It’s not a natural human condition, us being a tribal species, and often thrust upon us by circumstances rather than by choice and, if we’ve been in a long term relationship that has ended, we are often ill equipped to cope with this new found ‘freedom’. For me I entered a phase of self doubt, self destructive behaviour and introspective self analysis. I was stuck.
Eventually I learned to deal with the constant internal dialogue, the loneliness and the sense of failure that comes from being unable to sustain a relationship that you desperately wanted to remain part of.
This post was inspired by a post on the Seize Positivity blog – 26 Ways To Take Your Life Back When You’re Broken and whilst I don’t entirely disagree with it’s upbeat tone and strategies it’s not a realistic overview of how I found my way back from the dark place I found myself in.
First came the maelstrom of emotions. Anger, oh the fucking anger, fuelled by too much alcohol as you rage around your space late at night smashing things up and then waking up in the morning realising what you’ve done and having to clean up.
At the same time despair. A tangible gut wrenching despair where the walls close in on you and you can’t see any future happiness in your life, so used are you to seeing your existence as part of a couple. You forget to eat or you cook something and think I don’t want this and pour yourself a large drink.
The sadness, You think of all the happy times you had as a couple and project that your ex is reflecting on the same happy times and there’s still hope for reconciliation. That does happen, but I don’t know how successful that might be, and the reality is that in most cases it simply doesn’t. It’s over.
There’s a Portuguese word for these feelings – Saudade – described as a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return.
Once described as “the love that remains” after someone is gone. Saudade is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places, or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now triggers the senses and makes one live again. It can be described as an emptiness, like someone or something that should be there in a particular moment is missing, and the individual feels this absence. It brings sad and happy feelings altogether, sadness for missing and happiness for having experienced the feeling.
This feeling will stay with you for some time, I’m afraid.
The biggest favour you can do yourself is to break all direct contact with your ex beyond responding unemotionally to things that need sorting out. It’s tough if you’re not the one that wanted to end the relationship but it is vital for your own emotional stability.
What we tend to do (I know I did) is to draft perfectly crafted emails and texts, read your ex’s horoscope constantly to get some insight in to how they’re feeling, looking at old photos and have imaginary conversations with your ex partner. This only serves to delay the process of letting go and it puts all of our power in the hands of another person. Their response if it comes at all will determine how we feel, what questions we probably want to ask next and it goes on and on.
One of the biggest sources of our unhappiness and discontent is not being able to adapt to change; instead, we cling to things we’ve lost or get upset because things don’t unfold as we want them to. What we overlook is that this is a fundamental law of life, the ups and downs, ebbs and flows. Things come and go, nothing stays the same, and we can’t control most of the things we’d like to. Accepting this and learning to adapt and go with the flow brings us one step closer to happiness.
You can and will be happy again. Maybe a different version of happy, but you will.
I’m living proof.