Coping After A Breakup
By J. Smith
A Break-up…We will go through it one day.
How each individual deal with it varies.
Read on as a sister speaks about
her break-up and how she survived.
I should begin by revealing how hard it is to write this. For the past 6 months, I have hidden his face in the back of my mind away from my day to day life- partly out of self-preservation, partly out of fear. It’s a common tale everyone has experienced in one form of another. Girl meets boy, boy woos girl and boy betrays girl. The point of my story is not to accentuate the malignancy of this particular ex boyfriend. Nor is it to make anyone feel sorry for me. I am proud to tell it, because in losing what I thought was everything that I cared about, I found myself.
The path to self- discovery is never an easy one. It rarely starts out as more than a fleeting incident- in my case, a stranger from Australia I met at a bar. Handsome, intelligent, shy and incredibly attractive were the qualities I observed in him at first. Over the next two years, I would get to know him much better through his countless letters, presents, mixed tapes, (he is a DJ) late night phone conversations and emails. Although neither one of us confessed any feelings toward one another at this point, he was my best friend- the one I shared everything with.
His emails were there when I would come home from work every day, his letters would be waiting on the steps for me- filled with beautiful quotations, stories and sprinkled with enticing double entendres. His physical absence in my life was made up for by his overwhelming presence in my dreams and waking moments. He told me he was making sure he was always there with me even if he couldn’t be physically there. I began to fall in love with him.
But I never stopped looking for anyone else. I dated people, he dated people but it never amounted to anything more than one night stands and disappointments. We’d cry to each other and talk about how unfair it was that we couldn’t be together. It had been 2 years since he had said goodbye to me in front of my apartment the day he returned to Australia. He still remembered what I wore that day, down to my shoes and old studded belt. He told me the image of my face as I kissed him goodbye was burned into his brain. It was then I knew he loved me too.
Life carried on without him, but my thoughts were always with him. On my 21st birthday he phoned me to tell me he had come to a decision to leave Australia and come live with me for a while. He would miss his graduation and leave his job. He would sell his records and save to get money. He would make our dream come true. He could no longer be happy without me.
He arrived 6 months later. I had been through hell during those 6 months while preparing for my new life with him. My days were filled with trying to graduate college, getting an AIDS test, going on birth control, losing weight, buying new clothes and arranging my house for him. We counted the days until he arrived. We confided our deepest insecurities with one another in hopes to alleviate some inevitable tension. The last month was the hardest, but neither one of us faltered in our need to be together. Whether it would work, we didn’t know- but he did know we had to try, and he would go to great lengths to give us that chance.
He arrived looking as beautiful as he did when I last saw him. I picked him up in a limousine at the airport- his first time in one. We cruised around Manhattan and made love with the intensity that only 2 years of heartbreak and longing can make. As he slept in my bed that night, I thanked God that he had come to save me. I was finally happy and whole.
Living together was difficult when the initial excitement wore off. He began to miss his friends and feel alienated from his life. Alone in a city where the only person he knew was his girlfriend, he became detached and lonely. He stopped reading, an act he only partook in when he was happy. I’d beg him to tell me what was wrong, but he wouldn’t. I knew that when we were making love, he was unhappy. Something had changed and he was not telling me what it was. The silence grew into shouting matches and desperate cries for explanations but nothing came of it. I began to feel unloved and helpless. The pain of lying in bed with someone who you desperately love that you know does not love you is a pain that brings me to tears as I write this. It was then that I began to realize I needed to save myself.
The end came while I was at work one Friday. I returned home to find a note pinned on my mattress saying that he was not in love with me and he was leaving. He left an email address named “A1 Player”. He had lied to me about being unhappy. He had used my computer to buy train tickets to leave me. He had emailed his friends to not write him at my address already. I was the last to know there was something wrong.
I was now alone, rejected, abandoned and betrayed by someone who I loved more than anything else in my life. The sweet boy who wrote those letters had betrayed me with the insensitivity of a murderer. I did not know this boy who stayed at my house- it couldn’t have been Alistair because he had loved me. This one must have hated me to be so cruel.
Robbed of any sense of security, I began to wonder if I had been taken for a ride. Had I been used? Was it all a lie? Was he ever in love with me? I refused to eat. I pumped my body full of drugs. I cried. I threw up. I doubted my judgement and hated myself for allowing this to happen to me. My friends were very supportive, but were secretly gloating that they had predicted it would never work. He had humiliated me in front of everyone I knew and now I was left to deal with the pain alone.
I saw him for the last time 3 weeks later at a club in New York City, his arms around another girl. I approached him and asked for some answers and got a few. He promised to call me. He never did. I have no knowledge of where he is or what he is doing. He is gone from my life except for the horrible memories of what he did to me.
After about 4 months of moping about feeling sorry for myself, I decided enough was enough. He was out of my life and by being miserable I was only hanging on to a memory that I still can’t decide if I want to remember. Because I was so distraught and not eating during those first two months, I was fabulously thin. People started telling me how great I looked. I took the money I would have spent on Europe and bought new clothing and two SL1200 Technics turntables. I taught myself how to spin records. I read great books and kept myself busy. I graduated college and found a job that I love. I got a new apartment with a great roommate. I started to write again. I had sex with someone else. I discovered I could be alone and happy.
The reason I am happy is because I overcame the hurt and used it to my advantage. Rather than lying down and dying, I used all the anger and betrayal to try and propel myself to greatness. Revenge is quite the healthy motivator for me. I refused to let him screw up my life any more. I would get revenge by being happy. It’s a lot easier said than done of course, but out of respect for myself I got through it.
One of the last things he ever said to me was that he knew he would see my name in lights or in print someday. I know he’s right. And I hope when he sees my name, he’ll smile and remember what we had. I also hope that by the time that happens, I’ll no longer remember his.