To The Man Who Changed Me, In The Best And Worst Ways

I am devastated. I am confused. I am relieved.

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I know this is not an original experience saved only for me or for him. I know that we will all get our hearts broken once, twice, fifty times in our lives, be it by people or circumstances or bad timing.

This fact barely softens the edges, but as my mother pointed out to me, just like heartbreak is universal, so is the inevitability of healing and moving on from the disappointment and pain.

Devastation is realizing that it’s suffocating to be with someone but equally suffocating to be without them.


Devastation is watching your best friend, the person who guarded your health and happiness like it was their own, spit out a violent, hateful love onto who you are.

Devastation is untangling yourself from the other person, forced to sever branches where the knots that tie you together are too tight to be unraveled, instead lost to the earth.

Devastation is knowing that it’s not him. He's not the person you are going to live out the rest of your life with. It’s not him, and the disappointment and sadness this brings is probably the last thing the two of you will share together.

Like most young people, we had no idea how to do love well. Time happens, wrong-doings and mistakes build up through a series of tiny and large fits of rage, jealousy, and frustration. 


Each time we let each other go, we ran right back to the love we knew we could never truly leave alone. Each time we came back was better and then worse than the last.


As kids with bold ideas, it was etched in ink on our wrists in the shape of a love heart, identical and permanent. The kind of relationship that tears you up from the inside out but you love every second of it, the first time either of us had felt anything that intense and equally infuriating.


Eventually, though, when love ends, it breaks you both.

We sold ourselves out. We lost pieces of ourselves over time through the sacrifices we made to stay together and make each other happy. We reduced ourselves to the kind of people we never wanted to become. We acted in ways that went against the values we both shared and lived our lives by.

We relied on each other to hold ourselves up. Selfishly, we expected the other one to make us happy and were expected to do the same in return. We would rather blame the other for our own stresses, frustrations, and struggles than be responsible for our own actions and reactions. We were always to blame for the other’s misfortunes and pain.

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People will blame you for things that aren’t your fault because it’s easier to be angry and destructive than to tell the truth.

The truth: "I can’t make myself happy." "I’m scared I haven’t made the right decision." "This eating disorder won't quit." "I feel lost." "I’m scared that medical school will break me." "My sister is unwell and I’m terrified." "I love you." "I’m so scared to lose you." "This hurts me."

After the downpour, there is only silence. All you can do is hate the other person. The opposite of love is indifference, a complete dispassion, but you're not there yet: you definitely still care. You have to hate them, because you can’t love them anymore. 



Hurtful actions are born from love — or rather the pain of love, of loss, of disappointment, of failure. We have to believe that the other person did not mean to hurt us, because what does that say about our own self-worth if we chose someone who purposely hurt us?

We want desperately to move on, to let go, always with too much haste yet we also fear being forgotten. Nothing else that offers itself to us seems capable of fitting into our hearts and being deserving of our time. It's a fruitless practice to be engaging in, trying to reassemble the exact fire that another person brought to our hearts but with a different fuel.

"Nothing makes me feel the same way as you did!" we cry from the wounds of our fragmentation, and nothing should. New things will feel different, better even, but never the same. No love is the same, but it will come back to you in a different form when you are ready.

It is during the flood that we realize how incredibly important the lessons we are about to learn will be to us in the future. Panic sets our goals in motion, the tide of change challenging us to challenge ourselves, the pain of heartbreak yielding the seeds of our very own self-revolution and growth. 


It hurts. It's so sore we wonder if we may, in fact, be dying. It hurts because it mattered. It means we were (and still are) capable of loving someone wholly and deeply. Love is the antidote to pain; they cannot exist without each other.

Trudging through the sludge to get to the good stuff, only to find you end up in a field of sh*t as you make a full circle, that's one of life's certainties. As human beings, inherently flawed in only being able to understand the value of something once it's gone, we need to know pain to fully applaud and honor love when it enters again. The light you turn on in a dark room is far brighter than the one that has shone forever.

The rain will stop. As soon as it began, it will stop. That’s not to say it won’t rain again. But for now, it stops and you get to breathe the air that is so clean after the skies have been allowed to cry.



This is what I learned while it was raining:

We’re not always meant to end up with the person we think we will. I hoped this would be a lesson neither of us would ever have to learn. This person may make you feel everything to a newly heightened level, teach you things about yourself you wouldn’t have otherwise known: your likes, your dislikes, what you want and don’t want in a partner.

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Sometimes, they will feel like home but that sentiment doesn’t promise that you're meant to spend the rest of your lives with them. "The world owes us nothing and life can be cruel,"


Maybe there isn’t enough patience between you both, leaving space for arguments. Maybe you started off on the same path but somewhere the road chose to fissure and now you are two people leading different lives, holding different goals.

Maybe you don't like the person they have become. Maybe the other person cannot give you what you need right now, and what you need is not the same as what you want.

You aren’t meant to end up together. But you are meant to live the rest of your life a little sweeter for having loved each other, despite all the damaging stuff that came with that. They will shape how you feel about people to come, and your ideas and expectations of love and what it's meant to feel like.

They have changed you, in the worst and best ways.



It’s okay to cry for a while. Be alone. Live in abundance. Let time heal. And, if not this, something better.