Christmas is the worst time to have a breakup. I was excited about finally having a boyfriend for the holidays — someone to kiss under the mistletoe and again at midnight New Year’s Eve — but weeks after having my post about finding love on Tinder published, proudly showing it and my utter happiness off to friends and family, I have lost it all. And my happiness along with it.
How does a girl move on after being told, “I don’t see a future with you”? In “normal” breakups, there’s usually an explanation to it, something fixable if both parties just try. One of you is too work obsessed? Cut back on hours and commit more time to being at home. One of you has trust issues? It’ll get better with time. But when someone says they don’t have the type of love for you that it takes for a forever, there’s no fixing that. You can’t make someone love you more, though God knows I wish I could.
So, yes, to my embarrassment, my own article came back and bit me in the backside. Ha, it seemed to say. That’ll teach you to get your hopes up. After optimistically writing about how things could change for the better so quickly, and ultimately passing on my hope to others looking for love, I have been proven right by my own words. Things do change quickly, but not always for the better. It’s one of life’s cruelest mysteries, why bad things happen to good people.
I had always promised myself the next time (knock on wood) I had to face heartbreak, I would get closure so that moving on would be easier (like it ever is). This time, even though I got my closure, moving on is still difficult as ever.
There hasn’t been any moving on for me. At least, not the kind I expected. My days are a little quieter because they aren’t filled with the ping from my phone alerting me to a new text message. My nights are a little longer because I wake up more often, and my heart breaks every time a song we both loved comes on the radio. Which movie is that, where the guy says each time your heart breaks, the universe adjusts itself so it grows back a little bigger? If it’s true, my heart should be blowing up soon.
Heartbreak means taking your sadness into the shower, letting the salty tears blend with the soapy water, massaging the shoulders where the baggage of hopelessness rests. Unfortunately, no matter how hard you wish, just because the tears disappear down the drain, that doesn’t mean your heartbreak will wash down with it.
Heartbreak means the floor is littered with soggy tissues, which you’ll keep finding in the folds of the bedsheets, and the pockets of your coat and pants pockets, as little reminders of what you just went through. Here I am, they chirp; they pay no attention to your sarcastic thanks.
And you’ll not only grieve the loss of the relationship, but the loss of happiness. While I never relied solely on him for my own happiness, he was a huge source of it. He was the sunshine for my darkened days of depression, which, ever since we broke up, are stormier than ever. The depression I had been dealing with pre-relationship, but seemed to get better the minute I met my ex. How sweet and yet sad it is that we can place so much power in the hands of the person we are so happy to wake up for.
Now, instead of Tinder being the thing that brought me love, it has also brought me heartache. It’s been a struggle with my inner voice not to bring the blankets back over my head when morning comes. To close my eyes and desperately pray into existence a new turn to that relationship, not a dead end.
Instead of spending weekends at my ex’s, I now get to figure out other ways to distract myself, and I hate it. Where once free time meant a moment to chat with him and plan the next weekend, it now means a cloud of worry, a headache of panic. There are only so many things one can do to occupy the mind before it will demand you remember how miserable you are.
In the midst of my depression, being with him taught me how truly important touch is. Holding hands, hugging, kissing, nuzzling, all of it. It can bring the poison of loneliness out of a person; bring them back to the light. Now, my challenge is learning again to do that for myself, without a lover’s help.
“Why,” I’ve wondered over and over, “is it so easy for some people to get back up, literally and figuratively, after a breakup, and so cruelly difficult for others?” Why do some of us fall vulnerably into despair and the “I’ll-be-alone-forever” thinking? I’ve jokingly concluded that I must’ve missed the class that taught how to repair your heart without copious amounts of chocolate, crying, and the occasional cocktail.
Perhaps one of the most agonizing aspects of heartbreak is the part of you that still believes if you even text him once, just “checking in,” that maybe they’ll have changed their mind about everything and just hadn’t said anything yet. And then the rational you reads over the old text messages and reminds yourself that no, they don’t miss you after all, and no, they don’t care about you as much as you cared about them. Because if they did, none of this would’ve happened. “Unrequited” is a nasty word, isn’t it?
In a way, relationships could be seen as making a deal with the devil. It may have started out with both of you in true bliss, but the reality is that if you two break up, one of you will be stuck with the sleepless nights, the random tears that spill without warning, and a question with no answer: how long will this feeling last?