You Don't Owe Your Ex Your Unhappiness: A Lesson

Relationships end. And when they do---heartbreak usually follows. This was the case for me last fall. I'd spent nearly four years with a person who walked away from our relationship (and shared apartment!) and I was devastated. The normal things occurred---crying, anger, shame, long emails, mean text messages, etc... 

But then...I was fine. 

I knew the relationship needed to end. I knew that it was unhealthy and I had stayed about a year too long for the sake of not wanting to be alone in this city. I recognized that I was sleeping better at night. I was back in the swing of healthy thinking, eating and habits. I was feeling more and more like myself so why did I feel guilty about that?

In today's society everything is performative. You're no longer just happy---you're the happiest person on earth who travels to a new country every month and posts inspirational quotes and holds seminars to help poor unfortunate souls find happiness too. You can't just be going through a breakup---you're the most broken up-est woman there has ever been who is posting IG stories live from the club, having the time of your life and you "ain't thinking bout him" or you are the woman publicly licking her wounds of despair posting every poem on loss that has ever been written. Everything is extreme. And I admit, I gave into that too. I thought, "it's too soon to look like I'm over it, what if I look like *gasp* a woman who moves on from relationships with ease?!"...and of course, "what if he uses my happiness to prove that I never loved him at all?". Because, you know, God forbid he feel an ounce of discomfort in this. 

But fuck that. 

I am happy. And whole. He didn't break me. I am no longer devastated. My edges are plentiful and the workouts I steal from Gabrielle Union's IG stories are doing wonders for my lower body. Oh, baby, I'm good. And that doesn't mean I didn't love my ex. It means I love me more. It means I recognize that my happiness is not performative---for him or for anyone else. My happiness is masturbatory---pleasure for me, by me. And I will not apologize for it. 

So, if you're recovering from a breakup, of any kind, know when to let go of the pain. Part ways with the sadness. Sometimes we hold on to the hurt because it's the only thing that still connects us to the person we've decided to separate from. But here's the thing: a connection to something that causes unhappiness is not a connection worth having. Pack all of that ugly up and let it know that it is no longer welcome in your space. 

 

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Iman Milner1 Comment