Answer by Kaushik Mazumdar:
Breakup-Move on phases explained. #worth a read
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This is the first time ever I would be expressing my story in writing. I would not like to post and describe the characters as Anonymous since I want my past to be presented transparently. The breakup phase is a bitter experience and it cannot be simplified ever. But if my experience can ever present itself as an empathy or help to any individual, I will be happy to discover that the bitterness has a higher purpose.
#lengthy scribble warning
How we met?
Charu is my first and only girlfriend I had till date. We met in our graduation college in Calcutta. She was an year junior to me. We met on a random day in the college library and became friends. Few months after we met, I took the initiative, kept my cool and did some hard work for few months and thence began our 3.5 years of relationship. The details of how things got materialized are best left for another relevant post.
Honeymoon phase – College life
I spent one of the best 2 years of my life in college. We were both deeply in love. Her house was just a 10 min walk from my home and our college was also a 10 min walk from each others house, in another direction. That was a very big advantage. We were almost always together. We were so used to each other's companionship that when I used to visit my native, there used to be a sudden and big void in both of our lives. We browsed the streets of Calcutta, every nook and corner, just walked holding hands and spent hours under the beautiful shady gardens of Victoria Memorial. Life seemed lovely.
Honeymoon phase – Long Distance
In the ending moments of my college life, I got placed in a company and had to move out to Chennai for the job. A distance of 1400 kms. In India, this is a huge distance. She was very upset for me having to move away but happy as well since it was a decent opportunity. And hence started the long distance phase of our relationship which lasted an year. I was told by friends and read around that long distance relationship does not work, so I made it a point to be an exception to this trend. I managed my work life and leaves in a way that I was able to make 8 visits in one calendar year. An average visit every 1.5 months.
Long duration phone calls, sms, chats, skype, letters, emails and frequent visits, long distance was just a definition. Couple of times, I did not notify her of my visit to Calcutta and would show up on her door suddenly, unannounced. Her face used to fill up with utter excitement and I used to relish the expression. I was the perfect boyfriend, she used to say. I was proud of myself as well. It was lovely.
We had our share of little misunderstandings as evident in every practical relations, but we were "happy". Our marriage was an obvious event. She wasn't very bright individual or utterly beautiful, but I was contended and fond of her. I am a good human, career concerned and foresighted and she was fond of it. Few months into my career, while she was in her final year of college, we started talking about marriage seriously. I was already close to her family but in the subsequent visits I made to see her, I tried to get closer to her family, to her mother, to her father. They liked me as well. I was a welcome guest.
Few weeks before her college ended, she got placed in a good company with joining in Bangalore. We both were overjoyed since Bangalore is few hours journey from Chennai and her career was on a good start as well. I started preparing myself for my first career switch and decided to move over to Bangalore.
In my second last visit to Calcutta, I decided to introduce her to my family. I was from a traditional middle class family and love marriage was kinda strict, but I decided to take the risks and introduce her – it was time. My family was on a visit to Calcutta at that time. It was a ripe moment. We decided the day, the date, the restaurant for the meet. What she should wear? What she should do? What she should not do? We planned everything. Our moment of truth was near. Her birthday was close too.
She did not have many friends in college. So, after I left college and went for work, she was kinda alone, without much company. I was not a typical boyfriend who would stalk her mails or fb profile, suspect her of anything, or do any funny business. I had full faith on her. She too shared the details of any events happening with her, any new people she met or anything. Our communication was transparent. It was lovely. Couple of weeks before I was supposed to come to Calcutta to introduce her to my family, she mentioned a guy she had started communicating with. She used to blabber some stuffs. I was least bothered and kept myself occupied with the family rendezvous and any subsequent backlashes from family. In fact, I was working on some random plan B.
A few before our rendezvous, I noticed a sudden change in her voice. It was already 3.5 years into our relation and I knew her through and through. The change in voice and response style was too intimidating to ignore. I started panicking. One day I discussed my observations with her and she immediately corrected me saying it was nothing and I should not be bothered. I though I was over-reacting and unnecessarily suspecting my dear wife.( Yes, that's what I had started calling her by then). But deep inside my heart, I knew something was not right. Something heavy was happening. I used to ponder over and over again.
