How To Not Be Heartbroken When Your Ex Dates Someone New

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Lulu Lovering

For four years I was caught up in what I could only call an extremely unconventional relationship. It started out romantic in the most sincere of ways. We were expressive, overly thoughtful, and creative with this new treasure that we had found. We spent the nights, that turned into weeks, into months to cultivate this love that would later come to define nearly the entirety of my existence.

Throughout the years, our circumstances often changed. At the end of its course, it felt like we had been through it all. We started long distance with countries separating us both on an intensely emotional foundation made feasible through text messages, phone calls and Skype sessions. Before we had ever even held each other once, he had already known my deepest fears and strangest quirks. We were from the same hometown and found ourselves there together again for one summer that felt like a three month dream after we both returned from our journeys abroad.

No words could ever convey the intensity of my relationship with him. We were wildly passionate about each other, yet both too selfish to ever compromise. We argued for days until one of us caved and asked to be held in the other’s arms. It was typical for us to go weeks or even months without speaking, only to reconnect again on a bed of roses – pretending like nothing had happened at all. Peaks and valleys, we have said, are the perfect analogy for our conundrum of a relationship.

Nearly every day of those four years, I have thought about how I would react if he ever found someone new. The heightened awareness of how un-perfect we were for each other, paired with the desire that never seemed to fade seemed to me, ingredients for a massive heartbreak – especially if I were alone. 

Last week, that phone call finally came. It had been nearly two months since we had last spoken and I found myself missing the past in a hauntingly nostalgic way. We talked of the past, and our work, and the weather – and then he dropped the bomb. In a soft and apprehensive tone, he confessed he had been seeing someone new. He said he did not know if it was appropriate to be speaking to me and wanted to be respectful to her, but despite it all I am still one of his dearest friends. It was the moment. And I could hear the clockwork in my heart turning loudly in indecision. I was not sad, or upset, or nearly as miserable as I had always imagined to be in light of this news.

We talked for a while about the weirdness of dating other people, but I coaxed him to continue on with her. By the end of the conversation, I felt proud and relieved for us both for finally letting go. I believe every breakup starts with the agreement that it’s over and truly ends with an epiphany like this one – which sometimes takes years to come by.

To be happy for someone I have been so heavily involved with when he started seeing someone new took stepping completely outside of my selfish realm. It challenged me to remember the nights we spent up screaming into each other’s universes, hoping for an answer back. It took hours of revisiting the uncompromising conversations, silent dinners, and tears that came from perspectives that would never change.

Four years later, I could not be more excited for the separate journeys that lay before us both as Gwen Stefani’s “Cool” comes to mind. Life really works in funny ways.

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