“If I’m not the one for you, you gotta stop holding me the way you do.”
— Adele, Water under the bridge, 25
Love is an amazing thing. It’s said to have the ability to change our brain chemistry. We get hooked on love like a drug addict and latch on to our lover for dear life. Like we need them more than food, water, and air. They become our source of happiness and meaning.
Losing love is a tragic thing. Like withdrawal from a drug with a lethal high — it’s a gruesome wake-up call. A slap in the face. The sting of waking up to the cold-wet alarm of a bucket of water dumped over your head when you’re in the middle of an amazing dream that you never wanted to wake up from.
It’s crushing. It’s suffocating. It’s like having an asthma attack under water.
Just when you thought you were suffering as much as possible, it somehow gets worse and in ways that don’t even make sense. You’re lost at sea with no cell service and no land for miles. You’re in a fog. It’s all of the things you’ve heard that you thought sounded way too melodramatic to be true.
So how does one cope with crushing someone else’s heart into a million tiny pieces? I’ve been on both sides of the coin for this one and they both suck. Granted, one tends to suck a thousand times more than the other, but they both suck none the less.
I guess the better way to phrase this is: what is the best way to go about breaking someone’s heart?
Rule number one is: don’t leave the door cracked. Don’t leave a little bit of hope for that person to hold on to. Yes, it feels great to know that someone loves you so much that they’d hold on to the very frayed-almost detached rope of hope that you’re dangling for them over a hollow pit. But it’s not fair to lead them to such a dangerous situation when you know damn well that that rope is going to break one day, leaving them to fall to another crushing blow.
You don’t get to put them on hold and keep them hostage in case you change your mind or find that things don’t work out with anyone else or whatever other lame reason you come up with. That’s just selfish and you know it. Don’t give them hope. Don’t contradict yourself – saying one thing then doing another. Don’t be inconsistent. Floating in and out as you please with no regard to how it may affect them. Don’t break their heart over and over again.
Give them time and space to heal. Let them hurt and break and hate you so much that they manage to get to such a desperately low point that they’re forced to fix themselves. Forced to reconcile all the broken pieces. Forced to rebuild from where they left off before you stepped into the frame. Forced to revisit who they were and adjust as necessary to become who they are. Forced to find new things to make them happy. Forced to find a new source of meaning. Forced to find new nourishment, new waters. Forced to breathe new air and relish the simple joy of breath like they did before the quivering thrill of snorting love directly into their lungs.
It’s not the same and it’s not supposed to be. It’s less but a comfortable less. A calming and peaceful less that doesn’t feel like less once you readjust yourself to it.
It’s just enough.
Give them the room to accept that it’s enough. That instead of feeling the dark and empty pit of void where you used to be, they can actually feel whole. Like they felt before. Like they deserve to feel without being reminded of how things used to be. Forcing them to restart the healing process all over again. Hurting, breaking, hating you.
Let them get to enough. Let them heal.
Then maybe a couple of years from now. When they’ve convinced themselves that they’re over you. After they’ve dated a new person but it didn’t work out and now they’re just focusing on their career. Then, you can reintroduce yourself. Then you can do the “Just randomly thought of you” or the casual run-in at the grocery store. The proper amount of time would have passed.
Feel free to exchange numbers if necessary. Meet up for coffee to “catch up.” Infiltrate their mind and being. Remind them of all the things you once shared. Conveniently leave out all of the bad memories. (Don’t worry their brain will happily handle that part for you.) Stroll down memory lane. Let them remember all of the love. All of the good and pure.
Go right ahead and try not to break their heart all over again.