When you really break up with someone, it feels like you have already done so an infinite number of times.
The sad truth is, a breakup usually starts long before the real one even happens.
When you are on the "losing end," so to speak, you know it’s coming.
You feel the person pull away from you physically, emotionally or both.
“Things just aren’t the same anymore,” as some would describe it.
You can’t put your finger on it at first, but you notice the small things are changing.
There are fewer texts and calls, or you don't feel as affectionate.
You think it’s just a bad day, but nothing changes as more time passes.
You continue to make up new excuses for this person, and you don’t want to face any of the realities because they're plain scary.
You don’t want to know what it would feel like to be absolutely crushed by a person who consumes all your thoughts.
So, you convince yourself you have time to save it.
It isn’t a big deal. Some part of this is salvageable.
However, deep down, you know this is the beginning of the end.
To combat these feelings, you overcompensate by sending that double text, making the phone call and kissing and hugging a little extra in the hopes that the person will do the same.
Despite all you know, you pretend you know nothing.
You simply hold on for dear life.
You stabilize your feet on what feels like the last sliver of solid ground to brave the storm, and you hope it will pass.
That’s when you’re faced with the real deal: the breakup itself.
Surprisingly, this is never the part that hurts the most because you already broke up with the best times.
You’ve already prepared all the things you will never have the chance to say.
In the end, it will always seem like the other person had the upper hand.
This is because you can calculate every move you make and expose every ounce of emotion you’ve ever had.
You can literally bleed yourself dry in front of this person, but he or she is still not going to stay.
Your friends will tell you this person is missing out, did you a favor or wasn’t worthy of your time.
Your parents will say they never liked him or her anyway.
I also say these things to my friends, but I don’t know why we all still do.
It doesn’t make anything better, and in most cases, it can make things worse.
All this does is make you feel as though you've wasted your time on someone who wasn't worth it from the get-go.
You wish someone could have told you, and you resent everyone who didn’t.
It’s not about anyone else, though.
You just take the side effects of your heartbreak out on anyone who is still around because you aren’t able to take them out on the one person who walked away.
It’s not fair, but it happens.
Take a step back.
At the end of the day, if this person mattered to you — even for a moment — you should never regret him or her, hate him or her or question the person's value in your life.
Remember that, even if it hurts.
Boy, it will hurt.
But, it is important to know you are capable of these feelings.
Next comes the breakup with the physical memories.
This is the part that takes the most willpower because it is all you have left to hold on to now.
You’ve been checking your ex's social media for days, wondering if he or she is as distraught as you are.
You go through pictures of the two of you, and you can’t help but drive yourself crazy by wondering when exactly your ex stopped being happy.
You feel betrayed.
In a fit of rage, you delete the number you’ve been fighting with yourself not to call at night, every single photo you took together and all the messages that once made you smile from the inside out.
You throw out the things he or she left at your house, even the things you promised you’d return.
You wash every fabric that has even the slightest trace of your ex's scent.
After it’s all said and done, you might cry.
It starts to set in that it’s over for good, but it’s okay.
You won’t have to see any of it again, and that’s a step you need to take to learn to stand alone and feel real again.
This one is hard, though.
This is the one that cuts the deepest.
These infinite breakups all lead to the final moments, the ones you might never fully get over.
Eventually, you will feel things again for another person.
It’s scary, and right now, you’re promising yourself you never will.
But, it’s inevitable.
Sometimes, though, you’re not ready yet.
You might make mistakes in spite of the one who hurt you.
You might be jealous your ex is okay because you want to be okay, too.
So, you’ll kiss someone and cringe, knowing it’s not the person you spent the last two months kissing.
You won’t be in sync, and you’ll feel empty without that sense of familiarity, comfort and security.
You will hold hands and notice the new hand fits just a little differently in your fingers.
Your heart might break all over again with the knowledge that the last person you hugged, laughed with, gazed at, touched or kissed isn't your ex anymore.
You will do these things for the first time with new people, and you will be uncomfortable.
This is when you begin to forget all of the “last times” with that person.
It all seems fuzzy now, and you will want to turn around in an act of pure desperation for the past.
You will want to go back to try to save all that is no longer.
This is when you are faced with the option to either let yourself be free from that person and do these things again with someone else, or sulk in what is not meant for you anymore.
Sometimes, you’ll choose the latter.
But remember that it’s never too late to move on.
Even though it's harder, it's worth the risk to begin again, to start over and to let yourself love and be loved by someone who is truly meant for your heart.