What I Learned After My 4-Year Relationship Ended

Roksolana Zasiadko
Roksolana Zasiadko

It all happened so fast. One day we were vacationing on a beach in the islands, more in love than I thought humanely possible. The next we were sitting on my couch, inches apart, crying and raising our voices and walking out the door without looking back.

To this day, I still can’t really tell you how we reached that point in time. I think a lot of events led to our downfall – poor communication, differences in ambition, inconsistencies in our life goals. What I can tell you is that all of the memories I had over the last 4 years with my best friend came flooding over me at all points of the day, and I felt like even hopping aboard Noah’s Ark couldn’t save me from the heartbreak I was drowning in.

But time is a funny thing. One day you’re standing in line at the gas station paying for your coffee, failing to hold back the waterworks when the cashier smiles and asks how your day is going. The next you’re walking through the city to work, blaring James Bay’s overly cliché breakup song ‘Let It Go,’ realizing that you’ve finally turned the corner you were meant to be exploring all along.

Absolution doesn’t happen overnight

It doesn’t happen after a few weeks or even a few months. But it does happen. You’ll never understand everything that went wrong. You’ll place blame in the wrong places and constantly try to convince yourself that if you had just done one thing differently, maybe things would still be the way they were. But if things were still meant to be the way they always were, you wouldn’t be going through this entire experience. People grow, circumstances change, and sometimes, you just have to learn to be okay with that. Eventually you’ll stop looking down at your phone, waiting for them to call and restore what’s been washed away. You’ll no longer dwell on the millions of ‘what if?’ moments that continuously haunt you at 2 a.m. You’ll finally allow yourself to move on and be happy.

After losing everything, you realize you can do anything

Your whole world has suddenly crumbled beneath you, and you’re convinced that you’ll never be able to collect the millions of scattered pieces and put them back together. But after you pick up that hundredth piece of the puzzle, you realize that maybe your relationship was more of a burden than a source of freedom. You turned down your dream job in a brand new city because you were afraid you’d lose them to a long distance relationship. You compromised on things that were important to you and downplayed your passions to put their wants and needs first. One day, you’ll remind yourself of the things you still love, and you’ll be able to relight the fire that’s always been burning inside you.

Your biggest heartbreak will be your biggest breakthrough

The good news is that when you’re at the lowest point in your life, there’s nowhere to go but up. You’ll start rebuilding your foundation to make it solid again because the alternative is spending the rest of your life in the hole you’ve dug yourself into. You’ll make yourself spend time with the people who still love you. You’ll cook your favorite meal for one instead of two. You’ll go to the park where you two always used to hike at, talking about everything and nothing for hours upon end. You’ll start creating new experiences for yourself, and you’ll stop letting your past dictate your future. You’ll reflect on how strange it feels to not think about them at every minute of every day. You’ll notice how that hollow, aching feeling inside you now comes over you only a few times each week, instead of a few times each day.

There’s a difference between loving someone and being in love with someone

You’ll never fully stop loving them. It’s impossible to go through such a significant amount of time with someone and just suddenly not feel anything anymore. You’ll always look back on the hundreds of beautiful moments you had together and smile and laugh. But you’ll never forget the moments that made you fall out of love, either. You won’t dwell on the negative, but you’ll remind yourself of the things that always felt wrong and held you back. And then it will happen. One morning you’ll wake up like any other, and you’ll realize that you still love them, but you’re not in love with them anymore. You’ll stop looking for the closure and answers that never came. You’ll open your heart to someone else, and you’ll feel more terrified and liberated in that moment than you’ve ever felt before. You’ll finally, thankfully, see the good in goodbye. TC mark

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