“I Met Someone Else” — Comfort In The Painful Words I’m Used To Hearing

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“I met someone else.”

I’ve been on the receiving end of this statement so many times, it’s almost comical. I’m at the point where I can predict my reaction with tragic accuracy: It begins with my heart dropping like a plane that’s hit an air pocket. Then I feel like I’m going to throw up for about five minutes — during which I frantically message my group chat, familiar tears welling.

Today, heartache unfolds at Argo Tea in The East Village, but my predictable response transfuses all scenes in which I receive those words: confessed while my head rests on their chest in (their) bed; admitted over a third glass of wine at a bistro on Granville Island; received via text while passing Stumptown en route to get my eyebrows threaded. As the nausea dissipates, rejection, sadness and shame seep in — and are soon accompanied by loneliness, frustration and dismay.

I met someone else.

The problem with the object of your affection meeting someone else is it challenges our brain’s default system to rationalize it’s about “them, not you.”

Nope, it’s not that they’re emotionally unavailable.

Nope, it’s not that they bat for another team.

Nope, it’s not that they’re too busy or distracted or damaged for a relationship.

It’s you. My minds tells me. You. weren’t. enough.

Is she prettier than me? Is she smarter? Funnier? Skinnier? Better in bed? What is it? Where can I find a sense of control – something to fix – to prevent this from happening again? Maybe I should send out a survey? My pool is large enough at this point, I could almost promise anonymity. I need feedback. What am I doing wrong? How can I be enough?

I met someone else.

Tonight I’ll listen to Mad World and cry quietly while I get ready for bed. I’ll take a melatonin and congratulate myself for it not being a Zopiclone. Tomorrow I’ll wake up with a sizable pit in my stomach and hope the morning it dissolves to a pebble arrives sooner than later.

I know better than to pretend I’m not hurting: The first few times, I told myself our situationship hadn’t been “real” enough to be as debilitating as it felt. But I now know that denial well, too, and lower my expectations for productivity while preparing for indefinite (albeit impermanent) sadness.

I’ll bask in, yet know better than to try to cling to, logic or fleeting oases of wholeness. Instead, I’ll begrudgingly “welcome” it all — Acoustic Covers, weepy Savasanas, and my veteran dump-ee title offering enough consolation to keep me optimistic I will heal. Because I will heal. You will heal.

I met someone else.

But the most disconcerting part is the ultimate relief that washes over me. A paradoxical, dreadful relief. Relief in the comfort of aloneness. Relief in the comfort of rejection. Relief in no longer feeling vulnerable. And I flash back to the first time I heard those words, my brother and I sitting silently on our living room couch — my original heartbreak, twenty-two years ago.

I come back to this moment.

No one can hurt you now, my mind reassures me with a smile. He met someone else.

Megan Bruneau, M.A. RCC is a mental health therapist, executive coach, writer, and host of The Failure Factor. Follow her on Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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