Getting over a person or relationship can be difficult. Turning emotions off and on is not the easiest thing for people, and I think that’s especially true for women. You love someone, and they’re now gone, and you’re still left with those feelings, wondering what happened, the victim of emotional phantom limb syndrome.
There was an episode of How I Met Your Mother in October that I very specifically saved and watched several times. The episode focuses on things that are unfinished, including Robin’s issues with getting over her ex-boyfriend Don. She hasn’t moved on from their relationship, hasn’t had closure, because “Don left so quickly that I never got the chance to have that final showdown.”
That’s very much how I felt about my last relationship. I never got that final showdown, I never got that closure, and all those feelings and emotions were never really resolved. I kept feeling like if I could just talk to him one last time, get an explanation, that I would be able to move on. No, of course not right away, but at least I could have some questions answered and stop thinking about them. (For those who haven’t been reading my blog, I had a year and a half relationship with a man and he just vanished with no explanation. I’m not going to link to those posts because I’m…well, done with that.)
Robin’s friends urge Robin to delete Don from her contacts, so she can’t call him again. Definitely a good idea – I think we’ve all been guilty of a drunk dial or two. (For the record, my way of dealing with this is to put an X in front of their name, so that when you’re drunk dialing and you go to the D’s for Don, he’s not there, and then you have to think about it for a second before remembering to go to X, and hopefully that moment of thought will help clear your head. Works for me pretty well.)
As Robin notes, and as I can attest to, it’s hard to delete that number. It’s also hard to delete texts from that person, especially the ones where they say they love you, they miss you, they can’t wait to see you. You hit delete, and the phone asks, “Are you sure?” And you’re not sure. “You’re not just deleting a number, you’re deleting a part of your life. You know, all those memories, all those experiences, it’s like you’re admitting they’re gone forever.”
Robin deletes the contact from her phone, but she remembers the number. “You can’t delete contacts from your brain.” Robin says she will never have closure. “One day Don and I are moving in together, and the next thing I know he’s on a plane to Chicago. It just…ended. And no matter how much I try to forget that it happened, it will have never not happened. Don and I will always be a loose end. We’ll always be…unfinished.”
But at the end of the episode, Robin once again calls Don, but she’s finally forgotten the phone number. “Finished with that,” she says. Because, eventually, you do get over things. I know that. I saved the episode specifically for that reminder, that eventually you do get over these things.
Although I spent pretty much all of last year dating, I knew I still wasn’t over things with my ex. But around the end of the year, there was a very drastic change. I went from not being over him to being about 90% over him. It may have been a particular “mischievous” post I did in December. It may have been my New Years Eve effigy – maybe throwing that thing and those thoughts in the fire really did work. It may have been the end of a particularly crappy year and the new beginning the new year brought. Or maybe it was just that enough time had passed.
If I was 90% over it on January 1st, I’d say I’ve gone up about a percentage point a month since. I don’t know that I’ll ever be 100% over it, because of the breach of trust that was involved. But it’s nice to be so close.
I just got a new phone. I was going through my old phone, deleting things to clean it off, and I hesitated when I got to his contact information, his texts. Was I ready to give it up? For some reason, I was particularly attached to those texts he sent me just days before disappearing. I always wondered how he could say he loved me and missed me and then two days later be gone, and not even care enough to give me the closure I begged for. Was I sure I wanted to delete?
I wasn’t sure.
I turned the phone off without deleting. I thought about it. Why was I keeping it? Why did I want that pain? What good was it doing me? Add to that, I’ve been seeing a great guy, and I can honestly say that I am (mostly) over my ex, and I am fully in this new relationship, with (surprisingly) very little bitterness carrying over. I don’t worry that this guy will cheat on me. I don’t worry that he’ll leave without saying goodbye. I don’t worry that he will shatter my heart, even if he does break it. And yes, there is a difference.
I had that sudden moment of clarity. I turned the phone on. And deleted all. And when it was all deleted, I looked at the empty screen and smiled.
Done with that.