My Breakup Story (And How I Got Over It)

10 October 2018

Let’s be real here. Breakups are never easy. They suck, to put it bluntly. I’ve never heard of anyone having an easy or pleasant breakup. Whether it was a mutual breakup or a messy one, no one ever wants to look back on what went wrong and how everything leads up to it. Mine was quite chaotic, to say the least.

Last year, I was dating a guy who was several years older than me. He was 27 while I was 20, so we were at different stages in our lives. As I’m still in school and working part-time, I’m still figuring out what I want my career to be like. For him, he’s been out of school for a while and works full-time as a server at a restaurant. However, he dreamt of becoming a police officer. Not an easy job to get, which was why it really led to our downfall. 
We didn’t date long at all; 4 months at most. But it was especially hard since I had known him for almost a year before we got together, and so much had happened in the short time we were together. I liked him for a long time, which I was very forward about since I’m not the type to shy away from these situations. However, after getting constantly rejected and shot down by him, I just let it go. Things were awkward and we just stopped talking to each other since we were both angry and frustrated, but it was whatever. It wasn’t until after he came back from visiting his home country for a month where he started acting differently. He slowly started talking to me again and we weren’t fighting.

Fast-forward to the night after his birthday, I got a message from him asking if I wanted to go for a drive. Of course, I was sceptical but intrigued. So I agreed and half an hour later, he was standing outside my house, taking a drag from his cigarette. The car ride was a bit awkward and silent at first, but the mood started lightening up when “Paris” from The Chainsmokers started playing on the radio and I started singing along to it. We drove to the nearest Starbucks, picked up ice coffees, and he asked me if I wanted to go downtown. I’m a sucker for long drives at night through the city, so of course, I said yes. We ended up driving to Cherry Beach, and I was sitting on the railing just staring at him in silence, wondering what the hell we were doing there at 10 pm. He started off by admitting that he really did like me but kept turning me down because he didn’t want to be distracted from his main goal; which was to become a police officer. He thought getting involved with someone was too much commitment and would take up too much of his time when he wanted to focus on working towards his dream job. But then he confessed that he liked me enough to try and make both work, which I was still unsure about since I was still in shock with his change of attitude. Careful but curious, I accepted and we decided to give it a shot. 
He was the perfect boyfriend at the beginning (aka The Honeymoon Phase). It was like a different person from who I saw at work; while he was always serious and never smiled, it was the opposite when we were alone. He would say sweet things and always tried to make me smile. He was great, to say the least.

But past the three-month mark, things started to go downhill. He became stressed with a number of factors; his father was visiting Canada for a while and had to live with him, which was something he wasn’t too happy about since he was the loner type who didn’t like rooming with anyone. He was also moving into a new place and had renovations to do himself, and it was hard to find time to renovate when he worked full-time. And then there was me. He started to realize that he didn’t have much time to spend with me anymore, or with his friends either. Even though I told him it was alright since I understood the situation, he started becoming distant and moody. Things got ugly fast; he stopped messaging and calling me, which made me worried and check up on him. Whenever I confronted him about what was going through his head, he wouldn’t talk and I already knew where this was going. But I felt like it was unfair to me since I felt like this situation was only temporary and he was making the whole thing into a big deal. Here I was, trying to be understanding and patient yet he kept pushing me away. All I wanted to do was to lay everything out on the table and talk, and how we could deal with it together. But it’s hard trying to keep everything together when the other person is giving up and throwing it all away. 
Soon it got to the point where he would call or text me once a week, and I had no idea what was going on. I figured that giving him space would give him some room to breathe. But soon I started to lose my patience when he would only call to make small talk, yet he didn’t want to talk about the situation we were in. It was like trying to avoid the elephant in the room, and I wasn’t having any of that. There was this one time he even called me at 1 am and we ended up screaming on the phone and I had to take the call outside to not wake the house.  Not only was I losing him, but I was losing my mind.  
So maybe I started becoming the crazy girlfriend. I started going to his house at times, knocking at his door and demanding to talk because I wanted answers. I was tired of these mind games, all this hot and cold and push and pull. It felt like I was a doll to him, where he only picked me up when he wanted to play. It was a lot to take in — have him used to tell me I was important to him to having him tell me he didn’t need me and that I was nothing to him. It was like he was a completely different person, and I remember one night where I was crying and screaming at my mom, asking “Where did my boyfriend go?”. I was tired. Tired from the mind games he was playing and the verbal abuse I was getting. He would criticize me when I only tried to help him and it was disheartening to hear him tell me I was getting in his way of moving towards his career path, even though I knew he was just pulling out a bunch of excuses now. It was like I was getting punished for loving him. 
It was a messy breakup, and I could even write a whole book about it with all the details. There was never a proper “I break up with you” from either of us. When he kept ghosting me and I eventually stopped chasing and gave up. He did come by to pick up his things a month after our final fight though, and we both exchanged our sorries. Did that fix anything? No. Does everything make sense now? Absolutely not. Even to this day, I will never see the logic in why he did what he did to me. And I would never forgive him. Of course, I played a lot of fault in this too. We both dragged it for too long. But I think my biggest mistake is trying to fix what was already broken. I regret putting so much of myself into someone who didn’t care. I remember spending day and night in bed crying my eyes out, to the point where they were swollen all the time and I couldn’t even hide that I had been crying. I didn’t show up to work for days, and when I returned, it was overwhelming when everyone asked me where I went. I also didn’t talk to my best friends for four months. They did call and check up with me still every once in a while. I was also fighting with my mom 24/7. It was like I had shut down and couldn’t function anymore. This wasn’t just about losing him. In fact, I was more concerned with the fact that I had lost myself. It was like he took the best parts of me and left me with nothing.

