There was really no telling when it was going to happen. It just came and hit me all of a sudden. I was single again and my first love and I were done. My relationship that I had fought so hard to keep glued together, still ended up falling apart and I was falling back to square one. My mother used to tell me stories about what my first heartbreak would be like because of hers and I always thought, “I hope I never get like that—when I get older and love someone,” and yet, look at me now. Break ups are hard. We’ve all been there and if you haven’t been there yet, you’ll be there someday too, perhaps.

I don’t know what’s worse about break ups: if you know they’re the right person, it’s just the wrong time; or, if the relationship had just taken a turn and we fell apart with time. My specific situation was a combination of both. We really did love each other, but we were just too different. Over time, our differences pushed us farther away from each other; It felt like playing tug of war with someone much stronger than me. So, we eventually called it quits and I fell into my own stages of grief: anger, depression, and acceptance (though not in this order).

The first wave to hit me was acceptance, oddly enough. It sounds awful, but I felt relieved to finally have this dark cloud lifted. We argued constantly and we were always watching our words around each other, so careful not to set the other person off. In the beginning, I truly thought I was okay with the results. I could talk about it without tears. On the first day, I cried for approximately 10 minutes, then I washed my face, fixed my makeup, and finished my work for the day. It didn’t really hit me until night time.

When my ex and I first started dating, he lived very close to me. So, he slept in my room frequently. I had never noticed how big my bed suddenly was without him to fill the space. That hurt. Just looking at the spot that he used to sleep in was hard. I thought about how he used to fall out of bed and just sleep on the floor because I had kicked him off and he didn’t want to wake me up. We used to complain that my tiny bed wasn’t big enough for the two of us, and suddenly all I could see was how big the bed really was. That made me feel small. I finally knew what those 90’s and early 2000’s R&B songs were talking about. I was heartbroken. Naturally, my sadness turned to anger the next week.

The next week, I got rid of everything that had his name or face on it. I deleted his phone number and I trashed his pictures and notes. I didn’t want to see him. I was angry and honestly, outraged. I just kept thinking things like, “how dare he? He made me want to talk to him. He made me open up when I didn’t want to, and now how dare he just walk away.” I thought about sleeping with however many people it would take to get over him, but I knew it wouldn’t make me feel good. I was just hurting and I was trying to make myself feel better and hurt him too. I just knew that it wouldn’t fix anything. It wouldn’t help me get over it. It took me a minute before I realized I wasn’t going to get over this by treating it like it was nothing.

Before I started this relationship with my ex, I had never taken any of the previous relationships as seriously as I took ours. We talked about our future and what we could do if we built a life together. He made me smile and listened to me. I realized I couldn’t just get over this break up like any of my previous break ups. The only thing that would seem to help the situation and my feelings was time. Too often, we get stuck in other “situationships” and emotional roller coasters with people because we didn’t take the time to truly get over our feelings from before. I miss what we had, but I also know that sometimes love isn’t enough to keep a relationship afloat. Crazy is defined as doing the same thing multiple times and expecting a different result. If the circumstances don’t change, then it needs to be let go. My relationship was a growing experience. He taught me a lot about myself and this break up is teaching me even more. Being alone doesn’t have to equal loneliness. Let your time alone, be your space to learn and grow.