chapter 5: Emily
“what is something that everybody, I mean everybody, has in common?”
I got a reply, “Love. and then more importantly, loss.”
all interviews & photos by me
So start from the beginning
I believe I was seventeen when we met. I was a Junior and he was a Senior. It was in February. He had a girlfriend when we first met, and I knew when I saw him it was one of those things… just that… that I just wanted to talk to him so badly. When he and his girlfriend broke up and we started talking. We had a summer sort of fling before he went to college. Then we started dating in the fall.
While he was away?
Yes. We stopped talking before he went to college and came back to me, and we realized we wanted to be together. It was November then… we started dating during Hurricane Sandy actually. I always joke like, I would do anything to go back to Hurricane Sandy! *laughs*
It was a very innocent love I would say. He was my first for everything My first kiss, the first guy who really showed interest in me, first relationship, first for everything. He taught me a lot about love, life, and myself. We dated for almost two years. We were long distance for a bit when I went to college in LA. But, he encouraged me to go unlike I think a lot of boyfriends would have done.
And so we did long distance. It was fine, I guess it’s different for everyone but we were able to see each other once a month between New York and LA. Things ended after about two years. It seems like he was in my life for a lot longer than he actually was.
Well it is your high school and beginning college years. Those are a huge transition time and so growing with somebody is a big part of your life…
We definitely did grow up together. I look back at old photos and videos and.. oh my gosh. Summer 2012 or something how little we look, it’s really weird.
So when you broke up, did it happen long distance?
He Facetimed me and told me, we need to talk. It was my worst nightmare come true. I was in this mindset of we are getting married and this would never end.
Did you feel anything building up to that moment?
I thought everything was fine up until then.
He started off telling me that I needed to calm down. I was getting a lot of anxiety around our relationship because I was so insecure. That is one of the main reasons we had to break up, I was so dependent on him for so much.
We were in our hometown and our official breakup happened in the confines of my car. And we were both hysterically crying, and I remember thinking… wow… I’ve never seen a guy cry like this before. He just told me that he was filling a gap for me and he didn’t think that it was healthy anymore. After that happened.. my heart hurt. Heartbreak is a physical pain and a pain that I endured for so long. After that I was never the same. Obviously I’m better… but I will never be the person I was before my heartbreak.
The reason he broke up with you was kind of out of love so that must have been harder to go through too
I sometimes think.. is there something else? Was there someone else? But it’s not worth my thoughts. It wasn’t a bad breakup… as in we didn’t end on bad terms. Which made us text each other for months later. We were even kind of seeing each other again a year ago. You can’t let people back into your life that hurt you like that.
Why do you think so?
Let me see how to word this without sounding like an asshole..
As much as he ended the relationship on good terms, it hurt me really bad. There are things I’m not talking about that went on after. But I can’t keep doing this. When you are talking to someone and they stop and you have a history with them, and you want to build a friendship. But it’s hard to build a friendship back when you were once so much more. I’m like.. WHAT! We were in love? How can we just be friends? There is a point where you have to cut it off. It doesn’t mean you hate them. You can still wish the best for someone and not want them in your life.
Talk about how you handled your breakup
Not very well. I cried for days. Weeks. Honestly months. I cried so much. i missed the whole point of it.. I was trying to make myself better just so we could get back together. And now reflecting I know that I was not better, I was not okay. A month after the breakup I was not ready to get back into a relationship with him. It was a healing process that took way longer than I thought. I wasn’t fully over it until maybe a few months ago, because he was still in my life a lot. I wrote actually in a journal, filled out the entire thing of things that I wanted to say to him. I never sent it to him, but it wasn’t for him it was for me. My best friend was going through a breakup at the same time so we would just kind of cry together. I was also drinking and would get really grossly drunk. I regret that. Touching alcohol when you are sad is not a good idea.
It took me a while, but I tried to just see the bright side. Eventually I was able to learn what I had to learn from it. It wasn’t an easy healing process.
I think it’s important to surround yourself with good company and remind yourself that you have a lot of love and a lot to be thankful for. I would go over to my friends house- Jack and Drew- every weekend and basically move in with them and they helped me a lot.
Do you still feel sad about this nowadays?
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t sad. I’m not in love with him and I don’t think about getting back with him. But I think about the times we had. I will stumble upon videos or photos, and he is in my dreams very frequently. But it’s not like a romance thing..
What advice would you have given to yourself during the relationship, the breakup and now?
During the relationship I would say to be present. We were always talking about things like, “wow we can’t wait to be 25 and living here and our careers will be here!” We were very future focused. I would tell myself then to be present and appreciate this special time that you have right now. Also don’t be so insecure and crazy! Being insecure made our relationship really rocky.
For the breakup I would say it’s okay to be upset, it’s okay to be hurt, but don’t let it consume you. I let it consume me for way longer than it should have. It’s a transformative process and there is a lot to be learned here if you remember you aren’t the victim.
And now… I have learned to be more forgiving. I always felt that if you forgive someone, you have to bring them back into your life and pretend it never happened. I learned it’s more for yourself and inner peace. I forgive him. I want the best for him. I hope everything he wants he gets, because I loved him.
Do you forgive yourself?
I do. Yeah. I think if I didn’t make those mistakes I would have never learned. As much as they hurt or I was embarrassed… I’m better now. I had to learn to be my own person, and love myself, and rely on myself.
And that’s what I never knew until we broke up. That’s the biggest lesson. You have to love yourself first.