I’m not gonna beat around the bush on this one. If you’re in break up purgatory then there’s already enough ambiguity in your life. So there’s no contest: If given the choice, go to hell.
Hell is always better than purgatory.
I am so guilty of this. I have stretched out break ups for months and in some cases years. I dressed up my procrastination with popular rationalizations such as “taking a break” or “friends with benefits” (that’s okay as long as you’re not “friends with benefits” that are not seeing anyone else, not trying to see anyone else, and binge watching Netflix together while you cuddle on the couch—these “benefits” are called a “relationship,” son).
There’s also the ever popular break up purgatory where it feels a heck of a lot like a break up but the partner hasn’t had the decency to simply call it one (I’ve been on both sides of this).
Whatever the purgatory type, I didn’t want to let them go for good reasons: it was safe and warm, and I missed them when they were gone. But it couldn’t be a relationship for good reasons too: one issue or another—on my terms or theirs—it simply wasn’t the right fit.
It was a lot of wasted time, which sucks, but it was also wasted energy, which is worse. It takes energy trying to force a shadow, a delusion, a memory into something tangible—something it simply isn’t, simply can not be.
I spent big fat chunks of time and energy and life sleep walking, spinning around in circles on an aimless infinite loop. I wasn’t seeing straight. I wasn’t awake. I wasn’t living.
Break up hell is hot and sticky and wretched and painful. But it is not eternal. Purgatory is.
Pull. The. Plug.
Feel like shit. Cry your eyes out. Put your friends on speed dial. Refuse to get out of your pajamas for a couple days. Get sad, get angry. Write the nastiest letter anyone has ever written and then rip it up. Feel the pain and the anger and the ache until it starts to dissipate. It will.
It will feel like you losing a limb, then just a finger, then just a piece of jewelry that was adored. Eventually it will be a cherished book that, at times, you wish you could curl up with again, but the memories suffice. There might even find a new book that you fall in love with.
You’ll be okay. But none of this can happen until you first release yourself from purgatory and go to—and through—hell.
Life is waiting for you on the other side.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Marcee Murray King / Editor: Renée Picard