How long does it take to recover from a break-up? It’s a question I’ve asked others and myself a million times over the last year and everyone has a theory.
About as long as it takes for you to crawl up under a new man.
As soon as you want to let go. Poof!
Just drink until you forget it even happened.
Learn your lesson and move on.
Take all that energy and focus it into a new hobby.
You can’t measure feelings but time heals all
I have tried it all and then some for the ex in question. The relationship for me was the first of its kind, one that burned flames in my spirit like no other before it and quite possibly none to come. It was a heart-palpitating, reassuring, you get me, quirky, silly, butterflies all over, place-your-heart-here – the kind that they tell you exists but you rarely find –awesome love, until one day it wasn’t. I was happy; happier than I could ever picture myself being and the relationship was as smooth as ever (considering the plight of what it took for us to finally be at ease with our feelings for one another) or at least so I thought it was until the breakup unraveled.
He broke up with me via text on the weekend that Hurricane Sandy had her way with NYC and immediately eradicated me from his life. That pain traveled deep and wide and left shards of glass on an already fragmented heart. I lost the motivation in myself and soon everything else in my life became a haphazard mess. I became someone dark and more isolated trying to figure out how to get back to myself. It’s difficult enough to maneuver the highways of life but when your heart is not in it, you become deadlocked in your own traffic.
The memories follow me down these highways. Every song on the radio reminds me of him. Every exit sign becomes one of the many places we let our bodies trade secrets. The landscape outside of the window is the canvas that all our feelings collide to create. No matter how much I try to escape him, there he is turning on to the one-way streets of my soul and the hidden alleyways of trite streets that no one else ever dares to enter.
One day you’ll wake up and you’ll be ok. Words you don’t want the person you envisioned a bountiful future with to ever say as a means to coax their decision to end things. I spent almost every night for six months sleepless, teary-eyed and lost. I reached out and was rejected and continued this cycle.
I still wake up to residual feelings and memories but I’m learning to live with missing someone everyday. Since we parted ways it has been exactly 14 months. 60 weeks. 436 days. We spoke once last April catching up on time elapsed and sharing a few giggles into the night as if our love was still allowed to live on each others tongues. Something was wrong with me and he knew but he also needed for me to help iron out the tangled wires of his life. Confusing conversation: glimpses into what we had and a future of us resisting to express our feelings because this relationship thing doesn’t work. We (still) can’t be friends.
As the hours pass, I no longer feel as defeated when memories surface, when I see him at events or when his eccentric tweets usher their way into my timeline multiple times a day. I am taking tiny steps. Progress is progress.
Until that day I returned to work, my first day back at a company that let me go during the climax of my self-pity. As luck would have it I bump into my him seconds to the year of our textual break up. I held my cool, I mustered up the courage for a cordial greeting after moments of hiding. Kept the butterflies as still as statues as they tried to break through the cocoon and I made it through the workday unscathed by a solitary sad thought.
Maybe I am over him.
Everyday after has been a hide and seek match as I try to avoid bumping into the guy I’m not over who happens to work across the street. New York City could you be any smaller? I guess it’s the motions.
Then I saw him at Grits and Biscuits just a few weeks ago. Really here, really now? My mind told me it would be better to say hi then to put in effort to ignore him all night. I was feeling brazen after a few libations, it was worth a shot. We exchanged hi’s. I asked about the texts and calls it seemed so easy for him to neglect and returned to my friends to party the night away.
Stop bumping into me. All I heard as he wrapped his hands around my waist to guide me out of his path. I had not moved an itch; it was the other way around. It was the icebreaker, we needed.
I don’t know why I’m telling you this.
Weight looks good on you.
Why is it that you pop up whenever I think about you?
Ask god about the metaphysical.
I’m proud of you.
I like you hair.
You’re one of the best writers I’ve encountered.
Don’t do this don’t play with my feelings. You’re drunk.
No I’m not.
… I’ve seen every inch of your body.
… Remember when our nights ended to Miguel.
Your friends probably hate me.
My best friend thinks you’re amazing.
I see when he tweets you.
Let me, let you get back to the party…
I’m sure there’s guys here who want to talk to you
You’re oblivious to when guys want you.
I mean look at you.
You still do that bashful smile when I talk to you.
I’m really proud of you.
You haven’t changed.
I have. Just not when it comes to you.
We stood in the middle of a crowded dance floor, exchanging eyes full of lust and regret. The rest of the world appeared nonexistent to our racing hearts holding on to love lost and love that we wished we could breathe life into. Quenching our thirst for one another in the freedom of an inebriated New York City night.
Our yesterdays crept upon us the following day. Mad that I let him have that power over me, as I chased away my hangover. I watched as people unknowingly retweeted him filling his timeline with angst about bumping into me. I watched the next week as the same thing happened as he tweeted about a girl he’s been talking to. I felt my stomach hit the ground because he used to tweet about me that way. That Friday night was just another moment to cherish, he’s not interested anymore. But I was happy, I missed him, how alive he made me feel. I wish I could turn those moments into my tomorrows forever.
So how do I get over him? Will I ever? I’m moving forward with my life, I wish he could see me reach to the top of so many of the goals he told me I would achieve. I may miss him a little less but I still miss him everyday. Sometimes I think I’m over him and then reality slaps like the cold of a harsh winter night. I’m not crying as much as I used to but it’s not like he ever left my mind.
I want to hate him but then I remember how I feel about him. And it’s weird because it’s been over a year, we barely spent more than 3 hours of those 8766 speaking and I still have all these feelings. Like still wanting to roll my eyes at his corny jokes, to share conversations as he watches me cook us a meal, or, to sit patiently nestled in his lap while he watches football.
The more the time passes the more I realize no one wants to tell you they don’t know if you’ll ever recover or if you’ll eventually revert back to the person you were before the storm. They neglect to tell you that the day you’re hoping for will be trenched in aching pain. Pain that you’ll feel in your bones and which may grow stronger in absence. They forget to tell you that your patience in the weeks will drag like hours, months will feel like wasted years, and a year will feel like a never-ending eternity. You’ll be disappointed in the moments of silence as you look for noise to clear the air. They forget to tell you that some memories don’t ever fade.
They forget to be realistic. “As time goes on, you’ll understand. What lasts, lasts; what doesn’t, doesn’t. Time solves most things. And what time can’t solve, you have to solve yourself.” – Haruki Murakami
Time doesn’t heal all. Your mind learns to cover the scars to protect your own sanity. They never take into account the mind of a creator, one whose pain and happiness may exist on the same spectrum. So they wouldn’t dare tell you there is no solution to the question you’re asking because by entertaining your curiosity it at least means you want to recover. They’re just pray that you will.