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I always expected my first breakup to be hard. I thought that it’d hurt in a way where I couldn’t go another day without my person because everything reminded me of them. I expected it to be a lot of crying to sad songs and watching romance movies while eating chocolate, but now that it’s happened, that’s not how it is at all. It’s waking up and missing getting a simple good morning from someone. It’s sitting in a room that was once full of laughter and good conversations but is now completely silent. In reality, the hardest part of a breakup is learning how to be alone. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share of watching Someone Great on Netflix and learning all the lyrics to “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” by Taylor Swift. But, a few days after the shock of the breakup settled, I noticed that I wasn’t crying because I was so in love and couldn’t imagine my life without my ex. Of course, losing someone I loved for two and a half years was hard, but we both knew this time was coming, which made that part a bit easier. I was crying because I missed the feeling of being loved. I missed the consistency of having someone always there for me. I went from having a general idea of how our life together was going to pan out over the next five years to having no idea if I’m even going to be able to get out of bed tomorrow. Losing that idea of knowing what’s to come has been absolutely sickening. It’s even more sickening than the thought of running into them with someone new. I never really understood what people meant when they said that you may be in love with the idea of someone rather than actually being in love with them until it happened to me. It’s so easy to fall in love with the comfort of someone and stay simply for that. Now that the comfort is gone, I’ve been left with an overwhelming feeling of loneliness. I’ve swiped left and right for nights on end, trying to find a taste of that feeling again or something even remotely close to it, but why am I searching for it in someone else? Why is being by myself so hard to the point that I’m relying on strangers to help “heal” me? 

My whole life I’ve been trying to find my person. Love is everywhere. It’s shoved down our throats in just about every aspect of life. Every other song on the radio is either about being in love or being heartbroken. I grew up watching movies about princesses finding their perfect prince and how their life was so much better once they found love. How couldn’t I want to chase that feeling of falling in love and finding my “happily ever after,” if that’s the goal that life has set for me since I was a child? 

I know it’s very cliché, but now I’m left wondering, “If I can’t love myself and love being by myself, how could I ever expect to be able to love someone else?” I know that searching for a feeling in someone else, let alone a stranger, isn’t what I should be doing. I try to remind myself that at the end of the day, all I have is myself, and it’s been the hardest pill to swallow. If I’m all I have, I should be focused and working on myself, but to be honest, I don’t have a clue how to do that. I guess the first step would be to choose myself, which I’m finally doing, so here’s to learning how to be alone.

Sheridan Mercer

Virginia Tech '22

A senior studying childhood pre-education with minors in psychology and disability Studies. I enjoy taking care of plants, listening to music, watching funny TikToks, journaling and cuddling with my cat.  
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