I started to believe that if I couldn’t make him happy. Then I understood that meant I couldn’t make anyone else happy, you know? At one point, I couldn't eat and my weight dropped to 79 pounds. I’ll never forget that one time I looked at my reflection in the bathroom mirror with my shirt off and I could see my ribcage clearly, and muttering an “oh shit” under my breath when I saw the number on the scale. It was at that moment where I had the wake-up call. I had to stop and couldn’t do this anymore. I realized that he punished me enough, so why was I punishing myself and those around me even more?

I eventually decided to seek help and went to my doctor as a form of therapy. Never in my life did I expect to be here at this stage in my life. I was angry at my ex for doing this to me. I was angry at my friends and family around me telling me that I could do better. And most of all, I was angry at myself, for letting all of this happen and for letting him walk all over me when I should’ve stopped it sooner. I was full of negative emotions and didn’t even want to have emotions at the time because it was all too much. But I remember my stepsister sending me a text message one night, telling me that she loved me and I immediately called her back even though I didn’t know what to say. But right when she asked “Are you okay?” in her gentle tone, I broke down and started spilling out everything I had been holding in all these months. Pretending to be ok is the hardest and most exhausting thing in the world. I rambled to my sister on how dumb I felt for having all of these different kinds of feelings going through me; it came to the point where I was overwhelmed as if I had felt so much that I felt nothing. It was only when she said “Having feelings is what makes us human. We have one life, so why would you want to spend your life holding back from feeling?”. And I realized that she was right. This whole time, my ex was punishing me for feeling. So I’m going to feel and nothing else will hold me back. I shouldn’t have to feel like I’m doing something wrong for feeling.

It was an extremely hard year for me, but once 2018 came around, everything took a 180 turn. I started talking to my friends and family again, and I also started socializing more with others and made many new friends. I became more productive, having scored an internship and building up a portfolio from it. I even got a puppy, which definitely lifted my spirits up. Overall, this experience really changed me as a person. In no way am I the same person I was a year ago, and I don’t think she’ll ever be coming back. I’ve learned to put myself first and to not waste time on someone who won’t fight for you. Something I realized as well is that nobody will never love and respect you the right way if they haven't learned to love and respect themselves yet. A relationship is a two-way street, and it’s pointless to fight for the other person if they aren’t willing to put in any effort. I’ve also learned that it’s okay to grieve. By all means, be sad and mourn. But eventually, you have to get up and move on. And at the end of the day, you are the only one who can save yourself. A lot came out of this whole ordeal, and he was probably the hardest lesson I’ll ever learn.
Do I think about him? Of course! But I don’t miss him, and I don’t want him back. 
I’ve learned to be happy, and I believe that is the most important rule in life.

The greatest thing I’ve come to realize is this: If you lose someone but find yourself, you've won. 

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