It’s been a rough two days. I wanted to write this out so that I can get some of these feelings out instead of stuffing them down which is what I usually do. I know I have to grieve this and not turn away or jump right into dating again, because that’s never helped me. Would you guys mind sharing what’s helped you process and move on after a breakup?

I just don’t know what I am going to do with all of these memories. I overheard someone talking about how there are no speed limits on parts of the road in Europe, which immediately flashed me back to driving on the Autobahn with him in Germany and sitting in cafes sipping long cups of coffee, wanting to hold his hand but not doing it because we were still just best friends then. Or watching him fall asleep on the long train back from Heidelberg to the village we were staying and wanting to brush the hair out of his face. I was registering for classes for the fall yesterday and remembered how I said I was going to take German so that we could speak it together, and so that I could speak with our host family when we went back next, which we were planning to do over Christmas this year. That trip holds some of the most precious memories of my entire life and now they’re all wracked with pain.

A music/event venue near me is playing Face/Off this weekend, and it reminds me of Thanksgiving when we stayed up all night drinking these blue curacao cocktails my friend made up while we had a Nicholas Cage movie marathon. I think about the times I was undressing and wanted to cower or turn away because I was self conscious and felt ugly about my body, and he held my face and told me he’d thought I was gorgeous for a long time and that he never wanted me to feel afraid with him. Or when I told him about my sexual assault and he just held my gaze for a long time and kept telling me it wasn’t my fault and that I could always talk to him, and that he always wanted me to feel safe with him. The nights he held me while I fell asleep and I woke up with his arms still around me. Watching him pet and love on my cat even though he was allergic and his eyes would water and itch. That message his mom sent me the day after I met her- “anyone who makes my son’s eyes light up the way you do, already has a place in my heart.” How I felt safe enough to share myself physically with him when I hadn’t had sex in years.

I don’t know what the fuck has happened. I feel like the beautiful, emotionally connected, caring, mature man I know has been replaced by this selfish, self defeating monster who couldn’t give less of a shit about me. Why the hell did this have to happen to something that felt so right, so good, so healthy and supportive and full of promise? It sickens and terrifies me to think of going back to the circus of online dating again. I just want the man I loved back. I didn’t want this to be over, even though I know I couldn’t keep letting him treat me the way he was. He kept saying he was scared when he started feeling like he was in love with me and that it backed him up because he’d never felt that way before, so he started questioning everything and honestly, I think he talked himself out of a lot of things. I can’t control that. He has to do something with that fear before he could ever truly love anyone else, and I would have gotten hurt even worse. It just sucks. I hadn’t felt this way about anyone in a long time. Maybe his depression really did save me from a worse fate down the road, seeing how badly he reacted to stress. Part of me just wishes that his depression would lift and he would wake up and realize exactly what he’s done and come back.

Thank you guys for listening to me through all of this. I am trying really hard to do this differently this time and actually feel all of my feelings so that I can process through them. This hurts. It fucking sucks. In fact, I woke up 30 minutes early today so I could have time to write about it and cry so my work day wouldn’t be interrupted by a tidal wave of tears at some point. I think I am about to have a long cry in the shower too.

So yes, please, if you have breakup remedies or stories of how you recovered and were somehow even better after a gut wrenching heartbreak, I would love to hear them, because I desperately need a beacon of hope.