slow burn

In ALL, DATING & MATING by Stephanie Klein51 Comments

I’ve been receiving an extraordinary number of emails lately, all from readers, reaching out.  They’re hurting, just fresh from a breakup.  And each time I read a new email, I feel myself getting angry for them.  It’s not that I’m taking sides, assuming he’s the bastard just because mine was.  It really just sucks that any of us has to go through it.  And what’s worse, so many people just trivialize it.

"Boo hoo.  You broke up.  So, what’s the big deal anyway?"  Or from a well-meaning friend, "We’ve talked it to death, now move on."

Punch those people. Deck them along with your halls.  They deserve it.  Unfortunately, though, if you’re anything like I was going through it, you haven’t made room for anger yet.  You’re too sad.  And anxious.  And you don’t want to start over. I know.  You’re not alone.

The fact is, it all comes in waves.  After "it’s over," is when it all begins.  There will be good days, empowered days, it won’t be so bad, I can do this days.  These days chase the bad days, what was I thinking days, I’ll never do any better days, days where we don’t care what our intellect says.  We just want to rewind, to not know, to go back to when things were good, to crawl back into bed with him, to feel him sleep, touch his hair, and know it will never change.  But it’d be like dying to live that lie, a safe dying, slow. It gets better as time passes. If you don’t believe me, read a book of cliches.

He’ll still infiltrate your dreams, I’m afraid, but you’ll finally be free to live yours.  To rediscover what it is you want.  "When I grow up" is here, and now you have a chance to answer again, free of judgment, just as you had when the class sat cross-legged in a circle. 

When I was going through the thickest of it, I took classes to improve myself, invested in myself.  I figured if I put all that time and energy into dating, and realistically I’d only end up with one person in the end of it… why not put all that energy into me, who’d be there at the end? So I dove into photography books.  And that’s another thing… if you are ever feeling sad or sorry or like shit in general, go to the bookstore.  You don’t have to buy anything.  Just read, thumb through books, get a tea, leaf through magazines.  Figure out who you want to be, what you want to add to your life (and even if you don’t end up doing these things, it’s nice to know you can if you do choose to).  Entertain yourself.  I read books on quotes, try to find a new poet who inspires me (Love Sharon Olds), or I look in the style section, or at cookbooks, or at writing exercises.  But that’s me.  I think it is wonderful how we can all find ourselves in book stores.  And you will, too.  And then the good days will eventually outnumber the bad.  So when you’re in the thick of the bads, and fighting every desire to google him, or phone him, or drunk text or email, remind yourself of the fact that you’re resisting because you’re about to begin a new adventure.  Adventures are always a bit scary at first, but the brave are always rewarded.  And if it wasn’t scary at the start, it wouldn’t be worth it.  You’ll see.  And when you do, send me a postcard.

Comments

  1. I loved this. It's definitely great advice post-breakup, but it's fabulous stuff for anytime you're feeling low. We don't need boyfriends or husbands (or bosses or mothers) to make us feel crappy … sometimes we do a bang-up job of doing that to ourselves. Oh for the luxury of nurturing that vulnerable yet resilient self, instead of worrying about what everyone else sees and thinks. The infinite possibilities in a bookstore — what a wonderful metaphor. Thanks for a head start on my New Year's resolutions.

  2. Great advice. When it was me, I changed careers, moved, jdated like it was a job, started writing a column about online dating, and went on cheesy tv dating shows.

    It's funny you wrote this today- a friend reached out to me after months of not hearing from her. She and her boyfriend broke up after a year or more and she's really devastated. I wish I could fastforward time for her- I know she thought he was "The One" and she's finding the idea of starting over completely nauseating.

    I think I will email her a link to this blog. It's one thing to hear soothing words from a friend, but sometimes it's more helpful to be able to identify with a stranger. Makes it more bearable somehow. Thank you.

  3. What perfect timing! I just got back from my first non-date with a guy who broke up with me a week ago. We're trying the friend thing at his request. Still trying to figure out how/if he fits in to my life.
    Maybe I'll include him in my new adventures…maybe not.

