It is a meticulously slow and painful process, that of collecting together, sorting through, and beginning to process the myriad of ways in which the person you love hurt you.
In each moment that you think that you might be okay again and have recovered from your loss, you run the terrifying risk of relapse.
You might remember dancing with him in his kitchen, or the way he held you, or the sensation of his fingers at the base of your neck and how he would place them purposefully there to calm you.
But then, before your heart or mind even begin to lean toward regret, you might remember the other things.
You might remember how he belittled you during arguments.
Or how you would tell him that you loved him and he would reply, “That’s good.”
Or how he lied to you about where his hands and lips and body had been and then couldn’t see why he should ask for forgiveness.
In those moments, it will come back, that stab of painful incomprehension and confusion, and you will ask yourself again, Why didn’t he want me? Why didn’t he love me?
And after the flood of self-doubt that comes with that question comes the self-directed anger.
Why didn’t I acknowledge to myself that he didn’t want me?
Why did I let myself be with someone who just didn’t want me? Who didn’t actually love me?
What you struggle with most from the collapse of this relationship is not the fact that he is lost to you, that his touch is gone, that you will never see or hear or smell him again.
Instead, it is the overwhelming evidence piling on your shoulders that despite your best efforts—despite the constant compromises and giving in to make him happy—he just didn’t try. Perhaps he never really loved you at all.
And perhaps you should have seen it all along.
You sit there alone and remember the worst moments. You remember the stabs of pain, which shot through your heart as you play the scenes over and over in your mind. And you begin to hurt all over again.
And you try to salvage any tiny piece of dignified debris, any subtle suggestion that you were in fact enough for him, enough for him to want to keep you.
But it’s not there.
And you remain, hurt, drained, and alone, surveying and struggling to comprehend the shatters of the life you had been building.