October 15, 2013

My Ex Got Married & I Became a Loser.

There’s this pretty well-known theory, which states that it takes half of the amount of time that you were with someone to get over that person.

So, for example, if you dated for six months it would take three to mentally move on. Now, I’ve always been a rather efficient person, the kind of girl who always turned in her homework days before it was due, who could be relied on to write the 600-word newspaper article in record time before deadline, etc. But, I have to come clean and admit that I have not been efficient about getting over this break-up.

It’s been two years since it happened and I only have a few more months before it’s deemed unreasonable for me to even think about anymore. He got married over the weekend and besides my theoretical distaste for the institution of marriage, if I pretended it didn’t bother me even a little bit, I’d be lying.

Mainly. I feel like a loser.

I have always had a competitive streak. I win at everything.

My mom was my softball and basketball coach, I got straight As, I was the president of several clubs, I got the lead in plays, I earned two Masters degrees at the same time, I had the cute “artsy” sensitive boyfriend. I have forever been on a path toward success, never really getting what “success” meant, but thinking I had to follow these certain steps for it to happen.

This past week, in a desperate attempt to avoid reality (and my lack of actual success), I’ve been watching a ridiculous amount of terrible Netflix television shows. In one of them (that will remain nameless to avoid more shame), the girl finds out that she was being manipulated by the guy she thought she loved. Once she discovers it, she denies it, then she sides with him, followed by a complete break down and trip to the nut house.

Based off of her character analysis—her being the intellectual one—it wasn’t about him, it was about her feeling that she wasn’t as smart as she thought she was; she was tricked. She fell for it when she should have been paying more attention, when she shouldn’t have let her guard down. She let in the “idea” of love when in fact it was a mere mirage.

I know how I should feel and I know what I should do.

I’ve read like five thousand articles online about moving forward, loving one’s self first, finding the little things to be thankful for etc; but mainly, I can’t help but be angry with myself. Not because my ex is getting married, but because I failed at following the supposed steps to happiness. No matter how many times I’m told to just forgive, no matter how many times I think I have forgiven, I keep falling back into this mindset that I should have known better, I should have been smarter, I shouldn’t have been fooled by the mirage.

And not just the mirage of love, but the mirage of success, what it looks like and how people are supposed to get there.

The raw truth is that I am afraid I am the toxic one. I am afraid that I don’t really understand what love is, that I never did and that I will never feel it. His marriage to someone else so soon reveals to me that no one has felt that way toward me, and yes, I’m afraid that no one ever will.

I don’t know why I have that fear, maybe because it seems like other people “get it,” and I don’t and I really dislike missing out.

I am afraid that I am way-dumber than I ever thought.

I am afraid that I went the wrong way toward success, that perhaps being over-competitive and the best at everything isn’t always going to get me a “win,” which is why it all dumped out in front of me two years ago. I feel that I should, by this point, be over my loser-ish feelings and get my shit together and move on and I am mad at myself for it taking so long.

I think that maybe break-ups hit the over-analytical, efficient, super-competitive, slightly narcissistic people way harder than anyone else and it’s okay. It’s okay to feel bad for a couple of days when my ex gets married to someone else (even if I don’t believe in the institution of marriage) because that union reveals that I am no longer the one that gets loved forever, I never intended to be, never really was to begin with and that sucks.

Out of all of this though, I’ve learned that it is okay to lose.

It’s okay to lose at love. It’s okay to not get to “success” by the initial timeline in one’s head. It’s okay to redefine what love means, what success means and to create a new path.

Because maybe in the end, that loss will bring a better future “win.”

Perhaps not today or tomorrow, but the day after I get it all together.

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Ed: Sara Crolick

{photo: Thomas Lieser}; Unsplash

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