dating

'When I found emails between my wife and her lover, I felt my entire life melt away.'

I couldn’t sleep. The pillow still smelled like her. I wish it didn’t. I’m glad it did. I should have washed the bedding. Or throw it in the trash. Or burned it. But I couldn’t. Once gone, the aroma would be gone forever.

I walked down the stairs. Past the living room. Past the bookshelf, once full of mementos, now naked. Empty. Alone. A box sat against the shelf, holding the mementos, the photographs, the memories. Tokens from another life. A life I’d wanted but no longer could have.

I kept the lights off as I pulled myself something to drink. As I sat at the kitchen table. The less I saw the better. The less I’d be reminded of what I no longer had. Who no longer was there. Dull light cut in through a small window over the sink. Light from a street lamp and the moon twisting together. It caught the metal chair opposite. The usual light blue a pale grey in the light. Everything felt grey. I sipped my drink, my eyes on the empty chair. On the empty house. On my empty heart.

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How long would this feeling last?

Or would it never fully go away?

When love leaves.

For a time love is there. You have it. You can almost hold it. It surrounds you and fills you. When you close your eyes at night it’s there, ushering you to sleep. When you wake it’s there to greet you.

Your heart soars. Above your head. Above the clouds and the sky and the world around you. Love, true love, has no comparable feeling. So when it’s suddenly not there, there’s a long way to fall and you feel every second of it as if it’s an eternity.

You feel your dreams and plans and ideas pulled from your chest. Pulled from your heart, so when it finally comes back to earth its nothing but an empty shell of what you once had.

And now you're left to pick up the pieces. To survive. To move on.

The end comes quickly when your eyes are closed.

When I found the shared emails between my wife and her lover, I felt my life melt away. A trap door somewhere in my body opened and everything fell through. My heart. My soul. I could feel colour drip from my body, as if I were to look in the mirror I’d see a grey, lifeless figure left.

I’d closed my eyes to so much leading up to that point. I wanted to wish everything away. I wanted to bury my head, but burying heads and closing eyes results in nothing but a quick end. The train will still run over what's on the tracks, regardless of if eyes are open or closed.

Reality rarely cares what you want. It didn’t care what I wanted. It left me empty. A space once packed with love suddenly hollow. It left me searching for ways to fill the emptiness.

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Alcohol, sex, copious amounts of pizza, nothing filled the space. On good days I felt hungover. On bad days, I felt the emptiness expand. The darkness grows darker.

I didn’t know how to climb out. How to move past the idea of true love. Hopefully, you don’t know what I mean. That you’ve never gone through something similar. But maybe you have.

Replacing love, filling that void, isn’t possible. At least not on your own. You can’t reach out and grab something to cram in. You can’t replace making love with one-night sex. It’s not the same. It’ll never be the same. It’s why it often makes things worse. Replacing something real with something that isn’t.

There’s only one way to get over lost love.

I wouldn’t bring people home after a night out.

I’d go to theirs.

I didn’t want to disrupt the pillows. The smell. I didn’t want to explain away the box of memories I hadn’t packed up or the dust outlines of items now removed from bookshelves.

It was just easier that way.

And then, one morning, it happened. Or maybe, better put, it didn’t happen. I didn’t wake to the smell of my ex-wife. I didn’t have the aroma of her hair after a shower clinging to my nose, influencing my dreams.

I didn’t even realise it at all. Without her, without my once wife, life went on. 

Despite how I once felt, how I thought my heart plunging back down to earth would grab hold of me and pull me down with it, my world continued.

When I finally realised her scent had left me, I searched for it, but it would not come back. It could not be found. Something inside of me hurt like I’d lost another part of what made me me, and yet something else felt liberated. Free to move on. One less thing holding me back. It made packing up the box easier. It made dusting off the shelf and replacing old mementos with new ones simpler. It allowed me to finally wash the bedding. To sleep in it without dreaming of her.

All it took was time.

Getting over a lost love isn’t easy. It may leave you beaten and battered and scared. It may leave you reassembling the pieces. But the beauty of gathering the broken and putting it back together is you’re free to assemble it as you’d like. You were born with the heart you have, but you can’t shape it to fit your own needs until it’s been broken.

If you’re going through a loss, however, it came about, just know that time is all you need. That can be difficult to swallow. To accept that you’re powerless to control your deepest feelings and emotions, that you can’t replace lost love with something else. But at the same time, it means you don’t have to go searching for answers. Searching for a means to cure your pain. The world will take care of it as you repair and improve your damaged heart.

All it takes is time.

A film graduate from the Savannah College of Art and Design, Greyson has reflected on love, life, and everything in between for USA Today, Lonely Planet, Yahoo, and in his own books. When not writing he can be found travelling with his two pups or enjoying a beer with good friends.

You can find Greyson on Twitter, or subscribe to his newsletter.

Feature Image: Getty.

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