In a passionate person’s life there are three things that are inevitable: 1. Writing bad poetry. 2. Quoting dead authors. 3. Crazy breakup sagas.Regardless of which side of the outcome you are on, breakups are miserable. I have had a few across multiple countries, personalities and outcomes with numerous learnings.
There are lots of websites that guide you through the multiple breakup phases:
- Denial (i.e. pretending that he/ she’s just on a long vacation)
- Despair (i.e. wearing sweatpants with your head in the Doritos bag)
- Anger (i.e. looking up henchmen on craigslist)
- Bargaining (i.e. if you changed everything about yourself, would it work?)
- Acceptance (wow-there is life after death)
However, there are not many websites that talk about the types of breakups and how to best navigate each one. Not all breakups are created equal! Since I seem to be an expert in broken romance I thought I would write about the types of breakups and lessons I learned from each type.
1. The Puddle
This happens in young love when your lover defined everything about you. When you lose them, you lose yourself. My puddle happened at age 25. After two years of insane love with accented promises of toujours, it ended. I think he had to physically remove me from clinging to his limbs in denial. My friends from Seattle were so worried about my state of mind that they flew down to help me move out of our house where we had coexisted. To leave my puddle I had to create my own identity. I moved away and pursued a MBA, which was more a degree in self-confidence than anything else. How do you get out of a puddle? Simply step out of it.
2. The Regret
Later in life we meet men who are perfect, yet we cannot manage to fall for them. They patiently listen to our rambles, proactively spend time with our family, and makes plans to buy us a house. The only problem-their conventional predictability. Picket-fence Pedro and I had a year together. There was nothing wrong in our relationship except my feelings of claustrophobia. Wasn’t it more romantic to be “sorry” than “safe?” I panicked on a trip to NYC, flew back and ended things without any explanation. Afterward, I felt like I was a terrible person that couldn’t accept goodness in my life. I deeply regretted not sticking it out and finding a way to kindle passion. My amazing Seattle girlfriends once again flew down to comfort me. “You gotta have passion,” they said. “Life is L-O-N-G. So don’t feel guilty for that.” We make decisions for a reason….regretting them is a waste of time.
3. The Crazy
This is the one you try to lose due to its dysfunction but for some reason it keeps boomeranging back. I broke up with Lorenzo 4 times. Each time he would come back with a song he wrote about me, a lavish gift, and instantly remove his clothes before I even let him in the door. After the 3rd breakup he flew cross-country and arrived dewy eyed at my hotel room. It was 10pm and I had a king sized bed. I could either refuse his entrance and hear a stream of “Vaffanculo” (“go fuck off”) out my window or let him in and hear much nicer Italian phrases from 800 threadcount sheets. Unlike Pedro, our relationship had an addictive quality. How did I end it? I debated restraining orders but finally changed my number, location, and bought a special object from “Good Vibrations.” It was the only way to prevent getting sucked back in. One must combat crazy with logic.
4. The Mutual
No love songs were ever written about mutual breakups. There is something almost disappointing in their end. The angry throwing of vases against a wall is replaced by a pact to play tennis together every other Sunday. This friendship usually lasts until one of you starts dating other people which brings up questions of inadequacy and timing. The best way to keep the friendship is to give it some space and then focus on supporting the other in whatever life path they choose. Perhaps this is what real love is about anyway.
In the end, there is no easy breakup. They are all chaotic, unnerving, and really sad. What you need to move on is the beautiful fix –all solution of time. You may get back together, you may not, but at least you will learn from it. Each day will become easier and slowly you will become whole, develop a stronger identity, and become a better version of yourself. Nietzsche once said, “out of chaos comes order.” But I think that out of chaos comes a masterpiece.