When my last relationship ended, I read every self-help article out there to try and figure out how to gather up the pieces of my heart and move on. I was told that the hardest part would be deleting their pictures. I was told to take my time getting back into the dating scene. I was told to block their number and ignore their texts and more than anything, I was told that time will heal all wounds.
But nobody told me to be cautious of the pain of watching someone you used to care about so deeply try so much harder to make a relationship work with someone else after you.
Nobody told me that I would find out he'd been in a relationship for four months now, on a random Sunday during what's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Nobody told me that at first I wouldn't believe it, and then I'd go numb. I wouldn't feel anything but the pit in the bottom of my stomach. Nobody told me that I'd spend hours that weekend searching through his and her social media for answers, for clues, and for "I love you"s.
But that's exactly what happened.
No self-help book, no relationship article, no love song on the radio could prepare me for the pain of watching someone I truly loved put more effort into trying to make his new relationship work than he ever did into ours. Nobody could've ever helped me understand just how much this would hurt.
I think it hit my self-esteem the most. What was wrong with me? Why wasn't I worth fighting for? I asked myself these questions as I laid in bed staring at my ceiling or as I took a shower and let the warm water hit my body to take away the lack of warmth. She had something about her that made her worth keeping. I had something within me that made me better off as an ex.
I was over my ex. I was going on dates again. I didn't drunk text him every time I went out to the bar. I stopped writing about him. He was nothing more than my ex, someone I thought of distantly, until I found out he was putting all the effort I wish he would've put into our relationship into keeping the love strong with someone else.
The worst part of a breakup isn't the awkwardness of their Tinder profile popping up as you do your nightly swiping. It isn't having to delete and block them from your social media. It isn't loosing connection with their friends and family. The hardest part of a breakup will forever be watching them try so hard to maintain their newfound love, knowing damn well they dumped you to the side like you were nothing.
I could never prepare myself for a pain like that.