I’ve written about the digital debris broken relationships leave behind. In this day and age, it seems that something always lingers, even when you do the leaving. Of course, in most cases, ditching people for good ultimately turns out to be the better choice. A recently published study suggests that only narcissists and/or psychopaths (and Berlin has enough of both) like to stay friends with their former partners. That may or may not be true. In my experience one of the dominant reasons we still pine for people that we got rid of is nostalgia, rather than the fact that your ex was such a good friend or even partner.
Rejecting the idea of “the one” seems like the best place to start. Even if you’ve left everyone you’ve ever been with, you’ll have realized that it doesn’t mean the whole thing will be painless. The aim is of course to get through the suffering.
First step: Realize that “the one that got away” is a chemical con job your brain plays on you. Every time you go back and invest love, time, and energy into something that doesn’t contribute to your future, you’re just getting scammed like a tourist on Warschauer Brücke. I was truly tempted to google cures for a broken heart, but we all know that “put it in rice” won’t work. So here is my personal advice: Nothing cures a broken heart better than downing a bottle of Champagne while getting rid of your make-up with a precision that no pressure washer (not even German made ones) could deliver. Rinse and repeat until you feel better or your friends call an intervention!
“You’re just getting scammed like a tourist on Warschauer Brücke.”
At heart I’m a romantic, nostalgic bitch, my dear reader. The pitfall being that sometimes nostalgia is a bigger bitch than I am. I’ve lowered myself once or twice. The lowest was probably writing a birthday card to a past fling using my personal stationary – after he had called the fact that I owned personalized stationary obnoxious. (I know, what a savage!)
I am fully aware my experiences are not all universal. But you know, there is a certain satisfaction in being a tough act to follow.
“This is the last time you’re ever going to see me“ is a promise that carries more weight than we sometimes like to admit. In the end it comes true: once you leave you won’t see them in the same way – through loving eyes – ever again. That being said, not seeing someone again in Berlin is so uncommon that I’m tempted to just get plastic surgery every time I go through a breakup. And there’s nothing like a new face to ease the pressure of saying ”hi” when you run into a has-been and their new conquest in the future.
“There is no virtue in gradually bemoaning older versions of your life like a never-ending Vladimir Putin Matryoshka doll of existential dread…”
While the key to surviving is learning how to move on, the key to moving on is forgiving yourself for having had terrible taste in companions. Give yourself time to realize that it’s ok to miss people even when you know you don’t want them back in your life. No one but you is truly essential to your happiness. Nostalgia is a dirty liar and the only way to not turn into a bitter cunt is to let it hurt. There is no virtue in gradually bemoaning older versions of your life like a never-ending Vladimir Putin Matryoshka doll of existential dread that your flatmate bought at Mauerpark Flohmarkt. There is no merit in spending the best years of your life waiting for someone to love you back, or in the right way. If you, in this moment, feel like it’ll never be ok again, rest assured my dear reader: it will be ok. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but sooner than you think. Just reach for your phone, right now and delete their number. You deserve better. The world (and Berlin in particular) is big and full of wonderful people. Focus on that one person that really has the potential to make you happy: yourself. (And your side-hoe, the pizza delivery guy.)
Text: Alix Berber, Photos: Rowena Waack
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Alix Berber is iHeartBerlin’s newest dating columnist. The Tattletale Heart tells stories of desire, infatuation and the ghosts of lovers past. They are the dating-chronicles of a hopeless romantic with serious trust issues in the capital of the notoriously unattached.