Dear A.W.,

 

My boyfriend of two years recently broke up with me and I can’t seem to get over him. Our relationship was kind of intense and not very stable (cheating, fighting, etc), and I was unhappy a lot but I thought we could make it work. I’m so broken hearted that I’m finding it hard to eat and sleep, and I’m wondering if I will ever be happy again. I don’t want to think about him anymore but I find myself obsessing over all the things I could have done differently, and wondering if we are meant to be together. How do I let him go?

 

Broken Hearted in BsAs.



Dear Broken Hearted, 

 

Getting over someone is hard, especially when they are the ones that leave and you feel abandoned. Being alone can also be scary and sometimes we confuse that fear of loneliness with love. You say your relationship made you unhappy, but you wanted to make it work, so let’s start there. There are a lot of reasons why we gravitate to other people. Some of those reasons are unhealthy and they don’t serve us in the long run. Try to make a list of specific things you miss about him (not just the vague idea of him) and you might find that the list is shorter than you think. 

 

I truly believe you should always try to leave people better than you found them. Being a human is so hard and we need to help each other, so if someone is making you exceedingly miserable, they aren’t helping you anymore. Human connection is the thing that makes this existence bearable, and if it hurts, it should hurt because it’s so fucking beautiful it breaks your heart a little, not because you’ve created an unhealthy attachment that you can’t let go of. Most of us have been socialized to associate romantic love with difficulty and a sense of longing. There’s an inherent toxicity built into that romanticized pain, but things that hurt you aren’t more worthy just because they torture you. There is no prize for winning the misery olympics. 

 

Everyone you choose to love is fulfilling a need in you, that’s how love and friendship work, but people are complex and a lot of us carry childhood trauma that causes our needs to be destructive. If being with someone stresses you out, if it sucks your soul dry and makes you weaker, you need to start identifying that as bad (even though every rom-com, song, and love poem tells us love should feel like that). True love is a creative force and should fill you with the kind of courage that kills fear. I know it’s hard to let go, it takes hard work and practice. I still have trouble with it and I’ve been doing the work for years. It’s okay to feel hurt and broken, just know that you won’t always feel this way. There were times in my life I thought I would die of a broken heart, but I didn’t, and neither will you. Breathe, be patient, find ways to fall in love with yourself again. Nothing is “meant to be” that isn’t, so let that be your mantra, let him go and make space for something more exciting.