what I’ve learnt about breakups

I am the ripe old age of 22.  I have permanent forehead wrinkles and a hybrid of psoriasis/eczema which relentlessly plagues my skin.  I have a penchant for sugary PG Tips tea; vegan protein stir-fry and the ancient Greeks.  I like swimming early in the morning; watching trashy tv in the twilight hours and somehow have two big bust-up breakups under my belt.  

I feel no shame when I say my romantic relationships have ended with me being binned off and immediately swapped out for another girl on the other side of a phone screen.  Swipe left on Ells, swipe right on Tuesday night.  I am accustomed to the drill by now.

“All is fair in love and war” and while we all may win or lose at some point, at least we all have horror stories to giggle at after a pint of liquid luck.  I actually have some great anecdotes about bad sexual encounters and worse dates which I shall script at another point.  Sorry in advance guys.

However, nobody told me that I would hurt too much to unpack my two monogamous breakups in the same style.  The thing is,  I just cannot laugh about them.  I just cannot do it.  ‘Difficult to discuss’ is ultimately my take. 

For me, I find a breakup leaves a fluctuating, ever-present pain which I would not wish upon my worst enemy.  With both of my ex’s, I was not warned that there would be a ball of light snatched maliciously from my sky.  I was not aware that my rose-tinted lenses would tumble into a void and stormy darkness with rolling thunder would temporarily take up their mount.   Nor was I ever sure how rapidly a blush could become a frown, or how bones could freeze up with a breeze of their name.  

You lose and you gain a lot from ending a relationship.  I was never warned how simply odd it could be.

I am not an expert, a dating guru or even a serial dater with a brilliant track record.  Moreover, I am actually pretty shit when it comes to navigating through the wade, but I have learnt a thing or two over the past five years about breakups:

1 – Emotions do not always strike straight away

Every heartbreak is individual.  You may feel comfortably numb for six months, and be triggered by a menial gesture somewhere down the line.  It also means you may not leave your bedroom for two weeks for anything other than to grab the next series of Sex and the City from the breakfast room or to slather knock-off Nutella onto Hobnobs.

You may be upset from the word ‘go’ for two years (ahem) or it might just take a trip to Madrid, meeting someone else and starting off another chain reaction of events.  Every being reacts diversely to every situation.  There is nothing wrong with you if your emotions have not put you in a stereotypical chokehold.

2 – The best way to get over someone is not always to get under someone else

Avoid Tinder; Bumble; getting back on the band waggon; going on a date with a girl who you met at a party three years previous; snogging your high school crush and regretting it immediately unless you actually want to.

You are not obliged to have a rebound, nor must you find Mrs or Mr right in the next 45 minutes.  Just because Gaz G Shore got over Charlotte by shagging Lily does not mean you have found the ultimate and only remedy to heartache.  

If you know going home with Dany – the one who gave you the eyes in the smoking area – is a good plan, then you do you, angel.  But let me tell you; there are other ways to get over someone than by getting with someone else.  Trust me on that.

3 – Replacing a person with alcohol is not the solution

My gal pals, my bosses, the boys in the bar down the road and people who have known me for less than 5 seconds know already that a night out is my poor solution to a hard question.  If I am out, I am probably having a bad time in my head.  

My bank account, brain and bra size definitely know I have boozed and partied too hard and too much in the past few months.  It has been fun but Jesus, thank God that ship has sailed.  Morrissey’s lamentation “Oh what a terrible mess I’ve made of my life.” has never been so accurate.

Running away from problems will not create a solution; only a gargantuan disaster waiting in the wings. I do not know who needs to hear this, but you will not now – nor will ever – find the answer you are looking for in the bottom of a tequila shot.  That honey is my own primary research.

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