When is the best time to break up with someone? When do we know we’ve reached a point from where no come back is possible? What is the science of breakup?
The end of the relationship in which I struggled for seven years gave me a sense of numbness or maybe it was just relief. I was either becoming an insensitive monster or maybe my feelings were so worn out during the arguments we used to have. While he was packing his things I was lying on the couch reading the last chapter of 1001 Nights.
While he was still packing, I left the house and I went for a walk, I smoked an undefined number of cigarettes while walking the empty streets and saw the most amazing sunset. A mystical sunset I would call it, the whole sky was misty and gray, except for a line draped in gold at the end of the clouds. That line stands for tomorrow.
He came back to take some more things and I was sitting stoned on a chair in the hallway, still wearing his shirt. I tried to help him wrap his toothbrush in a plastic foil, but it just seemed too hard to do it in my stoned state. I burst out laughing. I thought about the incredible lightness of being. The joke.
But the end happened a long time before his departure. There comes a time in every relationship, when something collapses. It is called the crisis. Some couples manage to overcome it, some do not. That’s life.
Something collapsed inside of me the day when he grabbed my wrists and looked me in the eyes with hatred, uttering some very cruel words: it’s your fault, I am unhappy because of you. As the skin around my wrists was bruising, I started realizing my heart was bruised as well. I was subjected to emotional abuse. I was trapped.
There are people who would always try to change you, that would be never satisfied with the things you do for them, they will keep asking for more and more as if your kindness is an unlimited resource of energy that they think they have the right to be connected to forever. Realizing this means reaching the point of no return in a relationship. There should always be a balance between what we take and what we give when it comes to emotions.
Maybe I should have left myself when I understood this, but breaking up is never an easy thing to do. So I kept staying inside that relationship, striking a warrior pose. I thought I had to defend my dignity. It is so hard to break up because when we let go of a person, we actually let a part of ourselves go. Good or bad, it is a part of ourselves that walks out the door, never to come back again.
Breaking up is not just the moment of departure when we say this is my road and this is your road, they will never meet again, but a continuous process that lasts between the day we realize we are hurt and the day we can let go of that wound.
For me it was a long, painful struggle. I remember us both sitting next to each other on the living room sofa. It was one of the days when we remained silent, moving around the house as if the other one did not exist, but always bumping into each other when grabbing a dish or opening a door. I remember imagining that if I close my right eye while sitting next to him, I can make him disappear. So I told him: I have magic powers. And he said: you’re crazy. Thus, a silent afternoon transformed into a tempest. But I still cared for him. I liked the warm touch of him of his skin and the way he hugged me when we went to sleep, no matter how bad we fought during the day. Maybe we are afraid to speak the definitive words of breakup because we are afraid we will not be able to reach the same level of intimacy with someone else. We are afraid of our bare naked souls and secretly doubt if we are worth loving.
I believe we could not be together because we were too different, I had an artist temper and he granted more value to common sense. But I still do not know for sure if erotica works on the rules of similarity or difference. The life we were trying to build was standing on moving ground.
I remember me dancing on a table at the seaside, the smell of sea, the nightly freedom and the table a bit shaky because it was standing on sand. He was trying to remove sand from his shoes. We did not know back then that we were trying to raise a life on sand. I remember when we went on holiday together and he went to buy cheap champagne at 4 am in the morning from the train station in a small town in the mountains. I used to borrow his little phobias and sometimes even fight them. I killed many bugs in our tent during a summer in which we traveled around Europe. I remember the many barbecues we had under the nut tree in his garden before we moved in together, the many bottles of wine we drank in summer evenings and how young we were when we met. His blue pajamas and the office bag he used to wear when he was going to work, while me, like all the bohemians, just went back to sleep.
And then I remember falling asleep on the sofa and the sparkle of hatred I saw in his eyes that was probably in my eyes also. I used to fall asleep in his car with my sunglasses on, hoping he will not notice, hiding from him the hatred that could have sparkled in my eyes as well. Him accusing me of being too dramatic, my head in the clouds and me threatening to never forgive him. But I do remember his dreams and what linked us, a certain distance from the world, but a very different distance.
The science of breakup can be summarized in only a few words: the break up process ends when the resentment ends, when we can say I forgave you as I forgave myself.