It’s a whole lot easier to move on from the ending of any kind of relationship when you have places and people to move on to.
When the world is in a normal state, we can “get back out there,” go on more dates, spend time with our friends, go to that yoga class, sweat it out at a spin class. Distraction, in times of heartache, can be healthy.
My worst case of heartbreak was almost five years ago. It was sudden, and I didn’t know how I would ever come out the other side alive. Of course, I did. But I don’t think I would have been able to do it if I didn’t have my friends and family around me. I remember my sister would force me out of bed to go on runs up the Mont Royal mountain in Montreal. We’d stand at the viewpoint at the top, and it would remind me how much of the world I have yet to experience. How big and vast everything is in comparison.
I’d go to the bar with her and her friends and my friends and I’d sit quietly while they talked of everything that had nothing to do with love. And for those few moments, I’d forget about my broken heart.
I am not heartbroken in the same way now, but I am struggling to move on from a situation that’s left me confused and hurt. I got ghosted. Before it happened to me, I couldn’t really grasp how difficult it was to move on from it. Now, unfortunately, I do know and let me tell you, it’s f*cking awful.
There’s no closure. No answers. You are left questioning what it was you did wrong. Why did they suddenly pull away? Do they really not care about you? Did they ever care about you? How come it’s so easy for someone to emotionally detach? Should you have seen the signs?
The questions have been going around in my head nonstop. And the worst part is, there’s nowhere for me to go to get away from them. Yes, I can do yoga and for a while, it’s out of mind. But then I’m lying in savasana and all of a sudden I remember what it was like laying beside him in bed. No one on the Zoom call is going to notice if I suddenly lose focus and sit up.
I can go for a run, but I see couples all around me, holding hands in their social distancing bubble, and I am alone.
I can work (and I am so grateful for this), but I read an article about how to be in quarantine with a new partner and it makes me feel sick to my stomach because I am so far away from having this.
Everywhere I turn, there is nowhere to turn.
How do I move on with no answers?
I listen to a podcast one morning while making coffee and stretching in the kitchen. The Mark Groves podcast, his episode on “Ghosting.” The episode is mostly about ghosting before you’ve really gotten to know the person, but his advice still sticks with me.
“You can use this moment as an opportunity,” he says. “An opportunity to realize where there may have been signs that you overlooked. And to realize why you so strongly need a response from this person anyway.”
I think about this. The extreme anxiety I felt when he didn’t text me back. The anger that rose inside me that made me want to yell. To shake him through the phone and ask for an answer. Why are these emotions so intense?
I think about when we first met. How intense he was. How he made me feel like I was everything he’d been looking for in another person.
Are these signs? Signs that should have been red flags?
There is nowhere to go right now but within. And it is hard. And it hurts. And I want to escape these feelings and move on from them, but maybe this is where the real work begins.
No matter how hard I try, how hard I beg and scream and communicate my ass off, I cannot control someone else’s behaviour. And maybe that is the lesson in all of this. Learning how to let go. Realizing that even though no answer sucks, I deserve better.
There is no neat and tidy conclusion here, only contemplation.
On the podcast, Mark also talked about how the person ghosting and leaving us in this way allows space for something better to come through the door. That your “soul mate” wouldn’t ghost, so we need to let them go.
And this is what I try to focus on: that if the right person does eventually come along, my heart is now open to welcome them in.