By Monica Andrade
Several people told me that after a break-up it would only take half the length of the relationship to get over the person. They were wrong. I found myself still missing my ex almost to about a year after our ten-month relationship ended. I occasionally find myself missing him even to this day. But it was through the pain that I was able to figure out who I was and what I deserved.
It started off innocently enough. I first met Ethan* at a party my freshman year of college. I thought he was cute, but didn’t think anything else of it. I continued to run into him at the parties his fraternity held, and he even tried to make a move on me a few times. I turned him down each time though because I heard he was a player so I didn’t want to get sucked into his charms.
Well, comes sophomore year, and I crushed on this guy I met during homecoming week. We spent all week hanging out, but he became standoffish toward the end of the week. Turns out his “little brother” in his fraternity who I was once involved with still liked me and didn’t feel comfortable about us. I was so upset he was ignoring me that on game day I decided to head over to Ethan’s fraternity and flirt with him. I figured that if I couldn’t get the guy I really wanted, I might as well go for the one I knew was interested in me.
So we kissed that day. It was nothing major, but soon enough I began hanging out with him every day for two weeks. After those two weeks, Ethan and I became “exclusive,” and then a week later we were officially dating. He was my first boyfriend so I was beyond excited about our relationship. I couldn’t believe that I had found someone who I connected with so easily and had changed his ways for me. Everyone was completely shocked when they found out that Ethan actually settled down. He told me the only girlfriend he ever had before me was in his freshman year of high school.
Everything went well for four months until he broke up with me. His reasoning? He couldn’t think of a concrete explanation other for than “it just feels like something is missing.” Less than 24 hours later, he asked if I could take him back. So I did. I thought he just had cold feet for a while and was just being a stupid boy. But five months later, he broke up with me again…for the same reason. He felt as if we weren’t compatible enough and that other people would suit us better.
To say I was heartbroken was an understatement. I remember asking Ethan during the breakup if he ever saw himself marrying me. He said “Sometimes,” and then asked me. I said, “All the time.” That first week stung like no other. I preoccupied myself with schoolwork and friends, but it felt as if a piece of me was missing. I just remember feeling completely lost. I didn’t know what to do with myself.
It was only until I began to let go of the idea I held onto of us getting back together that I was able to focus on myself again. It was definitely a long and confusing process though. Sometimes I would call him, tell him I missed him and vice versa. It went on for months until one day I realized I was okay with just being alone. If it weren’t for the amazing friends I had, I would have never been able to finally let him go. And I started to dedicate all the free time I had to doing activities I loved, like writing and painting. I also listened to Taylor Swift’s songs nonstop. One lyric that really stood out to me was in her song, I Knew You Were Trouble, when she said, “I think that the worst part of it all wasn’t losing him. It was losing me.” I had become so consumed with him that I completely lost myself.
But I learned that my self-worth isn’t tied to a guy. I learned that no matter what, I always had myself to lean on. Being alone isn’t the same as being lonely. I’m able to do what I want because I know myself now. I don’t look to the approval of my ex anymore like I used to. It was through my ultimate low that I became stronger than ever. As Swift said, “She lost him, but she found herself, and somehow that was everything.”