I expect this to be my last breakup post (about this particular breakup, at least :P).
After having processed all the pains I’ve discussed in previous posts, there was just a final one left, one that’s in a sense the simplest.
It’s that I have tremendous respect and admiration for my ex. She combines a brilliant intelligence, a fiery loyalty to her principles, and a stark determination to get through things no matter what. I’ve rarely encountered such a unique soul, and the pain on my mind was the question of whether I would encounter another again, let alone one who’d be interested in me.
But then I managed to flip the issue around in my head. To just focus on how amazing it is that she ever was interested in me in the first place, and how I’m honestly grateful and humbled that such a beautiful person held me in a high regard. To see the good moments that we had as a piece of validation that I can always remember and hold on to, trusting that if such a person saw something beautiful in me, then she couldn’t have been entirely wrong.
A few days ago I still felt some pain when I saw her name pop up anywhere online. Now I just feel happy to see her writing. Seeing that she’s still herself.
And unexpectedly, I feel some of that gratitude extend to my other former partners as well. Feeling happiness that we ever had any good moments, even if the relationships did not last.
And, if I tap into that feeling, I can extend it even further, to anyone who has ever displayed any liking towards me. Be grateful for that appreciation, for them seeing good things in me.
Thank you, everyone. And thank you again to everyone who has commented on or reacted to my previous breakup posts, for helping me get through this. I’m not going to say that I couldn’t have made it without you, but you people did make it a lot easier.
The fact is that I don’t have very much experience of long relationships, and that I haven’t had many deep friendships either. At this moment I feel like I only have one really deep friendship, and I don’t get to see that person nearly as often as I’d like. I’ve long had a deep feeling of loneliness and being alone.
When I started hanging out with this person… she was unique. Now, of course when you get infatuated with someone new, they always seem unique and perfect and special. But even looking back at it with more objective eyes now, it still feels unique. Even before I’d really developed any strong crush, even when my attitude was still just “I like this person and they seem like there could be some potential”, on our first date there was already something magical.
We shared interests and values, but that’s true for a lot of people. What was so special was the almost instant feeling of connection. I can with confidence say that I have never in my life had any interaction with anyone go that smoothly and pleasantly.
On that first date, there was never a moment of awkwardness or being unsure of what to say; not the slightest feeling of unease. It felt completely, utterly, entirely safe; I confessed to some private things which I had intended to leave until later, because it felt entirely inconceivable to my intuition that she would react badly to them (and she didn’t). Conversation seemed to flow completely smoothly and naturally, the topics moving from sex to religion, from religion to the subjective nature of reality, from there to the academic study of gaming, from there to the probability of two people sharing a birthday.
I’ve never felt such a feeling of understanding and being understood, of everything just… clicking. And if this was just the first date, how deep and rich could our relationship yet become?
It – and several other early interactions – were enough that I was ready to move to an unfamiliar town and leave basically my entire existing social circle behind in order to have that on a regular basis. It was enough that, if there would have been any other incompatibilities, I would have been ready to put in practically any amount of work in order to smooth them out.
And I thought that this feeling of already being totally committed to it – despite how little time had passed – and being ready to invest practically anything in it to make it work and maintain that magic smoothness, was mutual.
That mistaken assumption on my part ended up shaping – and damaging – much of our interaction when things started going less well.
By the time the relationship was practically over already, I heard her characterize it as “a brief thing of a few months”, not worth putting inordinate amounts of energy into if it looked like things weren’t going very well.
Not that magic, unique thing that I – maybe foolishly – had thought it was.
And now the next pain and fear that I need to process is the fact that it took me 30 years to find a person with whom there seemed to be the potential for such a deep and rich friendship, even if just for an instant. How much longer will it take to find somebody else like that? Let alone someone with whom that feeling of a genuinely unique connection would be mutual?
And is there any reason to assume that the answer to that question isn’t “longer than my remaining lifetime”?
I genuinely don’t know.
Dealing with breakup pain, part twenty million:
I mentioned in a previous post that dealing with loss seems to come in stages. Grief is not grieving after one thing: rather there are many different things one has to come to terms with, all tangled up with each other.
The most recent pain I had in the last few days involved repeatedly recalling various good moments we had. It felt unclear to me what it was that I needed to do in order to absorb and integrate this pain: accept the fact that those moments were gone? But that didn’t seem to be it, and besides that was something that I felt I had processed already.
It turned out that it was kind of the opposite.
It was as if previously some part of my mind had come to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t have these kinds of moments with this person again. Now another part was saying something like “these moments were precious to us; and even though we are not going to have them with this person again, we wish to remember how good they were, and make sure that one day we’ll find something similar with some other person”.
The thing that the pain was calling my attention to, was in effect a reminder to not go too far in accepting my loss. A reminder to keep to thinking about the good moments and cherish them, lest I abandon the hope of finding something similar again.
And now that particular pain seems to be gone, the lesson having been learned and its message integrated to the rest of my mind.