It has been a year since my ex- boyfriend ended our year and a half relationship with a break up text. He has been in a relationship for most of those twelve months… and guess what? I have been single for the whole. damn. year.
I have been avoiding this article for a while. Writing about breakups is one of the hardest things a person can do. I’m going to be honest. I have six or seven drafts saved on my laptop, because I didn’t know how to do this in the best way, a way that respects my ex-boyfriend and preserves whatever integrity our relationship had. Some of them are filled with curse words, not going to lie. Others I wrote through teary eyes. And it is still hard to talk about today, because first heartbreaks stay with us. I can still feel the pain I did that day when I got the text if I so choose to remember. The night before we had a cuddly movie night, so unassuming. He wished my Dad Happy Birthday that morning and four hours later he had broken up with me. I begged him crying outside his friend’s apartment door so we could just talk about it in person. And he texted me, go to your roommates.
He was my first everything. We met each other’s parents. We texted each other every day and went on dates every weekend. This is the problem with a breakup text message and please I beg of you read this before you ever send it to someone- Because of that breakup text, I thought that me and my love was worth that text message. And yes, it took me a year and it’s still taking me time to come back from that.
The only explanation I got was a “I will be too busy in medical school to date” yet three months after he breaks up with me, in medical school, he is dating. I analyzed everything he wished I could have been, skinnier, shorter, smarter, more mature, less touchy, more Indian. Every day. For six months.
I didn’t eat for three days after the breakup. I couldn’t stop crying the whole day after. I failed exams. I couldn’t be alone. I had my parents on Facetime with me when I studied in my room. I was so scared. Usually I go to the library, but I legitimately couldn’t stop tearing up even though I wanted so badly to just be normal. My progress was being able to sleep for three hours or keep down a bowl of oatmeal.
The semester ended and I was left with two options during the summer: Avoid the breakup or think about it like I did the past semester. I tried avoiding it because I got sick of the pain. I kept my mind so busy to the point where I mentally forced myself to not even think about his name. And that made it worse. This is an example of how NOT to heal from a breakup. Burying feelings and pushing them aside is never the right answer. Because they will come up eventually and they did.
It hit me out of nowhere the next school year. I was calmly ordering a drink at Starbucks then I was overcome with the feeling of Oh my God I have to throw up. I ran to the bathroom and couldn’t stop sweating. I vomited and tried to calm down but at that point I was crying again. I couldn’t tell what was happening. The world was spinning so hard and I kept hugging onto myself thinking that it would help. I realized it was over. I fully accepted it. He broke up with me. I am alone. And that sent me into a panicked frenzy. All of those feelings. Those times where I told myself nah let’s be sad about it later. Or when I faked a smile or peace… none of it mattered anymore. I couldn’t feign anything but panic and anxiety. I remember sitting with my friend after my bathroom ordeal. He gave me a glass of steaming hot peppermint tea and told me “ok tell me everything”. And I did. Every grueling detail accompanied by pictures that he told me to delete. I do not know if he understood what I was saying because I was crying so much. But after that he took me back to the bathrooms and told me to wash my face.
I still remember looking in the mirror of the bathroom and seeing my reflection. I felt this weight of dread drop heavy in my stomach. I felt terrible because I hurt the person who was looking back at me so badly. I told her she was responsible for what happened. I blamed her for his mean actions during and at the end of the relationship. I bullied her. I told her she could listen to his comments about how she should change herself. I tried to destroy her. And here she was looking at me, begging me to stop. I listened to her. I promised myself that day that I was never going to let someone have that much control over me. I promised myself that I was going to love myself so I know how a man should treat me. I promised myself I was going to find the smile that the boy stole from the girl looking back at me in the mirror.
This is what moving on is. You are moving on to a better version of yourself.
I never wanted to write about my breakup because I didn’t want that to be the one thing people thought of when they heard my name. Yeah that girl Natasha….. Her boyfriend broke off their relationship over text. And guess what she is STILL single. Because this is what people think. Society thinks that the person who gets with another partner can move on and the one who is still single is still reminiscing. This could be farther from the truth. I have gotten text messages for the past year about how he moved on and I “haven’t”. This isn’t an article of me saying oh wow, just because I made that decision, I have moved on quickly to better brighter things! I have found my prince charming and we are going on vacation to Bali! No.
This is an article about how I learned what moving on actually meant. It is slow. It is painful. There will be days when you feel like you are back to square one. But it is something that is necessary to be a functional human being. It’s a process and healing is slow. So never speed it up. There is nothing wrong with you if you are still single and your ex is in a new relationship.
Will I ever be grateful for this experience? No.
Will I ever credit him to my growth? No. Because at the end of the day, he was gone. He was the one who caused the pain. There are healthy ways to break up with someone but he chose the one that was easiest for him and the hardest for me. All he did was cause me pain. I grew by myself. Every time I questioned my self-worth. I had to pull myself out. People could tell me things, but if I didn’t create a safe healthy mindset, it would have no effect.
Here is the thing: You give to people, what you are.
If you are hurting, you will hurt others.
If you are loving, you will love others.
So do not jump into a relationship if you are still hurting thinking that a person can undo what you went through. Because that will do more damage than good. At the end of the day, a relationship will always come down to the mentalities of those in it. Do not think that having a partner will suddenly help you move on. Another person cannot heal you or stop you from hurting. Rebounds can make you feel lonelier. That was the case for me. I tried to have a rebound and halfway through I couldn’t do it. I realized this guy wasn’t my ex. It is not the responsibility of your future partner to undo and apologize for the mistakes that your past partners made. It is not their job. They will love you in their unique special way, not clean up a mess someone else made.
I had to put in work to heal from what happened before I could even think about a relationship. And it has taken me a year and I am still growing today. Let me tell you something invaluable I learned. I was so scared of being without someone.But I realized something important:
I felt more alone in that year and a half when I was in the relationship, than I do now when I am single.
Loneliness does not come with lack of physical presence. In fact, the most painful loneliness happens when you are with someone you are supposed to feel safe with and love. But, you cannot connect with them. Even though they are next to you, you feel alone. Do not be afraid of being by yourself. I would take being by myself over what my ex and I had any day.
I get to learn so much; about myself, likes and dislikes, my personality, what I did wrong in the relationship, what I want from a future partner, how strong I am, what are areas I need to work on, what is guaranteed to make me smile after a hard day, what gives me peace. Self-reflection is invaluable.
You cannot rely on someone else to make you happy if you cannot be happy by yourself. You cannot love and accept someone if you cannot love and accept yourself. Love and a healthy relationship starts with you. Move on to yourself. Move on to loving who you are. Move on to helping the person looking back at you in the mirror. You have to become a strong person to be able to know who you are, so that whatever someone else says has no bearing on your sense of self. I don’t want someone like my ex to love me because he was incapable of loving who I was. If he wanted me to change so much, then he wasn’t in love with me in the first place. I want someone to love my past, my present, and my future. Every flaw. Everything that makes me special. And I am not afraid of the wait it will take for me to get there.
Moving on is a mentality. It is not defined by who is next to you.
There is nothing wrong with falling in love with who you are and giving yourself the time and space to heal from what happened. You are not responsible for how others treat you, but you have great power over how you treat yourself.
Move your love back onto you.