All breakups are bad, but long-distance breakups are particularly painful because of the unbearable helplessness they bring. A guy you’ve promised to move heaven and earth to be with can just disappear from your life without another word, and all you can do is drag your bleeding heart around each day, while miles away, he probably has already started over with someone new—and there’s nothing you can do about it.
I once had a long-distance relationship with a French guy named Jacques*. Jacques traveled a lot, which is how we met in the first place. We were together for a year, and we would see each other every three or four months. Since we were both travel junkies, we didn't mind taking those trips to see each other.
I met Jacques’ family once when we flew to Paris and stayed over at his family home. That visit was a big deal; he told me that I was the first girlfriend he had ever brought home to meet his family. We had even planned for me to apply for a fiancée visa so we could settle down in Paris in the next few years. Our relationship was serious—for me it was, anyway.
Our conflicts started when he got too chatty online with a girl who was clearly flirting with him. I repeatedly asked him to stop encouraging her, but he wouldn’t give up their regular chats and carried on like it was nothing, which made me understandably jealous and insecure.
A few months later, he broke up with me—over text. He didn't even want to talk on the phone or through FaceTime, even though I pleaded that we break up properly. He said that my jealousy was part of it, but not the main reason why he had to let me go. He claimed that our arrangement would become even more difficult with his constant traveling, and he worried that he wouldn’t be able to keep me happy especially considering I was already looking to get married and settle down.
Although I was blindsided and hurt beyond belief, I relented to the breakup because there was no changing his mind. While we continued to send each other messages, we were no longer as warm as we used to be, and he eventually stopped talking to me.
Social media is a godsend for lovers, with its constant updates that keep two people close, but for couples that have fallen apart, checking social networking sites out of curiosity is just an invitation for disaster. Still heartbroken two months after the breakup, I was keeping tabs on Jacques on a social networking site, trying to get a sense of what his life was like without me.
There, I saw that he had added a Pinay named Fatima*.
Jacques had always been into Asian girls, but I was the only Filipina he had ever dated, so I felt a growing dread that there was something going on between him and this girl. I Googled Fatima to try to find out as much as I could about her, discovered her blog, and came to the conclusion that she was the kind of girl who dated foreigners, which made my fear that she was his next conquest grow even stronger.
Wracked by a torturous combination of hurt and dread, I did the only thing I could think to do in my miserable state: I took revenge.
Here’s how I did it: I created a fake social network account of a white guy, filling it with content to make it seem more real. Then I added Fatima on the site, hoping to bait her, and sure enough, she accepted my request. I sent her that first private message, and we immediately started chatting. Encouraged by my friendly and flirty nature, she started telling me about herself. I wooed her religiously, and pretty soon she was really opening up to me.
After a few days of chatting, I went in for the kill: I told Fatima that I liked her and asked if she was dating anyone. She answered that yes, she was dating someone online at the moment—Jacques. As she went into the details of their relationship, I wormed my way between them by making like I was a nice guy looking out for her and trying to protect her. She fell for my act, because soon after, she broke up with Jacques.
Mission accomplished, right? Not quite. I had not counted on Fatima falling hard for my fake persona instead. As she begged me to stay, I had to break her heart, too, bringing her down and promptly ghosting on her.
Looking back on it now, I honestly still can’t believe I did all of that, but the cold, brutal way with which Jacques broke things off with me made me feel so angry, so alone, so helpless, and so disrespected that all the angst in my soul just had to go into something, anything. The way he ditched me—as if I were that disposable—made me question his sincerity in ever loving me in the first place. I now feel like maybe he had been forcing his love for me all that time, like he didn't really need a girlfriend, just a companion to keep him warm whenever he went off on his frequent travels.
I was a fool to fall for everything, to believe in our plans to be together, to put all my eggs in that basket only for it to be taken away.
It’s been several months since we broke up, but I still can’t say I’m truly over the entire ordeal. I’m not proud of what I did, nor would I ever get between two people like that again, but I’m sharing this tale to illustrate the depths of despair—almost like a madness—that a girl can sink to after a breakup. And in long-distance relationships, where you can do nothing but cry helplessly from a distance as you discover you’ve been replaced, the sinking goes much deeper.
*Names have been changed