Modern heartbreak is grieving the loss of someone who is still alive. It is the pit in your stomach when you’re walking through the city wondering if you’re going to see them. And you will. You will.
Modern heartbreak is seeing someone who didn’t make you a priority holding the hand of someone else. It is screenshotting photos of that new flame, it is asking your friends what they have that you don’t, it is their photo burned into the back of your eyelids at 4am. It is insomnia, it is the small leak within your chest that turns into an oil spill. It is the kind of heartbreak that doesn’t seem to go away, it is the kind of heartbreak that stains you.
Modern heartbreak exists within the breaths between seconds. Between minutes. Between hours, between the time it takes for them to finally respond to your messages. It is noticing that they were all over Instagram or Facebook while you sat around and waited for them to acknowledge you. Because that is what modern heartbreak is. You can’t get away from it, even if you try. You are always being reminded that you aren’t important to them, that you aren’t on their mind anymore.
Modern heartbreak is quiet, and yet so loud. It is the little things that hang like weights in your ribcage. It is seeing that they no longer like your photos. It is seeing that they started following new people, that they are enamoured with new souls. It is noticing that they don’t hold you in bed anymore, it is noticing that they don’t put down their phone when you’re together anymore. They are somewhere else. You can feel the separation. It sends chills up your spine.
Modern heartbreak doesn’t just belong to you. It isn’t a secret you can keep curled under your tongue, it isn’t something you can hide away within yourself. Modern heartbreak is being asked why you deleted all the photos of your significant other. It’s being messaged when your relationship status changes. It is having to tell mutual friends that you can’t hang out with them when your tired love is there, because it would be too difficult, it would be too painful. Modern heartbreak is having to explain, and explain, and explain, because everyone sees it. Everyone sees it.
But at the end of the day, the hardest thing about modern heartbreak is having to convince yourself that being left is not a reflection of you as a person. The hardest part of modern heartbreak is the doubt it causes, the comparison, the jealousy. It is the worry that comes with knowing that we live in a generation that is oversaturated with options, that people can leave for the next best thing when something shinier and newer comes along. You see it happen all the time, and it breaks you. You wonder if that is what happened. It makes you think about all of the ways you could have been better. It makes you think about all of the ways you could have been more. And that is why modern heartbreak is so difficult, that is why it stings so much. Long after they are gone, long after you have moved on, you still wonder. You will always wonder.