Here’s a puzzling question—why, after 10 months of being broken up with my ex, am I suddenly reading self-help articles about “how to get over a broken heart”, or “how to get over your first love”? Honestly, I thought I had dealt with all these emotions countless times before. I had cried it all out until there were no more tears left. I had traveled through Southeast Asia and come back home feeling renewed and more like myself than I had in a long time. Is this a step back? Or this is natural?
After all this time, why does it feel like I’m dwelling on something I haven’t dwelt on for a long time? Maybe it’s because I’ve started “dating” now and none of the dates have given rise to anything special…(I’m going to add a rather optimistic) yet.
I have enjoyed other people’s company: I have realized that I am actually good at small talk if I want to be, that I can have sex with someone else and it feel good and that meeting new people is not as hard as one might think. I have learned valuable things from dating—it hasn’t been fruitless.
But I’ll have vivid flashbacks to the relationship that ended nearly a year ago now and it’s disturbing. I feel like I’m trying to get over it for the second time. But it’s more subtle than that, because I know that I will be okay, because I have been for the past 10 months. It’s hard to pinpoint what is triggering this lighter version of a relapse. Maybe it’s the fact that I watched Bride Wars and had a strong urge to plan a wedding and get married… which is more than premature since I have nothing close to a steady significant other.
But that’s not really the problem. I am trying to figure out the crux of the issue as I write… so bear with me.
Perhaps it’s because it has been a while since I have entertained thoughts of my ex that my brain is trying to hold onto memories, both the good and the bad. Maybe it’s so I won’t completely forget the great times and the lessons I’ve learned. Maybe it’s a way of self-teaching: If I don’t forget what went wrong, I am less likely to make the same mistakes again. This way, I won’t grow complacent. This way, I can learn.
Maybe I’m just lonely.
Hopefully thoughts of the past will fade as I put said life lessons into practice. I’m beginning to feel open to another relationship, but because my ex is my only romantic reference point, my mind is automatically taken back to that time when my relationship wants were fulfilled. I have no idea when I will like someone else, let alone “fall” for them. The very idea seems surreal to me. I have no idea what I am looking for… although I now have an idea of what I don’t want.
And though my mind seems to have traversed back in time, I do hope that I can train it to look forward and be thankful for the now. I want to stop trying to find the reason we broke up in another person. The happier state that I am in now should be reason enough. I need to realize that the closer relationships I have with my friends and family is good enough an outcome from the breakup. If I’m simply looking for another person to come along and sweep me off my feet so that I think, “Oh yes, this is better, this is the exact reason why the previous relationship didn’t last”, I might be waiting for a while. Besides, the present set of circumstances I find myself in are more than good enough: I went through the toughest emotional experience of my life and I came out with more maturity and strength.
Maybe I’m thinking about the past because I am comparing my general state of happiness now to that of then and hoping that the former trumps the later. But it’s not a competition. Life is not a competition with yourself or anyone else. It’s a journey and I want to enjoy every moment of it and be aware and mindful of the present. Past moments are gone and influence us—hopefully for the better, and future moments are so beyond our control that to think about it would be a waste of the present.
Because really, the goal isn’t “finding The One” that every previous moment was leading up to, it’s enjoying this very moment because that is all we have.