Existence

“I’m looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other-love.” Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City.

My days have mostly involved working, doing yoga and reading. Then repeat. I have set a read two books a month challenge and the first book I read in 2021 was perfect. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, (read my review here) tells the story of Nora who is stuck between life and death. It reminded me that my existence does matter, regardless of whether I want to be here or not. And let’s face it, many of us have been questioning our existence. I myself, feel stuck and there seems like there is no way out of it. My attempt to get over the ex isn’t going very well either.

It is Saturday night when I am watching Sex and the City (the series, not the movies). I watch the girls comfort Carrie after she gets dumped on a post it note.

Carrie got dumped on a post it note - pic from elle.com
Carrie got dumped on a post it note – pic from elle.com

That’s what I have missed after the big breakup from 2020, hugs from friends. Then comes Monday night. 3am, still no sleep. I went from laughing in the afternoon, watching stupid 90’s Bollywood videos on YouTube, to crying myself to sleep. This has been pretty normal. My brain is constantly fuzzy, my eyes hurt and my body hurts. I cannot concentrate for more than ten minutes. Endless bubble baths, candles burning all day, daily yoga classes, reading…. nothing seems to quieten my mind. Is this to do with the breakup, pandemic or something else? I don’t even know now.

This isn’t fair. When will it be over?

Can you all just freaking stay at home so that people can start being normal again.

It is safe to say that the last couple of months have been pretty tumultuous. Since my last post 38 and past my sell by date, the ‘don’t worry you’ll meet someone,’ comments haven’t stopped, when that’s exactly what I have asked readers not to say to single people. On the other hand, I had some wonderful responses and messages from  people sharing their own experiences. I set up an Instagram blog highlights of the stories I shared, so do check them out. Even the people who haven’t experienced what I have, but have had similar comments about different situations, reached out. A friend of mine reached out to me after the post too. A beautiful, kind, loving lady in her mid-20’s who for reasons I won’t go into, will not be able to have children. She gets the same questions. ‘Don’t worry, it’ll happen for you’ or ‘you’re still young or ‘have you tried so and so.’ Baby showers hurt for her, as much as she is happy for people. Just like for single people. we wish we were the ones that had a life companion. Do read my last post if you have not. These questions trigger our anxiety. So stop. I have had so many people share their stories with me and I didn’t realise the impact the post would have, so thank you.

I went on Tinder this week because I needed to stop myself from wanting to message my ex and my brain just hurt. Like seriously, do blokes even know how to engage in anything apart from ‘hi, hello,’ and that’s if they even talk to you. I did have a mildly interesting conversation with someone that likes to grow mushrooms (actual fungi and not the magic kind) and I thought hey, he could be different and interesting, especially for a brown bloke. The conversation quickly turned to sex, so that ended as rapidly as it began. I think I’ve been ghosted. I also quickly deleted Tinder. This guy also wanted to be the male Carrie Bradshaw and come on; we don’t want another Jack Berger…

Carrie Bradshaw and Jack Berger - Sex and the city - priya mulji blog
Carrie Bradshaw and Jack Berger – Sex and the city – Pic sourced from pinterest

I couldn’t handle these conversations. Before you tell me, I need a better site or one that I have to pay for, I just am not ready and I’m not sure I ever will be. The last few months haven’t been great, but I have learnt how to recognise red flags and what I don’t want. And the fact that it is becoming increasingly certain that sadly, someone, somewhere may not be made for me. He may have come and gone. You guys might think that it sounds depressing, but I do think there is an element of truth to it. Women of a certain age may be past their sell-by dates and the chances (and hope) of meeting their knight in shining armour is diminishing.

Let me tell you a couple of things, I’ve been to paid dating events where I’ve met married guys and years ago when I joined another very mainstream paid-for dating site, I got stood up. Neither the event managers nor site did anything to investigate them as…

  1. I had deleted the married guys messages and number and I only had mine and a friends word against the guy (a friend had also encountered said married bloke).
  2. The site from which I was supposed to meet the guy and got stood up, wouldn’t do anything to investigate because they can’t control the guys behaviour.

