I remember when my first boyfriend and I broke up – or rather – the weeks leading up to the break up, I wasn’t exactly in a good place. He was about to find out where he was going to do his residency, a process determined entirely by fate and algorithms. When I finally found out that he was going to Boston and not New York, which he had put as his first choice, I realized it was over.
One of my best friends, Sharon, and I immediately grabbed my car and drove to the Jersey Shore that night, found an empty well-lit beach and laid out on the sand, looking at the stars. She knew how much he and the relationship meant to me and that everything was going to change.
To be honest, it was something that had been building up. He had just gone on a month long trip throughout Europe and we had been keeping in contact via email. I felt him pulling away with every day he was on his trip.
He was my first real relationship. I remember when I first met him at that bar in New Brunswick, it truly felt as if time stopped when our eyes locked. I wasn’t even supposed to be there that night and the mutual friend who introduced us had told me beforehand that he had picked my Facebook in a sea of pictures when she and her then-fling were trying to set him up with someone. I really believed he was the one.
That’s the problem with first loves. You convince yourself that because of the happenstance meeting and choice on his part to choose me out of all those other girls, the feeling he gave me when he first kissed me by the water (knowing full well that it was exactly how you wanted your first kiss to be), all the perfect intimate moments….all of that did not mean he was the one. And it took a long time to realize that.
To be accurate, it took me 2 years + a graduate degree from London, a solo trip throughout Europe during Christmas break, another trip through the Balkans + Turkey when my Master’s program was over, countless “Letting Go” burning ceremonies (complete with Michelle Branch’s Goodbye to You” ), and my international friends painfully listening to every single heartbreaking recounts multiple times.
Someone once told me that some people are just meant to be good memories. And it took 2 years and ultimately, the right person, for me to finally move on.
My most recent ex-boyfriend came at the right time. It was a few days before my first ex’s birthday and I was debating if I should reach out to him. We hadn’t spoken for 10 months and I was talking to my friends at a bar after work one night about it. The bar we went to was one of our favorites on that shitty nightlife street in Adams Morgan and my ex was the ‘hot bartender’at that bar. He came at the right time and that night became one of the greatest nights of my life. That night, my best friend Sharon also sent me an unexpected text :
He broke up with me a month ago, telling me he wasn’t happy with himself and where he was in his life. He said he couldn’t love another person if he couldn’t even love himself. The break up was horrible. He brought all the stuff I left at his apartment with him, not giving me time to process everything. It was as if he wanted a clean break from me completely. It was confusing especially because just the week before, we had dinner at a restaurant and he was telling me that he appreciated me, which I thought was so much more meaningful than saying “I love you” (he was the first boy to ever tell me he loved me). But I understood that he had to do this after some regretful and embarrassing begging on my part.
I did feel him pulling away that week. I told my sister and my other best friend, Carla, that I thought he was going to break up with me. And he did, the next day.
Every single person in my support group – even my international friends – came to help me that very night when he broke up with me. It was the most visceral, horrible pain I had ever felt. I never felt so empty because I really gave him everything and believed in and supported him even though he wasn’t exactly where he wanted to be in his life. I know that he is going to be something special and I hope that he will see that in himself one day.
I’m slowly healing though. Just being able to write this all down is significant. I have been reflecting on the relationship and now see all the reasons why he wasn’t right for me (15 reasons written on notebook paper, and put in plain sight to read every morning). I’m trying to disassociate memories from places I had been to with him and replacing them with better memories. I’ve re-dedicated my whole self to my personal health and happiness, taking up boxing, training for a marathon, cutting out alcohol, eating and cooking delicious food, re-discovering my love of playing music and singing, and planning a trip to California in a few weeks. I’m meditating every morning and trying to start each day with positive affirmations. I am refocused on my career and what I want to accomplish next. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to do all these things at 100% if we didn’t break up. I always thought in the grand scheme of our relationship…we would probably break up with the possibility of getting back together. Looking back, I sometimes think that we just met too early.
Life is funny that way. Even though everyday, it hurts waking up in the morning without him next to me, I’m getting better. I allow myself to wallow for 10 minutes, then I put on my rose mask and do a morning meditation. This sounds like hipster new-age bullshit, but it’s helping me move on. I don’t know if God gave me my most recent ex to help me finally move on from the first ex or if he is meant to come back into my life and he’s getting there as fast as he can, but right now I know that I will be able to move on and learn from this relationship in ways I didn’t think was possible before.
I still have an undeniable love for my ex and the memories we made and maybe if it’s meant to be, it will be, but right now I love myself more for being able to get through this and I fully realize that I am a goddamn amazing, badass person who deserves someone who will give her the world.