I broke up with my boyfriend tonight.
I’ve stayed sober and painfully present with myself all evening long.
My back aches and I’m not sure where my heart is, but I feel—finally—that I’ve taken the step I needed to take.
Even as I’m faced with all of the lost dreams that come with this next phase in my life, I feel like I’m at a point where I am stepping into yet another iteration of myself, a hopeful and more honest reimagination of where I want to go. It took realizing that I was bending myself over backward to the point of breaking in half for no good reason at all, just to try to make something work that was never going to work, that I finally had my moment of painful clarity. There is nothing wrong with him, nothing wrong with me. It just won’t work, no matter how hard I try to force it. It was a clashing of personalities, styles, and approaches to love that was making me feel like I was going crazy.
But I wasn’t. I wasn’t going crazy; I was living a life that didn’t match my needs or values.
I am sad. I don’t know that I’ve felt the true depths of my sadness about this yet, as it’s only been ~5 hours since I sat across from him at the coffee shop and told him I was sorry, I can’t do this anymore. I can feel that hole inside myself slowly, quietly opening up again and I am going to try so hard this time to avoid stuffing it with another relationship, or cigarettes, or self-blame. I know that never works.
It is painful and it’s necessary. Sobering, really. And for the first time in almost two years, I feel like I can endure whatever sorrow I feel with grace, and patience for myself, and intention.
I know I will miss him. For all the painful parts of what we had, there were plenty of pleasurable ones. He was, above all else, a constant in my life that I now have to learn to live without.
So who am I, as a newly single sober person? Where do I go now with who I am, and what I want to do? I haven’t been intentionally single since I was 17, and I’m 28 now. My entire adult life has consisted of being in a relationship or pursuing one. I don’t know myself without someone else next to me. I don’t know how to fill days, or weeks, or months with my own time, rather than “our time.”
There are no more date nights, no Sunday night football viewings, no more trivia Tuesdays or far off plans to travel out West together. No more plans for a house. No more nights watching Bojack Horseman or Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
But, also, there are no more nights spent wondering why he won’t ask me how I’m feeling, or why he hasn’t messaged me yet. No more days spent feeling resentful that he doesn’t notice me or my emotions. No more frustrations with being invited to parties where all anyone is going to do is get drunk and feeling lonely in the middle of a crowd. No more feeling like I have to compete with his friends or video games. No more pressure to accept his unemotional way of relating to the world.
There is no more us; it’s just me now.
I think I’m ready for this, at long long last.