Breakups are hard. Period. I remember when my first boyfriend and I broke up in junior high. It seemed like the world would end. I remember crying to my mom in the gym during a basketball game and thinking that my world would never be right again. That I would never “love” anyone like I had “loved” him.
Well, 20 years later and breakups are still hard. I’m still crying to my mom, only this time it is from the driveway of my house and not a high school gym. And although it is like a gut punch, I know my world will not end. But man going through a breakup as an adult comes with so many added complications.
Like the stuff. We were, how should I say it… Shacking up…? So now there comes the dividing of the things. What is his, what is mine, what was ours and who gets it now? Now, 3 days post break up was my worst day so far. I was fine one minute and a sobbing mess on the floor the next, and it would come out of nowhere. But during one of my ok moments, I felt like that would be a good time to start the packing of the things. Man was I wrong. Yet another heaping, sobbing mess. But little by little the things are being sorted and packed.
Post breakup Day 4 was a good day. I didn’t cry once. There is always an underlying sadness, but no tears. Fast forward to post breakup Day 5 and complication number 2. The pictures. Since we had integrated our lives together in a day where not too many days go by without photos being taken, there is a ton of photographic evidence lying around. I went through my phone, and for some reason I just couldn’t erase all of the pictures. Some were easy. Delete. Gone. Like the life we had planned. But others are still there. I just can’t do it. They serve as a grim reminder of the things we did together when we were in love. And don’t get me started on the pictures in the house. Taking his picture off my office desk was almost my undoing. And it’s more than just pictures. It’s dividing a life. Things you wouldn’t think about in a million years. Like the DVR. Last night I erased all of his shows. Because last night it wasn’t hard. But I don’t want to happen upon one in 6 months when I’m having a randomly sad day and have a meltdown. So part of breaking up is going into detective mode and figuring out all the places your lives are intertwined and unraveling those strings. Ugh. Dagger to the heart. These small, inconsequential actions somehow make it all too real.
Now don’t get me wrong. This breakup was my idea. For a million reasons that I won’t name here. But it doesn’t make it any easier. I know this next statement will make zero sense to all of you people out there who live with your head leading the way, and not your heart, but sometimes you can’t help who you love. Turns out, my sixteen year old self was wrong. I would come to love someone even deeper than I had loved my first boyfriend. And this guy was the one who took the prize. We’ve spent almost 3 years of our lives together, and for those of you tracking, that’s almost 1/10th of my life. That’s insane. But for all the reasons my head told me that this guy wasn’t right for me, there were a hundred reasons that my heart told me to keep him. I have never loved anyone as truly and deeply as I loved this man, but sometimes love is just not enough. Even though we never stood up in front of God and our friends and took vows, we promised a life to each other. A life together. A life raising our children side by side. A life filled with all the reasons that I choose to wake up and love him every day. And now I don’t get to do that anymore.
Which brings in complication number 3. The kids. I told them on post breakup Day 2. Mainly because I was afraid they would see me randomly break down into tears and think I was insane. (Amusingly enough that happened Post Break Up Day 1 at a dance competition and now I’m pretty sure all of the other moms think I’m insane.) They of course, took it better than I did. Go figure. But then this morning Amelia asked if Olivia would always be her little sister? How do you answer that? Avoidance. That’s how I dealt with it this morning. But I know it will come up again, so I’m busy trying to figure out how to explain to my five year old that not only has she lost the only father figure she’s ever known, but she’s also lost her little sister. Now don’t get me totally wrong, Amelia is super stoked to have her entire room back to herself, but she is grieving, too.
Each day seems to be better, for the most part. But I think I’ve realized that a part of me is clinging to the hope that this isn’t the end. Which is totally unhealthy. Clinging to a life that only happens if someone else changes is a hopeless dream. But sometimes the reality that there will not be another ballgame, another kiss, another night be the fire is just too much to handle. So I think for now I’m clinging to this hope that it really isn’t the end.
And that is due to complication #4. As a teenager you have nothing but free time. No kids, no real responsibilities. Which leaves plenty of time for staying in bed and sobbing uncontrollably for hours at a time. Not so much as an adult. I am forcing myself to feel this only in small doses, because I can’t afford to fall apart. I have these pesky things called bills, which require payment, which requires a job, which does not allow me to stay in bed sobbing uncontrollably for days on end. And then the nerve of the kids. Expecting me to get up to take them to school and dance class and soccer…. All joking aside, being an adult is hard enough to begin with. It’s even harder when you’re sad and all you want to do is curl up and have yourself a good cry. When you’re sixteen, your friends have nothing but free time to call and console you. Not so much as an adult… Not that my friends haven’t been there for me. Because they have. But we’re squeezing in therapy time between toddlers falling off slides and work meetings. And then there are the innocent ones that casually ask “Are you doing ok?” Apparently “No” is not an acceptable answer to that question. I get lots of uncomfortable pauses and people cautiously taking steps backwards. But that is the truth. For now, I’m not ok, but I will be and some days that has to be enough.
So for this day I’ll have to give up the dreams of a life I planned. But as I have so often discovered, life often does not go according to plan. I have faith, and for now that is enough for me. Well, that and the fact that my happily ever after might just be me being the Princess of my own castle, doing things on my own, while raising my tiny minion army of 2….