Post-Love: Cruel or Kind?

“I hope we can still be friends.”

“Please let’s still keep in touch.”

“I’ll always treasure the time we had together.”

“You’ll still always mean a lot to me.”

Any of the above phrases sound familiar? Or should I say the above clichés, because at the end of the day, that’s what they are. You see, the saddest part about splitting up is that almost always it’s just one of the partners that wants it, and, invariably, that one person ends up becoming a walking talking cliché. His or her intention? – no doubt well-meaning, albeit naïve and blatantly stupid – as in the intention to be kind to the abandoned partner; to soften the blow, to make the end seem less final, somehow. But here’s the thing. An ending is an ending is an ending, and the very word ‘ending’ in itself means final. So why not cut the clichéd bullshit? Why not spare the insult of tarnishing past love, expired passion, extinguished hopes? Where once there was love, now there is fondness at best, and indifference at worst. Where once there was sizzling sexual passion, now there is routine performance at best, or ikky repulsion at worst. Where once there was hope – the hope of a united future, gazing longingly into the proverbial sunset etc. etc. – now there is an inverted dream: that of escape. Escape from the erstwhile loved one, and plunging into the arms of the all-consuming replacement.

Okay, so having done away with the clichéd valedictions of let’s still be friends etc. etc., the next equally pathetic verbal diarrhoea to come out with is the following:

“I just needed my space.”

“We were drifting apart anyway.”

“Even if I hadn’t met X, we would have split up whether or not.”

Any of the above phrases also sound familiar? Maybe not, if you’re lucky enough never to have been at the receiving end of a break-up. But if, like me, you’ve been at the receiving end more than once, then the very reminder of the above phrases, the very sickening sound of their echo in your head, will be enough to make you want to reach for the proverbial bucket and puke up every last syllable. Especially if they happened to be uttered by a supposedly intelligent person. As in, intelligence being the very thing that you fell in love with about this amazing person in the first place. This amazing person who has somehow, imperceptibly, over recent months, metamorphosed into a fucking cliché in front of your very eyes, and whose unintelligible words translate as: It wasn’t my fault, honest!!

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t their fault. Maybe the fault actually lay in your hands. After all, let’s face it, when did you start taking them for granted, feeling irritated, wanting a bit of space of your own (but never the eternal space that you were dished out in the end), or even – God forbid – indulging in the occasional fantasy about someone else? It happened with me, I fully admit, as shamefully early on as during my first pregnancy. Namely, with a certain Irish GP who was Sex on Legs, although he appeared not to notice it, much to my chagrin.

Whatever the case, and whoever’s fault it was or wasn’t, the one unerring fact remains the same. Breaking up hurts, it burns, it maims, it mortally wounds in the worst cases, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. Nada. Therapy might help, friends certainly do, yoga, meditation, new hobbies, whatever … but at the end of the day, only two things will cure you of your agony. Either falling in love again, or the passage of Time. Because let’s face it, Time is the most fickle lover of them all.

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