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Topic Summary

Posted by: usuffontop
« on: October 07, 2012, 06:12:17 PM »

How to get over a break-up and what to do if you're still hung up on an ex

I remember it vividly, even though it happened about 13 years ago. I was working through my lunch hour in the office at Cosmopolitan magazine, when an Italian male model wandered in. It was the fashion editor's job to look through model portfolios, but I gave it a flick through just to be polite (okay, he was the sort you instantly imagined wrapping your legs around in a jacuzzi). Enrico didn't speak English very well, but we had what passed as a conversation (that is, we both smiled a lot). I watched his bottom walk out the door, sighed and went back to work.

About an hour later, the rest of the troops filed back in. And when I looked up, he was there again. Walking right up to my desk. Standing in front of me.

'I sorry, but I have to come back,' he said. 'I say to myself, 'Enrico. You like that girl.' Will you go out with me?'

Ahh, what a glorious moment! Not only had a model asked me out but he did it in front of everyone. Of course I said yes. Of course everyone rushed over the minute he disappeared. Angels burst into song.

Enrico and I had three dates - every detail faithfully reported back to everyone who worked within a 10 kilometre radius. Our last date was spent at the zoo. He watched the animals quietly for a while then said, 'I think I take you home to see my country and my animals. You would come?'

Hell, I practically had my bags packed. Bugger the job, bugger my friends, I was on the next plane out of there if that's what he wanted. The next day, the office was a buzz of activity: The fashion editor worked on my travel wardrobe, I remember someone even called the Italian consulate to find out about a work visa. We all waited excitedly for what would happen next. And waited. And I never heard from the guy ever again. Not one sodding phone call.

Enrico disappeared into thin air and to this day, I have no idea why. Did he fall off his big, red motorbike? Have to hotfoot it back to Italy to sit at the bedside of his dying mother? Catch some killer disease from the elephant he patted that day? Was Enrico now horribly scarred and disfigured and flatting with the Elephant Man? I suspect - actually, scratch that - am damn positive it was none of the above. He was smooth, he rode a Harley, he was Italian, he was a male model for God's sake. Some other girl caught his eye, that was all (or maybe even a guy - like I said, he was a model).

I felt like a complete idiot. I'd told everyone this man had asked me to go to Italy, and now I had to tell them all I'd been dumped. Without even a phone call. The embarrassment of it all. The public humiliation. I'd never get over it. (I did, of course. Within two weeks, we were all making Enrico jokes: 'Where's that story disappeared to? Maybe it's done an Enrico.') But back then, I thought my heart would never mend. I'd never love again (blah blah blah). How could he do this to me? (blah blah blah). How pathetic - and how lucky would I be if that was the only dumping experience I'd ever have in my life!

Because while Enrico was my first taste of being rejected, being dumped good and proper feels twenty billion times worse than I felt back then. It's the difference between accidentally dropping your last coin down the drain beside the parking meter and losing your life savings on the way home from your retirement party. If a long-term, dearly loved partner leaves, everything you've counted on is gone. You look around the home you once shared and it's as though you've misplaced half your life in it - which perhaps you have.

Beware the lover who believes you are "destined" to be together. Starry-eyed lovers are far more likely to dump you abruptly when they find out you're not quite the dreamed-for partner they'd imagined. Those who believe relationships are built through hard work are much more likely to stick through the hard times (and have fewer one-night stands).  
All your life plans have to be rethought. You don't just lose the person, you lose hope - and also part of yourself. When they go, they take a part of your life with them, the bit they were a witness to. Sometimes, they nick off with real evidence of it - like that photo of you looking tanned and terrific on a beach in the Greek Islands, the only picture of yourself you voluntarily showed people. Broken hearts, broken dreams, a whopping great hole in your photo album. Is it any wonder most people find getting over a serious relationship split one of the hardest things they've ever had to do in their life?

The astonishing fact is, though, most of us not only muddle through the agony and survive, we go back for more. When we're hurting we think: Not me! No sireee! I've bloody well learnt my lesson this time. I'm never falling in love, ever again. But we do - and most of us know we will, even in that deep, dark lonely moment. Broken hearts heal, new dreams replace the old and a lot of people look back and realise most relationships end for a reason. If you'd stayed with Stan, you wouldn't have met Greg. (What were you thinking? You'd never have been happy with a man obsessed with model train sets.) If Susan hadn't dumped you, you wouldn't be with Sarah - and just looking at her turns the world the right way up.

Yeah, yeah, I can hear you thinking, that's all wonderful. But how do I get from the painful part to the Greg and Sarah scenario? I'd like to say it's easy but I'd be lying. It's a difficult, sometimes long road back to recovery, but there's plenty you can do to make the journey quicker. Reading this chapter's a good start.

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