  4. Thank you for this. I have a friend who keeps breaking up with the same boyfriend over and over. I love her, and I am always there for her, but I admit I am a bit tired of having the same discussion every time they have their weekly break-up. There is sympathy, and there is the ridiculous. I am going to show her this post, and I hope she listens more to you than to me.

  5. I love this:

    "When I grow up" is here, and now you have a chance to answer again, free of judgment, just as you had when the class sat cross-legged in a circle.

    What a meaningful statement.

  6. I went through a wretched breakup recently and a friend suggested your book. She said she got a lot of therapy and good advice from it. I rolled my eyes and was too anxious to sit and read some memoir. But I found myself at a bookstore after a crappy day at work and began to read it. And it immediately made me feel better. Thank you for writing Straight Up and Dirty. You were able to take a total stranger and turn her in a new direction, toward something exciting again. Thank you. Going forward I plan to buy one for every friend I hear is going through a breakup.

  7. It's so true – profound – about bookstores. All possibilities are there………

  8. Thank you. I must admit I sometimes had the urge to mail you for advice too :) but I thought it was a bit silly since we don't know each other. Turns out I'm not the only one eh. In September my boyfriend left me after 3 years of living together. It is really hard when you find out that your 'forever' no longer lasts for ever. I didn't had the time to mourn, as we had been house hunting and suddenly I was on my own trying to find an appartment asap. Working on that was both good and bad, hard to take care of all things which he used to do (ensurance, electricity, moving companies…) No time to think and feel as life thundered by. So the pain hit me later on, still does on the bad 'how did I end up here' days. But focussing on my new home, decorating it to my and my taste alone is a really good way to elevate my thoughts.
    That, and starting to fantasize about leaving the country to teach English in China. Knowing I've still got options and dreams feels good.

  9. I hope you don't mind if a member of the other team stops in once in awhile…just on the off chance I might be able to learn something that would help me figure out what a woman wants.
    We broke up a year ago, and I've been devastated. She was my first girlfriend, I'm the nice guy so things took me awhile, and I'm trying just now to reinvest in myself…and I think, she would have said what you said. Except from her it would be like, "if you love something set it free…". So I've thrown myself back into the piano (not literally) and The Strand.
    Anyway, keep writing Stephanie, you've made one lonely heart a bit more hopeful today.

  10. misstraceynolan said exactly what I was going to say. Best statement in your entire post.

    "When I grow up" is here, and now you havea chance to answer again, free of judgement, just as you had when the class sat cross-legged in a circle.

    Beautiful advice.

  11. I found out my husband was cheating on my 7/16/06. I divorced him 12/4/06. I celebrated the anniversary of my freedom yesterday by spending the night doing EXACTLY what the fuck I wanted to do. I had dinner with my boyfriend, worked on two paintings, snuggled with my cat, and slept in my bed by my damn self. Something I thought that I would never be ok with doing a year ago.

    I look back on 12/4/06 now as the anniversary of my freedom and the beginning of living the life I always wanted to. I began painting again, took up photography, got rid of cable tv & internet at home, and slept with a 23 year old (I'm 32). Damn that was fullfilling.

    Good advice Stephanie – immersing myself in art and the pursuit of creativity was something that pulled me through the worst times.

  12. Nadine, I totally agree with how you felt reading SU&Dirty – it's nice to relate to someone (thru a memoir) going through the same thing. What I remember from reading it was association with the pain from a break up but also the freedom.

  13. Brings tears to my eyes, very touching and poignant. A great reminder to anyone that our life is our's alone, not just during a time of break-up.

  14. Thanks for this. It just feels so terrible, you know? And the thought of going out with other people doesn't seem adventurous; it feels like accepting that the split is permanent. That's the part that is really hard for me. Especially when you can't imagine someone else "fitting" so well.

