On Being Brave Enough To Break My Own Heart



Remember when we laid in bed, gripped with fear and the bewilderment of children and read that one paragraph of Cheryl Strayed’s lovely essay in Tiny Beautiful Things?

This one: “You are not a terrible person for wanting to break up with someone you love. You don’t need a reason to leave. Wanting to leave is enough. Leaving doesn’t mean you’re incapable of real love or that you’ll never love anyone else again. It doesn’t mean you’re morally bankrupt or psychologically demented or a nymphomaniac. It means you wish to change the terms of one particular relationship. That’s all. Be brave enough to break your own heart.”

And we agreed that we would both be brave and we would break up and in so doing, break our own hearts. And we were united in our resolve, laying together and co-mingling our tears.

It’s always impossible to know what a relationship will return to after your romance is gone. How you turn something as all-encompassing as our coupling to a friendship or something else. Two months out and the terms of our relationship are so hard to stomach that I can barely believe it.

I remember going through this during my last break up from a man I dated for 4 years. I recall thinking when we had gone our seperate ways, what do I do with those years, with that person who was a part of my family and I his who no longer is in my life? And I am here now, with him, even deeper in that quandary because I so imagined spending my life with him. He seems to have taken on an unwarranted resentment towards me (I say this based on the tone of the limited “business texts” we’ve exchanged), which has made me fear getting in touch – not that getting in touch is something that makes sense. It’s just if I wasn’t afraid he’d would be unkind, I’d probably, shamefully, be drunk texting him more often.

Maybe in a year or so, when we have moved on and our hearts aren’t so fragile and wounded we can come together and ask to change the terms of our relationship again, this time to be friends.

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