submitted by Alex
I remember crying my heart out in one of the very filthy RER trains of Paris. It was moments after I kissed the boy I loved for the last time and climbed on the train, following our break-up. I’m not going to give you the nasty details but let’s say it was an amicable break-up and we decided to end our long-distance relationship because it was getting dysfunctional. Duh. I’m not gonna get into the whole ‘don’t get into long-distance, it’s not gonna end well’ debate, get into it, try it, maybe it lasts but DON’T blame the other person or yourself because you couldn’t make it, sometimes it’s not the people but the relationship that doesn’t fit. I’m also not going to talk about the do’s and don’t’s of long-distance relationships, my subject is more imminent and definitely more painful. So welcome to your tape, all break-upees.
Step 1: Cry. Wallow. Get ice cream. Get pizza. Get alcohol. Then get some more alcohol. Yep, all the clichés. But they’re much needed because you, my friend, are in a state very similar to shock. You just lost something very dear to you, maybe even a part of you. Just don’t think that you have to be strong, you just have to feel what you’re feeling and not suppress anything. I sadly had to take a train, walk alone in a hostile city I’ve always admired and go back to the apartment we rented in order to cry properly. I hope none of you never experiences something like this but if you do, DON’T throw yourself on the bed. It will smell like them. If you’re one of the lucky ones and don’t have their smell on you sheets, your bed is your best friend for a while. I’m not able to tell you for how long the wallowing will last, I just know you have to have it. But don’t fool yourself; those are very far from the last tears you’ll shed for them, not yet. Of course you will not have stupid fits every single time you find some of their stuff lying around but you will have some of them. I remember crying when I found his empty cigarette pack the first night trying to hug it. But then in a couple of weeks you will start crying less maybe not at all. You will feel stronger but don’t feel weak or defeated when it still hurts after some time. It will hurt and I don’t know when or if it will go away but I know I’m coping with it better every day.
Step 2: Don’t forget they’re hurting as well. I felt like a very bad person when I first realised that it feels good to think that he cried for me and that he’s hurting. I think it made me happy because we were still sharing something. But don’t try to make him feel worse out of revenge or because you will feel good. Try to cherish every memory you had together and think of those happy moments when you feel angry. I know you might’ve heard people advising you to focus on the bad ones but anger is a very passionate and invading feeling and that could make the hurting last even longer. I think I would choose being able to smile if I see him one day and not turning my back in anger or try to ignore him. Of course I’m still not at a stage where I wish he finds love and makes beautiful babies with someone else but I know I care about him being okay.
Step 3: Find your extremely brutal and brutally extreme breakup friend. You already know who I’m talking about. They’re the person who would patiently wait while they make you delete all the couple-y photos you have and then check all your 2000 photos to see if there’s anything left. They’re the person who tells you that it’s over now, they’re the one who tells you the things you’re afraid to tell yourself. But they must also have very radical ideas to make things truly shift in you. When I told my person I was feeling lonely and empty, she told me to talk to him. Cliché Relationship bibles would urge you now to stop reading or doing anything like that, I know. But that conversation was my step towards my first signs of healing because that’s what I needed and my person knew that.
Step 4: No questions left. You shouldn’t have any questions in your head about your breakup, about your or their faults or about how you both think and feel about your current situation. But what worked for me might not work for you. Maybe you will convince yourself that you have the answers, maybe you do have them or maybe you will pour your heart out to your significant other one last time. This is an important but a very personal step, but you can and you will somehow get through it.
Step 5: Reality. This is the step I’m in, so it’s our last step for now. The romantic memories of your relationship begin to lose their magic and so does he/she. You still love them but you realise that it’s love that makes everything magical and after the magic fades, you start to perceive them as a person, not your lover. You still think about them but the memories don’t captivate you or make you cry anymore. Your eyes fill up but then it goes away, or you smile but then you remember that was the past not the future. You still miss them, but you know now that you are missing the memory of them and you think about the reasons why you broke up. They begin to make sense. Your fantasies about seeing him again start to fade and seem silly. You still feel, maybe you feel depressed, even more depressed than before but now you are at least not living in your memories or your expectations; you see the reality of yourself, them and you. It hurts and is the worst stage ever but I feel like it is the healthiest thing to be experiencing in the long run. Stay strong, I know I’ll try.