  15. This is great advice. I will take it to heart, though I wasn't one of the ones who e-mailed you. I can't ask anyone for advice. How do you cry to your friends that you have broken up with your boyfriend, when they think you are happily married to your husband? You cry in silence, grieve the relationship alone. And maybe that's what I deserve for betraying my vows in the first place. That's probably it. Doesn't make it any easier though. I'm sure the judgers and the haters will jump all over this one, but please don't. You haven't been in my shoes, lived my life.

  16. Danielle- I totally feel your words and I am going through the same feelings. But we are SO worth it and so is that new guy that will be the best fit yet!

    We are all worth it and we will get through it and we will be more amazing because of it!

    Thanks to everyone (especially Stephanie) who inspires me to be a better person for ME!

  17. The other best line of this post: "He'll still infiltrate your dreams, I'm afraid, but you'll finally be free to live yours."

    Yup..he's been haunting me in my dreams lately..even though he's gone on and married someone else. I needed someone with more sense than I at the moment to finish that statement on a positive note for me. Thanks.

  18. There might be too many people taking your advice already (even before it was your advice). Or at least taking it for the wrong reasons. The Borders bookstore in Santa Fe had become a meet market for the lonely, dumped, divorced and dispossessed even before I left a few years ago. Relationship obsession leaves me cold (especially the “we need to talk about it” part). And “Dating” (and all of the crap and insecurity that go with it) always puzzled me, so I gave it up. Once I gave up “dating” and realized I generally preferred my own company anyway, life improved immensely. It also allowed me to recognize the love of my life when I met her, a woman who was as comfortable with her own company as I was with mine. It takes a powerful feeling to pull people like us together. So, when we got together, we really got together. We have been married more 20 years (having passed through our respective training marriages – “kiddie marriages,” my wife calls them – before we met). We have a passionate relationship and NEVER have had to “talk about it.” Neither us suffers from the sort of neediness (sexually or otherwise) in your previous post. Each of us was comfortable alone before we met. Both of us knew what we wanted. We found it. And now we never grow tired of being alone together. We have considered writing a book about it for those who find themselves wandering the sad aisles of the bookstore alone.

  19. Sad In NY- I knew someone in your situation. She doesn't know I know. I don't think it's "getting what you deserve". No one walks in your shoes, and everyone has their reasons for making their decisions, good or bad. The reality is, it happened & can't be taken back- so it's useless to jump on you for something in the past.

    Sorry you're sad- but hopefully you learned something from your experience- maybe that you love your husband more, that you're too afraid to go for what you really want, that cheating isn't how you want to live your life, SOMETHING. ANYTHING. Only then will it have been worth the pain you're feeling now. Bottomline- whatever the issues/circumstances surrounding the break-up, they're still HARD. Good luck.

  20. Loved this post. From the beginning where you allow us to be sad if we want to, to the re-invest in yourself advice.

    And that is my own way of getting over it. To apply myself to being a better me. Not that I wasn't completely fantastic to start off with, but there is always room for improvement, right?!

  21. Every time I read your blog something speaks to me. And you know what, I'm not ready to start over either. Even though I know I need to. Something about the holidays get us down I guess. Thinking about what we wish we had instead of what we have.

    FROM STEPHANIE: When I felt that way, I made a list of all the things for which I should be grateful. It didn't help. What helped was getting out of the house, doing things I enjoyed where I didn't notice time passing. I'd go to the movies, or take an art class at the Y or JCC. Figure drawing. Watercolors. Or I'd photograph a parade, or look in Time Out to see what was going on in town, or I'd go to a book reading. Anything to get out of your own head for a while. And even if you slip into your own head, at least you have a change of scenery, and open yourself to the possibility of your life changing. Not much can change from your sofa.

  22. Great post. I think no matter what – broken-up or in a happy relationship – you owe it to yourself to nurture yourself (and you'll be a better partner for it). Filling yourself up with a relationship is doomed to fail. Only you can fill yourself up…and then lucky him or her who gets to enjoy you…and, hopefully, you him/her. Life offers no guarantees nor security. All you have, ultimately, is you. Grow as an individual, grow in your partnership…don't aim for 'comfortable' or perfection or ideal. As cliche as it is, it's true – There is no destination, only the journey.

