How my ex’s ex became my unlikely best friend
I have recently had my heart broken. If you had asked me seven months ago where I would be in my relationship now, I would have said something so promising because, at that point, my young love seemed evergreen. But things change, and people can surprise you. So, now here I am: Single, heartbroken, and looking for a light at the end of the tunnel.
My experience with heartbreak has been a fluctuating roller-coaster: One minute I’m so happy with my newly re-birthed independence and the next, it feels like the entire room is painted with pictures of him, and it’s closing in on me.
Heartbreak sucks. It does. And breakups are full of questions, at least in my experience, and a lot of those questions are left unanswered. The uncertainty hurts; that’s half the battle. When you’re alone with your thoughts, you dig yourself deeper and confuse yourself more. I was driven to a place so lonely, so dark and sadness-dwelling, that I would probably have grabbed any stranger off of the street and poured my heart out to them. I needed to talk to somebody, anybody. I just needed someone to listen.
So, in all of my lonely-hearted misery, in all of my crying, anger and frustration, I turned to the last person I’d ever had anticipated. I have been able to talk endlessly to someone who knows my ex so well and who could relate to all my pain and weakness so perfectly: His other ex. Yes, I know, it sounds insane. She and I, we were like predisposed enemies — or at least we should have been. Obviously, convention would have you believe that two girls who fell in love with the same guy (granted at different times) are supposed to hate each other. But we were automatically bonded by our mutual heartbreak, and she became an outlet for me. It may sound crazy, but talking to my ex’s previous ex-girlfriend has been by far the most helpful thing I’ve done since my breakup.
A mutual friend recommended that I get in touch with her for some guidance. I didn’t know her as more than a profile picture and a girl I was supposed to hate. She didn’t know me except through stories she had heard about her ex and his new girlfriend. Obviously, we were an unlikely pair.
Yet, after she answered the phone for the first time, I had my first moment of sanity since the breakup. Talking to her has helped me so much because she was someone who could listen to what I had to say, look me in the eye, and say “Honey, you’re not crazy.” Hearing that your feelings and confusions are completely legitimate is by far the best feeling in the world, and it’s even better to hear it from someone who’s conquered your struggles and whom you admire so very much. My ex’s ex is now someone I can call a close friend.
I remember one time she and I were hanging out unloading all of the horrible things we had gone through with our mutual ex. Our conversation was really just a series of “Yes!” and “I know!” — we were relating and agreeing on so many levels. He had manipulated both of us, he had played with both of us and kept us where he had wanted us.
She gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever heard. He’s not going to change, this is what he does and this is what he’ll do. I deserve better. She quickly became a light for me, a small torch that lit the tunnel I was walking through. It’s cliché, I know, but being able to connect with someone who’s gone through what you’re going through really does help. And that’s why I’m here.
I’m here to tell you that you are not crazy. When you’re broken, your mind and heart play with you. You forget what made you happy before, you forget what you want, you miss them, you hate them. It’s a downward spiral of confusion. Depending on what kind of a person your ex is, they may be telling you that everything was your fault, that they can’t believe you’re still upset about this. And honestly, that’s just not true. Your feelings need no justification beyond the fact that you’re truly feeling them. You’ve been hurt, and it will take time to heal. So until you do, know that you are not crazy, alone, or insane.
I’m not saying that I’m okay, or that I’m as undeniably happy as I was before I met my ex. I think happiness and healing will come with time, and soon time he’ll be out of my life forever and I won’t have to face my weakness, my kryptonite, every single day. All I’m saying is that if your heart is broken, if you’re life feels empty, or if your day is a day full of a million triggers that lead you back to him/her, you’re not alone.
If there’s one piece of advice I would give to someone who’s just had their heart broken, it is this: find someone who understands, and talk to them. Soon enough, you will feel free.
Thea Nickolas is a freshman in high school, a theatre geek, and a capella junkie. She loves writing and singing.