It’s never really over when it’s over. Your relationship may have technically ended, but you leave still so wrapped up in each other that it feels as if you have to take it all apart piece by piece. Which, in many ways, you do.
Most of the time, you won’t quit cold turkey. You still talk all the time. You cut open your relationship and dig through it to figure out what went wrong. You talk about why it can’t work and why you wish it could. You still turn toward each other during moments of weakness. You call them when you feel vulnerable and when you need someone to reassure you that you’ll be okay.
At some point though, that fades. More and more days begin buffer the times you talk. You don’t expect them to text or say hi, you don’t expect much anymore. You still think about them all the time, but they’ve become fuzzier in your head. Where there used to be a crystal clear image there is now a hazy fog. You can almost remember what they smell like, but not quite. You’d be overwhelmingly reminded of it in an instant if you were to run into them, but for now, it’s hazy. You can remember their voice, but it sounds more like an echo of a memory as opposed to a real person, carrying on with their life.
You start to replay all the most romantic and goosebump-inducing moments of your relationship in your head – again and again, just to feel the high one more time. You think about all the times they made you laugh or smile or want to hug yourself with happiness when you thought about them. Magically, you begin forget all the reasons why it didn’t work.
You stop remembering the arguments you had, or the doubts that went through you mind all too often. You forget about the times you felt claustrophobic or uncertain or not quite yourself with this person. You refuse to remember how you sometimes felt like you were forcing it. You forget all of the reasons why it didn’t work because you get consumed with wanting to not be by yourself.
You remember the best parts of the relationship because you want to take yourself back to a moment in time when you were happy. You watch romantic movies because you want to make yourself feel that way again. You read the old notes they left lying around the room for you. You look at old pictures and you go through old text conversations on your phone.
This is when you need to move on. You’re not in love with this person anymore. You’re in love with the idea of being in love and you’re in love with the idea of not being alone. You’re remembering all the times you had a companion and someone who was always there when everything else was shitty. You want the reassurance and the security back, not your ex.
This is when you need to let go. Because if you did chase after them and they wanted you back too, you’d be happy for a little while. The reunion would be romantic and you’d be like 2 newlyweds on their honeymoon. But eventually the rosy glow would fade, and you’d be back to where you started – feeling uncertain and restless and like something was missing.
Don’t put yourself through the heartache twice. Instead, just be alone. Embrace the fear head-on. Accept that you have to depend on yourself for a while, and you have to come to your own rescue when you’re feeling lonely or vulnerable or just not quite yourself. It’s going to take some time but you can do this. Go ahead, let go.