When I Finally Let Go Of My Ex
In mid-1991, I moved from Mexico back to Canada. From then on, I had kind of an open relationship with my then-girlfriend who stayed in Mexico — but neither of us really knew what that meant.
It was a short but incredibly intense relationship.
We both had just arrived in Mexico at the time and didn’t know anyone. She’s from Poland, we shared a small room, and together we were immersed in a culture that was new and foreign to us.
At the beginning of January 1992, I had been back in Canada for more than half a year, I saw photos of her and her new guy, laughing, kissing. She seemed happy, I was devastated.
We organized a welcome dinner for one of our pals who had just returned from Mexico. He had lots of tales to tell and pictures to show. The moment I saw the photos, it was as if someone was pulling my heart out of my chest and watch me die.
I felt a sharp pain with complete inner emptiness at the same time.
Besides, I had just given up my internship early on and no longer knew what I wanted in my life. I had been back in Vancouver for a week and had neither an apartment nor any money.
I felt utterly lost. No condo in sight, no currency in my pocket, no idea what I wanted to do with my life and my ex-girlfriend was happily in someone else’s arms — and I had seen it.
How many more things do I need to be happy?
I phoned her the next day and told her that even though we had an open relationship, I couldn’t stand to see her happy with another guy. I also didn’t want to stop her from being happy. In tears, I wished her all the best and hung up.
When I woke up the next morning, my first thoughts were about her — and the new guy. I had better mornings, for example, with her on top of me.
Then I told myself that there is nothing that an extensive breakfast doesn’t make up for, so I had a good breakfast first. Halfway through I had to talk to Huey on the big white telephone.
The Weeks After The Breakup
The weeks after the separation, I felt like a drifter who has just noticed that he’s had his last sip of liquor and that the bottle is now finally empty. I felt exhausted and without perspective.
Everything felt pointless and dull at that point. I even felt like I had depression on some days. It wasn’t my first breakup, but I never felt like this before.
Every thought turned to her. It was like a curse that didn’t want to let go of me.
Every woman, no matter what age, no matter the looks, reminded me of her and our time. And every guy, well, you do the math on that.
When I saw children, I had to remember that we could have had children.
When I saw a gym, I remembered that we worked out together.
When I saw a bar, I remembered our happy wet nights together in the bars of Tapachula.
There was no escape; I felt her presence everywhere.
One day on the bus, I saw the picture of her and the new guy in front of my eyes. I had to hold on; otherwise, I would have just fallen over. Then I thought briefly of what would happen if I just threw myself off the next overpass. However, I pushed the thought away.
I wondered if other people would feel so bad if they broke up.
“Absolutely not,” I thought. Nobody is going through what I’m going through.
We all suffer when a relationship ends. Some more, some less, but we all suffer. However, we humans find it comforting and somehow soothing to feel sorry for ourselves — and therefore try to drown ourselves in our grief.
Life Didn’t End
Needless to say, life didn’t end. I began meditating every day and practising mindfulness. That helped me to become more aware of my emotions and to identify myself less with them — a big and important step at that time.
I also started to read a lot and deal more with myself. I wondered what I’m passionate about and what I want to do with my life.
I am not a new-age spiritually crazy pseudo-monk, but I think a certain level of self-knowledge and good self-awareness is essential to bring about a change in our lives.
So it was a time when I mainly focused on me. I learned a lot about nutrition, read more, did sports, and met more friends. I practised loving myself.
All that helped me to build an environment and a life around me that I liked and that gave me positive emotions.
I felt that I have a certain amount of control in my life and how I react emotionally to external stimulation. As a result, I slowly discovered a new strength in myself, a deeper self-confidence.
In time I felt that no matter what happened in my life, I would somehow get on with it. I discovered that deep within me is an indestructible core.
That discovery gave me new strength and drive.
A New Acquaintance
I met a woman who was extremely important to me and I started again to experience moments of happiness and to enjoy life. Bit by bit, very slowly.
Even though I hadn’t heard from her since I broke up, my ex was ever-present, only in thought, but at all times.
In July 1992, about six months after the split, I called her to say that I was planning to move to Bibione in Italy. Her answer was swift, but it wasn’t necessarily positive — and it wasn’t pleasant for sure.
We then had a couple of calls back and forth over the next two days and sorted out a few things which we should have done much earlier.
After the last call, I went for a run. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Stanley Park.
While I was running along the trails, out of the blue, it hit me, the moment I had been waiting for so long. I suddenly let go of my ex; she was gone. From one moment to the next, I felt it very clearly.
I was so overwhelmed that I stopped and took off the headphones.
The proverbial stone, or shall I say rock fell off my heart. I had finally lost all the heavy and unnecessary ballast I had been carrying around unintentionally for months.
Suddenly she was no longer in me, released into the atmosphere as I exhaled — just a pleasant look back at the past, a dream that came and went.
Now she was only a small piece of my heart, a moment in my history
I looked around and admired how beautiful life is. I said “thank you” loudly and went on running.
It was probably the most liberating moment of my life.
- Coping with a Break-Up | Psychology Today Canada
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- Dealing With A Breakup
Dealing With A Breakup: 7 Healthy Ways To Cope With Post-Split Stress | HuffPost