  23. Thanks, T. I do think I have learned something. This wasn't a one night stand, it was ongoing for several years, and I did love him. Still do, I guess. I knew every single time I walked out the door to meet him that I was making a mistake, and hurting my kids. But I justified it by telling myself that what they didn't know couldn't hurt them.

    But I know the situation isn't right. My kids deserve better. They adore their dad, and at one time, so did I. He didn't "do anything" to make my feelings change – I think we just drifted. So now, I want to focus on trying to reconnect. I don't want to force it, but I truly want to rekindle the old feelings. Thanks for the advice. If anyone has any suggestions on how to reconnect, please post them.

  24. On the subject of being active after a breakup or when in mourning. My thought is don't totally isolate yourself if that makes it worse. But allow yourself the time and space to grieve. You can't truly move on if you just stuff it down and keep busy. Cry like a baby if that helps get it out. Punch a pillow when you get angry. Let it out…Then nurture yourself – hit the bookstore and thrive.

    This may be poor form to include here (and if it is, feel free to delete, Stephanie), but something I wrote right after a breakup this summer. The process of writing my pain really helped me. And I liked what I wrote, so even in the pain, that felt like something positive.

    I miss you, particularly in the mornings. I miss your legs entwined with mine, your hand on the small of my back, your groggy inability to speak with anything but your body until you've had your cup of coffee. I miss your fuzzy hair beneath my fingertips, dancing their way around your crown, eager to hear your sighs of contentment. It's how I knew I was making an impact on you. Even if you didn't love me, I knew in that moment that at least for that moment, I was affecting you. And you…you took from me what I had to give, unabashedly. You let me comfort you, console you, encourage you…change for you. All I wanted was for you to love me, to realize that I was more than the things that I could give you or do with or for you, that who I was was special, that what we had was more pleasurable than any activity. But you were so distracted…by daily life, chores, the outdoors, unrealistic expectations of yourself and others. You couldn't see what was right in front of you. You couldn't fully see me, because you didn't even know or love yourself. You hadn't learned to take control of your life yet – enough to make of it what you wanted. I'd hoped you'd figure these things out with me – grow with me. And now, now you've cut me out – I think in the hopes of having more time or making it what you want. And you likely will, without me in it. You'll do all those things you thought I kept you from doing. What you don't realize is that I was never in your way. Only you are in your way. Only you can speak for yourself and make life what you want. I guess this is what you want. Not me. You have left a hole in my life where you once were. It's a deep and lonely hole. I try to fill it with friends and, ironically, activities, but it's rather insistently present. I wonder if I've left anything deeper or more permanent than the trail of my fingertips through your hair.

  25. I'm going to Borders tonight and leafing. I feel like my post-breakup strategy is a lot more introverted. I wonder sometimes if it's better for me to self-involve than to throw myself into crowds and drunkenness. It's hard to decide which, but the leafing is definitely true to what feels best for getting better.

    Thanks for more inspiration. You're a fantastic role model.

  26. This is good advice, for more than just a breakup, My mom died less than a month ago. Unexpected and suddenly. I talked to her at 4pm, she was fine… and then 6am the next day she was gone. The feelings that you write about are the same I'm having. I guess that makes sense. Grief is grief. Some days are good days, some are horrible. And I dream about her.
    And you're right. The best thing to do is go out and distract. I have gone to the bookstore. I'm working on planning my life to do the things I want to do. To be better. I think that's the best way to honor her memory and to help myself, too.

    From Stephanie: I'm truly sorry for your loss. Truly. I cannot imagine losing a parent, despite knowing it's a reality for most of us. You have my sympathy, especially during this holiday season. It must be hard.