A week before our family rendezvous, a day before her birthday. She called me over and asked me to come over skype. She looked undecided. I asked her the problem. She was silent for a long time and then in the faintest of her voices, she replied, " I am in love with the guy"
I was crestfallen. My heart did not want to believe what she was saying but my mind knew she was telling the truth. It was an agonizing night where I found myself repeatedly asking her if I had made any mistake or I went wrong somewhere. I was in no position to accept what she said. This went on for a long time that night. Frequently I found myself covered in tears. The night seemed to last forever. She was gone, forever.
I woke up the next day early morning and for a moment thought it was a bad dream. But I saw my laptop kept open, the webcam attached and the skype still logged in, and knew the bad dream is indeed a reality. I made up my mind to visit Calcutta on that day itself. It was her birthday as well. I thought of giving it another shot. I went to office for a face to face discussion with my TL, explained her of an ugent situation and showed her the flight tickets. I left out the details. She was kind and granted me the leave. I took off for Calcutta.
I reached Calcutta by late noon. I called her up from the airport and engaged her in conversation while sitting on the bus. I asked stuffs like, "Do you wish to see me on your birthday" & "What if I suddenly come in front of you". To this she replied that she was more interested in the other guy and would not wish to be with me on the day. It was a cruel reply. I felt like returning back to Chennai at the immediate moment but I knew it was too late for that I would have to meet her. I told her of my visit over the phone and asked her to come to South City Mall ( very famous in Calcutta, very near to our college, and the place where our love evolved).
I met her after around an hour. Our eyes met with blank expressions. I wanted to scream at her with all my might, but it was her birthday, she was 23. I stopped in between my travel from airport to the mall and customized a red rose bouquet with 23 flowers and a handful of rose petals. I took her to the roof of the mall (it wasn't allowed but we used to sneak there often) and showered the rose petals and greeted her with the rose bouquet and greeted Happy Birthday. She just smiled, there was no love in that smile.
I booked a table for two and before she could start anything, I simply asked – "What's my fault? Where am I wrong?". First she cried for quite some time. People around me started looking at me in curious ways, but I was least bothered. My life was shattering in front of my eyes. She said sorry countless times in between her cries. She settled after some time and then started describing the other guy, his looks, his personality, his blah, his blah. She was clearly smitten. But I was stubborn too. I would not let her go without any fight. The other guy in question did not have a great family background, nor had a great college history and mostly indulged in alcoholic drinks and Ganja (Cannabis drug, a form of Marijuana). I was the exact opposite of him. I reasoned with my girlfriend about the difference between me and him. About how she would have a better life and stability and family and prosperity being with me than being with him. But she argued every point. She took his side on every argument I presented. This went on and on for a long time. I came back to Chennai next day. She came for a see-off, told me she is sorry that she wronged me and would like to be my "friend" forever.
Back at Chennai, things were worse. Without even realizing, a week passed and my time for planned visit to Calcutta came, the time for family rendezvous. I cancelled all those plans. And while I was there, gave another unwilling try to revive our old relation. I spent time with her, visited old places we visited together before, talked about things. For a moment everything seemed normal and I quickly realized that this time though, she was spending time with a "friend". Things were obvious in her behavior but I tried not to burst out. Few days later, I came back to Chennai, still unconvinced that she was no more mine, still unable to bring myself to the reality, still giving halfhearted tries, still wishing all these were part of a bad dream, still wishing that she would realize her mistake and would come back running to me. Alas, only blank wishes!
Few weeks after the denial phase, came the anger phase — Why did she do this to me? Why did she have to do this to me? What made her do this to me? Why? But why? Whywhywhy??? I used to remain occupied most of time with these questions to myself. I used to remain angry most of the time. Weeks and weeks of sleepless nights spent with anger thoughts. I am usually a very relaxed and calm person and was surprised at the amount and the duration of anger I was capable of generating. Waves and waves of subsequent anger. During these times, we used to talk occasionally. I used to keep the conversations short for the fear of me bursting out at her. I still cared for her, dunno why, dunno how, but I did.
Just when it seemed anger is set to leave me, the grief was ready and waiting to hit me. The questions which presented itself in angry form suddenly took a grieving form and started bothering me again. But this time, the questions were directed towards myself. What did I do? What did this happen to me? Where was I wrong? I was sad. I was unhappy most of the time. I didn't enjoy anything at all. Again, I spent weeks of sleepless nights. I was out of energy. At times, I found myself drifting towards her thoughts. At times, I couldn't control myself and called her up. Only to be rendered more grieving after the call. It was agonizing, it was painful. It drained me of all the good things I had.
