“So…I guess this is it?” You say with a deep, pained sigh.
“Yeah, I guess so.” He replies, looking at you in a way that makes you want to turn back time. Or to freeze it. To just never let this moment go.
Because you know that when you get up and say goodbye, this really is it. For the last few hours (or days, or weeks, depending on how drawn out it’s been), you’ve been saying it all. Everything you never said in the relationship. You’ve done the fighting and you’ve done the begging. You’ve gotten over the “I can change” phase and the “you’ll never find someone better than me” phase. You’ve stopped trying to be mean, and you’ve stopped trying to make it work.
You’re broken up, and all that’s left is the closure.
You finally told him about how hurt you were, those times he blew you off for his friends. He told you how uncomfortable it made him that you were still close with your ex. You cried. God, how you both cried. And even though it was sad, it felt right, in a way. After putting so much energy into a relationship, it died. Maybe he decided it, or maybe it was you. Or maybe you both knew it. Despite all of those times that you would long for something else, you convinced yourself that this was the person you wanted. This was your person.
And then, he wasn’t. It started slow, or it all came crashing down without warning. Either way, one day one of you decided that it was over. And all you had left was to accept it. All you had left was “the talk.”
The one that brought you here, today. Meeting at “your place” with a quiet, bittersweet resolve. It’s not a question of “can we make this work?” It’s not a matter of “let’s not throw this way.” You’ve both decided to end it. And as you leave the relationship world, and move into the “this person is going to become a stranger” world, something crazy happens.
For the first time in a very long time, you view this person, your person, as someone other than your boyfriend. You realize the things you did wrong — how it hurt him. You see his flaws — how they changed you. But you’re no longer looking at him with hope. You’re looking at him as someone you’ve know for a long, long time. As someone you’re going to miss. A lot.
And this talk, the final one, is one of the most magical moments in a relationship. You finally say it all. As you sit on the bench or in the car, holding hands and crying next to each other, you feel closer than you have in a long time. Maybe ever. You can feel a love that is so strong for one another. And it’s the same love that made you realize that you can no longer be together.
You can no longer be his.
That’s when it hits you. The fear. The anxiety. The panic. What will you do? How will you be you? You’ve been together so long, it feels like a part of you is getting cut out. And the worst part is, you can’t do anything about it. Your apartment will be filled with things that remind you of him. The songs on the radio will all have meaning. His smell will linger on the shirt you refused to give back. As you try to fight back the tears, you wonder how the hell you’re going to keep going.
But in this moment, as you look at him, you can tell: He doesn’t know how he’s going to do it either.
And no matter how confusing it gets in the next weeks, you have this. This talk. This raw, emotional, expressive talk that shows you that he’s just as scared as you. And as you put your head on his shoulder for the last time, talking about your hopes for each other’s futures, you feel at peace for the first time in a very, very long time.
As the minutes wind down, and life calls you both back, you finally get up to say goodbye. To say the goodbye. And in that last moment of being together, as you lean forward to give him one final kiss, you feel like you’ve never felt so many emotions. You could explode with all of the things you’re feeling. Fondness for this person you know so well. Sadness that you’re parting ways. Fear of what’s to come, and jealousy for who will eventually replace you. And tears are streaming down your face, and at this point you don’t even know why. Pain, longing, hope?
And then you both pull away. As you look into each other’s eyes, that’s it. The moment you turn around, the magic is broken. And what you had is no longer what you have. It becomes past tense. He becomes bast tense. So you mumble “good luck” and “I’ll always love you” and you do it.
You turn around. And you leave.
And as you’re walking away from a life you had for so long, a life you wanted forever, you realize: You’re suddenly someone else.
You’re no longer the girl who canceled on friends or dyed her hair because he liked blondes. You’re not the person who worried when he didn’t text back at night, or waited for it all to crumble, just so you could be free. You’re a girl, full of life, ready to do whatever it is she wants. And that’s one of the most amazing feelings in the world. Because that moment when a relationship finally dies, you’ve never felt so many things. You’ve never felt so alive.
And as you mourn over what you lost, realize that in this end, it’s also a beginning. A rebirth, if you will. And as you know (but most likely don’t remember), birth is fucking hard. You have to learn how to live. How to be. How to eat and talk and get out of bed. How to go every hour without crying. But despite how hard it is, it has so much potential. So much chance of greatness. Feel it all, and do everything that you can. Learn and cry and love. Breakups might be one of the most painful things we experience, but if you’re feeling like you can’t move on, just remember: You can. And you will. It’s the start of a whole different chapter in your life, and you have the ability to write it any way you want..