was, in fact, dealing with it properly.
So it’s nearly 2 years since he started breaking up with me and it’s only now that I’m starting to realise that I did not deal with it properly. All that emotional baggage was just brought to my new relationship. Everything that I didn’t deal with just surfaced in a new, horrible way. Reared its head with someone new.
What really sucks is that life isn’t a movie. You don’t always get the closure you need. You carry issues over to a new relationship and sometimes, there’s nothing you can do about it.
I tried to confront these issues recently. I asked my ex why he thinks we broke up.
“You’re not a bad person.” He said. “I don’t think you did anything wrong.”
There was no concrete answer, but I guess that’s how life is. Sometimes things just don’t work out. It’s no-one’s fault, but we act like it is. We beat ourselves up, thinking that it’s something we did wrong.
The mistakes that we do make, those are what we have to own up to. We have enough demons to face in this life without making our own.
For my next breakup, I know what to do. I’m going to deal with it the old fashioned way — buy 3 bottles of wine and smash up some Adele CDs with a hammer.
It might sound melodramatic, but at least I’ll be dealing with it properly.
EDIT: So many people started chatting to me on Twitter and in real life as a result of this post. Hearing everyone’s stories, or that this post really resonated with them honestly made writing it worth it.