Good News: After a few bad experiences this past week, I can take a deep breath in realizing that I am over my love/heartbreak thing…or at least, I’m pretty sure I am. The fact that I can breathe while intentionally and directly thinking about it is a really good sign. It also doesn’t strike me as a topic of interest in conversations anymore. I’m over it – and with relatively good feelings toward the other intact.
Bad News: Now I have to take a deeper breath and figure out what else it is that is making me die a little inside each day, because the aforementioned offers only trivial relief.
It’s scary that I might have to change a lot more about my daily life than I first anticipated; not my behaviour or habits, per se, but my relationship style (I’m talking friends, family, everything). I bend over backwards for people far too much, and convince myself that others’ needs are more important or urgent than my own. Every time, it’s like a bite out of me. I am a crumbling cookie. Hehehe.
I figured out which words I want to have tattooed with my [not yet existent] hourglass tattoo. “Ikke flere ofre,” a loose Danish translation for “No more sacrifices.” That is my promise to myself.
Now I just need a design. Any ideas? $20 if I use yours ;)
Details (e-mail email@example.com with any questions or suggestions):
- Hourglass (sharp or rounded, broken or intact) with most of sands at the bottom or spilling out
- Includes the text “Ikke flere ofre” in readable but attractive type
- Black ink only is preferable
I just came across a page in a notebook from about 2001 that I remember so clearly. I was waiting at the airport with my headphones on, and decided to give a little project a try. I focused on the lyrics, and for every phrase I heard about relationships, I jotted it down and moved on to the next song.
Once the page had been filled, I read over it, and scrawled across the top, “Part 1: The Romance, Part 2: The Reality.” The following is what came of the exercise.
You were like nothing I’d ever known
Loving you came easily to me
You needed love to light the shadows in your eyes
You became the light on the dark side of me
Two worlds collided, I didn’t want to miss a thing
I was living for the only thing I knew
There was nothing in the world that could change my mind
Who needed them when you meant everything
I’ve never felt so good since then
I don’t ever wanna feel like I did that day
Get over the faithful yesterday
Face to face with something I couldn’t have admitted
Look carefully, the result of the pain you committed
I could see the glow slowly fading from your eyes
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?
Everything’s made to be broken.
Everybody’s got a story that can break your heart.
I’m happy cause I smile but how much can I fake?
Still waking up late at night crying tears
Is it safe to look within?
Is it gone? Tell me what went wrong
I’d rather be alone than unhappy
And I don’t want the world to see me, cause I don’t think that they’d understand
It’s the human connection that kept us apart
Without you in my life I’m completely incomplete
This is what you do
You make me come, you make me complete,
You make me completely miserable.
I bet most of you recognize at least a few songs out of there! I challenge you to pick a topic, try the same thing, and share the results below.
Sometimes you see a PostSecret that sounds like it came from your very lips, though it was submitted by a complete stranger. There is comfort in knowing you are not alone.
Thank you to whoever sent in the following secret, because even if I am incapable of forgetting or forgiving the hurt, someone out there is just as stuck and it makes me feel less powerless.
How to get over a heartbreak/breakup/male-based disappointment or emptiness:
Now. Seriously. :)
*A good deal of the second novel, New Moon, follows the main female character through painful and stagnant heartbreak. If you are still in a bad place, stick to Twilight!
And yes, as a matter of fact I am reading a book a day. What’s it to ya? :P
My heart beats fast every time I hear from him, or think he might have forgiven me…
I can’t help but cry when it’s not the case.
I hate that I can’t control this.
How far do I push the Q-tip to make it go away?
…Is saying goodbye to someone you care about because you are bad for them.
It was so hard to let you go until I realized what I have become to you. Someone became that for me once, and time alone has not been enough to heal me yet.
You are wonderful. I’ll be sorry for a long, long while…but it’s worth it if you will be happy.
I’m starting to see that, eventually, I can be happy too.