  27. I wish I read this when I was going through 'The Worst Breakup Ever'. It's why you are a good mommy too; you will offer thoughtful advice not some withering bromides and a pat on the back.

    Bookstores are the best to go and regroup. Travel sections, self help (which I still skulk around in, embarassed somehow), hard cover classics. Book People is great here in Austin but I really miss Myopic and Bookman's Alley in Chicago.

  28. Sad in NY – I'm sad in NY too, for the same reasons as you – same shoes. And it hurts so much. It's such a lonely feeling not being able to tell anyone how sad I am or that I feel as if I'm in mourning. I'm not condoning what I did, but I have been in an unhappy marriage for yrs and have stayed for the kids. Then I found happiness again, but it seems to be ending as I write this. He decided that he can't keep up our relationship because it really can't go anywhere. I am going through the motions for the sake of my kids, but it is so hard. I just want to be alone to cry and not have to put on a happy face for everyone else. The same way that the original secret was hard, so is this. It's a heavy burden to carry. Good luck to you. I really feel for you. I'm sure a lot of people will be looking down on us, but like you said, they haven't walked in our shoes.

  29. A year from the truest start of my breakup, these words could not be more comforting. "Get over it," they said. "He's not the one." So the hell what? It was still like getting stabbed in the heart by my best friend. The one person I thought I could count on. The one person who would always be there. And then sometime between then and now, sometime between fresh waves of pain, looking like hell, hating every guy that asked me out just because the one I still wanted never would again, I realized the one person I could count on, and would have to, forever, was simply: me.

    We give ourselves to others so much that we lose sight of how to pay our own hearts first. Selfish naysayers be damned, our biggest accomplishments in this life are who we become, every twist and turn of the way. Because even if that brings an amazing change of the world, children, love and anything else, it starts with us; who we are and how we effect change around us. We are the important ones in this life and we should never forget that, or forgo it, especially for someone who is too blind to recognize it in us.

  30. Azizeh, your post made me want to cry. I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my father at 16 and I know the feelings you describe. They are similar to a breakup but much more intense and consuming.

  31. Azizeh:

    I'm right there with you. I lost my mom this year on June 27 a couple of days before she was set to be discharged from the hospital. Pulmonary embolism. I swear that day is the epicenter of evil. It is also my ex-husband's birthday.

  32. Such compassionate advice (i don't think I've ever used the word "compassionate" before but i feel like it works here).

    When I was doin time, my mom would say the "it comes in waves" thing to me when I would cry to her on the phone at night. "And eventually" she'd say "the waves get smaller and smaller until, in the end, the sea is pretty calm." It helped, a little, so did therapy and Ryan Adams and long, sweaty gym sessions and Anthropologie and studying for the GRE. Thanks for pointing out that break ups shouldn't be trivialized, mourning them can be every pretty as painful as losing a loved one.

  33. Carol,
    Thanks for the advice–you're right. It's too soon, and I'm a wreck today (and I'm sure he's just fine).

    From Stephanie: I'm sorry but men totally suck that way. Actually not all men. I know many from my past who'd be broken up and despondent over a breakup. I also know one who'd go golfing and meet his buddies for some drinks. Well, good. You don't want someone who doesn't realize how extraordinary you are anyway.

  34. Untexan – my gosh – you put that absolutely beautifully. I've been divorced more than 8 years now – and when people look at me woefully and ask if I'll ever date, or try to find 'the one', I respond with 'I doubt it – I'm not looking – I'm perfectly content'. And by golly – I am. I loved your response – best to you and your wife.

  35. The best advice I ever got after a breakup with my finace two years ago… "Go to the bookstore and find something that makes you smile"… with this advice I found "Straight up and Dirty"… which leads me to this blog that I read weekly. You are such a relateable writer… Thank you for being my inspiration when I needed something "to make me smile"

  36. Add me to the list of recently-dumped-yet-still-fabulous women…the pain does come in waves, some days are better than others, but they generally all suck. The pain and hurt from my breakup is so fresh in my mind and I cannot summon up the strength to get out there in any capacity. One step at a time, I guess. It's comforting to know that there are other people who are going through the same thing as I am. Not that I wish my pain on another, but I find hope in everyone's stories.

