The Thousand-Mile Journey To Healing
How do you even begin to move on, let alone heal after a breakup?
Credit: Joshua Rawson Harris
Couples retreat, hours of therapy, a spontaneous getaway together. None of that made a difference, your partner simply wanted out. It’s often one of the hardest things to come to terms with, but in my experience, it’s the first step on the journey to healing.
I used to think I’ve experienced way too much heartbreak in my thirty years. Looking back, I don’t think it was too much, too much for me to handle perhaps. I still remember the three that did the biggest numbers on me. It’s why I’m a firm believer that a person who’s never experienced that sort of anguish, round-the-clock torture and unbelievable sorrow simply cannot fully understand.
So, if for some unfortunate reason you’re heading down that road, I hope I can help out some. If you’re already down that road then I know you need somebody, anybody, to tell you whether you’ll make it out alive.
I’m not insisting that I’m qualified to write about the heartache that comes with the end of a relationship. However, I’ve been dumped in some rather unique ways. Like that time when I was dating someone long distance and seven months was the longest I’d ever held anyone’s interest. Then I moved to another country knowing it would help if we were now able to see each other more often. Then she dumped me. Via text message. The day I arrived. While I was still in baggage claim.
It happens. And you’ll live to talk about it with no emotion whatsoever. But before we cross that bridge, here’s what’s probably gonna happen:
1: You will try to make her stay/make her come back.
You’re probably wondering if this works, trying to get her back, that is. Sometimes it works, most times it doesn’t. You simply can’t hold on to someone who’s determined to leave. Because as women, we first make a lot of our decisions mentally, before we act on them. Which means she’s already left you in her mind, so even if she stays physically out of guilt, it won’t be like old times. It’s not easy telling someone you intended to be with for the foreseeable future to go. However, sometimes just saying “If you want to leave that bad, then you should” is all it takes.
It’s hard to say that, when in your heart you believe she’ll stay if you beg hard enough. She probably won’t.
2: She will move on and begin dating again, much sooner than you do.
While it doesn’t happen that way all the time, the woman who initiates the split usually moves on faster. I think that’s because she’s been emotionally detached way longer than her partner has. She’s moving through the stages of grief on a different timeline.
When she starts dating again she’ll probably let it be known. Usually on social media. You’ll take that as a personal stab in the heart because; well didn’t she wait a whole three months before letting people know you guys were together? Now all of a sudden she’s shouting it from the Facebook rooftops after a mere three weeks!
Thus begins the journey of your descent into third degree misery.
3: You will become obsessed with her new life and new partner.
Did I mention third degree misery? Having to stalk your ex, her new girlfriend, all your mutual friends and the girlfriend’s friends who have public social media profiles is a lot of work! Imagine if you have to do all that with a full time job! Yet somehow you’ll find a way to make it work. Lunch breaks, bathroom breaks, smoke breaks, red lights. We know what you’ll be doing with your precious time. It will hurt like hell and you’ll feel like crap because they seem perfect together.
The harder you try to quit stalking, the less progress you’ll make. You’ll wake up in the middle of the night to troll and accidentally drop your phone on your face. I’m writing from experience. It’s hell, plain and simple. After all, it was never your idea to not have this woman in your life.
4: When you try to reach out, if she ignores you and then severs all ties, you’ll thank her later.
People who dump their partners then immediately decide you’re ‘still close friends’ are cruel. You should give her the chance to heal, to heal properly. Otherwise she might mistake your friendliness for a chance at reconciliation.
To the two ladies in particular who hit delete and block on my social media profiles, I thank you! I really appreciate that, I still tried hard to see what you were up to but I didn’t get too far.
You see, if you have no communication with your ex following a breakup then you’ll heal faster. Of course you’ll cry harder, more frequently. You’ll hate them and think they’re heartless and never really loved you. You’ll go absolutely crazy when even emails fail to deliver. But it’s for the best, you’ll soon realize. In those moments when you’re not able to like her most recent pic (even though it causes great flames of jealousy to leap from that place your heart used to be) and you can’t even say happy birthday, you’ll think there’s no chance for the proverbial friendship following a lesbian relationship. Don’t worry so much, it will happen when it’s supposed to.
A year after one of the ladies severed all ties with me, one random morning we communicated. It didn’t occur as a result of me begging hard enough, we texted back and forth via Facebook messenger for around ten minutes. Then just like that, I got the closure I was trying to force when it wasn’t the right time.
In those ten minutes we discovered neither one of us really hated the other. She was in a new relationship, I wasn’t. We both complained about how work takes up all our time. I encouraged her to make time to binge on the new episode of The Big Bang Theory. We LOL, she told me her new partner got her another puppy. I told her I’ve had three more plays produced in NYC since that first one when she and I met. We wished each other well (and meant it) then we went back to our separate lives.
So yes, it does get better. But closure and friendship will not be forced.
5: You won’t think about finding someone else for a while, usually that’s when someone else finds you.
I too, used to think this was a pile of horseshit.
But once the sharp, stabbing pain of heartache becomes more of a dull ache in your chest, you’ll begin to really heal and breathe again. You will learn to like yourself again, you won’t blame yourself for your ex’s decision to split. You will begin to start believing that you’re still beautifu. You’ll start making an effort to look like yourself again, for there’s no greater feeling than getting all dolled up even though you have nobody in particular who’ll take notice. You’ll stop being a bitch to your co-workers, you’ll go out for drinks again, your confidence will return and radiate off of you like a blinding light.
You’ll wake up one morning and realize that you haven’t thought about your ex in over two weeks. You hardly have any desire to hear what your mutual BFF have to say about her. That’s how you’ll miss the part about how things didn’t work out with that girl she dated three weeks after dumping you.
You also won’t notice that all the good energy around you has attracted the gorgeous woman everyone whispers about. The one who seems to break everyone’s gaydar. The one who’s just beautiful and doesn’t seem to realize that every woman within a forty mile radius wants her. Every queer woman notices her, except you. Because you’re so happy with yourself you no longer go scavenger hunting for potential relationships. But she’s been checking you out and you’ll know this when she asks you out.
So you see my dear, it really does get better. I sincerely hope this helps you make that first step of your thousand-mile journey to healing.
Follow me on IG @nattaliewithtwoteez
Also feel free to check out more of my work on nattaliegordon.weebly.com