The Pain of Realizing Your Break Up Was the Right Thing

This is a sad one, but while sad it is necessary. A thing that I have learned in the post-breakup months is that as time goes on, harsh realities that you were not able to see or admit to yourself while fully submerged in that relationship slowly creep up on you bit by bit, making themselves more clear and known. 

After you are ripped away from that love, that friendship, that bond, and that life as you knew it, realities start to hit you that you could not have seen prior to the exit of that relationship i.e. prior to the entering of the dark, scary, misery of breakup land. Maybe it will be through a conversation with a friend, or maybe through a conversation with a new crush. Sometimes these things will hit you when listening to a certain song, or while you are on one of your killer steam-blowing runs.

Let me state this clearly: realizing the truth can often times hurt more than you would ever expect.

No wonder we hide away from those truths for years at a time, refusing to see them for what they are. Because they hurt. They are the brutal truths that contradict everything you thought you knew. The truths that prove that in fact breaking up with this person was actually the best thing you could have done. It’s funny how this can be simultaneously one of the most tragically sad, heart-wrenching realizations and also one of the most freeing and reassuring moments of clarity. 

The small bits of realizations come to you, piece by piece, over time and during small everyday experiences. They arrive unannounced, make you stop and go, “Oh…” with a sullen heaviness. You enter into a foreign moment of honesty with yourself. This self-reflective honesty is a place you’ve only heard about from those enlightened people. 

While I believe that self-deception is innocent, it’s detrimental. You do it to maintain a relationship that you believe, with your whole heart, is the most important thing in your life. The biggest love. You turn a blind eye, convincing yourself of a completely different reality, one that fits better to your liking. And then one day you open your eyes and you see the truth you have been avoiding for far too long.

These are what some of my realizations have looked like.

There is a solid chance that you loved him more than he loved you. Ouch right?

You gave way too much of yourself to him and your relationship.

He simply is not the person that you wanted him to be.

More important, he simply is not the person you wanted him to be, and that is unlikely to change.

Remember those times when your loved ones told you in consolation that you deserve fully what you want and need? They were actually right, to a severity that you previously did not comprehend. 

It is sad, but more and more each day you know this separation is the right thing. Somehow this is one of the most difficult truths to come to, and yet one of the most important.

So let the truths come to you, in small doses. These realizations hurt, yes, but they also move you forward. 

Landing on Planet Singledom

Going through the motions of suddenly being single, after having spent years of your life in a relationship with another, can be weird. Weird is an understatement. It can be an entire plethora of things. For example…this sudden singleness can be: terrifying, thrilling, liberating, depressing, empowering, discouraging, exciting, frustrating, exhausting, horrible…the list goes on.

Entering into the “single life” is like arriving on a new planet. Suddenly everything has changed and small details in your life that you hadn’t previously put much thought into, have made themselves known by not being there at all.

Wait what? I have to go to bed and wake up alone? I have to say goodnight and good morning to my cold bedroom wall? No one is going to snuggle me first thing in the morning, make toast and coffee with me, or get mad at me when I micro-manage in the kitchen? Suddenly you realize you are brushing your teeth in the mirror by yourself, without that person to make funny faces at. Small mundane acts like, going to the grocery store, binge watching Netflix, and taking an afternoon nap, suddenly feel completely desolate and painfully lonely. Your partner in crime is gone. And that hurts more than you could ever stand to imagine.

Not only is this new planet of singledom strange because of the sudden loneliness. Oh no, there is much more to it. You constantly experience more and more of this foreign planet as time unfolds. I believe assimilation onto planet singledom comes in peculiar, and surprising, phases:

Phase 1: Utter disbelief.

This is that shitty first moment of coming out of a relationship, whether you were the one to end it or not. It is that HORRIFYING moment of, holy shit I am entering singledom. The daunting moment of realizing what your life is about to look like. I am telling you – at first, this new planet is your worst nightmare.

Phase 2: “I am SINGLE!”

After a short period of time has gone by, before it really sinks in, you feel excited about your new single life. This is when you become intrigued by the new possibilities. It is when you get excited about going out with your girlfriends and kissing the cutest guy at the bar. Why? Because you can.

Phase 3: Dating Pt. 1+2

Pt. 1- Still not a lot of time has gone by since the big breakup, but that void is eating you alive, literally, and you are still so new in learning how to handle it. So what do you do? You date a lot of guys. Little do you know how completely unprepared you are for this. Often times you end up crying in the latest date’s arms about your ex…That’s just uncomfortable for everyone…

Pt. 2: This is when you begin to feel like you are coming out on the other side, the pain is slowly fading away and you tell yourself you are taking time for you, but somehow still end up dating. You meet someone who (shockingly) allows you to temporarily forget how little faith you have, and you start to have real feelings for him. Long story short, that someone turns out shitty…which brings you to phase 4.

Phase 4: I am single, and I will be single forever.

Dating did not work. Surprise, surprise, you gave it what.. 3 months after your breakup? Sure dating is a great way to get your mind off things, but this is the phase when you realize that dating isn’t going to cure the pain of your heartache. This is when you truly believe you will be single forever and it breaks your heart all over again. You miss your ex an EXTREME amount in this stage. “Maybe I should just go back…Will anyone ever love me like he did? He’s the only one who really knows me.”…No.

Phase 5: I am single, and it is genuinely okay.

For me, this is the weirdest phase of them all. By weird I mean unexpected. It is when for the first time you become so busy with other aspects of your life, that you actually begin to forget about your love life. This is something you’ve always dreamt of, but never actually thought would occur. Of course the heartache is still there. You still cry when you hear from him in a distant email, and his birthday still feels like doomsday. But a serious shift has occurred. You find yourself genuinely believing yourself when you say things like “I’m just doing me right now”. You have said that so many times before, but this is when you actually mean it and are okay with it. Like I said, this is a weird, but exciting, phase…

The phases continue as life goes on. The good thing is new experiences are around every corner. So keep on keeping on, as my mom would say. When you are feeling horribly stuck in a phase you don’t like, feel comfort in knowing that it will morph into a new chapter sometime sooner or later. Singledom might not be so bad, after all.