The competitive side of me understands that after the dust of heartbreak settles, there tends to be a “winner” after a break-up. Even if it’s not spoken, it exists in some capacity. I hate that it forces this anxious time limit on healing and moving on.
But let me tell you…it’s not accurate, and it’s so unfair. What does winning a break-up even mean? Is it finding love again? Is it tearing him a new one? Is it doing things you never had time for? Is it prioritizing your needs? Is it finding a way to make a completely platonic relationship work with an ex?
The “look how awesome I’m doing” game
I’ve posted some. I don’t want to discredit my awesomeness because I post what I want without a hidden agenda, but the social media world makes break-ups a show and tell game. And I feed into that at times. I kind of wish I was free from all that. But, there are a few pictures I know I posted because I wanted him to see it. And when I look back at those select pictures, those anxiety-ridden emotions of “I can’t believe you’re not here with me” bite me again. It’s like fate photoshopped him out of my life. He just isn’t in the picture (let that sink in). And that is so real.
I unfollowed him on Instagram and Facebook, but his stuff is still viewable. So I peek sometimes (I know, damn my self-control), and it always results in heart palpitations. I feel a drop in my stomach because he is out there living his life without me. But, the worst part of it? The FOMO. Missing the weddings of his siblings, missing the holidays together, missing the outings with the social circle I used to be a part of. The daunting thought? One day someone else will eventually replace me at those pivotal moments in his life. And that first photo, no matter how much I will and can prepare for that, will hurt like hell.
So is he winning now? Am I still winning?
It’s superficial. A break-up is a loser’s game. We both lost each other. I mean, think about it. Really think about it. For me and my ex, there’s a huge 6-year-old gap that exists in our lives now—our friendship, our everyday routines, and our preconceived notions of a future just vanished into thin air. I am not his person anymore nor is he mine. It’s a realization that hits me now at 11 months later, but what I know is that I needed the time to mourn that. Let me mourn this loss the way I need to. Let him mourn this loss the way he needs to. There’s no winning when it comes to losing a significant part of your life.
Moving on for me is hard because this isn’t a game I want to play, but it’s not him that I’m playing against. It’s my past self — my past dreams, my old routines, my outdated idea of what my future is supposed to be like. And sadly, truly moving on is predicated on the acceptance of this action — letting “us” go. I’m stubborn. I hate letting go without putting in 1000% to make it work. I am a fighter. So this moving on thing has taken longer than I expected it to take, but I know I’ll get “there”.
So, how do I compete against my past self? I get better, I know better, I live my life better. I pursue passion projects (ahem, this essay), I surround myself with great friends and good company (holler to my fam, besties, and my therapist), and I do things that help me grow.
Know this: winning is not based on me moving onto the next relationship, it’s not me bashing him and painting him like an evil monster. To me, if I am in a better place than when I was when we broke up, then I am winning. And news alert — winning has nothing to do with how he is doing.
So in the end, maybe a break-up isn’t a losing game after all. Maybe it can have two winners. Even though we aren’t in each other’s lives, I wish him the best in his and I wish him the happiness that our love couldn’t give him. It’s been a hard process to deal with this loss, but I just love myself a whole lot more to know that I deserve the happiness that his love couldn’t give me. I need to complete myself. And that’s what I’m trying to do, ya’ll. Slowly, but surely, I will be 1000% better than who I was a year ago. Hopefully, so will he. That’s winning.