Tuesday, 28 October 2008

"When I get to Warwick Avenue, meet me by the entrance of the tube"

Embankment (not Warwick Avenue) seems to be my tube station of choice at the moment; last week I met friends there twice, got heels caught in the bridge twice, and last night I went there again, but carefully hopped over the cracks in the pavement to avoid any shoe casualties.

As we hadn't spoken for 2 weeks, I was worried it was going to be awkward; but we slipped back into our easy way of getting along and making each other laugh, telling each other what we'd been up to and eventually getting onto the subject we needed to talk about. Us.

It was a freezing cold night and so we walked as we talked - up to the London Eye and back again, past the Oxo Tower, the Tate Gallery, over the Millenium Bridge where we stopped for a bit and were sad, over to St Pauls Cathedral, onto Fleet Street, past the Courts of Justice and then back up towards Embankment tube.

Even though I knew it was coming and even though we'd both separately come to the same conclusion over the last 2 weeks as to what we wanted; like the song says 'breaking up is hard to do', and last night saying goodbye at the tube station was even harder.

A while ago I saved this article from a supplement in The Observer, cut it out and kept it. Not sure why, I just thought I might need it some day. It might offer good advice to anyone else reading this who's going through a similar thing. The whole article is good, but not entirely relevant as the woman in question was going through a break up that was entirely one sided, whereas this one isn't. So I cut the bit out that applies to me, although I have the rest if anyone's interested. Anyway...

We take love and the loss of it ridiculously personally. Yet of all the emotions we inspire in people love is the one we are least able to take credit for. No one falls in love with something tangible. It won't be simply because we told a good joke, or shaved our legs, or read Turgenev in our teens. Love is surprising and arbitrary and that's why it's so terrifyingly tenuous. Trying to understand why it's suddenly being denied is patently impossible. There are tangible reasons why a person might be good at a certain job, none whatsoever for why they tie up our heartstrings. There are so many triggers for someone falling in love with us, and I'm not sure we can take credit for any of them.

Love is brutal, and that's a fact. It emerges from hiding when you least expect it and retreats faster than a flood. You can't tame it, control it, second guess it or reclaim it. So what to do while you're suffering withdrawals? My own recipe goes against popular wisdom. Don't act fine; let your chin down, wallow in the depths of despair. Heartbreak is the perfect excuse to go into seclusion. Instead of letting your girlfriends ease their own consciences by dragging you out in their wake, I'd close the door, put on a sad song and have a good weep. We're simple creatures, really. We can only stomach so much happiness - and the same goes for sorrow. Be melancholy, take to your bed, eat crisps, watch Love Story, refuse to take calls, gorge on chocolate, write letters you don't post, emails you don't send. You need to plumb the depths until you can't take another drop of self pity. Then suddenly something as incidental as a sunset will catch your eye, you before you know it you'll be out there, heart racing, ready to take the plunge all over again.

[edit: full artice here]


The Unbearable Banishment said...

What a beautiful post! And thanks for the walking tour. Onward through the fog!

Anonymous said...

Good post! I like that article :o)

Can I have the rest?

Sorry it didn't work out, glad it was amicable.

And thanks for the tour - tis very very close to where I now work, I may go explore!

surviving myself said...

Ice cream. Lots and lots of it.

Tick said...

What can I say, apart from "been there"
Lovely post, and yeah... ice cream....

Take care,
Vick x

Elaine said...

It was a great article.

I'm sorry for you guys, I really am. x

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Thanks you lot. The rest of the article is

Mjohnson said...

Good find Jo. Love’s ever so intangible, probably all hormones, pheromones, brain chemistry and the like, totally irrational.

Hardly surprising half the world practice arranged marriages. Why let such a primeval mechanism make the most important decision in your life? I suspect the answer to that question is, because we don’t have much choice.

Hope you come out the other end of the misery ride soon; for the sake of the world’s single men if no one else.

Anonymous said...

It is good that things worked out amicably. I am sorry though, it is never good when relationships end.

