The breakup of a relationship is one of life’s inevitabilities. Save for those who are content (or not) with singledom forever, or the perhaps even rarer childhood sweethearts, we will probably all break a heart, or have ours broken (or ripped out and stamped on) at least once.
The first time I was broken up with I was sixteen. The relationship was a year and a half long; I was devastated for about a week, then I started hanging out with some new friends, got a new crush, and found out that the ex boyfriend had cheated on me multiple times. I took great delight in declining his pleads to get back together, in the end. In my second breakup I was the dumper rather than the dumpee, if you will forgive the crudeness. We had been together for four and a half years, and it was sad but necessary. I don’t think that I have ever felt more content or more confident in myself than I did after that relationship.
Then I was ghosted. One night after a fight with an on/off, emotionally abusive boyfriend, he told me that everybody hated me and just never spoke to me again. That was a very hard pill to swallow, although the real damage was done during the relationship itself. I was in a lot of pain, but being with him was so awful that feelings of relief and intense anger soon overtook my sadness.
Last week I was dumped again. We had just celebrated our first anniversary, we had trips and holidays booked, but he decided that he could not be with me any more. Our relationship had not been without its issues; I had a lot of wounds that I have not been able to heal yet, and I carry so much anger with me every day. I am, I was, difficult to be with.
All of my breakups have happened in the lead up to summer, my favourite season. Summer for me is characterised by good weather and good times. It means holidays and road-trips and festivals, or simply sitting in the park with your friends and some warm cans of lager. I love the smells and the sights and the sounds of summer; light and late evenings, touching warm hair on my head, my freckles reappearing.
The summer after a breakup is different. I will go home from the Friday night pub garden trip alone, and I won’t get to hold hands on the beach or kiss in the shade of a tree. I will miss out on experiences with a friendship group that I cared about deeply. I will experience a grief of sorts as I look back on memories or photos from last summer and as I carry on and do the things that we were supposed to do together by myself, or with a friend. This summer is, ultimately, ruined at worst and bittersweet at best.
But I will be alright, eventually. One message I received last week likened heartbreak to heart surgery. Right now it feels like a gaping wound, but sooner or later it will heal and, though I will be left with a scar, I will be okay again. So here’s to warm skin, warmer beers, and looking on the brighter side.
photos by Georgia