From someone who breaks up and can’t come to terms with it

There are only two choices in love: it feels good or it doesn’t. It’s not right for Gerrit anymore. So he leaves his girlfriend and hopes for liberation. But the opposite is true.

The worst part was that she wanted an explanation. Gerrit just couldn’t find words for what he felt. Or rather for what he no longer felt. There was no other woman; he was not plagued by the vague fear that he would miss something; there was even a passion between her and him after more than three years together. But there are only two options in love: it seems right or wrong. There is nothing in between. And at one point she just didn’t feel comfortable with her anymore.

So Gerrit broke up with her. Not that it was a sudden decision: he was fighting with himself for weeks, he says. After all, there wasn’t really a reason, just a hunch. After all, she had to practically put it in his mouth that it was all over. He’s still ashamed of it. But not only that. That’s his problem.

He tried to speak but had nothing to say

Gerrit hoped to be liberated from separation. The opposite happened. He felt more guilty than before. Confused, he tried to talk to her, even though he knew he couldn’t make a simple sentence. He tried to apologize for not being able to explain her. He told her that he felt bad, and from her perspective, she had rightly accused him of self-pity – after all, he had caused chaos himself.

Gerrit’s mother called his decision “brave,” because he had everything: a wonderful wife, living together, so many plans. For Gerrit alone, everything was obviously insufficient. He says he could barely breathe before he broke up. It’s just stupid that he hasn’t been able to breathe at all since the end of the relationship.

There are so many songs, movies and books about the abandoned, but rarely sung about those who leave. It’s okay because the person leaving is usually not a tragic figure. After all, it has the power to make decisions. Even so, Gerrit couldn’t sleep at night anymore. He wondered how she was doing and what she was doing now. Was she still suffering greatly from the breakup? Would it be his job to ask if she was okay? Is there anything he could do for her? But it wasn’t his job anymore. In fact, he didn’t even have the right to worry about her anymore.

This is one of the age-old questions that cannot be answered scientifically: How much responsibility do we have for the people we love? Or, from Gerrit’s point of view, even more important: how much responsibility do we have for people we no longer love? She felt abandoned by Gerrit, thrown out, somehow betrayed. But wouldn’t it be more of a betrayal if he stayed with her anyway? Or would it really be easier for her if he left her for someone else or became gay? After all, isn’t a feeling always the reason? This is a lost feeling? And who can describe the feeling?

In any case, Gerrit couldn’t do it, but one night he rang her doorbell. Classic, stupid idea: He spent a few evenings away from home and was determined to try again. He was convinced that he had made the biggest mistake of his life when he broke up. In fact, he was just drunk and felt guilty. Anyway: she wasn’t home or she didn’t open the door, Gerrit isn’t so sure, he says.

He even felt ashamed in front of his best friends

It was the best thing that could happen to him. The next day the hangover started asking himself questions. He quickly realized that he had no doubts about his fundamental decision, but still needed help – after all, he couldn’t get out of bed in the morning, he became more and more anxious and aggressive, drank too much and threw pills. Even after a few months, he was still not interested in the many entertainment that singles in town usually indulge in in his situation: Tinder cheating, traveling the world, having sex with random friends, or at least something related to sports.

He was ashamed of feeling guilty in front of his friends, so he kept it to himself, which in turn made him embarrassed. He says he talks about everything with his friends. Nor could he explain why this separation of all things had become taboo for his relatives. Since the breakup, however, almost nothing has been able to explain it anyway.

In his desperation, Gerrit did what he himself could not believe: he consulted a psychologist who assured him that he had done everything right with the separation. She will understand someday, too, if not now. Love is a selfish game, we rarely realize it. What happened to Gerrit could happen to anyone, including her. “It was like listing everything I wanted to hear in my situation, one by one,” says Gerrit and laughs out loud. It didn’t help him. Gerrit suspects he just can’t take the advice of a complete stranger seriously.

No self-pity, just genuine self-hatred

At the end of the session, the psychologist said: He, Gerrit, had to heal the wound he inflicted on himself. He must always be aware that these wounds are not healing well. This would facilitate processing. “He could have said hope is the last one to die,” says Gerrit, laughing a little too loudly.

Gerrit doesn’t know what to do next. He can’t look to the future yet. In fact, he knows he hasn’t done anything wrong. It doesn’t change the deep guilt he feels. He heard from a mutual acquaintance that they now have a new one. He doesn’t know if it’s true, of course he hopes so for her. He still feels guilty about her. It’s not self-pity, she says. He really honestly hates himself for feeling lost.

Even inflicted wounds do not heal well. If at all.

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