Breaking Up With You Was Easy But The Aftermath Was Excruciating

I knew I had to break up with you. You weren’t a bad boyfriend, but I was unhappy and unsatisfied. I had stayed too long already, the life leaking out of me more and more every day. Walking away was easy, but I went through emotional hell after it was over.

  1. There’s no such thing as an easy breakup. I thought this breakup would be easier to deal with because I was the one doing the dumping. I also had so many reasons why it was best for the relationship to end. But this didn’t prevent me from having to deal with the pain of it, especially since you’d been taken by surprise by my decision to leave. Every breakup has some degree of pain attached to it — I learned that really quickly.
  2. I had “what if?” thoughts late at night. Sometimes I found myself second-guessing myself. I’d think, what if I made a mistake? What if I should’ve stuck it out? That was hard because it made me feel so unsettled and anxious.
  3. I had to get a new routine going, but it was hard. I knew it was important to get a new routine. So instead of heading over to your place after work, I’d have to fill that emptiness with something else. It wasn’t always easy to fill all those gaps. For a while, I felt like a lot of my life was empty, and it was all my doing.
  4. Your friends and family wouldn’t let me go. Your mom was always contacting me, asking me how I was and telling me how much she missed me. It was really weird and kept pulling me back into the past. It was hard to move on when she was hinting that she wanted me to get back with you. Then your friend who I was connected to on Facebook wanted to know why I had dumped you when our relationship had been so awesome. It made me feel like crap. I knew I had to sever all ties with people in your life or else it would prolong my bad feelings.
  5. I missed things I didn’t even think about when we were together. There are so many things that made the breakup painful. I missed you and the things we used to do. But there were also things I missed that I’d taken for granted when we were together, such as the feeling of comfort when we were lying together and the way we’d laugh about stupid things. I even missed the times when nothing special happened and we were just chilling out on the sofa.
  6. Everything reminded me of you. I’d be grocery shopping when I’d see the coffee you used to drink and feel nostalgic. I’d see a gorgeous sunset and remember the amazing one we’d seen together on vacation. I’d pick an outfit to wear and see your jacket in my closet: the one I’d borrowed when it was raining. It was like everywhere I looked, you were still there. It made me feel really down about life.
  7. I was tempted to get in touch. I found myself wanting to get in touch with you on days when I was lonely, but I managed to hold myself back. I knew that if leaving you had been hard, going back to you would just set me back even more. So I told my sister to hold onto my phone and not give it to me if I wanted to text you.
  8. I was angry about what I’d lost. All the time and energy I’d invested into the relationship had been for a big nothing. I’d never be able to get those things back. The only good thing was that I’d left already, so I was no longer wasting my time on a relationship that was going nowhere, but it was still crap.
  9. Sometimes it felt like I’d taken a step back in life. I was single again, alone and back to the dating game. Gosh, sometimes this really got me down. It felt like I had taken a major step back in life, but in time I realized that I hadn’t. I’d been given another chance to live life the way I wanted it.
  10. I forced myself to think of all the crap you put me through. We had had good times, but I couldn’t focus on them because they would just keep me stuck in the past (and tempt me to drunk-text you on a Saturday night). Whenever I thought about your good qualities, I’d force myself to think of something crappy you’d done, like the time you chose to go be with your friends instead of spending time with me, or when you weren’t really that supportive when I’d gotten a work promotion.
  11. I couldn’t get off the breakup roller-coaster. I tried to pretend I was okay and forget about you, but there were days when all I wanted to do was cry. I couldn’t walk away from my feelings, which were all over the place. One minute I was sad, the next I was angry, the next I was filled with regret, then I was optimistic for like five minutes. It went on and on, but I had to ride it out in the hope that it would pass.
  12. After a while, it got easier. Even though the feelings were intense and there were days when I talked my poor best friend’s ear off about you, after a few weeks it got easier. The feelings were less intense, and the more distance I had from the breakup, the less it hurt and the more I realized that it had really been for the best. There was hope for me and a fabulous life without you!
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.