It’s not an unfamiliar feeling. Still, I don’t think one ever gets used to heartbreak. We avoid it at all cost–putting rules and restrictions on our interactions like somehow we can control what happens. But sometimes, despite the distance you create, the walls you build, and the promises you make yourself, you open up. And it’s amazing and it’s everything you could have hoped for…until it isn’t. That sinking feeling you spent so much time trying to avoid has taken over and it’s much worse than you remember. But surely you’ll get over it, you always do.

I’ll get over it. I always do. I kept reminding myself that I’d get over him and the next one would be better for me just like he was better for me than my last. And for a while I had myself going. But then someone posted Adele’s performance of “Someone Like You” and I couldn’t help but tear up. She said she could imagine being older and going to look for a man from her past and he’d be completely happy while she was still on her own.

With the last guy, it was Jill Scott’s “My Love” that would trigger a spiral. But back then I was heavy on comparisons. Always trying to figure out what she had that I didn’t. Using the image I’d created of her as my complete opposite, I was able to explain away my hurt. I consoled myself with the idea that while my love was in fact better and I was without a doubt better for him, she just may have been easier. Fine. Whatever. But even when I was “over it,” I wondered what if we’d worked. Then I questioned if the what ifs would ever stop. They still haven’t faded completely. Which brings me back to Adele.

After my most recent encounter with that shattered feeling, I imagined what my life would be like years from now. Quick flashes of failed relationships were there, but they weren’t the most haunting. The most troubling thought was of me being alone. Honestly, I didn’t imagine a sucky life, I saw the type of life and freedom folks write home about from an Italian villa. Successful? Yes. Partying my ass off? Yes. The favorite aunt? You know it. And even if I was a bridesmaid more times than Katherine Heigl, I’d be the best effing bridesmaid ever. I saw myself happy and smiling with a damn near perfect life. But then I saw myself running into him again.

Beautiful as ever he’d be the man he aspired to be: A figure in the community, happily married to wonderful woman. And they’d have children, beautiful well-behaved mini thems fit for sparking revolutions and running the free world. I’d be happy for him. I’d be as pleased with his success and family as he was with my best sellers and weathered passport. But he would be the man I was supposed to be with and I would be the Gabrielle Union character he made sure to avoid. But I would only be that way because I never found someone that measured up to him.

And that’s why the song triggered tears. I hit one of my best friends up on gchat with a link and a note that simply read “This. This is the feeling.” The more I think about it, the more dramatic it sounds. And the more I think about it, the more I wonder when this fear will go away.

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  • FunnyBunny

    Wow I’m there. Right. NOW. When I think about my future that’s exactly how I see it – successful career, well-traveled, a home, my puppy, and having fulfilled many of my dreams. But no him. I imagine he will work through what we couldn’t just in time to meet some gorgeous intelligent woman with whom he will start a family. And everything will be just as he always pictured it. And there I will be, blessed but alone. I can tell myself that it doesn’t hurt as bad today as it did when we broke up, but who cares because it still hurts. I don’t remember hurting this much post-breakup before, and that’s what scares me. I wonder if there’s a possibility that it will never stop. Then I think about a time before high school when relationships didn’t mean so much, neither did boys, and maybe there’s a way to reverse this crazy process. When you figure it out, let me know. I’ll be here listening to Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’ and Duffy’s ‘Stepping Stone’.
    Oh…and this article definitely needs a follow-up article.