Five months ago, at a small-town July wedding, my boyfriend and I watched some good friends of mine get married. Sitting around the reception table afterwards, the conversation quickly turned to, “Who’s next?” Who would don a white dress and vow eternal love next? Who should start planning her big day now because it’s bound to come up just around the corner? All eyes turned to me and my long-term boyfriend.
We were supposed to be next, but even then I knew we would never make it to the altar. When it came time for the bride to toss her bouquet, I steered clear of that thing like a pop star runs from sobriety (hello, Amy Winehouse). Alex and I had been having enough problems by that point without adding an omen to the mix.
Three months later and a week after our two-year anniversary, it all came to a quiet end.
As soon as it was over, I went into survival mode. Out of sheer determination to focus on the future and not on the past, I went on my first post-Alex date a week after we split. But that wasn’t enough. Taking the ‘moving on’ idea a few steps further, I also decided to leave my hometown, move to New York City, and find as much freelance work as I could to occupy my time. Some people go on drinking binges to get over an ex. Some buy a new dog to keep them company. I decided to overhaul my life (although I seriously considered drying my tears with adorable puppy kisses).
Alex never exactly held me back from making these decisions—in fact, he would have supported all of them (makes you wonder why we broke up, doesn’t it). Still, our breakup served as the catalyst to revamping my life. It just felt right to change the man, the town, and the job in one fell swoop. If I had a therapist, he would tell me I’m focusing on the future to forget about Alex. And he’d be right. But I can come to terms with that, especially when it means building a life for myself rather than dwelling on my breakup.
Unfortunately, moving forward doesn’t mean moving on. As firmly as I plant my eyes on the future, I have to wonder when the past will catch up with me. I know one day I’ll open my eyes and cry uncontrollably over my tragically failed relationship. “I had it so good with Alex, how could I throw that away, I’ll never find someone to measure up to him, blah blah blah…”
Luckily, when that moment comes, I can think back on times like my friend’s wedding when I knew we had little to no chance of making it as a couple. I never wanted it to end, but I never doubted it should. And now that it has, I guess all that’s left is to move on (or move forward). “Easier said than done” doesn’t begin to describe it.