Getting through a major breakup is kind of like going through the stages of grieving. Now, I’ve seen everything from five to eight stages depending on who is telling it, but either way, they are there. A movie once quoted, “Breakups really break you up”. I hate to put it that way for anybody who has lost somebody special, but it really is like grieving. I mean, I guess letting go of anything really is – whether a pet, a job, an apartment, an ex, or a loved one who has passed on.
Maybe one partner gets through it quicker, or certain phases last longer…and I’ve heard that maybe some of the stages switch places. But, in the end, you need to go through all of these things to make it through alive.
Disbelief. Denial. Bargaining. Anger. Isolation. Guilt. Depression. Acceptance.
Well, I can tell you that Denial was probably there for me for awhile. Even before ending it. Denying that something is wrong and trying to tell yourself to just hang in there…it tends to happen PRE-breakup if you are the dumper and early days if you are the dumpee. And I guess Disbelief for me came in two different ways. For months I needed space. I didn’t really think of myself as alone or even single for that matter, but wasn’t too upset and wasn’t too broken. Only when I realized what had happened, how much had changed and how alone I really was, did I enter into some sort of manic disbelief period. It didn’t really happen, I didn’t really choose it and it wasn’t really over. I mean, accepting it was over would mean starting over in more ways than one.
The mind is a funny, funny thing…because in looking back I know now that I went through a period of Bargaining. Believing we could work it out after all and believing that I could make all these sacrifices and suddenly be okay with things I knew I really wasn’t okay with. Even though the whole thing was my idea, I turned around and tried to convince him (and me) it would all be okay.
Well, it didn’t go as planned. The big reconciliation blew up like a Looney Tunes ACME bomb in my face, in my heart and in my life. I then went through a serious phase of Guilt. I thought I had ruined my life. I spent an entire summer trying to keep myself busy beyond belief, but really just going bananas. I felt so unbelievably guilty for everything I did (or didn’t do) to get to where it got. I felt guilt for the feelings I had, the feelings I didn’t have, the things I didn’t forgive and to be honest, started feeling guilty for everything I had ever done to anybody I had ever loved. You can ask my friends…a lot of weird “I’m so sorry” and “I will always love you, thanks for putting up with me” texts came their way during this time. I thank them for being oh so patient, understanding and awesome. I wasn’t crazy, but fuck, I was guilty as a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
After this I started to get Angry. I started to get really angry that I had made all of these allowances during the relationship, after the relationship and had tried earnestly to hold my head high and be the bigger person. He, on the other hand was being horrible and selfish and treating me with more disrespect than I even thought was possible. I was so angry at him, at myself and at the way things had turned out. I, in turn started to be very selfish, very unaware of my reality and very distrusting of people as a whole. I started to take a turn for the worse.
I think I did go through a Pseudo-Depressed stage. I wasn’t ready to steer myself into traffic or anything, but I was lonely. Lonely, feeling a little less than worthwhile and just starting to give up. My love life was in shambles, my friends weren’t geographically accessible, my finances were non-existent and my job was incredibly stressful. I was defeated. I found myself getting sick, worried, fatigued and shutting myself out. It didn’t help that this was one of the worst virus seasons since…well, ever. But, I had great visions of what I wanted to do when I felt better and I cancelled plans left and right in the meantime. For me, this would be my period of Isolation. At first it was simply because I didn’t want to bum everybody else out and then it was because I was too sick to care. Landing myself face down on the floor with a paramedic on the way is a great way to realize that something had to give.
And it did. I feel pretty great these days. I still get lonely, I am still neglecting that new gym pass I bought, I’m still working on my diet, I’ve realized I may not be the guitar god I hoped I would be and I need to find my next job. But, I’ve Accepted that things are how they are. I’m ready for whatever comes next. I don’t know who that is, what that is, or what 5 years from now looks like. But, at least right now…that’s okay. I’ve accepted that this is my life now. I mean, a wise friend told me “You can’t screw up your life, you can only live it”…and she is right. But, when you’re Stuck in a Moment as the great Bono puts it…you just need time.
So, over the past year, I’ve gone through periods where I want nothing to do with the opposite sex. I’ve gone through periods where I wanted attention to get my mind off my ex. And now I’m in a great place of “Fuck it, let’s just see what happens” and I’m opening up that door. I’m flirting, I’m focusing on me, I’m getting healthy and I’m loving my time with my friends. Only time will tell.
And like usual, I thought I was so original when I had this realization. And as per the norm, I was reminded how completely un-unique and un-special I actually am. God, we all sit here in our little worlds and think that nobody has ever felt or thought this way before. If only we could go back to our 16 year old selves and assure them how completely normal and non life-changing all breakups really are. http://www.sheknows.com/love-and-sex/articles/816216/the-7-stages-of-a-break-up-1/page:2
“If you’re going through hell, keep going” – Winston Churchill
The Ginga Ninja