I’ve gone through break ups in which I find myself sucking face with someone new twelve hours after I thought my heart would be forever broken. I’ve also had a breakup in which I still find myself crying when I’m reminded of him through things like thunderstorms or when someone brings up the show Doctor Who. There are few incorrect ways to respond to a breakup — although violence in any way shape or form would be one of them.
There is no right amount of time for you to grieve the ending of a romantic connection that you had with someone. Any friend of yours who tells you to “just over it” is an asshole and you should probably stop returning their calls.
When a relationship ends and two people attempt to salvage the lives they had before they became intertwined. After every break up, I will spend weeks meticulously pulling apart my own neurosis from the traits I picked up from being around someone else. Sometimes it’s impossible for me to remember who I was before them. Sometimes it’s obvious to me that I had compromised so much of myself to be their man.
In a breakup, each person wants to appear like they came out of the relationship with the most benefits. They want to know that they’re the one who gained more knowledge, experience, and perspective. More importantly, they want to appear to be the one less damaged by the fallout to those on the outside.
I always hope after a breakup the next time I run into my ex I will look super-mega-foxy-hot with a beautiful man on my arms. I hope I come across as happy, and fulfilled, and did I mention hot? I think this is because I want something to show for the relationship. I want to show how I’ve taken everything I’ve learned and how I’ve improved.
But why is it that we need tangible things to prove that we are better off without someone? We’ll choose to change our hair, our clothes, and our attitudes because we want to invent a new “me” for ourselves.
What we fail to realize is that we’re sometimes doing this more for those around us. We want to remind them that we’re doing okay. We want our friends and acquaintances to believe that we’re loving life and laughing more and looking better because without our ex in our life we’re completely reborn. We want to know that we came out of the relationship a better human being. It’s comforting to think that even though we suffered the fights, and the crying, and the crushing separation that we emerged more enlightened.
I sometimes wonder if it’s better to just show other people how you’re truly feeling. After a breakup I don’t feel like showering or working out or eating anything other than Ramen smothered in sriracha sauce.
However, I push myself to the gym, or to get coffee with old friends, and to style my hair a new way in spite of the pain I feel. I do these things because I feel the need to fool others around me into thinking I’m perfectly. At least for a little while, because eventually I will be.