    Thank you Stephanie, for so eloquently putting my jumbled thoughts into words, and letting me know it's OK if I'm not ready to move on quite yet. And Becca, thank you for your post as well. I started crying when I read it because I could relate to every single sentence.

    From Stephanie: Play your sad music. For me, it was Indigo Girls. I'm such a cliche, I know. The point is, I wrapped myself in a cozy blanket, cranked up the music, and sobbed. And I realized I could take care of myself. We're all born into this world with the tools to live in it. Alone. That is, you've always had the strength to take care of yourself. I know it's very Dorothy and no place like home, but it's true. You will get through it. Let yourself feel, give yourself permission. Don't try to race through it, as I did. It doesn't necessarily resurface later, but you'll make the wrong choices if you're in a place of fear and not joy.

  37. Sad In NY- Best way to reconnect might be to get counseling on your own to work on some inner individual stuff & to mourn the end of the affair, then counseling together- not about the affair, but about becoming closer again.

    I'm with the crowd that believes it's selfish to tell the truth if you make the decision to stay and work out your marriage. People tell to get rid of the burden of the secret- that's your baggage to keep. But, maybe you need to figure what in YOU drove you to seek something outside your marriage.

    The person I knew in the same situation had the affair end because the guy had a serious girlfriend. It wasn't her choice, so I think that made it even harder. But- to give you some hope, she made the decision to make her marriage work and they seem, at least on the outside, to have really strengthened their marital bond without the husband ever knowing. It's been about 1.5 yrs post affair.

  38. Thank you so, so much…. What crazy timing you have. Yesterday my boyfriend left me, in a horrible way I'm trying so hard to not think of. Everything you said is so very true. Its a horrible time but thank you for the reassuring words from someone other than a friend or family member that I have to bother with this. And above all, thank you for not trivializing the pain that comes from things like this. I feel like most people do so, and it makes things even more difficult to know you're wandering around alone in this extremely painful mess and no one else can fully be there with you.

    From Stephanie: It can be very hard because life as you've known it completely changes. Your habits and ways of doing things, even what you choose to eat for dinner. People don't think of these small things, how they add up to so much change. You're not just losing that person, you're losing an idea. You're losing what you know. And it's scary, but I promise, it is a beginning. It's scary, but you're worth the risk. Rejection hurts like a motherfucker. But no one died and made him God. You need to remind yourself of who you were when you were younger, before he ever came along. You existed then, and you were probably pretty happy. You'll get back there only by going forward. Remind yourself of who you were before you started all this growing up, and you'll be closer to growing up.

  39. Well then, I should probably be putting a postcard in the mail to you tomorrow lady! Because I found your blog here probably about a year ago, still in the thick of post-breakup shit, and it has been so inspirational and … comforting, to read about you and your life and your family. I think you have such a wonderful spirit- and I want to thank you for sharing yourself, in the way that you do, so candidly, and so… eloquently, with the blogging community.

    xo

  40. I wish I could rememeber, but there is a song and the lyrics are "somestimed I get my beginnings and endings mixed up"

    and that line has gotten me through a lot of hard moments. To try and think of difficult times less as endings, but actually it's the start of something new. It doesn't work for everyone, but it might help someone to read that.

    Life does feel like it's worthless when your heart is breaking and there is just nothing you can do about it. But I think the beautiful thing about the human body is that the pain does, in fact, fade with time. And you will feel better and it will be ok. "Dare to be the Phoenix to rise up from the ash"

  41. Susan: June 27, 1987 – the day I got married to the evil asshole.

    Nuff said.