Does anyone else out there experience love as simply the flip-side of hate, like the two are easily confused in an emotional moment? I have a lot of trouble forming intimate connections (even with family members), so when I let someone in, the simplest betrayal is quick to ignite my hatred – this is my love demon. Typically, my style is to be defensive, but something about a betrayal of my heart puts me on the offense, and I get MEAN. I watch myself as it happens and wish I didn’t know I would regret it later, but that would involve holding onto the anger for longer, which isn’t healthy either. Is this something I can get over? I understand the song “Tainted Love” more and more, haha. Oh yeah – I also laugh and smile at inappropriate times (i.e. discussing my depression in person). Another of my choice defense mechanisms.
The worst part of my love/hate relationship is that it is, quite complexly, with myself. I am emotionally stunted. I am the one torturing myself with my thoughts, my jealousy, my fear of rejection, of not being ‘good enough’ – but when I embrace my tendency toward commitment-phobia (only two men have been the exception to this rule), all I do is put up more walls and turn inward to someone who, frankly, is not very supportive.
I tried to protect someone I really care about from my anger, and gave lots of subtle warnings and guidance for dealing with my moods…my way of compensating for having those sensitivities and not knowing how to overcome them. I really didn’t want to hate him. I am watching myself become more emotionally high-maintenance, and he just didn’t have the extra effort to expend, I guess.
Result: I had a really angry day, and cried a lot, and bridges were burned (though may be reparable).
Happy thoughts, anyone?
When my parents ask about him, they never fail to remind me how easygoing and happy I was with him. I make up complicated excuses about bad timing, long distance, anything…because it’s so much easier than speaking the simple truth out loud, and I never want them to think less of him for it. He just didn’t want me enough.
[Don't attach this to the last post. I'm not some heartbroken drama queen; let's just say, my brain won't shut up and I'm hoping that letting it loose anonymously on the internet - whether or not someone reads it - will take a weight off. I guess it's obvious I'm still breathing, at least.]
“Don’t take your love away from me.
Don’t you leave my heart in misery.
If you go, then I’ll be blue,
‘Cause breaking up is hard to do.”
I’ll bet that the young adults singing those lyrics in the 1960s didn’t imagine that breakups could get any worse. They could have been doomed to bump into their ex every day for the remainder of their undergrad at a small-town university. Every time they went out to one of the two local bars, they could have had to go with the full anticipation of running into them there, too. With their cellular phones. Which come with text messaging. Which mixes badly with bars.
The gym? Don’t even kid yourself. Thanks to online registration and MSN, they probably would have synched up their schedules over the summer, remember? Worse yet, they could have had to break it off officially on Facebook, and face any number of wall posts ranging from “omg we have to talk” to “I’m sorry you guys broke up, I thought you were such a perfect couple! He is so nice!” Um, thanks.
It’s a shame that things should ever end badly with someone you once cared about, but I am a firm believer that passion on one hand is easily transferable to the opposite. If you love someone and they betray your expectations, it is much easier to hate them than if you only somewhat liked them. If they didn’t make you hate them, it’s harder to get over them. That’s the catch-22; either way, it is a waste of your energy.
So, what is the ideal breakup? Obviously it would have to be one that is genuinely mutual, and probably with the understanding that the compatibility was never intimate. Ideally, this couple would remain friends.
Friends. How often does this actually work out? Many of us have had the blessing of remaining friends with at least one of our ex-whatevers, with a minimum amount of post-partum awkwardness. But let’s please get one thing straight, once and for all: if they were not your friend when you were with them, there is no good reason to be their friend now. More importantly, if they treated you badly when you were dating, they definitely do not deserve your friendship afterward. I have heard about so many of these ex-couples pulling the friend card, only to ditch plans or do something thoughtless and retort with “you can’t get mad at me, you’re not my boyfriend anymore!” Does anyone else see something wrong with this?
