In light of the New Year, I started to think about the appeal of a blank slate, of starting over. Having something new and fresh to look forward to. You count down from ten, and reset the clock. Maybe even throw in a little confetti. No headaches. Wave bye-bye to last year – it’s so 2014 anyway.
Saying goodbye to expired relationships, however… Not so blissfully clean-cut. Nope. Those are more like the streaks of shit left behind, which you can never seem to wipe off completely. “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” was basically a documentary.
My dad always told me, “Jules, men are like jobs. You don’t leave one until you find another.” (FYI: badass parenting wisdom). But – I must admit – coming from a thrice-married man, this might not have been the soundest of advice. Still, it’s a concept we appropriate to a lot of other scenarios, every day, sans qualms.
Think about it.
If you need to upgrade your car, you don’t just sell your rusty clunker without finding a replacement first. It wouldn’t be practical, right?
And we always have to have a plan B. Restaurants, college alternatives, backup Saturday night plans (in case your TiVo pulls some diva sass on your ass, and you need to put on something else than sweatpants).
It’s a defense mechanism thing. We like to expect the unexpected. Surprises aren’t always good surprises – unless they’re jumping out of a cake.
What’s messed up, though, is how you’re perceived if things don’t workout, and your emotional balance dares to falter for a second. Society holds you accountable for not being better equipped at facing the unpredicted ‘what ifs’ that have smacked you in the face. Because putting all your eggs in one basket is a ludicrous thing. Tsk tsk.
Optimism is dead. No wonder we live in a world of prenups and trust issues.
And as a result, we’ve perfected the art of coping mechanisms when it comes to love and other hot messes, which is why you don’t ever really get over someone until you find someone new.
Now, now, hakuna your tatas everyone, because this isn’t meant to argue with how we need to be happy by ourselves before sharing our life with another, or similar self-empowerment hoopla of sorts. Because I agree with this notion, 100%.
What I’m talking about here is not in regards to the actual letting go, but in regards to points of reference your donzo relationship still provides in the aftermath.
You see, mourning a relationship (or an idea of a relationship) is a two-part deal: letting go of the entity that you (thought) was so important, and adjusting to your reality 2.0. It’s pretty much a face fuck-full of emotions. And I mean this literally because, believe me, nobody cries pretty.
Thing is, no matter how much time has passed, no matter how many arts and crafts classes you sign up to, or how many holes you burn through your credit card with shopping sprees every second Sunday…
Repeat after me:
You never get over someone until you find someone new.
Last date? That jerk.
Last fancy dinner? Ugh, right.
Last person you swapped spit with? You guessed it.
No matter how amazeballs your life is, or how comfortable you are with being a dinner-for-one, your last special someone will remain your last reference for all romantic contexts. Until you find a new replacement piece. Fact.
And there’s no shame in that. It’s perfectly normal.
What I’m trying to say is: we can’t judge anyone on the time it takes for him or her to move on. And we need to cut ourselves some slack too, for that matter. Sometimes, one just needs to jump right into a get-laid-parade to break the ice for themselves and their newfound singlehood. Other times, it takes a little longer to experience butterflies again, even if just dick butterflies for a night.
All in all, take your time. Everyone is entitled to his or her own process.
Unless you’re hitting expert-level “sad single,” where your cat is eating your Michelina’s sad-ghetti leftovers by the side of your bed. In which case: get up, shower off and go kiss a stranger. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.