I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
It’s one of the few commonalities we share. Love and the loss of it impacts almost every person at every age in every culture in every demographic throughout the world. Yet, so many of us feel so alone when it happens to us.
Like most of you, I have been in that position more times than I can count and I am here to ruin your night – it doesn’t get any easier. In fact, I would propose that it actually gets worse. Why? Well, the younger you are, the less you tend to know about who you are and what truly makes you happy. You are more easily distracted by sexy bodies and people who are a lot of flash and less substance. The older you get, the more you understand who you are and what makes you feel whole. So what happens is you fall in love deeper, simply because it tends to be a more true and genuine connection – which are the worst and most excruciating to walk away from.
Now of course none of this is exclusive. You could be a 19 year old self-aware old soul or you could be an emotionally immature 42 year old woman, because trust me, I have dated both. But regardless of your age, getting dumped feels awful for a number of reasons. Initially, the sting of rejection sets in. The one that makes you question your worthiness. And the thought burns through your head of, why don’t they like me? Am I not good enough? Maybe you are and maybe you aren’t, but what is terrible about that stage is that they ever made you question yourself in the first place and that generally leads to a heavy dose of animosity. But eventually that will be eclipsed with the fear of being alone. I mean, you used to have someone to go to the movies with, someone to bring to family dinners, and shit, what about that wedding that you RSVP’d to? Now who will you bring? Never mind all the nights you will be spending alone. Oh sure, you could find some random hook ups but they never really fill that void of holding hands on the couch with someone you love, right? And what if you lived together? Now you won’t be splitting the bills. Where will you live? Will you have to find a roommate? Move back home with your parents? Oh, and holy shit are you going to have to do some explaining because everyone from your mom to your third-tier friends now want to know what happened. And yeah, I guess they want to be there for you and be supportive but really they just want to get the dirt so they can go back and text everyone why you changed your Facebook relationship status.
Loneliness hits hard and you’ll do your best to surround yourself with distractions. Whether that is with dating dozens of randoms or keeping your friends around for wine nights or going out with your friends and getting drunk all the time – don’t kid yourself, it’s all a distraction to keep you from concentrating on the pain. And there is nothing wrong with that… for a time. Because the longer you avoid the pain, the longer it will take to heal. And there will be a point where you will believe you can be the first person in history to avoid the pain with distraction after distraction but if not addressed in a reasonable amount of time, the wound will begin to fester and you will be forced to deal with it whether you like it or not. And usually that happens in the bathroom of some bar at 2am while your friends plead with you to not drunk text him. And you will want to text him or call him or send him 5000 word emails explaining your feelings out of the desperate hope that you will say the right phrase that will shake some sense into him and he will come running back with forehead kisses, apologies, and promises to never hurt you again.
But maybe not. Maybe that person was the worst thing to ever happen to you and you want nothing but the worst for them. But spite and hate take up valuable space in your heart as well. And way you get over a break up isn’t by turning that love into hate but freeing up the hole they left behind to allow the good things in life to enter. Whether that is more time with your friends or your family or your cat or going back to school or taking that trip you always wanted – filling that void left behind with negativity only intensifies the wound and posting passive aggressive messages on social media about your ex never helped one person get over, through, or past a break up.
Does this sound like you? If it does, I’m sorry. I’m sorry you have to go through this right now. Hopefully you have good people around you to prop you up in your time of need and there is nothing wrong or weak about asking for advice or support. And while ultimately you handle this pain on your own, because no one is in your head at 2am when you can’t sleep because you can’t stop thinking about what could have been or what went wrong… you are not alone in this struggle. Meaning, all of us – me, you, your parents, your friends – we have all felt what you are feeling and the confusion that comes along with it. So look around you. Every person you see has lost someone they loved and yet they smiled and laughed today. They managed to go get dinner with friends and ride bikes and got ice cream and fell asleep in front of the television without trouble, because somehow they all managed to find their way through. And if all those people survived, so will you.