Our partners become our day-to-day sounding board. We share everything with them. Our lust, love, passion, joy, comfort, trust, amiability. Our partners are our best friends. Our keepers of secrets and fears and failures and triumphs. When we have something insignificant to share, perhaps an interesting article recently read or a phone call with a friend to recite, we turn to our partners, not because it is important to share the information, but because they are there, and because we end up telling them everything.
That’s why we are so destroyed when it ends. That’s why it hurts so much. It’s not just that a breakup means that person is walking out the door never to return, which is difficult enough, but that they are taking our life plans with them. What now of the trip to Iceland? What now of the cafés across Canada book? What now of the cottage? The house? The kids?
And who will we share the particulars of a life that was so entwined it no longer needed explanation. Who will understand our inside jokes, our history, our struggles to become who we are?
And now, as all this hurt barrels down on us, hunching our shoulders, creating insecurity where once security lived, who is to blame? It’s agonizing enough that our partner simply doesn’t love us anymore, but what if they also cheated or lied? What if they are choosing something or someone else instead of us?
Oh, how quick we are to turn love into vengeance. Oh, how we love to cover our pain with our hatred. When we feel scared, we turn it into anger. When we feel hurt, we turn it into anger. When we feel shame, we turn it into anger.
But I say let’s not. Even if it is in our very nature to slash and burn that motherfucker who hurt us, we shouldn’t. Even if it is 100% their fault that the relationship ended, and all we really want to do is shame them on Facebook or in a scathing email to all of our mutual friends, we shouldn’t. Even if they lied from the start, and we want to make them feel as small and hurt and scared as we feel, we shouldn’t.
Let’s deal with it
Let’s focus on what’s actually going on – we’re scared, hurt and ashamed. Let’s deal with that.
We should turn our energy inwards rather than outwards. We should spend the energy on learning the role we played so that we don’t make the same mistakes again. On evaluating who we are and what we want. On grieving what’s lost. On healing. On gaining the strength to take on the future.
Yes, go out with your friends and lambast that fucker who hurt you. Yes, stay in and cry because it hurts so fucking much. Yes, feel miserable and wear jogging pants everywhere for an inappropriate amount of time. Yes, worry that you’ll never find love again. Yes, go out and be a hot mess telling everyone that you are ready for someone new with a chilling look of desperation and bitterness bleeding from your eyes. I’m not asking that you handle this perfectly. I’m not asking that you pretend it doesn’t kill you every second of every day.
Leave your ex out of it
I’m asking that you leave whoever left you out of it. Don’t waste a minute on them. Hurting them doesn’t erase your pain. It just hogs up tons of time that could be better spent helping yourself.
Breaking up brings out the worst in us. We make all the wrong moves. Every horrid thing we do to our ex to make us feel better in the moment, makes us feel worse in the end. Every late-night phone call made out of sorrow or anger to make us feel better in the moment, makes us feel worse in the end.
But, Shannon, he cheated – he deserves what he gets! But, Shannon, she left me for a job in another province – she shouldn’t be allowed to get away with that! But, Shannon, he just doesn’t love me – he needs to know how much that hurts me.
Sure. That sucks. But cheaty-pants, careerist, non-lover of you isn’t here anymore. Only you have to look yourself in the mirror everyday. What do you want to see?
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