The biggest problem with breaking up is finding someone to talk to about it. For some extended period of time, you’ve made it your goal to confide in one person. You poured everything into one person. Opened up every door and let this one person keep all your secrets. Great right? Yay, intimacy!
Wrong. And here’s why. Because you gave everything to one person, you felt no need to give anything to anyone else. Before them, you had your friends to talk to. I had one friend to reel me in about relationships, another to share sex stories with, and another still to have deep and meaningful discussions about life.
But once I got close to my partner, I started to talk to her about every issue. She became all my friends rolled into one. There was no weirdness over whether or not I could trust her because she’s seen me naked countless times, not to mention those ugly photos of me in 5th grade. This person was queen of my universe. She was able to juggle my class schedule, crazy mom issues, and my most ambitious goals without so much as a blink. Who cares about anyone else when I had a goddess at my disposal who never judged me and always challenged me in things I needed to be challenged in? I didn’t feel guilty for shutting out my friends mostly because any acts of betrayal on my part were so subtle as to go unnoticed by the love-struck person I was.
So I gave her everything. I unpacked my boxes, sometimes reluctantly, and laid out the contents at her feet. She saw my ugly boxes, the taped together cardboard full of stale anger and regrets that will never quite dissipate. She carefully opened the containers that held the weight of the razors that I hid away to keep me from cutting my skin when my life was too heavy on my shoulders. She didn’t cringe when she saw them. Instead she rolled up her sleeves, showed me her scars and said, “Me too”.
She unzipped my suitcases full of self-consciousness, the times when the word unworthy was the only one I could find to describe myself, and the heart-wrenching comparisons that made me feel racked with guilt when I felt that I couldn’t measure up to my peers. She took her time, stared at these moments and replied, “I see nothing but beauty here”.
She opened every door and pushed me to my breaking point. It hurt so good. And with just as many boxes that I gave her, I inherited hers. I know all her secrets. All her shut doors. I braved her boxes, the scary ones containing weighted insecurities that were almost too heavy to lift. Her despair was packed in there too, the stories that told of her past breakdowns and the guilt combined with an anxiousness that she might never fully escape the darkness that was there. I saw them, convinced her I wasn’t afraid, and together we heaved them up to the attic to hopefully never be opened again.
But we’re finished now. So what happens to our luggage? I certainly don’t get it back. Sometimes I even forget what I gave her, as if they’re a box of CDs she keeps saying she’ll return to me. Even if I did get them back they’d reek so much of our relationship I’d never be able to listen to them again.
But she’ll keep them, won’t she? By giving it all to her, I gave up a part of me that I now have to rebuild if I ever want to unpack my boxes for anyone else and somehow open those doors that slammed shut the moment we decided it was over. But open them for who? My friends that haven’t heard one intimate thing about me in the last two years? They’re practically strangers.
No that’s not true. I’m the stranger. They don’t know half of what’s happened in my life because I never needed an extra confidant to talk to.
But now I do. I’m in the most vulnerable, defenseless state I’ve ever been in in my life and suddenly I’m not allowed to talk to the one person that would know exactly what to say to make me feel better.
And another thing: what am I supposed to do with her boxes? They’re stored up in the forefront of my mind as if any second, I’m going to have a pop quiz on her dad’s birthday or how old she was when she lost her virginity. Who needs photos when I have a slideshow running through my head providing me with just the right amount of pain every time I see something that reminds me of her? See, hear, touch, feel. Anything really because she has been such a huge part of my life the past 2 years that I can link anything back to her. Remember that time she chewed gum? I can never buy Trident again.
And it doesn’t stop there. I can practically taste her in every chai latte, green tea, or ginger ale that tempts me. Every movie theatre reminds me that crowds make her nervous, and if I see one more dyke smoking home-rolled cigarettes, my heart will burst.
My point is that you rip your heart out for your partner. Open your chest and pour out its contents in order for them to pick through and tell you you’re beautiful no matter what. They do the same. You sit there for the whole of your relationship with your chests gaping open until they leave. They leave you like that. Bleeding out your secrets as you scramble to pick them up before anyone else can get a good look.
I guess the best you can hope for is that somehow you find the support you need to sew yourself back up.