Writer's note: I wrote this years ago, never published it, because I didn't feel like an authority on love. But no one is an expert in relationships, so I decided to put it here. Edited some portions of it. It is dedicated to my lovely friends who refuses to be named. Enjoy.
There are different kinds of break-ups. There’s the earth shattering betrayal-based break-up, where one person does an unforgivable assholery, and blows the whole thing to Hades. There’s also the truly mutual break-up, where two people weren’t a great fit, and when a synchronized eureka moment occurs and bid each other “well, see you later” and they move on. And then there are those excruciatingly slow, heart-in-a-vice break-ups where one person gradually stops loving the other. As a expert in life's dramedies, I can confirm that these are the worst ones of all. They’re the worst because they take so long to materialize into their true form- the shape of one person loving the other less and less everyday. At first you won’t believe it’s that shape. You’ll squint and tell yourself it’s another shape, something else, anything else. Like a dinosaur shape or the shape of a Pokemon and Batman locked in a vicious legal battle. It’s only later, when they’re asking you for their favorite shirt and unfollowing you on Snapchat that you’ll be able to see it for what it really is and has been the entire time.
You know in your gut that something was up, of course. The minute they stopped speaking to you in a loving tone, or treating you in a loving way; when they asked less and less about how your day had been; or, when they stopped having your back. You lived with it because they had some great excuses for what was going on, for why they were pulling back, treating you with disinterest, for why your shared future was suddenly all murky and dark like the canal waters of New York and no longer clear and sparkly, like the sight of Evian after you ran a marathon. They were all like “I’m just soooo busy at work” or “there are serious stuff going on with my family”, “ the Sasquatch appeared and put a spell on me and now I can only talk in haikus.” They’ll feed you these lines and then ask you to be patient whilst they pull back, neglect you, put your heart to one side like a cold slice of pizza that they ordered when they were shit-faced but now don’t really feel like having but hey maybe later they’ll want it and it will be their favorite slice of pizza in all the world again. Right? You know what I’m talking about. And it’s devastating. So what to do? Well...
LET THE DUST SETTLE
You don’t have to be okay right away. You're allowed to all feel upside down, punched in the boob, shell-shocked and just bad. Getting dumped by someone who you love and who used to love you feels like you screwed up and failed. You didn’t. It just goes like that sometimes. You might regret shouting at him on your last fight or making a big deal out of the pictures you found in their phones, which lead to the break up. But know, that if it didn't happen at that time, it will happen at another point of time. Try to not let those thoughts percolate. Just let it be.
Be gentle and patient with yourself in the wake of the break-up, try to keep destructive and impulsive behaviors to a minimum and just work on moving forward in a slow, but deliberate way. Like a sloth who’s just done some shoplifting.
REMOVE THEM DOWN FROM THEIR PEDESTAL
It means stop putting your ex up on a little dais. Like they aren’t a human being with teeth and armpit hair, and farts without you in the room. When someone leaves, you can’t think “well, there goes a flawless irreplaceable angel”, "your perfect lock-and key is gone forever", because that’s not what happened. They are just people with exactly the same amount of worth as you. And you’ll be okay without them.
DELETE, UNFOLLOW UNSUSCRIBE
There’s no joy to be had dissecting over your ex’s movements now that you aren’t together. IT'S TORTURE. It will just give you that twisting pain in your heart and stomach kind of like you ate bad cheese and also there were razors in the cheese. Don’t do it. Even though it’s so tempting and so easy. Resist. Remind yourself that it’s BAD AND YOU MUSTN’T DO IT. Give your phone to your friend to hold hostage. Ask her to change your passwords temporarily to all your social media accounts till you are more sane and settled. You will hate them sometimes but in the long run its good for you.
My other trick is to channel Beyonce. When you're about to call, beg or stalk your ex, ask yourself, "what-would-Beyonce-do"?
Would you see her lurking in her exes Instagram? No. She will be hanging out with Solange and other cool celebrities, she would continue working-writing songs and earning millions from it.
If you're part of the 0.89%, who doesn't know Beyonce, the trick is to behave like a bumblebee would if it had also got dumped. Would a bee trawl its exes movements in Facebook to see if it had been hanging out with any new butterflies? It would not. Would a bee drunk dial its ex every Friday night for months? Noooope. Would it check its Instagram? Not a chance would a bee do that. So be like a bee. Take flight. Leave the past behind. Buzz ahead. Eat garbage. Shit wherever. Make honey.
EVEN IF NO-ONE IS OBLIGATED TO LOVE YOU, YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE
Love is ridiculous. I personally don’t know much about it because I’m just a balloon with a face drawn on it. But what I’ve gathered from watching Meg Ryan movies is it’s pretty much just an indescribable and wonderful thing that’s also the worst and ruins everybody’s life. Love is a "visitor that arrives uninvited, stays as long as it wants, and then leaves at the will of something that nobody can touch or explain".
I'm not sure if its a choice, though. Attraction, chemistry, whatever other major components of romantic love, these aren’t choices. If they bugger off then you can’t just pop into Walgreens and get yourself some new ones. When someone tells you that they don’t love you anymore you just have to believe it. Resistance is futile. It’s done. It’s their choice. So make your choice – to accept the decision with grace and dignity. But also don’t let it mean more than it means. It means that it wasn’t right this time. Something didn’t connect. Their dreams weren't parallel to yours. That’s all. It doesn’t mean you’re worthless, broken and rotten and unlovable inside. It never meant that. Not for one minute. Not even when you were being really fart-y that time at the zoo. Not even then.
Life can be so awesome. it may not feel like that when you just got your heart broken but it’s really actually pretty great. Once you’ve let the feelings settle, you’ll be ready to turn your attention to your own journey as a bee. Live for yourself, build a life that functions just as well if you meet your soulmate now or way later. Get on with it. Give yourself full permission to enjoy your life. Work hard at what you love, ditch people and situations that make you feel less of a person, and get out and live. Climb to your dais that your ex once occupied and set off towards to a beautiful new life.