It’s easy to build someone up in your head.
Whether we mean to or not, as humans, we look for things to capture our imaginations. Why not have it be love? Even if you have never been in a relationship before, chances are, you know how you would like one to feel. Pop culture has given us plenty of fodder to fill in the blanks. And, of course, when you finally do fall in love with another person, it’s easy to cast them as perfect inside your own head, brushing aside any evidence to the contrary.
This is why falling out of love is hard. Regardless of whether our feelings were returned or not, we are breaking up with more than just a person – we are breaking up with the idea that the relationship was ‘perfect’ which we had inside our heads.
Sometimes dating someone new helps – there’s a reason why it’s a classic piece of advice. Not to replace one obsession with another, but to show you that the world is full of awesome people who may or may not also be good at kissing you.
Sometimes, the contrary is true – being on your own, purging your social media, eating ice cream on a treadmill, reading a ton of Sylvia Plath and then wondering who approved these new editions. It’s not a bad tactic, especially if your social circle was a toxic cesspit. Heartbreak doesn’t do wonders for confidence, but there was never a more important time to remember that you are awesome.
And, sometimes people do both. They are equal means to the same end – realizing that the fact you are falling out of love is more important than that you were in love in the first place.
Let me repeat that for good measure: Falling out of love is not about the love. It’s about it ending.
Maybe the red flags got too obvious for you to ignore. Maybe one of you cheated. Maybe life threw you a curveball from Hell and you decided that breaking up was healthier and staying together. Or maybe you didn’t want to put in the effort and blamed it on poor timing. Maybe you think love is a zero-sum game and you have to break it off before one of you starves.
That’s not true. Love is a self-replenishing feast. There’s enough to go around even when the table is rickety.
The fact that it’s over for you is hurtful, but it is for the best.
It means you are free to look for the real deal. It means you can take off the rose-coloured goggles, see yourself clearly, and realize you were the worthy one all along. It means that you will think back at this time of heartbreak to realize you were settling for scraps.
Date someone new if you can. Hide until the hurt stops and you don’t feel so vulnerable and lost. But remember – there is a reason you fell out of love.
I am certain, your future is brighter because of this.