  42. Wow, this post and these comments really hit me. Stephanie, first with your Splitsville post about the ones who are "nearly" and then this one – thanks so much for writing about things in such a beautiful and meaningful way so that others can relate so well.
    I too am going through a really hard breakup, and while I wouldn't wish the pain or hurt I am suffering on anyone else, it's good to know that I am not alone. Danielle, I can totally relate to what you're saying, since I too can't imagine anyone "fitting" as well as he did. We just got each other right from the beginning and connected so well, got along incredibly well and just had so much fun together, had similar ideals and perspectives and backgrounds, that it really felt like he was "it." And I'm terrified that I won't find that again. I can also relate to Becca's post (thanks for sharing!) because he is trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life and was definitely distracted by it, when I just wanted to do it with him. And he felt like a "feeling" was missing, when in part I think maybe that feeling was just being ready to commit to me in the type of relationship I want. And I know the commitment and the readiness factor is huge, but there's a part of me that wants so badly to shake him and to say, maybe what you're looking for is a fairy tale, it doesn't exist, and therefore how can you just give this up, when it's so good, and may not get better than this?
    And the adjustment is really hard. We had built up so many patterns together – as you said, it was my habits, how I spent a lot of my evenings, what I ate for dinner. I'm having such a hard time with that (and yes, I have some amazing friends, but some who are ready for me to get over it). And I am getting out and seeing my friends and still doing the things I like to do, but I felt like I did those even when we were together. But now I don't have someone to share them with (we both did a lot of our own things, but what made them even better was sharing them with someone). Yes, I can now focus on myself, but what I miss the most is sharing my life with someone.

    P.S. It's also somewhat comforting to hear that others have emailed Stephanie, since I was tempted to do that myself! After reading Straight Up and Dirty a week or two ago and taking so much from it after my breakup, I felt like I knew you.

  43. Interesting that I began reading your book today, instantly fell in love with it…and visited your site for the first time today as well. YESTERDAY….my boyfriend broke up with me and I was very blindsided, I've been rewinding and trying to see if there were signs I should have seen and rather than doing that you've reminded me to keep reading. You'e my replacement boyfriend, so I do hope you update often. Thank you ;)

  44. Rebecca, I like the "beginnings and endings" lyrics. However, I don't think I'll be using the Phoenix quote as encouragement anytime soon – I moved to Phoenix, AZ to be with the boy and eventually was left in Phoenix, AZ by the boy. Stephanie, I'm downloading some Indigo Girls right now!

  45. This post could've have not been more prefect today. It's so hard to let go of someone that you want to be "forever". I've been trying for sometime now. I think what's so hard, more than thing, is having someone being so part of your life, then not. It doesn't matter whether they "really" knew you, not the point any longer, when you get to the point they don't "really" belong in your life, but the fact you have to let go of someone that shared so much part of your life: wants, dreams, fears, but didn't "match" with yours. And now, you can't share any more. You have to find the strenght within yourself to move on, and let go. It hurts so much to let go. I know I have to let go, but I want to hold on just a bit more to the "happy times" that were not enough to keep us together.

  46. What a generous post, it brought tears to my eyes even though I'm in a happy relationship and, somehow, have never experienced a real 'breakup'…

    Although I dated a lot in my late teens and early twenties, the long-term relationship I'm in is my first serious/meaningful one. Before I fell in love I never understood how devastating even the idea of breaking up could be. Now I do, and it still scares me, but your post is comforting and shows that it's not the end of the world, but rather the beginning of an adventure. That's such a simple, but yet really beautiful and resonant, idea.

    I love having a boyfriend but I've noticed that being in a happy relationship is a bit like being drunk, or in some kind of altered state. Everything feels happy and comfortable, but somehow a bit less intense; I don't have the urgent need to improve myself, venture outside my daily routine, go on a diet, start taking walks by myself. I try but I just want to curl back in bed with him, and no matter what I try I can't seem to feel that drive.

  47. Thank you for this post! Just went through a divorce I did not want, still trying to heal. Dating and feeling rejected in that department also. This entry was nice to read. It reminded me it is a process to go through. No, I’m not over it and yes it is ok!

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