The best way to get over a breakup

The New York Times published an article about the best way to get over a breakup saying that writing and journaling is a healthy, productive tool.

Obviously, writing has been my tool, but in the public sphere of writing it is hard to really call out the one you are breaking up with on their behavior. You have to be sensitive to a public viewing. On the other hand, you also have your own portrayal of who you are in the whole unwinding.

I’ve been honest to a fault at times and yet surprisingly tight-lipped in other areas. I think the thing about break-ups, any type, are that they are painful and yet provide endless self-revelation.

In my relationship with Sty, I didn’t realize how we went from a chance meeting to speaking several times a day, to planning future events, to engaging life philosophies into a single thought process. While it may have only been months of this, and while there had been flags I heeded, the unwinding or abrupt departure from this is just plain sad.

Maybe not sad in the way the ending of a 16-year relationship is, but sad in the hopes and dreams that are dashed when the promise of what’s to come suddenly dissipates.

The best way to get over a breakup is to suddenly be aware at how much this person’s presence had infiltrated your life and to now suddenly have that time made available to you again to do with what you choose. In one particularly painful break up, my therapist had asked me what I missed the most and I told her the witty and sexy text messages. She said find a friend who sends you witty text messages and engage them in repartee. It’s not the same, I said, because it does not hold the promise.

In Alain de Botton’s Essays in Love, he writes:

A long, gloomy tradition in Western thought argues that love is in its essence an unreciprocated, Marxist emotion and that desire can only thrive on the impossibility of mutuality. According to this view, love is simply a direction, not a place, and burns itself out with the attainment of its goal, the possession (in bed or otherwise) of the loved one. The whole of troubadour poetry of twelfth-century Provence was based on coital delay, the poet repeating his plaints to a woman who repeatedly declined a desperate gentleman’s offers. Centuries later, Montaigne declared that, ‘In love, there is nothing but a frantic desire for what flees from us’ – an idea echoed by Anatole France’s maxim that, ‘It is not customary to love what one has.’ Stendhal believed that love could be brought about only on the basis of a fear of losing the loved one and Denis de Rougemont confirmed, ‘The most serious obstruction is the one preferred above all. It is the one most suited to intensifying passion.’ To listen to this view, lovers cannot do anything save oscillate between the twin poles of yearning for someone and longing to be rid of them.

I don’t think it is unrequited love that turns us on, but instead the promise of tomorrow. Tomorrow is what makes today so exciting, without it, you return to living in the present, which we have all learned is where we need to be, but is often times, somewhat dull and routine for anyone with a romantic yearning. Oh yay, more work, oh yay, parenting, oh yay, the toilets need to be cleaned. Yes, you should turn to the bluebird whistling outside your window, but you are in the midst of a breakup and so I think a little wallowing is in order.

My brother has admonished me for being a romantic one too many times in my life. I guess, at this point, I will die a romantic. It is what it is.

3 Responses to “The best way to get over a breakup”

  1. MUDD Says:

    Oh no… Rachel… has it all come tumbling down?

    I’ve been trying to understand what happened… doing my best to read between the lines… but I guess the only important (and sad) thing to know is that it’s over with Stanley, right? Aw geez… sorry. It went so fast — at least from this reader’s point of view — from the romantic début to that wonderful photo of you two on the “Clarity is the new black” post to the present moment of truth… that I have to say I’m sort of stunned.

    All this to say that a lot has happened to you while I’ve been “invisible” due to my MacBook Pro(blem) — see my reply to your comment on my blog. But I haven’t stopped reading your ‘journal’ and have been sending you LOVE. Here’s a BIG HAPPY HUG from freezing Montréal just for you, Sweet Soul… Hope you’re not too down in the dumps!


    P.S.: Tin’s hair saga is so very funny — he looks FABulous with his new look!

  2. Rachel Says:

    Hi Mudd – so glad to hear your kind voice of support coming through the airwaves. You know I don’t regret one minute of Stanley – it’s been a cram course in reviewing all I had learned I do and do not want in a relationship at this point in my life – BAM – there it is. And he is a sweet and sexy soul and I am still tender hearted about him. He is now in Destin and it seems like a good place for him, so I wish him nothing but the best. I have fond (underscore) memories of our time together. And yes I’m sad. We can do details off the public forums anytime. I hope this winter crazy storm is going to make icy Montreal worse than it is already. Love you too, Rachel

  3. Rachel Says:

    I will say this, Mudd – the beauty of having arrived where I’m at is that despite the seductiveness of him, I held firm my center – 1) I will not take care of an adult emotionally, financially, spiritually, 2) I am clear about what my taboos are in relationships – whether societal, physical, or philosophically, 3) I recognize that I am the prize. 4) And my 4th is very clear – I do monogamy with all of its trappings in a “relationship.”

    What was most surprising to me in this relationship is that I didn’t go seeking a partnership, a monogamous relationship, or a future oriented arrangement with him – yet that is what was being demanded of me from the get go, and though I was clear about my boundaries, his center did not hold. Puzzling as that may be, I’m not going to stay here and ponder why because I have to believe that we live and learn or we don’t.

    This man provided me an enormous growth experience in just a short burst of time. Not to mention realizing yet again that I can open my heart, which had been dormant. For this experience and him, I am grateful.

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