Some may find Ariana Grande’s hit single “thank u, next” as a nuisance while others may find it as a catchy pop song. I vividly remember the first time I heard the track; I immediately related to many of its lines.
Last year, I was writing an article next to my then-boyfriend, Hans Westergaard*, asking him for his input on why marriages are unnecessary. As I am coming up with this piece, I am happily living my life without him. Like many couples, my ex and I were initially friends, and I did not see him as a potential partner. Steadily, we built a bond, and romantic interests eventually sparked. Throughout the duration of the relationship, I fell in love with him as our connection was strong and he was a caring and kind person not only toward me, but also to others. Although it was a long distance relationship, I did not mind and was willing to travel to Los Angeles to meet him every so often. Everything was alright until Spring Quarter when my health deteriorated horribly. I wanted him to comfort me, but due to his hectic work schedule, he was unavailable when I needed him, leaving him feeling guilty. One day during spring break, he decided to end our relationship in one of the worst possible ways — via text message.
Hans left me a total of five incomplete phrases that are forever imprinted in me as a break-up message before he proceeded to block my number and social media accounts. He permanently damaged me in a way that I have never experienced, leaving me feeling confused, betrayed, and scarred. I was obsessed and wanted closure, constantly seeking different ways to reach out to him. Life during the first week of the breakup felt like living in hell. I spent days crying in bed, questioning myself, and hoping that I could sleep for just a little longer so I did not consciously have to think about him. I was grieving, and I was simultaneously hoping he will apologize and return everything the way it was. Needless to say, my ex has yet given me my well-deserved personal explanation.
I originally blamed myself for the downfall of the relationship. I always asked, “What did I ever do to him that made me deserve what he has done to me?” For a long period of time, I thought I was being a needy partner for wanting his support when I was sick. I thought I was not worthy enough for him due to our different career trajectories. I thought I was not being as affectionate as he wanted me to be. I do not believe that words can accurately describe the mixed emotions I experienced: emptiness, denial, anger, pain, sadness, loneliness. I would have rather felt physical instead of emotional pain; I felt worthless knowing that someone whom I loved and trusted could do this to me and had the power to affect me in such a way.
The road to recovery was timely and difficult; however, I made it out okay. One of the most valuable lessons I learned through the breakup is acknowledging my feelings and self-care. I tried holding back my tears on multiple occasions but soon realized that it was doing me more harm than good. Continually sobbing for over an hour, I finally broke down when one of my close friends harshly told me to face the reality and let go — it was my life’s most dramatic cry that left my eyes swollen for days. I allowed myself to relax by spending more time hanging out with my friends and Netflix. I firmly believe that time will essentially heal a heartache. As the memories with my ex slowly fade, they hold less meaning to me. A friend once told me that you can’t let go of someone, but you can move on. It was not until half a year later when I finally found myself moving on from him which allowed me to reflect. When I was not the clingy, obsessed ex-girlfriend, I can rationally see from my ex’s perspective. Yes, he valued his career over our relationship, but it is understandable considering we were a young couple. Yes, he could have chosen a more ethical and gentle way to end the relationship, but I can imagine the emotions he went through the moment he sent me the text. Yes, I have forgiven him because not only do I still believe he is a decent person, but more importantly, I choose to focus on the happy memories we made.
My story may just be another sad breakup anecdote, nevertheless, I consider this breakup as an important life lesson that helped me grow as a person. I do not regret meeting and dating my ex as he has taught me how to love, how to be patient with myself, and how to deal with emotional pain. I am grateful for Hans, but it is time to say, “thank u, next.”
*Name has been changed