But as is said, every bad thing is followed by good things. My process of job switch was still on. And suddenly, I was able to pull off an amazing interview and landed an amazing job at Bangalore. But wait, more bad things were yet to come. In the meantime, she had started working in Bangalore as well. Our dream of spending our professional life in Bangalore materialized. Both were now set to work in Bangalore but under very different circumstances.
On the day of joining, I left Chennai and stepped into Bangalore with heavy heart. My office was amazing, with position as a Casino Slot Game Developer, the office environment was too good. Music overflowing. I wanted to feel awesome but I couldn't. I met my old school buddies at Bangalore. I wanted to feel overjoyed, but I couldn't. I was incapable of feeling happy. That emotion had dried off me. Midst of all these, she came to know about my move to Bangalore. Her office was within a couple of kilometers from my office. It was an agonizing fact to discover. She demanded a meeting. I was undecided but I couldn't deny her. I met her for 10-15 mins and then left citing office work, but in reality I was free. Seeing her face was too much for me. It was unbearable.
The same night, I tried to take another attempt. Don't know why this thought wandered into my mind. Maybe after seeing her face in person drove me into this desperation. Anyway, I called her up, asked her to forget everything, all past, all troubles, and come over to start afresh. Start a new phase of our relationship in a new city, with new hopes, with new beginning. She denied, citing she was already in a relationship. But she would be eager to remain friends with me. I disconnected the call immediately. It was stupid thing to ask and I felt anger over my own stupidity and self respect.
I got back into the cycle of anger and grief over a period of next few days. My awesome job, in my favourite city, amongst my closest childhood friends with awesome salary. None of them were able to make me happy. I was deprived of the ability to feel happy.
My period of worst phase was long. But long is not infinite. That's why the two words are different. My office had a branch in Chennai as well. And I discovered an open position in Chennai. I considered all the possibilities against my mental state and decided to apply for that position. It was just 2 weeks I had left Chennai but suddenly I felt eager for that position. Something told me things would get fine if I get back to Chennai. It was an urgent opening. I applied for it and it got approved immediately. I got all packed up and left Bangalore. On that night, before boarding the inter-city bus, I sent her a text notifying about my decision. And switched off my mobile.
I reached Chennai the next morning and felt a sudden freshness. It was the same city I had known for 1.5 years. I opened my cell and saw missed calls from her. She was little upset about me leaving Bangalore suddenly and wanted to "talk".
( A little background info. I am a very resourceful person. Maybe not too much in terms of monetary but in being informative and getting this done. I helped her a lot in college, helped her in placements and numerous uncountable other things. I was everything for her.).
Anyway, she called me up and we did talk. She was surprised about my sudden move back to Chennai and wanted a reason. She kept on blabbering about how she always wanted me to be friend. And would hate me going away from being friend. She felt little insecure about suddenly losing her resource pool. On a rather funny note, midst of all these talks, I asked in a sarcastic way if she needs me because I am very valuable, to which she said yes. (Yeah!).
I felt powerful for the first time in over 6 months. And I felt myself smiling for the first time, though in a very evil way.
I wanted to capitalize on this very nascent change. I felt little energetic on a miniature level. The Anger-Grief cycle was still inside me, but I needed something to vent out. I realized that more I kept myself occupied, the less my mind wandered to old thoughts. I was in need of new stuffs, new activities, new engagements.
I reached office and saw a Table Tennis(pong) board. I never held a TT bat in my life but that day, I took up a playful session. I chose TT to be my distraction. I took up serious self practice sessions in the after office hours. And after an year later, I was runners up in the doubles TT tournament held in office. It was a big thing for me and shocked everyone around. A win-win situation for me.
Parallely, I introduced myself to running at Terry Fox charity runs – 6 kms. I found it a great way to went out build up energy and negative thoughts inside me. I found running very captivating for me. Few months after that, I ran my first 10K at Chennai marathon. I was unstoppable after that and took part in numerous countrywide events with short and long runs, including a half marathon and a triathlon. I was on top of myself. These are my trophies and I take my pride in them.
Sometime in between, I took up dancing classes in zumba and hip-hop for a couple of months. It was a nice experience.
I started globetrotting on a massive scale. A new visit every couple of months. So much that I exhausted all the possible excursion places in south of India.
I got back to my reading hobby.
