I cannot lie: I am currently getting over someone. If you know what it is like to never want to escape your covers, to even entertain the thought of someone new, to have a piercing pain in the emptiness in your chest every time you think about her/him, you know how much this experience distorts your thinking. You know how much this hurts.
It is possible that I have some bias towards this topic. Is that really bad? Should I be writing? I believe it’s alright. I’ve been thinking a certain way for so long now. Perhaps capturing these newfound paradigms of single life could be beneficial.
After somewhat of an identity crisis and somehow being able to rediscover my capacity to get out of bed, I decided to try to realign myself with everything that is out there in the world. Among other things, I read a lot of thought catalog and a lot about the end of relationships. Throughout this struggle and reading and reading and struggle, I found that there are four things that people often do to get over people, and I found that they are the wrong ways to do so.
For the most part, these actions may feel like short, temporary gusts of victory, but they ultimately leave you unfulfilled. More importantly, they spit in the face of your own progress and your own past.
This one seems obvious, yet it’s so alluring sometimes. I know that every waking thought could trigger a painful memory — their favorite restaurant mocks you as you drive by, strangers suddenly adopt their gait, the way they talked, the way they laughed. The one you love may have left you, but you are left with the painful, perpetual poison of their memory embodied in everything around you. It mocks you.
So, the bottle calls. Somehow, the slight tint of that rum feels like it would be cleansing, as if it would enter and rid the mind of empty memories, insidious thoughts.
But, as Ye said, “what’s worse, the pain or the hangover?” Yes, the physical one, but also the mental one. The sudden, pulsating ache in your head, brought on by the realization that nothing has changed after that drunken night. You are still without them. You are still alone. You will never escape yourself.
2. Gettin’ some
So, maybe the next thing is to replace them with someone else. Rebounds are a common response for both sexes in the wake of a breakup. In my experience, the desire for a rebound is fueled by both an impulse to reclaim your independence and also some semblance of lost intimacy. Both are dangerous to progress.
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it. This cliché applies here. Yes, relationships tie you down to only one person. Yes, it may have been frustrating to not act with that cute girl/guy at a party a few months back. And yes, even now, the idea of the one you love doing the same thing – hooking up with some random – may tear you apart and make you want to rip the skin off your face by your nails, the truth persists. You will not find solace in another person.
Furthermore, the intimacy that you had with your ex is lost forever. I’m sorry. I really am. It’s something that I struggle with every day, but it is something that you will have to know. Nothing will ever be the same. The intimacy you shared, the peace you found within each other, will never come back. Even if you get back together with them, you would find that the breakup, and everything that has happened since then, would invariably change the dynamics of the relationship. This makes finding that same intimacy in someone else a ridiculous pursuit. Everyone says it for a reason: only you can find your own peace of mind.
Reclaim your independence, but not by creating a dependence in others. Do something you have always wanted to do. Go hiking. Learn to play the guitar. Start writing. Pursue something that you now have the time and mental energy for. This is independence. I know that that girl/guy over there is cute, but don’t act on your desires if they are fueled by your post-breakup insecurities. Sometimes, the best way to exert your independence is to choose not to.
3. Burning their things
First of all, what? Think about this for a second: imagine everything you have given your ex, all the cute notes, teddy bears, picture frames, whatever they may be. Think about how much effort you put into those gifts, how much happiness they brought to both of you. Now, think about them pouring gasoline all over them, taking a match, and torching everything. Feel good?
I think not. I understand that you may have things that seem to remind you of what was lost. Burning them could be symbolic of closure. I get it. I even did it once a long time ago. The only thing is, it is a short term solution.
Burning their things not only shows a blatant disrespect for the relationship you cared so much about, but it also shows that you have to obliterate something (you’re literally turning these things into nothing) to make yourself feel better. You’re better than that.
If you don’t have any use for some of the old things, throw them away. If you just can’t get rid of some things, stow them away. It’s smart to get rid of the things that remind you of them, just don’t set them on fire.
4. Blame. Demonization.
It’s easy to blame someone else, or, worse, demonize them to help you get over them. She/he never really reciprocated anyway. She/he was never really a good boyfriend/girlfriend. It feels good to hate them. It takes your attention away from your loss and redirects it back to your ex in the form of anger and angst. It makes you trick yourself into believing that you really didn’t lose much. If you didn’t lose much, it’s easy to move on. So, you blame them. You demonize them.
Sack up. Guys, literally take your hand and cup your testicles. Are they there? Girls, I don’t know what to say. Cup your ovaries or something.
Just realize that you stayed with them for a reason. You loved them for a reason. It’s okay to lose someone you really care about. It’s okay to admit that they were your everything. Saying that you “dodged a bullet” when you separate from someone only makes you seem stupid. If you are really dodging a bullet, you’re the one that pulled the trigger. You’re the one that allowed them to stay in your life. If that is the case, own up to the blame. It is yours.
If you really loved them though, if you really cherish the time you had with that person, keep the memories pure. When you’re in a relationship with someone that truly makes you happy, the time you spend, even if it is in the past, is never wasted. You were fulfilled. You were joyful. You were so, so stupidly in love. Keep these memories.
Demonizing them only taints what gave you so much joy, happiness, and fulfillment at the time. Once you do that, your memories become coated in a thick black tar of your own hate. They will never be the same; they will always hold onto some part of your anger – just like you.