Help! I Think I'm Addicted to Break Ups
That sounded very crass, harsh and unfeeling so please allow me to elaborate on that sensationalist and attention-grabbing headline before you criticise… (put your judgey pants away people, it’s a common writing technique).
In the last 9 years I’ve had, and ended, more relationships than I can count (actually I probably could count them, but I won’t because that then likens them to notches on the proverbial bed post and I don’t consider failed relationships as any kind of conquest to brag about, quite the opposite).
Anyway, I’m not sure what it is about us second time around-ers (those of us that have had the family life once already), maybe we have a much lower propensity for settling, having made ourselves nice and comfy in our single lives, and so it takes someone super special to make something stick. Very few of the (nearly fifty of them in my case but again, who’s counting?) many first dates I’ve been on lead to a second because why bother if it’s not absolutely perfect/positive its not going to end in heartbreak on either side/everyone feels ready aka the unicorn of online dating? My single life is pretty bloody awesome thanks.
But this means that those that actually end up as a relationship deserving of what can be described as a breakup, really and truly represent only the very elite, the best of the best, which is what makes ending them so hard because they all genuinely could have been something cool. It means ending the fairy tale, and when it doesn’t end in a happy ever after that’s always going to be a bit depressing however you slice it.
Because when a relationship ends, you’re not just sad about not seeing that person anymore. The end of a relationship represents the end of all your hopes and dreams you shared, and saying goodbye to the things and experiences you thought you would have in the future, even if you only had those hopes for a day, a week or a few months.
But despite all this maudlin talk, I still find breakups a positive experience. Maybe I’ve cultivated them that way, or maybe you just can’t keep a good woman down. Or maybe I’m just weird.
It’s become almost prescriptive and I share this with you in the hopes that it might provide someone else with some comfort or guidance if they are going through a shit time.
With every end of a relationship I allow myself one day to wallow, I really try to give myself some time to feel sad, mourn the loss, pack up their stuff, sadly look at pictures of us together, change social media relationship status (hidden, don’t need any “you ok hun’s” or “so sorry to hear this’s” thanks all the same for the well meaning but as you will read, entirely unnecessary support).
But for some reason, despite being fully allowed completely free reign to be sad, my brain rarely takes me up on the offer and instead goes “yeah, yeah let’s just get to the good bit”. And like an alcoholic excitedly opening the first bottle of wine of the day I anticipate the coming rush of inspiration, that I can only, very crassly I’m sorry, describe as a high.
Its a bit like when a crab leaves its old shell and emerges all new and tender, but ready to grow a new one. There’s a vulnerability to the days after a breakup, which, if you nurture properly can provide the foundation for all kinds of wonderful opportunities, but if you don’t your new house will be crappy and covered in barnacles.
Maybe one of the reasons why I find this such a positive time is breakups very rarely come out of the blue. They usually follow days, weeks, months or sometimes years of hardship and heartache which has involved stewing over the past, wondering why someone said something, wishing you’d done something different, apologising for arguments, arguments themselves caused by something someone said or did either recently or in the past. Questioning, so much questioning, and justifying of the past and yourself. Exhausting.
But suddenly that’s all over and you can breathe again. And with that release of the negative comes space to allow mindfulness to just flow in. Suddenly the past is gone, poof, and it no longer matters. And as someone who understands very well that rumination rarely serves, I do my very best to avoid it, and therefore I am left with no choice but to focus only on the present and the future.
And that future is suddenly completely unwritten, potential unbound, what is stopping you from creating a new and even better fairy tale, and honestly is there anything more enticing? There are no rules and we can be who we want to be and go where we want to go.
This is my time to make a new vision board, journal, make projects which were previously only seeds of ideas, into reality. I am able to work harder and be more focused by channelling all that energy that I was previously desperately throwing into the failing relationship.
I am more driven and productive in the days after a breakup than at any other time. I may have said goodbye to the fairy tale, but at this point I’m becoming the legend and not sure if I even want the fairy tale anymore (actually of course I do).
I’m honestly not addicted to breakups, however odd this all might sound. They are always sad, sometimes harrowing, and have the capacity to be absolutely devastating. And maybe I’m just getting numb to it, I’ve been through so many I’m now a complete pro. Would I rather be ensconced in the romantic joy and comfort that is a happy relationship? Of course. But given the choice between battling the death throes of a fading relationship and the refreshing peace of a breakup, I’ll take the breakup.
There’s always a reason why a breakup has happened, so I think its best to just trust that it was the right thing to happen at the time, and appreciate the release of the burden of the difficulties of the relationship, enjoy the freedom of being resingled.
I’m sure I’ll come full circle again, and be loved up and happy to be with someone again one day, and maybe that one will stick (in which case I better make this rush worth it) but in this time of rebirth, with its moments of quiet reflection and frantic activity, I’m busy tending my meadow of positivity, because we really do reap what we sow.
And maybe there’s a lesson here that could help prevent future breakups, if we all just spent more time focusing on the present and the future, rather than ruminating about things that have already happened and can’t be changed, breakups themselves might be consigned to the past. Who knows? But I’m excited to find out.