(As told to Shahnaaz Khan)
I believe the end of a relationship is quite like the end of a life. Here was something you created, fed and protected. Until suddenly it is taken away from you. And I know the grief of losing someone you love is infinitely more, yet for that moment losing a love you cherished leaves a hole in your life just as gaping. Even the progress of a broken heart seems to go along the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally if you are lucky, acceptance.
The five stages of grief and breakup
Denial – no, it’s not over. It can’t be. We both love each other and had dreamt of our life together. This is just a rough patch. Anger – how can she leave me like this? Let go of everything we had and move on to someone else! Did she just use me and move on when I was not enough? Bargaining – baby, take me back. You know we are best for one another. I’ll never find another like you and love you forever. Whatever you want, I will do. For your happiness and for us. Depression – there is no bigger loser than me. She has found someone much better and deserving of her, which I am not. I am no good for her, for anyone. No good for this life.
And acceptance. I’d say I am there, but what is it that I am accepting? That the love of my life is not with me but with someone else. That maybe she is happier with him and I should be happy for her. That maybe I ruined it or did not try hard enough. Or that this is my life now. Hearing about how great the new guy is from common friends and pretending to be okay. Or accepting how maybe I will never find love like that again. Is it better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all?
Related reading: The best way to get over rejection is to face it
Like living with a ghost
So I move along, unknown to anyone, burdened with a zombie of a dead relationship. One that neither dies nor lives. And while people move along when they leave for their heavenly abode. A past relationship with someone you know a lot of common people with, is a ghost that refuses to pass on. There you are, hanging out with the same people, in the same spaces. And while I avoid going anywhere I will see her with him, I can’t avoid the Internet. Photos of them laughing, hugging, dancing. Her holding him the way she held me once. This ghost can’t be exorcised or prayed away. I live with it everyday.
This ghost can’t be exorcised or prayed away. I live with it everyday.
I am not just a hopeless lovelorn fool. It’s not that I didn’t try to move on. When we broke up after what were the best two years of my life, my life did fall apart. After all, this was the girl I knew I would marry at first sight. Seems naïve, maybe, or confident. In any case, in those two years I thought dreams do come true. Then she broke up, only to start dating the guy we had been arguing over. He was the man I was insecure about. Perhaps I drove her to him. Or she just finally saw what I had seen months ago. In any case, there she was with him pretty soon after we fell apart. A man everyone considered better than me in every way. And now she did too.
Was it a second chance?
Then they broke up and it seemed she wanted to come back. I wasn’t sure of rushing into things and thought we should spend some time getting to know each other again. But you can’t stop hope. And there it was knocking at my door. Maybe I’d get another chance. Till one day a friend tells me that she is back with him. I lost the second time. Fool me twice… they say. What a fool I was! To think that she would choose me over him. He was able to give her a lot of things I couldn’t. I didn’t have a rich family, my career was still in its early phases, and the only 6 packs I had were of the cigarettes I smoked trying to get over her. Again.
The feeling of inadequacy, the loss of confidence and an aura of worthlessness surrounded everything. I wished I was him. I wished I was with her. That I wasn’t me. I felt redundant, useless and forgettable. Just as I had begun to climb out of the hole, I had been pushed back in. Was I to blame? She wanted to come back. But I had said no. A hundred scenarios kept popping up in front of me. And each time the reality hit harder. It hit my self-esteem and the will to live.
Related reading: Unable to get over two-year-old breakup, sometimes I feel suicidal
It’s not that I’m any less
It has been 8 months now that she is back with him. With each day I get closer to what you may consider acceptance. Now I don’t let people’s opinion of him define my self-worth. So I guess it is all about accepting oneself. Yes, she is with someone else. No, I am no less. No smaller or insignificant. I have my flaws, but also my strengths. I still think of her every day but now just want her to be happy.
I still think of her every day but now just want her to be happy.
Even if it means being happy with him. While I choose happiness for myself everyday as well. Sometime I fail, sometimes I succeed. There are moments I feel I am not good enough. Then there are also moments I know I am good enough for me. And it’s one step at a time from there.