I always imagined my first heartbreak was going to be earth shattering and I’d fall victim to the eating-ice-cream-out-of-the-carton-while-watching-sad-movies-and-crying-my-eyes-out stereotype. Or that I’d listen to anger filled post break up music: cue Taylor Swift’s “Better Than Revenge,” or Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone.” But then I fell in love. And had my heart broken in a completely different way. A constant state of confusion followed.
How do you break up with your best friend and your boyfriend? The one who knows every little thing about you; your flaws, your fucked up family situations, your passions and your dreams? What do you do when your rock suddenly isn’t the only constant thing in your life?
Heartbreak isn’t a stereotype.
There was no gorging myself in ice cream and crying along with The Notebook. I couldn’t listen to half the music I used to because it all reminded me of him. Taylor Swift was my all-time favorite, but for some reason her music no longer resonated with me for a brief period. I was confused. According to her music, breakups were supposed to be so clear cut—you hurt me, I hurt you, I’m sad, I’m angry, now I’m okay without you. But for me it wasn’t like that and it makes so little sense.
It was a mutual decision. One where we were both scared of distance and perhaps of possessing something too good while we were too young. I guess you could say distance and timing were the biggest factors in this decision. We still loved each other when we said goodbye. We broke up still happy and with the intention to fall out of love post break up. Little spoiler – it’s extremely difficult. I’m a big believer in “if you can remain friends with your ex you’re either still in love or never were” and you can guess which side I’m on (if it’s not clear- I still love him).
Having your ex-boyfriend remain one of your best friends is quite possibly the most tortuous form of heartbreak.
You try to have a quick catch-up call, and it turns into five hours on Skype. It’s the kind of heartbreak where you can talk to tons of friends all day and still feel lonely because it’s not him.
Knowing you can’t be together in this moment because you both still need to grow is what makes it hard to close your eyes at night. Listening to him talk about all these new experiences he’s enjoying without you make you feel both excited for him and sad for yourself.
This is the kind of heartbreak that doesn’t pass after some time. It lies dormant and leaks through the seams only when you realize although you talk just like before, it’s different.
This heartbreak is the kind where you hear a love song and still imagine the song was written for you and him. It burns you alive when you end a conversation and want to say “I love you” but know you can’t.
It’s cherishing all the memories made but trying to convince yourself those were the last ones and that your time to make memories together is done. It’s missing his family that you got to know so well over the past 3 years. It’s knowing every little thing about someone and having to pretend those details don’t float around your mind all day.
It’s the forced smile and exhale of “I’m okay” when you’re family members ask “How is he? Where is he?” and you tell them you broke up as they look at you in astonishment. It’s having your little sisters tell you they miss their brother and you want to tell them how much you miss him too but you have to act strong.
This heartache is not the kind you see in the movies or hear about in the bitter or weepy songs. It’s so much more haunting because it’s not the kind where you’re angry or hysterically sad. It’s a numbness that you feel all too much.
You don’t even realize you’re feeling it until you’re forcing yourself not to cry on the bus on the way downtown. Nothing was done wrong by either of you to push this breakup so you’re in constant wonder about what the point of this all is.
But somehow you know you need this although you have no words to describe why. You both know it’s not meant to be right now. But why? There is no right answer that justifies this dullness. Can you miss something and not want it back? I know I want him back, and will give him all the time he needs to realize he wants me too.
And if that doesn’t happen, well, time heals all wounds.