If I were a sitcom character, I’d be the fumblingly charming, unlucky-in-love best friend with a better knack for making jokes than making deep connections. Yes, that’s right, I’d be seasons 1-4 Chandler (Sam could fight me for this, but I just got dumped so I don’t think she will.)
Yes, I may (badly) joke my way through most of the situations life throws at me, but there is nothing funny about getting broken up with. At least, not for the first day.
But… by the next day I thought it was hilarious that he had come over and eaten my pizza and then told me he didn’t want to see me anymore in front of the elevator of my apartment building. Yes, by the next day it was simply hysterical that he had a date in two days. By the next day it was just too damn comical how completely and totally incompatible we had been the entire time.
I laughed about it, and then I cried, and then I thought about calling my Mom but I knew I would cry again. They say mothers are only as happy as their unhappiest child, so I decided not to tell her until I could do it without all the crying. Plus I had my roommates, and my roommates are angels sent from on high.
After allowing myself a few hours of wallowing in bed feeling sorry for myself and fishing for compliments from faraway friends, I set up camp at our dining room table with my laptop and a vat of coffee, determined to do schoolwork but unable to accomplish very much. My brain was a battlefield – crippling self-doubt and defiant self-love warring over my bruised ego, with waves of anger and loneliness intermittently crashing over me just to make the carnage even messier.
I woke at dawn the next day, drained and exhausted but with a mind calmed by acceptance. We weren’t a good fit, I seemed to have realized overnight. I didn’t even miss him – I missed having a someone. I missed knowing I’d have a date on Friday night. I was conflating a whole host of intrapersonal issues with a single, simple interpersonal one.
Within a few hours this introspection started leading me down a painful rabbit hole so I switched tactics and decided to focus on all of the reasons this guy had actually sucked. Maybe this is petty and immature and unhealthy, but it made me feel better, especially as the list grew and grew. I had wanted a someone so badly I had done what so many before me have done as well and romanticized the absolute shit out of him. When I took off those rosy-colored glasses, I found that they were much heavier than I had realized. It had taken serious effort to look beyond his flaws, and it felt good to finally acknowledge them. He’s got some pretty serious woman issues, for example. And he’s got intimacy issues, while we’re on the subject. He talked about the gym way too much and way too loudly, and, as a matter of fact, he talked about everything way too loudly. He doesn’t have an indoor voice no matter what (seriously – no matter what.) A few years ago I legitimately ended a budding friendship with a loud talker once because she made me uncomfortable on an elevator – I had afforded this guy much more leeway because, like, damn, those gym arms.
And, like I said, I liked having a someone. Things were far from perfect, but would I prefer going back to being totally alone?
* * *
It has now been six days since that unceremonious ending, and three since writing this, and I am good. I didn’t need to go out to the clubs and belt Single Ladies and make out with a bunch of guys to revel in my ~freedom~. For now, at least, that is just not my thing. For now, my thing is finals. And then it’s a month of travel, and then three months of my amazing job, and then four months in Hong Kong, and then my final semester of university, and then the great, exciting abyss of adult life. There are so many adventures to come with so many people I love, and so many amazing people to be discovered. I really am so good.
I wrote this because those first two days, my God they sucked. They just sucked, and I couldn’t have fully articulated why but so many people on the internet did. I found some catharsis in reading other people’s stories, and I wanted to share some of this bizarre, hurtful, dramatic growing experience with you.
Here are my takeaways, one week later:
- If you get broken up with, do not take it personally. You’re not a horrible, worthless troll monster. You two were just incompatible, and if you let yourself work through the hurt, you will probably come to see this
- If you are with someone primarily to avoid being single, reevaluate. And try your best to be honest with yourself about this
- You should like them more than you like their friends
- Tell people some of the crazy things you are feeling! They will be able to point out how crazy it is and you will believe them and you will feel better
- Don’t try to get over it by telling yourself you are overreacting. Just let yourself feel – it won’t last too long
- The body heals itself with time. The mind and the soul do, too