“You know what? I think he has a new girl in his life,” my friend said frantically over the phone, panic evident in her voice.
“So?” I asked coolly. Even though the statement sounded random, I instantly knew who she was talking about.
Better to breakup
I had known Ritika for over 4 years and we were reasonably close friends. I had seen her navigating the ups and downs of a two-year-long relationship, which finally met its end last year. It wasn’t an amicable breakup either. Rather, it was rather messy. She had caught her ex cheating on her, and what had followed was tears, fights, confusion and a series of breakups and patch-ups. Finally, after months of agony, she had decided to call off the relationship, which had almost turned toxic from the constant lies and betrayal.
Ritika had been seeing someone for the past few weeks, and seemed to be happy, which is why it baffled me as to why she was still so invested in what was happening in her ex’s life. Why did she care whether he was seeing someone new or not?
And this wasn’t the first time either. I had often noticed her peeking into her ex’s FB profile, analysing to bits every mundane thing he wrote on Twitter, and even going to the extent of checking out profiles of the new people he seemed to befriending. It almost bordered on a pathological obsession. I had tried bringing this up with her on several occasions, only to be brushed off with a nonchalant wave of her hand. “It’s just for fun,” she would say, and switch to another topic.
Related reading: Gym, Journals, Jagjit Singh…how I got over my break-up
Her fingers would head to his profile almost on impulse, and she would spend a good amount of time poring over his latest pictures and updates. She wouldn’t comment on them, but she would keep herself in tune with the happenings in his life with such astounding regularity, that it was almost worrying.
The reason why
“Are you still in love with him?” I asked.
“I don’t think so,” she replied, after a moment of thought.
“Do you want to get back together with him,” I asked further.
“Never. I’m much happier without him,” she said. Which left both of us with the same question – then why?
Was she plain curious to know how he was faring in life?
Did she wonder if he was happier without her?
Was she, subconsciously, comparing herself to the new woman in his life?
Or was she doing it out of habit, of finding some vestige of connection even through the two were not on talking terms?
By all practical parameters, Ritika had checked off every to-do item on the ‘moving on’ checklist. But clearly, something remained. And it was definitely not love. From where I stood, it seemed like she had achieved some form of emotional detachment, but was stuck in a loop of unhealthy emotional behaviour.
Related reading: Divorce is about letting go, not holding on
I had a lot many questions to ask my friend, and an equal number of things to say. But I held back. I wanted her to take her time. There was nothing I could tell her that she didn’t already know. She was well aware of the futility of it all – it was just a cord that she needed to snap. And nobody but her could do that for herself. However, in observing her, I had a realisation (or two).
Mera kuchh samaan
In looking back, even when life had so much in store for her, she probably wasn’t looking back at Ronit – the person who was no longer a part of her life, but the parts of herself she left behind with him.
As difficult and tempting as it may be, she was not being fair to herself. By clinging on to what is lost, she was not only denying herself emotional growth, but also the pleasure of indifference. It’s all right to do that, but at some point, she would have to let go. Those parts were for him to keep. And giving them away hasn’t made her any scantier.
Related reading: 5 ways to stop stalking your ex on social media