Mouldy-Old-Tartlet said...

Really sorry to hear this Jo, but glad that the parting of the ways was amicable to say the least.

Hannah said...

Urgh. Been there. It's unreasonably painful.

Hope you're okay. If you need a g&t, you've got my email.


rosiewishes. said...

Oh dear, everybody seems to be breaking up at the moment! I'd love to show them all that article...

"even though we'd both separately come to the same conclusion over the last 2 weeks as to what we wanted" ...sounds slightly optimistic with regards to recovery time? So hopefully you won't be the cause of a Ben & Jerry's shortage?!

Robbie said...

Sorry to hear that Jo.
Hope you get your sunset soon.

James said...

Awww shucks. Nice post though, and it does sound you already know it was the right thing to do. At least it wasn't some horrible argumentative bitter break-up. Well done to you both for being so mature and considerate about it.

blueskies2day said...

you sound like you're doing well; i hope thats the case. big hugs

Blue soup said...

Oh Jo, I am so sorry to read this. I suppose as you have said and other commenters have agreed, the fact that you have parted on good terms is the thing to hang on to. So many couples stay in there to the bitter end and lose the friendship on which their relationship is based.

Beautifully put. Autumn is a lovely time to be single though. Long walks in the cold while you sort your mind out will do wonders xx

Michael said...

Had to dig through your archives to find posts about your original concept 'cause it's quite similar to mine.

"Blokes who feel it is absolutely necessary to pinch your arse to get your attention in a club"


Any tips for keeping up the hate (the concept of my blog)?

pink jellybaby said...

I'm glad you seem to have come to turms with it of sorts, it helps. Now out to get drunk! :)

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

mjohnson - you're right, when you consider the real reasons for someone 'tying up your heartstrings', it never comes down to anything apart from the way they make you feel. Which is all brain chemistry. An interesting, if slightly detatched way of looking at things.

perpetual - You're right. The most painful breakups are the ones where one person is hurting more than the other.

m.o.t - It's a real shame and I am feeling so sad about it, but I'm glad we both cared enough about each other to want what's best.

Hannah - I can never turn down a G&T! Thank you for the offer.

rosie - I think it's the time of year. I know a few couples who have broken up / having a rocky patch at the moment. I am most sad in the mornings, but by the end of the day (and by keeping busy) it's getting easier.

Robbie, so do I. Although I'm happy to wait a while for it.

James - Being rational about things has certainly helped.

blueskies - There's a gap where he was but I'm trying to be positive.

Blue - You hit the nail on the head with that comment, "So many couples stay in there to the bitter end and lose the friendship on which their relationship is based." - that makes so much sense to me right now.

Michael - Oh don't you worry, I still have the occasional hate filled post. My advice? Don't keep up the hate too much. Whinge, moan, but then have a laugh. I don't think I'd have all these people advising me on my relationship problems if all I did was spew anger all day. Saying that, check out 'I Hate The Earth' in my blogroll, he manages it ;)

PJB - girly nights, alcohol and steering well clear of men for a while is the order of the day...

fwengebola said...

I've been saying for donkeys that people should wallow and enjoy their self pity.

As for Duffy's song about Warwick Avenue. Warwick Avenue? In song? And a soul one at that? Where the fuck does she think she is, namechecking destinations? Harlem?

Clarissa said...

Big hug. Mchwa. I'll miss thinking of you visiting my 'hood.

Emsbabee said...

Your situation sounds very similar to mine.

We also took a break, only he had made the decision in less than week.

IT. SUCKS. Loved the article though.

We should talk...

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

fwenge - clearly. warwick ave, harlem...same difference, right? Fatboy slim did it with Primrose Hill too.

clarissa - Ah! I'll miss the hood :(

emsbabee - I think our break was a blessing in disguise although it didn't feel like it at the time. It made me realise so many things and made me ok with the decision he'd probably already come to.
email's in the sidebar if you fancy a chin wag or note swapping! pleasesendmesomelove@googlemail.com


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