Stories on Depression: Breaking Up After a 5 Year Relationship
We met at school, we were both 16 going on 17, I didn’t really like her much at first; she actually really annoyed me, but we ended up being in a relationship until we were 22.
Out of respect for her privacy i’ll refer to her as G. G wore glasses, she was clumsy, into some unusual stuff, had a sad childhood, and had a habit of getting on my nerves. After a year of enduring her though, it didn’t feel like effort anymore. In fact, she was actually pretty cool, pretty fun, and pretty pretty. Turns out she liked me way before I liked her, and after some naughty teenage antics, we just sort of fell into a relationship; something I wasn’t even looking for at the time.
It felt right for a very long time. I’m not sure when it stopped feeling right for her, but for me it felt right all the way until the end. We stayed together throughout university, seeing each other once every fortnight; she would cry when one of us had to leave. We went on holiday together, made long term plans, even went all the way to a distant country together.
My friends and family would always ask me, “so is she the one?”, and I never really knew what to say. I never said yes. But what I would say was, “I don’t see any reason why we would ever split up.”
And then she broke my heart.
It was August 23rd 2018, and my first day starting as a junior software developer. G was acting weird over text, and I could tell something was up. We were both living back at home by then (10 minutes away from each other), and she didn’t want to come over to see me… after my first day in a brand new career? I sort of half-jokingly asked her, “Why does it feel like you’re breaking up with me? I’m just being stupid right?”. And then came the text that made my heart sink and my whole world collapse.
“I’m not happy being in a relationship with you anymore.”
It was these words that brought everything crashing down. You’ve heard of the 5 stages of grief, the first being denial. Well i’ll tell you one thing, I was in denial for a long time. I refused to believe that someone who had loved me for 5 years could just end our relationship so out of the blue, without ever communicating that anything was wrong.
The following 2 months were the hardest of my life. I know there are so many people who have suffered huge losses and been through hardships that I couldn’t even imagine, but I can only talk about my own experiences, and the ensuing days and weeks after the break up were the lowest I have ever been.
Imagine that I was a big vat of soup. Let’s say I was chicken soup. Nothing wrong with a bit of chicken soup. Chicken soup is happy, warm, comfortable. Now, after the breakup, let’s add some stuff to that chicken soup:
- A splash of depression (that’s a given)
- A pinch of suicidal thoughts
- A dollop of insecurity
- A whole bunch of crying
And then let’s really water it all down with some ‘staying in bed all day and not eating anything’to make it really weak and thin.
Within a few days I was a really shitty vat of disgusting soup that kinda maybe resembled chicken. Hopefully that soup analogy made that a little bit light hearted, because in reality I felt like my life was over.
It’s strange, looking back, how much I clearly relied on G to make my life good. Without her, I suddenly had no interest in commuting into town, or working in a big city, or doing any exercise, or seeing any people. I quit my job a mere 1.5 weeks after starting it, and spent the next week in bed, not eating, un-showered, watching as many romance films as I could find online. If you’re interested, my favourite is P.S I love you. This was also the time at which I felt suicidal, but I think I knew deep down that I could never go through with it.
If I wasn’t watching unrealistic films about love, I was embarrassingly watching endless ‘how to’ videos about getting your ex back. I even almost went as far as actually paying for an ‘ex-back service’. It’s such a desperate and unattractive thing, and it makes me cringe even thinking about it, but at the time, the only thing keeping me going was the hope that I might be able to get G back.
Obviously that was never going to happen, but I really did believe it was possible; and in actual fact these ‘how to get your ex back’ videos did in fact help me enormously. They all pretty much followed a rule of thumb. In order to get your ex back, you needed to implement the ‘no contact rule’, which as you can guess, means cutting off any contact with your ex for at least a month.
During this time you were supposed to focus on yourself, make new friends, exercise, and so on. The idea was that your ex would miss you and come crawling back into your arms and it would all be better. Bollocks, unless you’re 16 maybe. But I tried it anyway. I failed many times. I went 4 days no contact, then a week, then 2 weeks, then just shy of a month. During these attempts I started to exercise. I ran for a bit while it wasn’t cold and rainy, and I got back into weightlifting.
I definitely started to feel a lot better. The weightlifting helped with my confidence, gave me something to focus on, I started to see friends a bit more, and that took my mind off things. I got a new job at the start of November with another tech company. I was basically slowly re-building myself. I still had really bad days. I still wanted G back every day; but at least now I wasn’t such a fowl tasting chicken soup anymore. Now I was passable as a half-decent starter in a relatively alright restaurant.
The other thing that helped me was an idea that my mum gave me. She told me to write about how I felt. Being a 22 year old obnoxious guy, I pretty much immediately dismissed this idea. I did, however, start writing about G, and how I was going to get her back, and all that kind of hopeless romantic shit. I’ve still got the 30 odd pages hidden somewhere, but they’re too private I think to even show anyone.
Writing helped me reflect on what went wrong in the relationship, and I learned a lot about myself from all the self reflection.
I had grown complacent and comfortable, and had taken G for granted for a long time. looking back, the last few months of our relationship didn’t even feel like a proper relationship. We had grown apart, we weren’t the same people as when we were in school, and I just didn’t see it.
It’s now almost 5 months later, and i’m pretty sure i’m over G. I don’t really think about her much anymore, I haven’t tried to contact her in a long time, I don’t get sad when I think about her or the fact that she’s now seeing someone new. In fact I don’t even really find her all that attractive anymore. If, out of the blue, she said she wanted to get back together, I would say no.
I am by no means out of the woods. I’m on a journey of self improvement, and it’s a rocky road, with lots of bumps and potholes, and I fail here and there, and I make mistakes; but i’m learning, and i’m improving, and i’m just trying to be happy.
Now when I think back, I am grateful for the 5 years I spent with G, and I no longer hate her for ending it. It was the right thing to do for her; and it’s just now starting to reveal itself as being the right thing for me too.
I am still lonely. I like being in a relationship with someone; it’s just a part of life that I really enjoy. I’ve never really been the kind of person who is perfectly happy being alone; but I want to be with someone, who, when my friends and family ask, “Is she the one?”, I don’t even need to think before answering,
Story by Larrow
Every Friday, we share and talk about depression among young people! Share your story with us via email@example.com