My boyfriend and I recently broke up. We had been together since my freshman year, and in November, we would’ve been together for three years. The breakup was somewhat mutual, and it was something that I had been thinking about for a while now. He was my first love, and I had to know if I was making the right decision. What I wasn’t prepared for, though, was the aftermath. We had left things on good terms, but it was hard for me to understand that I had lost my best friend in one night.
I couldn’t text him and tell him how my day went or why I was so frustrated with my partners in my group project. I couldn’t send him a funny video or tweet that reminded me of him. Without meaning to sound dramatic but it was like I had a phantom limb. I knew he was still around, but I couldn’t speak to him or know how he was doing. There was just an absence.
The absence would hit me at odd times, during the middle of a lecture or while I was grocery shopping. It was like my mind would suddenly wake up gasping for air and remind me that my relationship was over. My friends were helpful. They gave their condolences, and they would sometimes check on me if they noticed I was struggling.
It was weird, though. All of the sappy movies and TV shows say that when you break up with someone, the only person you want to talk to about the relationship is the same person you broke up with. It also makes sense in a way; your ex-significant other is the only person who truly understands your relationship. As much as you try to tell other people what it was like or how you felt during your relationship, your ex is the only one who understands.
There were times when I was completely fine, and that surprised me. After all this time together and I was still okay with being alone? When I talked to my therapist about this, she told me that all the time I spent wondering if breaking up with my boyfriend was the best thing for us at that time allowed me to grieve the relationship in my own way. Grief is odd, and it manifests in ways you least expect. Sometimes you’re upset, and you wish the relationship never changed. Other times you’re completely fine, and you don’t know why.
This was my first long-term relationship, and it’s hard to imagine what comes after a breakup like this. When someone is a part of your life for that long, it’s difficult to even imagine life without them, and you don’t expect to actually have to live life without them.
My ex-boyfriend means a lot to me; I truly wish the best for him, and I hope he can grow as a person after this.