It had been three weeks, two days and 17 hours since my ex and I parted ways. To be fair, I was the one that broke up with him but that didn’t make my heartbreak any less real.
We’d been together for six months. We’d exchanged “I love yous.” We’d hinted at a long-term future as a couple. We’d travelled to Paris, one of the most romantic cities in the world, together.
And, yet, none of that was enough to keep me from being disappointed in him and to keep him from being angry at my disappointment. As much as there was right about our relationship, there were some critical wrongs that just couldn’t be overcome.
More than that, I didn’t want to overcome them.
But I missed him – desperately.
Every day on my way to work, I would bike by his apartment building (it was on my route). And, when I did, I would remember the things I admired about him and the brighter moments we’d shared. And my heart would feel like a jackhammer was splitting it in two.
When I saw a flyer for a screenwriting course (he had dreams of writing for Hollywood) I took it thinking I might text him to tell him about it.
When I broke my thumb (he had worked as an x-ray technician) I imagined telling him about the clinic where I got my own x-rays.
When I heard a band we both liked was coming to town, I fantasized about us going platonically as friends, dancing and laughing at inside jokes.
Every day, I dreamt up ways to keep in touch.
It would be so nice, I thought, if we could just resume our friendship or maybe even be friends with benefits – after all, we were so right for each other in so many ways… just not as a couple.
I knew he was hurt and I knew he was angry. He’d made that much clear the last time we’d seen each other, but still the temptation to try to salvage some of what we’d had remained.
Three weeks, two days and 17 hours since we parted ways, I picked up my phone.
“Hey stranger,” I typed.
I paused, deleted the words and replaced them with “I just saw this thing that made me think of you.”
Then, I thought better of it and changed my text to a simple, “I miss you.”
My finger hovered over the send button. I took a deep breath and then, before I could change my mind, deleted the message and deleted his name from my contacts.
Losing someone who was once a major part of your life is painful. But, it takes two to make a couple and if one half wants something different than what the other wants, there’s no sense in pretending otherwise.
How soon should you call your ex after a breakup?
Unless you are working out the details of a divorce or have to return something of substantial value or share something like a child, the correct answer is never.
Perhaps, someday my ex and I will be friends. Perhaps, he’ll hate me for the rest of his life. Perhaps, I’ll never see him again. Those were the chances I took when I let him go.
As difficult as that was, it was the right thing to do. You can’t step into your future with one foot in stuck in the past. And a brighter future, after all, is the purpose of any breakup in the first place.
Originally published on Digital Romance.