And about my ex, she desperately wanted to retain contact with me. But now, I called the shots. The ball was in my court. I declined any sort of communication. I rejected calls. The human mind remembers things. And certain events, certain scenarios have power to trigger dormant memories. Her voice had that power. I was aware of this and wanted to avoid the scenario at all costs. Out of sight, out of mind actually works.
The ending part might seem to be very easy but it was not. It took more than an year for me to get out of my break up completely. I experienced true love. She was the everything for me and things which happened over 3.5 years took their time to ward off from the mind. I grew closer to my family. I had immense support from my sister and my ex's sister. Might seem strange but its true. I am still in good contact with my ex's family. They still like me. Maybe the bridge between me and my ex's family was built because of her. But it strengthened solely on mutual communication and behavior. I value human interaction and decided to retain contact with ex's family. Of course, she is always pissed off whenever she discovers I paid a visit to her family. But now it's my time to enjoy.
I blocked her on fb and mails. She tried numerous ways to keep info on my whereabouts. She communicated with my close friends and kept the communication line open with them. But I was least perturbed and told my friends not to give any info about her to me. I am sure she fb stalks using a different profile. But eh, should I be concerned? Ignorance is bliss!!!
It has been 2.5 years since my breakup. And I have not been with a woman again, yet. Was it true love? Yes. Have I moved on? If it means being least concerned about my ex? Yes. If it means forgetting her? No-The brain has capabilities to retain memory, it doesn't forget. The memories fade away only with time, but they work according to what you want. If you want to think about past, the memories remains stronger. If you are occupied elsewhere, they start fading. Anywhere I see the mention of her name, the old memories try to come out of the sealed box and devour me. But my will power is much stronger now to ward them off. I think this fight will go till eternity, and I will always be victorious.
The breakup is a rich life experience. The wisdom cannot be gained unless experienced. It helps you get a clear picture of life. It helps you identify people better. Not only it helps you to have a better relationship next time, but it gives you a chance to make yourself a better person. The period of breakup-move on varies from person to person. But at the end, you will come off as a much better person. Don't worry if are in a breakup, feel happy that a better version of you is waiting on the horizon.
Life is too short to remain dejected over a breakup. Get the hell out of the room. The world actually rocks!
Greetings, fellow Quora folks!
And thank you all for the overwhelming response shown towards the post.
I received numerous queries and comments related to the post. And I had tried my best to respond to them.Over time, it is observed that most of the queries classified themselves into a handful of categories. So, I thought of consolidating them and provide a generic response for all. I hope you don't have to take the pain of putting up queries and waiting for response. Although if you want to communicate, you are always welcome. Here we go!
I have moved back to Bangalore lately. So, here I am surrounded by my awesome job, in my favourite city, amongst my closest childhood friends with awesome salary. And I am enjoying every bit of it. I have taken my globetrotting taste to a whole new level. A new visit every couple of months has been transformed into a new visit every couple of weeks. I recently covered the whole of Kashmir with a 2000 kms road trip, thus striking out the #1 item off my bucket list. How do I manage holidays? Well, the Gods must be crazy on me. 🙂
About my ex. Where is she? Is she still with the same guy? I don't know. And it doesn't bother or matter. It's my time to enjoy.
Quite a number of quorans have stated that they had similar experiences. Some even went on to say if I had read their personal diaries because the incident described is a mirror replica. Well, I am not surprised. And this only strengthens a belief I have held strongly in my life. And that is, human behavior is same everywhere. What changes is the language, or the religion, or the lifestyle, or the culture, or the habitat. But on the inside, we are all same. We are closer to each other as humans than we think ourselves to be. #helloworld.
A number of queries came on my take on further relationships.
Why haven't I considered other ones? Well, the need to date the right one became more important than the need to date just anyone. Availability of single decent women has a part to play. And so is the sex ratio of our nation. So, here to all the 'educated-to-be-moms-and-dads' out there, raise a gender parity generation or your sons would have to suffer like me. 😛
Will going into another relationship remind me of my past? I don't think so. 3 yrs is a long time and the defending champions Spain are out of this 2014 world cup. Things change. How do I perceive other women? Women are the root of the society. No hard feelings. As respectful as ever.
Stuck in a phase?
