It's Not You, It's Me: How Heartbreak Made Me Realize That Maybe I'm An Assh*le, Too

Love is so amazing.

When you fall in love, you feel like you're floating on cloud nine, and nothing can go wrong or ruin your day - there is this perfect person, and it's like they are just that piece of your puzzle that fits like no one else did. Life in general seems brighter - technicolor, even. When that love fades, and the relationship ends, it literally feels like everything is darker.

Breakups f*cking suck.

Awhile ago, through the time-consuming process of getting over a particularly painful breakup, I constantly asked myself how much longer the aches would remain, surrounding memories that were way past their expiration date. Feeling frustrated with myself, my mind logically sorted out the facts of how I thought I should feel and how I should be moving forward, especially with the amount of time that had passed; but my heart annoyingly responded with pathetic twinges as certain songs of ours played on the radio, or when new pictures were posted on social media of my ex with his new girlfriend. "Oh, look at you, living happily-ever-after," I'd snarkily remark to myself (holding back the urge to vomit) as I scrolled through his timeline. I reminded myself how I had previously rebounded (quite successfully, I might add) from relationships that I refer as my "be all, end all" of relationships - if I could get over those, then there is NOTHING insurmountable, no matter the pain I might feel in the present moment. I'm a strong woman who has only grown stronger from the mishaps and scars left behind from less-than-stellar men and relationships. Okay, great - now that we've had that pep talk yet again, can someone please tell me when I won't miss him anymore?

After months of thinking I was doing better - only to have an emotional meltdown when I felt the pangs of missing my ex yet again - I started to pick apart what was so different this time. If I had to feel sad, I may as well overanalyze the shit out of the relationship and him as a person to figure out what seemingly made this so much harder than previous breakups, right?

I didn't really end up with an exact answer on what was so different, but analyzing how he hurt me did force me to look inward at myself and my own actions. I thought he was an assh*le for breaking my heart, but when I looked closer, I suddenly realized that I was, too.

Confused? Allow me to clarify.

I had so much anger and sadness wrapped up in my ex; every time I would think back to how our relationship had deteriorated, I would become upset all over again -  I was certain that Taylor Swift based "Bad Blood" on my relationship (and generally penned 1989 with me in mind). "How could he do this - how could he let this happen? He just willingly threw us - ME - away, without a second thought." I would have moments of weakness where I would miss him so terribly, the wave of sadness and shame simultaneously crashing into anger, as I remembered that he was not sitting around missing me, or mourning our relationship.

"How do other people move on so quickly - how do they deal with this?" I wondered. My thoughts slowly shifted to the rest of my exes, and as I ran through the tally and remembered how each relationship ended, I cringed, more and more. The majority of the relationships ended by my doing, and out of 10, I hurt at least nine - some very deeply.

Now that the shoe was on the other foot, I of course felt betrayed and angry, but what about the guys that I had hurt? It's not that I never gave thought about what I had done to them, but it hadn't left quite such an impression, because at that time I hadn't known what it felt like to be on the receiving end of the heartbreak.

I know now.

I was a hypocrite, I was selfish, and I was most definitely an assh*le. It was a very humbling moment of truth.

With this realization came plenty of guilt, and a wish to apologize for all the pain I have caused:
To the sweet guy who was there for me after my 6 year relationship ended, I'm sorry that I bailed and didn't give you a chance to explain how you felt - it was just bad timing. To the many guys (eek, it was a pattern!) that loved me and waited years for me to come around and realize your worth, I am so sorry I led you on, however unintentional it may have been. To the guys that I cheated on when I was a much more emotionally irresponsible, immature version of myself, please know that I regret making those choices; it was more about stroking my own ego and nothing that you did wrong. Finally, to my biggest regret - I loved you so deeply, and I hope time has allowed you to recognize that. I know actions speak louder than words, but despite every selfish action, I promise that it was never my intention to cause you pain. I just was intent on seeking my own happiness - it unfortunately came at the cost of your heart.

See? I was obviously quite the douchebag.

All of these guys (and more, unfortunately) deserved way more than I gave them, and I truly hope they are all happy now.

Apologizing to someone you hurt is one of the most difficult things to do, but it shows strength of character. Recognizing my own flaws has helped to aide in the healing process of my own breakup, and I am grateful to my ex for unconsciously helping to make me a better, kinder person as a result. My ex didn't mean to hurt me, and he really isn't an assh*le at all - he just made some mistakes. Haven't we all?

I can only hope that my ex - and all the other assh*les out there - are sorry for the heartaches they are responsible for. We all have our day of reckoning, and the day you acknowledge your faults is the day you achieve growth.

Breakups do suck, but remember that time heals all wounds - even from the biggest assh*les... and the worst heartaches.


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