Ridiculous, I tell you. I’m quite reluctant to join any ever again.

Can you even meet someone organically now?

If you’re not at university or if you haven’t already met them through work/friends/family then chances are slim to none. If you were going to meet someone through those mediums, then you already would have. A few years ago, I remember seeing a guy in my yoga class and thinking, oh that’s cool he does yoga, we could be that couple that goes to yoga together. The guy never approached me in class but did on Bumble. Why not just talk to me in person rather than being a creepy stalker?

He also commented that he was lighter skinned than me…. errr, no thanks you backwards asshole.

I thought back to the quote I started the blog with… I do want love. Do I believe in it right now? I’m not sure. and its going back to the whole being 38 and past your sell-by date scenario. After the last post, I spoke to many women who have been hurt in the same way as I have and quite frankly, have given up hope of finding a life partner. Again, this isn’t about finding someone, its about finding THAT person. The wonderful person you are best friends with, you’re attracted to, shares your hopes and dreams… and just makes life beautiful. Yeah sure, people post pictures of themselves with their partners and love is out there, but they’re the lucky ones. Not everyone does find their other halves, so if you have, hug them extra tightly and never let them go. Also ask if they have any amazing 38+ blokes for me and my AMAZING single friends. London and Nottingham based please.

I probably shouldn’t say this, but I miss him. Not a day, not an hour goes by when I don’t stop and wonder what things would be like if we hadn’t broken up. I just miss his presence. The kindness. The companionship. The friendship. The love. He isn’t and wasn’t a bad person, I just wasn’t the right fit for him, and I can’t be angry about that. But my heart aches for him and I can’t do anything about it. I often look at my phone, wishing he would call me. He asked me not to contact him, so I’m not. But he can call me, and I just want him to pick up the phone. The person you spoke to all the freaking time, just isn’t there anymore… and that nicely brings me on to another thing that I wanted to address.

In the weeks after the breakup, I spoke to a counsellor. I wasn’t handling things well. I wasn’t sure how I was feeling, how to process the emotions I was experiencing and a general… meh-ness. Ugly shower cries, crying in the gym, taking up boxing, feeling like I couldn’t get through the days and sleepless nights became the norm. I spoke to a counsellor over the phone through my workplace and as I mentioned in my previous article, they told me I was experiencing grief. The kind of grief you get when someone has died. Their words, not mine. Now, I have experienced people around me passing away, but never a partner.

When I tweeted my previous article, a woman who had lost a partner at a young age said that the grief I felt with the breakup is nothing like grief that you experience with death…and it probably isn’t… but I responded with, ‘it isn’t what I said, its what a counsellor told me.’ I said to her that I agree, and the pain of someone you love passing away is much worse than a breakup. I cannot imagine what they’ve been through. But it is what my counsellor said and the emotions I experienced were similar to that of suffering a loss like death. She eventually saw my side when I explained this. This is about the trauma and grief we experience when we lose someone, who is there, but they aren’t.

  • The person you spoke to on the phone multiple times a day is taken away from you, even though their phone number exists, and they will pick up (for other people)
  • Their social media accounts are active, but you can’t see what they’re posting (because you have been removed as a follower, even though they can view everything you post because you have nothing to hide)
  • You still have pictures on your phone of a person that is very much alive and getting on with their life, but they don’t want you to be any part of it…. for no reason at all
  • You wonder if you should wish them a happy birthday, regardless of the ‘do not message me’ instruction
  • One day, you could bump into them on the street. What would you do? What would you say? Would you approach them? Or would you pretend not to see them because your heart will ache so much. I was once at a Diwali event and saw an ex and my anxiety skyrocketed. I had to leave sharp-ish
  • You’re experiencing sadness on a daily basis and they do not care
  • The person you thought you would spend the rest of your life with, one day, just walks away and you just don’t know why. Your life is shattered. The explanations of ‘I just don’t love you’ don’t cut it. Tell me why. What happened? Something changed and I want to know what

If this isn’t a traumatic experience for you, I’m not sure what is. The thing is, when you breakup with someone that you thought you would spend your life with, its most likely unexpected, and the impact of this is immense. I’m no expert, but I know how I feel. The fact is, they’re there. But the person you shared your life with is so out of reach, that their existence isn’t even an existence in your life or even your phone anymore. Their name has been deleted from your phone and you’re trying to remove them from your heart, but it isn’t that easy. They’re just…… gone. And there is zero you can do about it. When the person you love, disappears like that, how can this possibly not be a form of grief?

