I don’t miss you, but some things are harder than others

I can finally say with complete honesty that I don’t miss you. You are no longer my first thought every morning, or my last before I go to sleep. In fact, I sometimes go days, weeks and even longer without you crossing my mind at all. I don’t regret our relationship, but I don’t regret ending it either.

And even though I’m happier now than I ever was with you, pretending certain things don’t suck would be an outright lie. As much as I hate to admit it, some things are still hard to stomach.

When you spend so much of your life with someone, their milestones become yours. Naturally the important days like your birthday, our anniversary and Valentine’s Day are hard, but it’s the smaller ones that tend to creep into the back of my mind. Like when I’m staring at the calendar and remember that a year ago today we left for that vacation. Or looking ahead and realizing that the plans we had for next summer won’t happen afterall. I am moving forward, but on certain days, I can’t help but go back in time.

For so many years you were by my side at every celebration, and now family gatherings and holidays aren’t the same. Your traditions became mine, mine became yours and at first, sitting around the table without you felt so horribly wrong. I’ve gotten through most of the big holidays alone by now, but every time Christmas rolls around, the dull ache in my stomach comes back too.

Remembering the happy moments actually makes me sad. They come when I least expect them, and sometimes they are so random that no matter how hard I try, I can’t find the trigger. I relive the times when everything wasn’t so fucked up. The days when I didn’t fall asleep with tears in my eyes. The nights when I actually felt safe in your arms. I know the good memories were few and far between, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t real and when they hit, they hurt.

If happy memories are painful, thinking about the rest ones are agonizing. When I think about our rise and fall I notice the warning signs earlier in the story each time. The truth about how you made me feel and how much you destroyed me doesn’t just upset me, it makes me downright pissed.

This one might be the most pathetic, but I still crane my neck to check the license plate every time that make, model and color car passes me on the street. I know you’re thousands of miles away, but there’s no greater relief than pulling up next to the car and seeing a stranger.

It’s unfortunate since it’s pretty common, but my breath catches in my chest every time I hear your name. If I meet someone new, I try my best not to say it outloud. If a profile comes up on a dating app I make sure to swipe left. I’m sure this will be one of the things that gets better with time, but for now, all those letters signify is a reminder that the person I thought I would spend my life with, turned out to be someone entirely different.

Whenever a friend goes through a breakup, I tell them to delete every text and e-mail. But when it comes to me following my own advice, it’s suddenly not that simple. Even after I purged my accounts, some lines of communication fell through the cracks. I can’t help re-reading old conversations, but it feels like an out of body experience.

It happens less and less now, but every so often, I see or do something you would like, and get an overwhelming urge to tell you about it, or share a funny story. You were my go-to person for so long, that even though it’s been a year since you filled that role, it’s impossible to escape the subtle reminders of your sense of humor.

There’s a reason I could never quite picture the wedding we talked about. There’s a reason we constantly fought about my need to have kids and your indifference. There’s a reason we needed to go our separate ways. But the fact remains that for years, I thought you were my future. And thinking about all the plans we made that will never materialize is a sad reality.

Whether it’s to a coworker, a friend or the new person I’m trying to let in, I hate opening my mouth to tell a story, only to snap it shut when I realize it will be about you. I want to move on, and in so many ways I have. But we had so many memories and so much time together, that most of my stories contain you or something related to us.

Even though it’s not my job anymore, I think part of me will always worry about you, and wonder how you’re doing. I’m so curious if you’re feeling better, or if you’re still at rock bottom, unwilling and unable to pull yourself up. Have you changed? Have you finally accepted what you refused to when I walked away? I’ll never get all the answers, and that’s a tough pill to swallow.

I wish I could hate you and that I’d be better off never knowing you, but we both know that’s not true. I can’t deny that you and our relationship are a fundamental part of why I am who I am today. I’m not proud of all of my choices, and I know you aren’t either, but at the end of the day, I know that everything happened for a reason. And even though you’ll always be my first love, one day, the subtle reminders, like everything we once were, will disappear too.

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