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Why I Don’t Want to “Get Over” My Ex

Have you ever stopped to think about how truly unnatural a breakup is? In the midst of the pain and the heartache, have you realized how bizarre the process of breaking up really is? One moment we are living our lives alongside another person, dedicating our time, our attention, and our love to another individual. And the next moment, you are readjusting to life without them: changing their name in your phone, cancelling plans, and making desperate attempts to “get over them.” In order to make sense of this chaos of a breakup, people often comfort us with the, “you’re better off without them’s” and the “just forget about them’s,” as if this is a healthy solution to such grief.

I was once told that a breakup is the closest thing you can get to death without someone actually dying—and since then I have never viewed breaking up in quite the same way. And while the comparison may be a tad dramatic, for me, it seemed to be the only thing that gave me clarity in such a disorienting loss. After all, it is the death of plans made together, dreams shared, and the end of a life you built with someone you loved. So with that in mind, I believe a break up should be mourned just as if it was a death—and no one tells you to “get over” a death, or “just forget about” someone who has passed away. In my opinion, it is simply foolish to treat breakups in the manner we do. Given all the trauma, all the heartache, and all the emotional damage we’re left with post-breakup, why do we not give these separations, these deaths, the compassion they deserve?

After recently falling victim to my second breakup of the year, I have learned just how important it is to mourn and grieve. While I cannot deny that I usually begin my breakups with a, “I’m a bad b*tch, and I don’t need you” mantra, I no longer suppress my emotions, nor do I seek to fill the void of heartache with someone new and someone “better,” but simply let it be. I have come to terms with the fact that no one I date in the future will ever fill the void that a past love has left behind, and they shouldn’t have to. Quite honestly, to believe that someone can come into your life and erase your connection, your memories, and your affection for another person, is rather brutal. Each and every person that comes into your life and loves you, significant other or otherwise, will provide experiences and emotions completely unique to that very person, and that very relationship—and that is completely okay. The person you marry doesn’t have to be “better” than every ex, every notch in your bedpost, and every romantic encounter, they will simply be different.

When I reflect on my dating past, no man or boy was, nor is, better than the other, they simply brought different things to the table, had different attractive qualities, and taught me different life lessons. No ex less valuable than another. And going back to the idea that breakups are a death of sorts, would anyone ever comfort the loss of a friend or family member with a, “you’ll find someone new”? While I understand that a breakup and a death are not analogous in every way, personally, I believe it is, nonetheless, completely absurd for us to assume that everyone post-breakup is looking for the “next one.” The broken-hearted may just want to be broken-hearted, and sad, and most importantly, single. A person may feel no need to fill that “void” in their life. They may simply want, and desperately need, time to process their emotions and grieve, without being told to “move on.”

In the midst of my own heartache, I don’ t want to move on from my current ex, or any of my exes from that matter. Quite frankly, part of me will always love each and every one of my past loves, and I don’t see any problem with that. After all, to suppose that love can simply go away overnight is absurd. And though I know that someday I will fall in love again, get married, and start a life with someone new, I refuse to forget the memories I’ve made with all the men before “the one.” And in case you were concerned, no, that won’t be an obstacle to overcome in my future relationships, but I believe it is something we should all work to normalize.

Editor-in-chief of Her Campus Utah - Double major in English and Gender Studies - Lover of Oxford comma, hater of patriarchy. 
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