You feel like no one understands. You feel like there is no point in living life anymore. You feel like you will never find love again. You want to stand in front of his house and wait for him to come outside so he will just talk to you for one moment. You’re screaming for answers but deep inside you know you will never get them. The fact they’re walking around, happy as Larry, hurts even more. Do they not care? Have they thought about you for a minute? The distress caused by the breakup, your own thoughts and what you might possibly do in this situation is traumatic. Regardless of whatever people say, ‘you’ll be okay with time’ or ‘you’ll meet someone’, just doesn’t matter because in that moment in time, your mind is fuzzy and nothing anyone says will make you feel better.

So, this is what I’ve been doing and feeling… and I’m not going to sugar coat it.

I’m just getting through the days right now. And that’s it. there’s no way I can meet someone new in this stupid pandemic and even if we weren’t in lockdown, it wouldn’t be the right time because I haven’t healed from this. And that’s a huge thing. Healing. Our existence cannot begin until we heal from the trauma of having someone leave our lives. The trauma of removing someone you didn’t want to remove from your life. If you’re struggling, I really urge you to talk to a professional. Its much easier than talking to someone that knows about it. They’re trained to offer advice or to just listen. I didn’t even realise I was suffering from the experience of grief until I spoke to the counsellor. If you were truly, madly, deeply in love with someone and the breakup was not mutual and you were planning a life together, if you feel like you can’t get through the days, if your appetite changes, you’re feeling lonely, you have no passion for life, you think you’ll never meet someone again, its likely you might be suffering from anxiety and/or depression. I cannot possibly comment from a medical point of view but acknowledge those feelings. And sit with them. Do what you need to do and let it pass. If you need to soak in a bubble bath for two hours every night, then do it. If you need time off work, book that annual leave and mope. If you need to take up boxing (I did and it was FAB, well, when we could go to the gym). When we could travel, I booked a little solo trip to Bournemouth and the time just walking around near the sea, eating rock and seafood was so calming. Yoga is amazing for the mind and soul. I hate running but running or walking outside and being in nature is wonderful. My reading challenge is the one thing that’s really helping. Reading helps me to escape into a world where I am lost in someone else’s story (the highly recommend The Midnight Library for this).

Another thing that helped me was deleting the exes number. I too easily sent messages I should not have (I’m so sorry), but not having that number (and don’t save it elsewhere) helped me. If they want to message you, they can, but you’ve had your heart broken and it isn’t fair for you to just hurt more by messaging and they don’t reply or are cold towards you.

One day, maybe not yet, maybe not even in a year, but one day, you will be okay.

A number of people have commented to say that the time since we broke up has passed by fast or asked if I’ve been on dating apps again. Firstly, I want to scream at them and say, ‘no it hasn’t, the two months have been torturous.’ It has been harder to get over a breakup during the pandemic. And how can we even meet anyone now? WE ARE NOT ALLOWED! STAY AT HOME! There have been no friends to hug, no holidays to take, not even the escape of the office. It has been just me, my parents, my dog, walks and these four walls, which I am so grateful to have, but I crave a normal life, back in London, where you’re not sad or having meltdowns a few times a week.

I still smile, thinking of him fondly, wondering if one day he will change his mind. It is crazy, I know, and so, so unrealistic when he told me that it is the right decision for him. But we can have faith, right? As people who love so very deeply, do we ever stop having that faith? No, I don’t think so, especially when we know they were our person, we hold this shimmering candle of hope, having faith, wondering, wishing, asking; will he come back?

I will leave with a quote from Matt Haig’s Instagram page ‘We learn through the hard times. Every fall is a lesson in standing up. We fall, we rise, we continue.’

Priya Mulji x


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