“It just occurred to me that I’ll never be able to watch that show again. That one character reminds me too much of him, and it’s just going to make me sad,” she confesses to me. “I can’t listen to our song. Forget about going back to that restaurant — our place. Our favorite place. So many things are ruined by everything going to hell with him, y’know?”
I don’t know quite what to say. I can remember feeling that way once upon a time. For me, time was helpful. I didn’t think it would be when the heartbreak first hit though. Back then, it felt like forever. But time and new experiences came in and filled the gaps, like they inevitably do. And now I have tons of things that I did with exes — even ones that were disappointing relationships and had a lot of heartbreak — that are no longer loaded experiences.
But I’m sure that’s not what my friend wants to hear in this moment. They’re still in the thick of it. They’re still getting their heart broken. And when you’re in that place, it feels like you’re going to feel that way forever. And anyone telling you that it probably won’t hurt forever is going to annoy the hell out of you.
Besides, it’s possible to feel that way forever, I suppose. I’ve seen other people get into that space and stay there. They never get over heartbreak. For them, everything is ruined forever.
Sometimes I wonder if the fact that I can get over people means that my love is less real. If I just don’t care about people as much as they do. I don’t think that’s the case — but it seems like they’d feel that way, just going by stuff they say about how love makes healing impossible.
I feel like I love people with my whole heart — but I can get over someone when we’re not meant to be. When we’re bad for each other. Or even just ill suited. The pain and resentment eventually leave my body. Whatever the reason for this, I’m grateful that this is the case.
That Moment When You Can Go Back to Stuff That Was “Theirs”
My phone bings. Another pop-up from a different friend. She wants me to know that she’s gone back to playing a video game that she had to take a break from. The MMORPG that she was playing when she met her ex.
“It’s a big relief,” she says, “that moment when you can go back to stuff that was theirs. Or stuff that was yours. Anything that reminds you of them. You know?”
“I know,” I say because I do.
I switch back to the other window, to my friend who is sad and thinks it’s never going to end. I’m still not sure what to say to them. What will be true and also be helpful for them and productive. What will be authentic but not annoy the ever-loving crap out of them. Sighing, I type in my best attempt, not knowing how it’s going to land. I press send.
Like my essays? You’ll love my books. I’ve authored five of them, including the Psychic State series, murder mysteries with strong female leads that feature a large ensemble cast of polyamorous characters.