The same problem exists with FWB—Friends with Benefits. A pre-existing emotional attachment means there is always a whole new opportunity to get hurt. But that topic deserves a whole article of its own.
The fact is, it’s hard enough to maintain a balance within a relationship, but what happens when you break up and you stop “having the right to be angry at them”? Your emotions have to be transformed into something productive, or else you might feel—and start to act—a little crazy.
Everyone deals with breakups in their own way, but some common themes seem to come up in the process of moving on. The bad news is, many of us probably don’t make it to a full reconciliation before we graduate, and the time we invested into this relationship is ultimately lost.
Sometimes a breakup can start off amicably, but the careful analysis of the other person’s behaviours, which we tend to use as cues for our own responses, can result in some bitter miscommunications. You say hi to them in passing; they don’t hear you; suddenly, they have ignored you. Next time you see them, you ignore them. They notice. Downward spiral.
There are two main variations of this process, in my mind. There is the Shaft, in which one person literally pretends they didn’t see you so they don’t have to communicate at all. We might pull this with people in our everyday life if we’re too busy to genuinely converse, but it takes on a whole new meaning when this is someone you used to let kiss your lips.
The other one is the Brush-off: you make eye contact, get the nod or the quick “hi,” and it’s over. This one comes off just a little more insulting, because it acknowledges one’s presence, and then implies mere acquaintanceship. It can make you want to scream “I’VE SEEN YOU NAKED!”
Maybe they really are just treating you like a normal person; respectable, but more distant than you’re used to. This can be painful for the simple fact that you are not supposed to be a normal person to them. You were their #1, at one time. Priorities change.
A distressing downside to remaining in close proximity to an ex is that it is glaringly obvious when they have moved on. You begin to notice them with the same person at different places, at different times, and you put the pieces together. Or you hear it from a friend. Or Facebook. Goodness gracious, Facebook, how complex you make our lives.
Seeing your ex with someone else can arouse feelings of jealousy. You are the one that knows them so well, and spent time trying to make them happy, and it’s hard to ignore that someone else now seems to be happy with them. Especially if you do not yet have a ‘someone else’. One tip from a magazine helped me through this phase of my breakup. It instructed readers to write down 5 things about your ex that drove your crazy, and carry it around in your wallet. Every time you get that horrible feeling in your chest, pull it out and remind yourself that you can get along without those things.
Sometimes, getting back with our ex, or fantasizing about it, stops becoming “giving it another chance” and just becomes a bad habit. Change is scary as hell, and we prefer the familiar. Eventually, you will be able to relive the good parts without fooling yourself into thinking that’s all your relationship was. There is always a reason things turned out this way, and we make mistakes to learn from them.
One of the parts of a breakup that we never think about until afterwards is the stuff. Sure, there’s your stuff that they have, and their stuff that you need to give back. But I’m talking about the “our stuff” stuff. If you’ve been together with someone long enough, or made the leap to sharing rent, it can feel like a divorce. Worse yet, by then you’ve developed mutual friends. I hang out with Bob more, so now he’s my friend. You knew Jane first, so you can have her.
Any friend of an ex-couple knows the dangers of getting in the middle, and it’s hard to avoid. Realistically, sometimes you do have to pick. Sometimes you lose touch with both of them. Sometimes you have to be open and clear about your intentions of continuing to pursue a friendship with both.
It’s no wonder that some people have trouble committing again after experiencing the awkwardness, hurt, or inconvenience of a close-quarters breakup. Of course, a lot of that depends on how much time or effort was invested in the first place; there is also no doubt that some people bounce back faster than others.
I think the key to getting back to a positive, adaptive point of view is to think of your breakup in terms of incompatibility rather than their fault, my fault. You are learning more about yourself, and what you want—or don’t want—for your relationships in the future.
We can’t let a bad breakup stop us from finding happiness somewhere else, or with someone else. We can’t let it make us cynical. Even if we are doomed to linger in misery for a while, they say it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.