Read the BEGINNING...
While I was at work, I decided that I would move out from the flat I had shared with my ex. Our rent was due by the end of the month and I was not going to renew. We paid in six monthly installments and not only could I not afford it, I could deal without the memories of our time there together. I talked to myself sternly after that. I decided that if my ex was remapping his life, maybe I needed to do the same. I drew up an excel sheet on my computer and fashioned a short-term goal and something to do with myself as if I was writing a business proposal. It was almost the end of June and I was convinced that I could get my life together before the end of the year.
I will survive, I kept telling myself. I hummed the song by Gloria Gaynor and downloaded it from Limewire into my mp3 player. I listened to it so much the funny part of me that remained worried that it would fade away. I took the humor as a sign that I was on the right track. I called my friend some days later to tell her of my decision. She stayed with some relatives and we began to plan of moving in together in a smaller place. The following week, I contacted some estate agents and gave them details of what we wanted. I ended up with a few places to go and visit that week. In addition, I had plans to have dinner with friends. The plan had originally been for "both of us" to go out with the newly married couple. I almost chickened out but in the end, I went ahead since they were my friends and already knew.
I worked at a place where I had access to the internet. I could also browse on my phone when the network was good. I had the highest bill ever that first couple of months after the breakup. I was also reprimanded at work by my immediate superior. We were on good terms or it would have been something more serious. I was always online scouring the web for information on breakups and of course, came across those "Get your ex back" links. I was weak and I gave in. I also regularly went snooping to his Facebook page and tried to decode what was happening in his life. I felt I would shatter if I found out he was dating again. I loved to read and shopped for books regularly but the few times I found myself at a bookstore, it was usually in the self-help section.
I picked up books on relationships and dealing with breakups and browsed through them keenly. I tried to remember everything I read so I wouldn’t have to buy the book and bring it back to our new flat. I didn’t want anything to spoil the façade I was showing to my friend and new roommate. I finally bought a book from a roving vendor which I would leave in my office. It was titled “Making up after a quarrel with your partner”. I devoured the book looking for answers and tips on what to do. I knew I was deceiving myself. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted my ex back. We had spoken only a couple of times on the phone since then. Yes I called him. I’m not proud of it but I pored over the book and saw that it said I should give my ex space for a while and work on myself. Then he would somehow miraculously want to get back with me. I sincerely prayed so.
I had friends who texted, emailed, and called me all the time. My mother and my sisters also visited and stayed with me at different points in those first six months. They were my support network and were there for me whenever I felt myself sliding into depression. They helped me stay grounded and in control. At the times I felt like running mad or cursing my ex out, they appealed to my higher senses and got me to calm down. I will admit that I did not stick to all the stages I laid out in my short term plan for getting over it. I gave myself a month but it took close to three to get over the disbelief and shock. I was still angry and hurt sometimes. One day I say my ex online – we had remained friends on Facebook – and began a chat with him. I wanted to ask him again for us to get back together. Luckily, I didn’t get to make such a fool of myself. He logged off after a couple of minutes begging work.
I told myself that I had to refuse to let myself sink into depression and wreck my life. This was repeated to me by family and friends. There were days I did not want to get out of bed. There were many of such days. I made a pact with my closest sister to call her at any time when I wanted or felt like it. Looking back, I think knowing there was someone I was accountable to helped a great deal. I'm not saying I never had down days or days where I never wanted to talk to another person but always in the back of my mind was the commitment I had made to the ones that cared about me that I was going to get through this and come out a better woman. By October I was going out more, hanging out with my girlfriends at weddings and birthdays and thinking of dating again. Some people told me it was too soon to think about another relationship but I had a couple of solid guys who were interested in me.
My roommate encouraged me to give them a chance. I went out with them then mostly because I liked the distraction. By November, it was more than that, at least for one of the guys who had stuck around. I knew I was ready to open up my feelings if not my heart. I knew I was ready to date. My ex had been my first real boyfriend and I was in the dating pool again. I did not know the etiquette or how to handle different guys at the same time. I had to think about how I would behave in certain situations and how I would react to certain things. I ran through mock scenarios in my head and had long heart to hearts with my roommate. She dated off-and-on but was single most of the time. She became my dating coach and agent. I also had to rethink what I wanted in a man I would spend the long term with. I had not dated extensively so I think about the qualities I wanted in a man. I thought of all the good in my ex and then I thought of the bad. At a point I had to make myself realize it was futile to dwell on the past. Everyone agreed that I should just focus on the there and then and I did.
It was a bit difficult though getting through my ex’s birthday at the end of December. I had usually made a big deal of his birthdays and since this was his big three zero, I had even begun to make plans in my head for it just before out breakup. It threw me that it was such a big deal for me. I was moody for most of the day, sneaking to his page to see who had left him messages and angling for information from mutual friends. That was another thing that made things hard. The friends. Some of his friends cut me off and even some that had been my friend before they became “our” friend also avoided me after the breakup, especially the couples. My roommate advised me to cut all of them off and even my ex but I couldn’t. I had been friends with him before we began to date and recently, we could pass a few minutes on chat without me getting emotional. He was now in America and maybe that helped too. Finally, I sent him a message on Facebook with a card containing some well wishes.
In two months, it will be a year since we broke up. I have since realized that moving on is a continuous exercise just like the tense. It's a lot of on-going hard work. "Moved on" is the goal towards which I am working. Each day I am preparing and inching closer to it when I affirm myself and do things that move me towards the goal. Saying I've moved on does not necessarily make it so. In addition, there is no need for me to flog myself when I feel down because as long as I keep working on it, I will get there. I believe that I'll be ready for what is next when I've completely moved on. In a week, it will be the anniversary of the day my ex had first asked me out to begin a serious relationship. By this time last year, I had been dreaming that we could make it a double anniversary but it hadn’t turned out that way. I have made peace with it. There are no bells and whistles and no fireworks. I’m just glad that I’m at the stage where I know myself better and know that I have got over my ex even if not fully.
It is enough to know that he does not take up most of my life like he did when we were together and even more when we first split. I have begun to look outwards and forwards. When I make decisions, I think about the type of person I am and who I want to be. I ask myself what type of person I need to be in order to ensure that I am ready for the next stage of my life, possibly with another man. Yes I can think that now. I do invest more in myself and I take care of myself a lot more too nowadays. I had learnt to do it for me but now I also think of how it will help my chances of meeting a good partner. Yes I am working on myself for the benefit of myself; yet, I am not blind to the benefits to others and how it enriches my relations with those around me. I know that no amount of denial, bargaining, anger or depression is going to recover my broken relationship. I have accepted that heartbreak as a part of life. It's not good or bad...it is just how it is. So I have decided to keep moving on, to find joy in my live and to bring joy to others. I am dating another guy. It cannot say how long it will last but I really like him and I know he likes me too. I’m taking it a day at a time. The most important thing is; I have survived. I am fine.
*Pictures from Google images
*The story is a fictionalised version of this BLOG
*First published as "I will Survive" on Afrikan Goddess
*Published as "When Love is Gone" by The New Black Magazine.