It’s uncuffing season. It’s the season of breakups. My past two weeks have been full of breakup news. I can’t tell if I look like Frasier Crane or if it’s actually breakup season — either way, I’ve been thinking about breakups more than I’ve ever thought about them before.
I’ve always considered breakups, despite how heart-wrenching they can be, as very poetic endings to relationships. It’s not the separation that makes them heart wrenching, it’s the inability of separating, it’s the difficulty in giving up old habits. To me, the pain is a testament to the bond between two people.
Breakups can be very different. Sometimes it’s hugging a friend in a staircase as they cry about the guy who, out of the blue, ended a long-term relationship. Other times it’s munching on snacks after midnight trying to understand why they ended the relationship. Sometimes it’s just finding a friend under a blanket in bed, loathing themself because they broke up with someone they dearly loved over text. Sometimes it’s listening to a friend who received an “I can’t do this anymore” text after sending that person an UberEats gift of a bowl of hot chicken soup. Breakups, as sad as they are, also feel like they are excerpts from an absurdist comedy play.
Reasons for breakups, as I’ve seen in these past two weeks, exist in a very wide range. Sometimes it’s realizing you’re still in love with your ex when you cross paths with each other on a morning run. You feel your eyes unexpectedly tear up while bumble bees start an MMA session in your stomach instead of dancing butterflies. This, obviously, leads to a breakup. Sometimes it’s finding out your partner had been cheating on you. This, also obviously, leads to a breakup. But sometimes there is no explicit reason, and that makes it hard. For both sides.
Breakups are not mutual. There is no way they can be. It doesn’t seem fair that it takes two to start a relationship and only one to end it. But it is what it is. So what remains are hopefully a few good memories and maybe a few letters or gifts from them.
It’s especially difficult to break up when you still love that other person. But sometimes you just have to end things when you are on opposite sides of the globe and it’s hard to keep going, when there is no possibility of existing in the same place and time in the future. I believe breakups have to do with distance, both literally and figuratively. The distance between ideas, the distance between hearts, the distance between hugs, the distance between eyes.
So, here is an Oruç Aruoba quote from his book Distance:
“Longing has only one enemy: time.
Time is the thing that longing cannot bear: the one that it wants to destroy or at least ignores, while time is also the one that destroys longing, the one that weakens and consumes it.
Time creates longing, but it is also the thing that consumes it — time strangles the child it bore: longing.
Time is the Medusa of longing.”
As you leave healing to time, make sure you have friends to call, friends to lean on, friends to whine to, friends to cry and laugh with.