I would hold onto my favorite romance movies, and use google as my personal bible. I can tell you exactly what oxytocin is, how it works on your body, and exactly when I am feeling it. I write down poems about ex-lovers, like prisoners writing down thoughts. I feel trapped by the concept of love; why can’t I attain it? Why do I forgive people who won’t forgive me? Why do I love people who replay my mistakes like broken records? As if I was the only one with the aux cord, as if I were the only one picking out the mixtape songs. Love is an undefinable concept, one that I have spent too many hours trying to define and understand.
I wish I had some profound thought to give you all, or some answer to the exact scenario that you’re experiencing. I don’t know if what you did was forgivable or if they really have broken up with you for good. I can only hope for the best for you, and hope that you receive the outcome you were intended to have. But isn’t that the sucky thing about people? We don’t know anything for sure (or at least I don’t). Our lives, our decisions, our moves are all based on assumptions on past outcomes. But every situation is unique, right? Or maybe we are all playing the same sad love song on a broken record, hoping that maybe this time around the record won’t ski—-
I have no answers for you or any solutions. But what I can leave you with is a little advice I’ve learned from failed relationships:
1. It’s cliche, but try to enjoy the moment.
As to where my relationships didn’t always work out, when they were working, that’s what mattered. There’s no promise as to what’s going to happen, or what’s not going to happen. There will be people you meet that you fall head over heels for, and then somehow you’re left picking up your shoes from their place. But I want you to focus on before that happens. Focus on the way their teeth line up whenever you see them smile or the wrinkles that crease up on their face when they speak. Capture every “I love you” and “I miss you” on pieces of paper, and keep them in a jar for safe keeping. Take a deep breath during the fights, hold your tongue, and think about the next thing you’re going to say. If all else goes bad, go to your safe space, reach for the jar, and remember how many times someone saw something beautiful in you.
2. Find a balance between happily alone and happily together.
Some of us are naturally introverted, and others are naturally extroverted. There’s nothing wrong with that, and we shouldn’t try to force people to be things that they aren’t. But what we should do is challenge ourselves to push outside of what’s “comfortable” for us. When you’re in a relationship, it isn’t about just keeping yourself safe, or making sure you’re the most comfortable. There will be times when your partner needs you to break out of your habits, and it probably will be best to make that sacrifice for them. At the end of the day, we just want to feel special, and doing something you don’t normally do could be what makes that person feel that way.
3. Love is not a competition, focus on winning each other.
Sometimes in love, we compare and contrast. After hurt and heartbreak, mistakes get thrown around like snowballs in the middle of December. That’s normal, we are human, and whatever we are feeling is real. But love isn’t about drowning each other in frozen water, love isn’t about doing things to make each other sick. In any relationship, may it be with family, friends, or your significant other, hurt is inevitable. There are things I’ve done and said to my mother that I wish I could take back, as I’m sure she feels the same. I’d never bring those things up in future encounters with her, because to me, there’s no point. When we inflict hurt onto our loved ones, we are not directly impacted by that pain, but cold words still send chills through us. We are forced to sit with the reality that they might not trust us anymore, or they may think they we love them less. But that’s not true, life is never that simple.
4. Breaks aren’t always breakups.
So many people have accepted this notion that breaks are breakups. Not that I don’t understand it, it’s easier to just accept something is over than to have hope. Sometimes, breaks are just easier to have, easier to leave from, easier to accept. But there are occasions when we are in relationships and everything just starts getting overwhelming. Little fights become monstrous, and answers standing right in front of us can be seen past the cloud of smoke. In those occasions, I think it’s perfectly fine to accept the thought “If it was meant to be, it will be.” I think it’s perfectly fine to accept that sometimes some wounds need a little inaction so they have time to heal, time to breathe, time to be. I don’t know exactly what a break should look like for you, but don’t we all just need one every once and awhile?
5. Be patient, give it time.
I have to be the most impatient person in the entire world, really? I used to watch the clock at school, now I watch the clock at work. I’d spend so much watching the clock that it felt like time was moving backward, and by the time it was actually time to leave, I didn’t have anything positive to show for it. Now at work when there isn’t anything to do, I draw, and I’m pretty decent at it. When I am in my room and I wish I had something to do, I just listen to music and sing to myself. In a relationship, you’ll have to learn patience. You have to learn how to play the waiting game. But instead of sitting and waiting for answers, why not fill the time with something else? I promise it’ll make everything go by a lot faster.
I wish I had more inspiring words to give you. Or a solve all book that you’d only pay $9.99 to read. But I will neither pretend to know your problems nor can I pretend to understand what you’re going through. But that’s okay. My biology professor once wrote in our textbook that, “We as humans try so hard to make sense of the world around us, so we label and categorize everything in order to understand it.” When we understand things, we may start to feel like they are less scary, like we have some control over them. If I’ve learned anything from love, it’s that we have to start getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. We have to stop using labels to find security, and categorizing actions to reach understanding. People are not, have not, and will not be simple. So stop seeking simple answers, and treating situations like they can be generalized.
We are individuals, our love is personalized for us. Treat it that way.