This Is What Happened After We Broke Up

'Maybe if you cried enough, all the sadness would leave your body along with your tears.'

You are Cathy, and you and your boyfriend—ex-boyfriend—broke up the night before.

The morning after, you wake up early, much earlier than normal, and as soon as you do, the truth hits you: You are no longer together. The two of you ended things in a tearful, exhausting episode last night that had him slamming the door on his way out of your apartment and you just watching him leave, paralyzed by the disbelief that you had actually done it. It was actually over. You both had been threatening to break up for a while now. You both had been limping along helplessly for a while now.

You can’t bring yourself to get up off the bed just yet. Just the thought of facing the day with a huge weight dragging you down seems too much to bear. So you spend the next two hours in various positions on your bed, hugging your pillow, thinking about how your life is going to change now that he’s no longer in it.

You call in sick at work because you just can’t. You can’t. You know you won’t be able to focus on anything, and you won’t be able to make it through the day without crying.

You start crying again, of course. Last night you had hoped—no, you were positive—that the tears you shed as you ended things were the last tears you would ever shed for him, but turns out, that was wishful thinking. So you cry now. You figure you might as well get all that sadness out; maybe if you cried enough, all the sadness would leave your body along with your tears. So you keep crying, just crying the hell out, forcing those suckers out of your swollen eyes. But once you’ve finally worn yourself out from all that crying and your ragged eyes can no longer wring any more tears, you still feel like crap.

And then, you have an epiphany. If you’re suffering this much over losing him, maybe you really love him still and you guys are meant to be together, only you’ve both been showing your love in less than ideal ways. In this moment, you completely regret the decision to break up. After a few minutes spent entertaining the idea of apologizing and asking him to make up, you go ahead and send him that text message, before you can stop yourself. You swallow your pride. Pride is the last thing on your mind right now.

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He doesn’t reply. You’re hurt, but you kind of expected it.

You resolve to do something productive instead to get your mind off your sorrows. You write in your journal, read a new book, pick up where you left off on that little craft project you had begun. For some minutes, as you do your thing, you forget that you’re supposed to be sad. But the realization comes back, and you feel sad again. And then you resolve to just get on with your productive thing, but then you feel sad after a while. And you keep checking for a message from him. Nothing still.

This is how it’s like for the rest of the day.

You want to tell your close friends about the breakup; you crave their emotional support so badly. But at the same time, you don’t want to, because you’re still clinging to the hope that he'll come back. If you start telling people that it’s over, it would make the breakup more real, and to you, it’s just not. Not yet.

You think of everything you’d do better if he just agreed to reconcile. You lay out all your promises in your head, promises that you would never start a fight over something as shallow as him failing to text you on his night out, that you would always give him the benefit of the doubt, that you would really love him as you say you do, with no reservations and no conditions.

But as the day comes to a close, with still no text from him, you start to accept the possibility that he might never reply. Maybe he just doesn’t want to try with you anymore. Maybe, after last night, he had made up his mind to move on. And your ill-advised text, while it tugged at him—of course it would, you are a girl he loved for two years—on the whole, it didn’t make him change his mind.

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You go to bed with a heavy heart, but you tell yourself that you'll be alright. Either he'll reply tomorrow, or he won’t at all.

The hope that he’ll come back to you has dipped, but the feeling that you can go on anyway has climbed, a little. Not by much, but hey, it’s an improvement from your state when you woke up this morning, when all you thought you could manage was to lie in bed and cry.

You’ve got one day down, and you didn’t die from heartbreak. Maybe that’s enough to be grateful for, for now.


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