It’s Not You, It’s The Idea Of You

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We weren’t together for very long, but I’m still having a hard time getting over you.

I knew we weren’t in love, because we didn’t know each other well enough or long enough to even entertain the idea of love. We were young and things were new but probably not as exciting as they should have been. For me, that was okay. I’ve had exciting and it’s always been like a rocket launch gone wrong – all the hype and anticipation building up to one incredible moment when you lift off and think that this time it will work, this time we’ll be clear, this time we’ll shoot straight past the stars. But something always goes wrong, and as we watch the explosion, fire reflected in our eyes, I wonder if you are also silently questioning what we could have done better. I didn’t want exciting. I wanted steady, and strong, and protective. I wanted to wake up knowing that you were still there, that you were still mine. I was done with games. But your culture is more passionate than mine and maybe you mistook my steadiness for seriousness. You’re gone now though, so perhaps I’ll never know for sure.

Relationships can be fickle things. They say that if it’s not easy and flowing and good at the start, it will never learn to be that way. I should have known when we hit a rough patch so early in the relationship that things were not going well, but you apologized and I’m not one to hold a grudge so I thought we had moved past it. Within the week, things were over, and to me it was sudden. There’s still so much I don’t understand about what happened to us, but the person being broken up with rarely has a say in the finer details of the breakup, nor is there really much time for the kind of questions that come later when you’re sitting at home wondering what you did wrong.

Yes, in spite of all this and the time that’s passed, I’m not over you.

At the risk of sounding desperate, I’ll admit that I miss you. I miss talking to you, kissing you, knowing how your day was. I miss seeing you and going out to pubs with your fun, crazy friends. It was you who taught me that winning the approval of the friends does not guarantee that the relationship is going to work. It was you who proved to me that no matter how good things are for one person, the other might feel completely differently. It was you who decided you couldn’t give me something that I never asked for.

The thing is, I’m not sure if it’s really you I miss, or the idea of you. I don’t know if I miss being kissed by you or just being kissed, being in your arms or just being held, the idea of falling in love with you or just the idea of falling in love. It’s likely a little of both, but I don’t know how to separate the two, and the image in my head is so lovely that I’m not sure I want to. If you weren’t still trying to stay in my life, trying to finish plans we left incomplete, this might be easier. If you hadn’t said even after we broke up that you had liked our relationship the way it was, that you thought I wanted something serious, perhaps I would have been able to move on already, but you offered up a tiny glimmer of hope and I couldn’t help myself from holding onto it.

My friends say I’m blocking out all the red flags in our relationship — everything that pissed me off and every night that our plans fell through because one of our schedules proved to be too much, or because you canceled on me at the last minute. But you were my boyfriend, and I thought that this alone would be enough to inspire us to work past any issues. Perhaps I’m delusional for only wanting to remember the good parts of us —  to remember how happy I was and think that you were, for a time, just as happy too. Relationships are different over here, though — at home we still would have been in the “talking” stage. Defining the relationship might just have been what killed it. Again, I’ll probably never know.

No, I wasn’t quite in love with you. I was in love with all of the things I hoped our relationship could be, all the date ideas I had, all the things I wanted to know about you. I was in love with the possibility of falling in love with you, and it’s the idea I haven’t been able to shake out of my head in the weeks since we split.

This is the hardest part about breaking up — not only letting go of the person you cared about, but letting go of all the things you saw in the future with them. You’re forced not just to get over them, but to get over the idea of them, and that’s what cuts the deepest, especially when you’re the one with the door closing unexpectedly in your face. It’s why even unofficial breakups, the splits that you have with people you were never really “technically” involved with, are so difficult, because you looked at them and you saw a world of opportunity. It hurts knowing they looked at you and saw nothing but another notch in their belt or a page in their diary. It almost hurts worse knowing that they did not start off seeing you like that, but over time, somehow, that’s what you became. But you get through it, because moving on is the only way to open your mind to the possibility of falling in love with someone new.

So please excuse the inordinate length of time I’m taking to get over you. Because you see, it’s not just you I have to get over. TC mark

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