When I hear certain songs I think of him. We all have songs like that. Something about the way the lyrics squeezes your chest hurts in a good way. The memories of good times and bad rush together. Sometimes the scenes play like a fast forward movie, and other times there is only an overwhelming sense of deja vu. I get that way when I hear “You May Be Right” by Billy Joel. I remember how wild you were and how much fun we had together. I remember being young and in love. I start to miss how it all was, until I hear another song. When “Lost on You” by LP plays I remember the other half of our love- the half I still try to forget.
3 minutes of a song is all takes to relive 3 years.
When I watch Sex and the City I cringe when I watch Carrie and Big. As much as people celebrate their relationship as romantic and complex, all I could see is the reality that Hollywood glosses over. I see the years of emotional unavailability, manipulation, and gas lighting brushed under the rug of chemistry and mutual addiction. I see the mistakes you made, I made, and we made. I see what the movies tell us we could and should have been, and I see how things really were. You are nothing like Big and I am nothing like Carrie, but many aspects of their on-and-off relationship was identical to ours. We broke it off when we realized that some patterns are too deep set to break. They got married.
Hollywood forces you to wonder what could have been.
Music and movies are bad enough, but social media makes everything so much worse. Even after you delete all the photos and un-follow, unlike, and unfriend on all platforms, Your friends of friends are friends with your ex. At unexpected moments your ex will appear in your news feed. That heart-stopping moment when you see their name on the screen is the emotional equivalence of a cold shower. It could be in a post you both commented on, or a group photo with a mutual friend. No matter how far you go you cannot escape each other.
Even after you break up the internet keeps everyone connected.
You and I dated several times. We tried over and over again to make it work. When it didn’t we looked for each other in the other people we dated. I could only become emotionally attached to men who were emotionally unavailable and you could only date women who wanted a deeper commitment. Needless to say, neither of us managed to have relationships that lasted longer than a few months. Each new relationship would begin with great potential until they ultimately dissolved into the same fights we used to have. As dysfunctional as you and I were, we had an understanding we could never recreate with other people.
Mutual dysfunction creates an understanding relationship, not a healthy one.
I still find you in unexpected moments. I find you in happy memories of teenage love, and in college summers in Seattle. I find you in well-worn though patterns of self-doubt and anxiety. I find you in the faces of passing strangers, in half-finished stories I couldn’t end, and in dreams I can’t always remember. In the late night when I’m re-living the best memories and the deepest hurts I wonder why some moments never seem to end, and why deja vu hits strongest after dark. Then I wonder if I am also haunting you.
We relive what impacted us most, whether it was good or bad.
I have been single for 18 months since we broke off our final romance. We tried again and again over the years but we could never break our toxic habits. Truth be told, I’m am afraid of reliving the same relationship with someone else. I’ve been happy on my own learning more about myself and facing my future with open arms. I do not regret the choices I made, and I don’t regret walking away from us. Still, I cannot pretend that when I hear those songs, watch that show, or see your picture that I don’t think of you.