I recently celebrated my birthday with the people I loved – my closest friends and work colleagues and the woman I love. Her birthday present was a treasure hunt through some of our favourite places in the city. It was the most thoughtful thing anyone had done for me.
A couple of months ago if you had told me that I would be in love again, I would’ve laughed at you. And then I would’ve cried at the pitiable state of my life. My ex-girlfriend had just dumped me after seven years of being together. That wasn’t even the worst thing – she was sleeping with someone else behind my back.
I went through the predictable stages of grieving.
Initially it felt surreal. We had been together for so long that she had become part of my life, she had become an extension of me. Our personalities had molded together; everyone looked at us as one entity.
I couldn’t even think of life without her – everything felt hollow and incomplete. Even the simplest thing like having coffee every morning lost its meaning because that was something we had done together before we went to work.
How could she even think of being with someone else? I thought this was just a passing phase of hers. She would eventually come back to me. She knew how much I loved her. She had to come back.
I tried my best to remind her of the times we’d had together. I took her out to all our favourite eating joints, I bought her favourite books and clothes, I planned us a short holiday, I threw her a surprise party. Us being a couple suddenly felt like putting up an act.
I blamed myself for the breakup. I had devoted myself to her for these years but there must have been something I didn’t do well enough. Maybe I should’ve been more attentive, or gifted her more things or met her more often. I should’ve been more supportive, I should’ve given her more space… the list was endless. What was wrong with me that she had to fall for another guy?
The more I thought about it, the worse I felt. I had done everything to be there for her. I stopped talking to my friends and accepted her friends as my own. I had spent time with her family and I was there any time they needed something.
I was never the jealous boyfriend and had always given her enough space and freedom. How could she breach my trust like this? I felt like a fool when I came to know about the other guy and she didn’t even tell me – a common friend told us.
When I confronted her she wasn’t even apologetic about it. She told me we had outgrown the relationship and there was nothing exciting or new in it. This other guy was better looking, I admit. But he wasn’t her type. He wasn’t intelligent, he didn’t have enough money and he didn’t even belong to the same religion – all factors that had worked in my favour.
We stopped seeing each other – I dropped out of her life completely. It helped that she moved cities because of her job. I actually followed her there for a few days to win her back. As luck would have it, he turned up there too and she made her choice.
Since I had long given up on my friends because of her, there were but a handful of people I could confide in. Having them around helped me move on.
A fresh start
A few months after our breakup, I met this girl at a party. I didn’t want to date anyone, I didn’t think I would be able to love or trust someone again. My self-confidence was at an all-time low.
She helped build it back. We spoke a lot and spent a lot of time in each other’s company. Gradually, I developed feelings for her, helped in part by the fact that she loved me and she thought I was something special.
This last year taught me my greatest lesson, moving on is possible. You just need the right people in your life.