Some of the folks have expressed that they are stuck in one of the phases described and it is really hard for them to come out of it. Folks, this is one of the singular most battle of your life. And you need to win it all by yourself. It's all yours. Divide your sufferings amongst close people. I understand many would shy away from sharing their breakup news within their circle. And it makes sense. Because that would lead to further more discussions and the least we need at that moment is discussions over the break up. If you really feel you are out of all other options, you can reach out to me anytime. I don't claim to be an expert. There are professionals who had done extensive psychological studies over breakups. And I am no where near them. I might only be able to lend out additional empathy and just a random grief sharing scope. And maybe a subtle direction. But at times, that's the only thing we need. I know, you know, we all know.
You can inbox me anytime with anything. However, notifications are generally switched off on my mobile and it might take some time to respond back to you. I have seen friend requests come and pulled back on fb. Please do bear with me.
This edit is not meant to highlight my achievements or to advertise my life. Never. The primary intent of writing the original post was to provide a ground for empathy to all the fellow people in need. I thought my sufferings and subsequent recovery could provide greater help to people to come out of the difficulty as soon as possible. I am not sure if I had been successful on this. But I will keep trying.
Beauty often seduces us on the road to truth. Betrayal is brutal. It kills us when the news is broken. But then, a new individual is born out of the killing. Like fire tests gold and purifies it. But we are never the same old individual again. It's impossible to be the same old individual. Because, we come out to be better, harsher, shrewder, indifferent person. We tend to become brutal in all spheres. Not brutal as in behavior, but brutal as in how we perceive the world thereafter. The break up is hard hit on our back. And the treatment is to rebuild ourselves as unbeatable.
As for the void we feel, an old imprint of a person on our heart will take time to fade off. There is no eraser available for that. It's a battle we have to fight with ourselves, between our heart and our mind.
Nothing feels relevant at the moment. The job, the education, the world, everything feels useless, as if we were preparing and tackling the world only because of the existence of the other person. Only because we want to be with the other person and need preparations for survival. And now since the other person has gone, there is no use to be that concerned. Self managing could be easily done with humble needs.
The moving on takes it's intended time depending on an individual. However, there are mechanisms which can pace up the process of moving on. The out of sight, out of mind is really important. We have to cut up our ex through social media and mail chats. In my case, after the break up, I kept reading our old chat conversations, mail exchanges and picture views. And a part of me use to die daily. Until one day, when I could take it no more, I deleted all mails, all chats, all pictures and blocked her on social media circles. And then I regretted for not doing the move earlier. We all have mutual friends. We have to make them understand to not give info on ex's whereabouts to us. The less we know about the person, the faster we would move on.
That is just one step. Next is, we need involvements. Take up a new hobby, a new sport we always wanted to play. Maybe a marital art, or swimming or learning to drive, or taking up a musical instrument. There is never an age to learn a new thing. Start a thing today we always wanted to do yesterday.
Another way is to blow up a part of our savings. 10-15k on something extreme acts. Go visit Ladakh/NE, or go for scuba,or a foreign trip,or anything which would suck up a considerable fund. Why? Because do hell with future worries. Most of us are young and have our whole life to earn money. Probably, we would end up getting fat checks in distant future. But our present needs us more. It needs attention, not our future. Blowing up double digit sums of money on something we always wanted to do will not only take our attention from the void, it will always infuse a new adrenaline into our body. Spending always works.
Make time for society. Give them back what we received. Visit orphanage or old homes or join a teaching trust. Believe me, most of us think financial help is the only way they can be helped. And since we don't have much at the moment, we can't help them. Incorrect. Volunteering plays a big role too. Giving part of our time to them cheers up their day in ways we can never imagine. In turn, it will cheer up our soul too. Be a part of blood donation camps. Most of us are too lazy to do it, although we are perfectly fit. And hundreds of people lose their life because of shortage of blood, which arose from our laziness. I have been part of blood donations for some time. And it boosts up my self worth amazingly.
Make time for family. Go visit your home. Most of us leave our home since graduation. And family time is never the same after that. If you are in college, bunk the week. If you are working, take the week off. Make your parents happy before you regret you never had the time.
Read novels. They keep our mind occupied and prevent it from flashing back old memories. Book recommendation threads are abundant in Quora. Avoid watching romantic movies and listening to romantic songs for some time. And of course, don't take up romantic novels. 😛
These are just a handful of things I felt I should have done earlier to make a faster move on. You folks could customize and tailor make it to your desires/lifestyle.
The phase is like a disease, like a viral fever, you know you would get better, but you don't know when.
Have patience, stay strong and look towards yourself. Wishing all the folks a speedy recovery.
Life is too short to remain dejected over a breakup. Get the hell out of the room. The world actually rocks!