Me and my first love did not break up because we did not love each other anymore. We didn’t have any arguments. We were so happy together. But we had also moved very fast. Getting into a relationship at the age of fifteen and then being together for three years was a surprise to us both. We had planned our entire future and could not imagine our lives without each other. He told me wanted to marry me. He met my parents and told them the same.
Unfortunately being at university changed things. We didn’t see each other as much, or speak as much. There were a lot of promises and compromises we had made for each other, but at university we both changed. Our dreams changed, our personalities changed. We were living two completely separate lives and trying to combine them was really hard. But we loved each other and that what was most important. Every phone call, every time we managed to find time to see each other, my heart beat just as fast as when I first fell in love with him. He was mine, I was his, and that is how it would always be.
When the distance and the time apart got to us, we talked about it, said we would try harder. Eventually he told me that he thought it might be best if we took some time out, to see if we could be happier without each other. Find people we would not have to make so many compromises for. People more similar to us, though it was our differences that drew us together in the first place. I remember feeling numb. I went along with it, thinking that he knew what was best for me, and for us. I had always looked up to him and followed his advice. And he loved me, right? He promised me that whatever happened, he would never be the cause of my sadness. That sometimes people take breaks during university. That if we realised we could not be without each other then of course we could be together again, because why not?
A few months later, I realised what had happened. For months I was happy. I would cry now and again when I’d had a bit too much to drink, but otherwise I convinced myself that everything was fine. I told people we had broken up with a casual air, as if it wasn’t that big of a deal. I don’t know why I did that. I don’t know why the reality that we had broken up, after promising to be together forever, did not settle in for so long.
It only hit me when I saw him again after a few months. I had spoken to him occasionally up until then, checking in to see how he was. But seeing him in person is what broke my heart into a million pieces. I remember standing in a shop with him, making small talk. And I looked up at his face, the face I had loved for so long. It was the look he gave me back that I could not bear. He looked at me like I was his friend. Not the girl he loved. Not the girl he had promised his heart to. Not the girl he had made feel like the only one he would, the only one he could ever love. But just another friend. I couldn’t take it. I ran out, sobbing uncontrollably, wondering what on earth I had done. Why did I agree to break up? Why did I not fight for the man I loved? Isn’t that what you do when you love someone?
When I realised I was alone, I sunk into a depressive state. I had my friends and my family but the void he had left could not be filled by them. Crying became something I did on an average of four times a day. I hardly went outside. I would sit in bed, day in day out, watching movies, listening to songs that would remind me of how alone I was. Once, I nearly went too far, thinking that there was nothing left for me here now. I felt like no one could help me, and I didn’t want to exist if it meant existing without him. I had opened my heart to someone. I had given them absolutely everything I had, and now I was left with nothing. No one loved me. The person who had looked me in the eye for years and told me they would never ever hurt me, was now the person hurting me more than I knew I was capable of being hurt.
I thought that this was my permanent state. I came to terms with the fact that I was never going to be okay again. I could put on a brave face in front of people but I was always going to cry. I was always going to feel an emptiness in me where he had taken a part of my heart and could never give it back. I felt used and like an absolute fool for investing my love, which was supposed to be the most precious thing to me, in someone who would decide so easily that they did not want it anymore. This isn’t what love was supposed to be. True love was supposed to last forever. Did he even love me at all? What was wrong with me? Why was I not good enough for him to at least try? If the person I trusted most in the world could make me so many promises and then have a change of heart, how could I ever trust anyone again?
I never wanted to fall in love twice. Love for me was supposed to be once. Once, and perfect. And it was. I thought I had that. People aspire to amazing careers, or wealth, or success. I aspire to love. My life centres on the love I feel and the love I give out to others. So when the person I loved more than anyone in the whole world, the person I thought of as my family decided he did not want to love me anymore, that I wasn’t worth the effort of being loved, my whole world became lifeless. I was stuck in a rut that, no matter how many people told me would pass in time, I was wholly convinced I would never get out of. I believed I would never truly get over him. He had broken me and I would forever remain that way.
One of the pieces from our series Relationships: the love and the hate, exploring a wide array of people’s experiences, with regards to their interactions and relations with others. Click on the link for more information about the series, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in sharing your story.
Image kindly allowed for use for this series by Ece Clarke