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Forget Me Not: Coming To Terms With A Relationship Breakdown

Breakups can be tough. Charli explores the visceral feelings and unavoidable pain that come with the breakdown of a relationship.

By Charli Phillips, English, Third Year

The Croft Magazine // Breakups can be tough. There is a desire to cling to the past and maintain a connection that is no longer there. Charli explores the visceral feelings and unavoidable pain that come with the breakdown of a relationship. What does it take to move on from a connection that was once so important to you?  

I am an avid googler. So, when I was 16 and in love for the very first time, I would research in a panic the probability of your first relationship being lifelong. I’d scan article upon article of fairy-tale romances and opinion pieces on the necessity of a first heartbreak. My parents were often bombarded with questions when my need for reassurance grew too large for Google to handle. You think it will last forever. You want it to last forever, so desperately.

The Uber driver talks to you about the train strikes and, distantly, you can hear your voice answer him. You sound polite, happy even. You don’t know where that voice is coming from because surely it can’t be you. Your body is too preoccupied with the pain in your chest to be making any legible noise. The night flies by your window in bright, colourful streaks, and the idea of floating weighs deep within you. You’ve lost your anchor, your home, the ties that kept you grounded, the morning and night that bookended your chaos, your favourite person.

Life goes on, slowly, but it does. Family and friends babysit you and sing you lullabies: ‘I never liked him anyway’, ‘he was punching’ and ‘there’s plenty of fish in the sea.’ None of them soothe you, but you laugh along and convince yourself they’re right. You are better off.

You think back to the articles you once read on the inevitability and necessity of a first heartbreak and conclude that the writers must have been sadistic. Who would wish this on others? This surely isn’t a natural part of life, but rather a symptom of where life went wrong. The pain feels cruelly unnecessary.

© Emily Fromant

Some days, when it feels all-consuming, you just want to be held, touched and wanted. Not love, just desired. But the idea of hands that aren’t theirs repulses you and now you’re still alone and the feeling of your clothes on your skin makes you sick.

In your melodrama, you are aware that it won’t always feel like this. Again, you turn to Google and read that it takes 3.5 months to get over a breakup. You were happy before him; you can be happy again. One day you’ll be able to listen to a 10-minute version of a song you know all too well and not feel the urge to scream. One day the songs they took from you, you can reclaim, because you are sure as hell not going to let them take your favourite Paramore song away from you.

The dates in your diary become promises of a time when it will no longer hurt and those promises are the ones that will be kept, even if the promises they made you never were.

Featured Image: Emily Fromant

Have you gone through a break-up? What have been your coping strategies?