By Ritwik Arora
“It’s over”; “Maybe we should take a break”; “Something’s changed”, these phrases evoke a bitter feeling in our hearts as more often than not their usage indicates the end of a relationship. According to the Journal of Positive Psychology, it takes 11 weeks to feel better after a relationship ends, but can we really quantify human emotions into some statistical data? How can we describe the messy experience of a relationship through some finite numbers? Many scientific journals say love is just a chemical reaction, a fusion of dopamine, adrenaline and norepinephrine. And this may very well be true, but knowing this fact and actually experiencing these complex emotions is a whole different thing.
There can be innumerable reasons for a breakup, maybe it was a toxic relationship, perhaps the outlook towards life of the people involved in a relationship changed, or they just fell out of love. Whatever the reason may be, it’s duly important for us to confront our emotions. Because even if we ended a relationship for all the right reasons, to let go of the toxicity which was scarring us, we still have to deal with the subsequent hurt that comes with that ending. Sometimes, we also have to deal with the trauma that persists despite letting go of that individual.
All we have to know is that it’s okay to feel this way, it’s alright if we think about the times when we felt happy during that particular relationship while also knowing deep in our hearts that it was the right decision to end it. These emotions we are feeling today will not last forever, it will take time but with a little patience and effort we will come out of this period better than we were before.
Beyond Romantic Love:
There are numerous films, shows and books which tell the story of the end of a romantic relationship, but very few which extend the same courtesy to the other very important relationships in our lives. As we grow older we start to see the many relationships we had which shaped us into the people we are today. We remember that friend in school with whom we used to share our lunch or that cousin with whom we played cricket. The reason for the end of these relationships can be some disagreement or an argument but more often than not it's just a part of growing up. We often don’t even recognize that along our way we have lost some of the most cherished relationships of our life. It’s only in hindsight that we recognize that loss.
Some relationships in our lives don’t necessarily even end, but they lose their luster. One of the bitter parts of growing up is the loss of connection we feel with our parents. The way we start to unlearn the many things we were taught by them and our minds start to venture outside their teachings towards forming our own opinions. Now, this may not reflect everyone’s experience. Some probably develop a deeper bond and understanding with their parents as they start to become their own person but still many feel that alienation and hesitation that comes with the revelation that maybe our parents were not always right.
These incredibly nuanced and subtle breaks in our relationships are something which go largely unexplored in our media. There are countless articles on the internet on the ways to deal with a romantic heartbreak but very few which explore the loss of a friendship or the alienation one feels within their own family. Their lack of coverage doesn’t mean that they are unimportant or they don't hurt as much, the loss of these relationships can be as palpable as the one from a romantic relationship.
A way forward through self-reflection:
Whether it’s the loss of a romantic relationship, friendship or even familial ties, one thing common among them is the hurt we experience after their end. Sometimes that hurt manifests itself as a gnawing entity which takes up a lot of space in our minds, rendering us incapable of healing. The only way we can overcome it is by acknowledging the hurt we feel, unless we accept this feeling as an honest representation of our innermost desires, we won’t be able to move forward and discover other wonders in our lives.
When it comes to lost friendships or eroding familial ties, we can even try to make amends. Maybe we lost touch over the years, but we can still try to connect, try to see if the relationship we had with that person in our past is still there. It's possible that these attempts at amends are in vain, that there is no way we can salvage something that’s been irreparably broken. But in having tried that we can at least discover this truth and truly move on.
As cliché as it sounds, the end of a relationship can be a blessing for us too. We can finally start to discover our identity without the influence of someone else in our lives, whom we seek to please. As we painfully learned over the past year and a half, the best person who can keep us company even in the toughest times is ourselves, so maybe we can learn to take care of this person as much as we would have taken care of a partner or friend? But most of all, we must keep ourselves open to new experiences, new mistakes and even new people, because the full stop we put on a relationship can also be the beginning of a new chapter.