All of you who have been dumped can already sympathize with the emotions that come along with being the one rejected from a relationship. Shock, denial, depression, anxiety, fear and hopefully some really good anger as well. You lose control of your mind, can’t sleep at night, have panic attacks, can’t get out of bed, listen to old voice mails they left you while you avoid all connection to the outside world.
The truth is being dumped feels much worse than it looks. I was so skilled (for a certain amount of time..) at hiding the dark hole that I was living in. I would wear a smartly placed fake smile, always remember to still neurotically iron my jeans, wear cologne and deodorant. Nobody knew how bad I felt because I was a master of hiding my emotions and hiding the truth. Inside I looked like Carrie Bradshaw when Mr. Big left her at the altar..with really bad overhead lighting and no under eye concealer. I spent about two months not telling anyone that my then boyfriend had left one day out of the blue …never to be seen again. I was too embarrassed and too ashamed because of the stigma that the word “Dumped” has attached to it. I wasn’t able to get help, get better and move on until I got real and got honest.
Over two years ago I had been with my then boyfriend for six years, which for a 30-year old living in New York was a lifetime. Even though it seemed like a lifetime it ended more like a Lifetime made-for-TV movie about a young man whose boyfriend skipped town and left his dog, clothing, furniture and a lot of unanswered questions. Was there someone else, how long had he been planning this and if it was a plan why didn’t anyone tell me?
Even though it was so terribly painful at the time I remember thinking while chain smoking and only eating a few meals here and there, “whoa, poor guy. This would make the best docu-drama ever, I would be on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what happens next!” I felt like I was part of a missing person’s story that you see on your local news channel. Could you imagine if I had placed a photo of him on a milk carton with the caption “Missing Boyfriend, please return home to Union Sq.”
Always a huge fan of therapy and already seeing a shrink for over thirteen years, I made sure to see her twice a week, but I also tried everything else. I went on a shamanic journey, called numerous psychics, energy healers, recited every affirmation Louise Hay ever wrote and confessed all of my woes to many a stranger in various anonymous support groups in Manhattan. Seriously, so many aspects of all the things that I tried helped, but the most signifigant plan to start me on the road to recovery was honesty. It was free, not sold at any new age book store, no registration fee, never once featured on “Super Soul Sunday” and it did not have its own Instagram account.
Why was this so helpful? Well I had been living a lie for such a long time about the misery of my relationship that I suddenly couldn’t lie anymore once it ended. Many people would consider this to be a union made in codependent heaven, but I felt like somehow my agreement to my boyfriend was to never say anything negative about him no matter what he did because the facade of our happy life would be over. Everyone would have seen that there was no Wizard of OZ. There were just two unhappy people not talking to each other at night while “Law and Order” played in the background. Gross, right?
Like in AA, admitting you have a problem is the first step, so the first step in my recovery from being dumped was to admit that I was unhappy and had been for a long time. “Hi, my name is Noah, I was dumped over an email and I am a miserable person.” I had to give up the Stepford wife mentality that for some reason I really enjoyed and gave me a false sense of control in my life.
Once I started to be honest about the events that occurred in our relationship, the type of person I was with and how he left I healed myself of the shame that I was living with for such a long time. The saying “we are only as sick as our secrets” is so true. I was no longer a victim. Truth be told, I was not in an amazing situation, I had no idea who I had been living with for the past few years, wasn’t sure how to cover the rent we had been splitting and for some reason would cry whenever “Let me love you” by Ne-Yo came on iTunes Shuffle. But I wasn’t the keeper of anybody’s dirty laundry and wasn’t too ashamed to ask for help.
Since learning how to drop the act I had developed to conceal any hurt in my life I was able to grieve in a much healthier way, and you can’t get over being dumped if you can’t grieve.