1. Extreme grievance

    I've been grieving for a solid week. I felt an intense feeling of loss. Not only did I lose a boyfriend, I lost a friend and a partner. I was so comfortable with someone that I thought they were family. And then one day it was gone.

    And it's more than losing a person. You're losing the friends you once thought were mutual, but they were really his. You're losing the brother that you started to feel was your own. Parents with whom you spent your holidays. The small pieces of your life that you've intertwined all of a sudden have to be pulled apart again.

  2. New Feelings of Independence

    Finally, I am a free person. Not that I was stuck, but I spent years holding someone in mind. When I made decisions, I always kept him in mind. Including small decisions about my plans for the night to big ones like the city I wanted to live in. Suddenly, the only person I've got to check in with is me— and it feels fantastic.

  3. Anger

    I'm so mad. This happened slowly, after a sorrow. I recalled how much effort I made in a one-sided relationship. I recalled all the time that he had hurt me, and the way he had so suddenly given up on us. The sorrow has given way. There was a different perspective on him and our relationship in his house. It wasn't just a good time. The problems were not the means to an end. He was not the perfect person. And in a very real way, he hurt me.

  4. Validation

    I spent months believing that our issues were in my head. That I read too much about the specifics. He said he was happy, so why did I think differently?

    Because he wasn't excited about it. He's been in denial. The challenges I felt we had — they were there. The split was the most support I've ever got from him. This meant that I was right about that. I haven't been mad. All my worries and anxieties were there for a reason.

  5. Love and Aid

    I got love from the most unexpected places and help. Our breakup has shown me which people in my darkest hours would step up for me. It came randomly, from colleagues to old friends I hadn't been connected to in a while. I always felt so lonely that I didn't really know the support system I had behind me. It was one of the refreshingest and most soothing realizations I have ever had.