When does it get better?

Oh, Draco Malfoy, I bet you think this song is about you.

Hi Meredith --

I debated for weeks about whether to write in or not with my question because it seems so trivial compared to the other letters and what I am anticipating for the advice almost seems as if it will be predictable (things will get better with time, you’re still young, etc.). However, this has been eating away at me for a while and I am open to anything that will help me move on from this so here it goes …

I was dating this guy for almost 2 years while I was in college. We were inseparable and were completely infatuated with each other. Looking back, I realize that I should have ensured that I had a life outside of the two of us because when we broke up I was devastated and completely alone. This guy was my first love, we had talked about marriage and being together forever, and while I know that’s typical with your first love, I really thought it would last. When we broke up, it not only broke my heart but it shattered it into so many pieces that I am still not sure that it’s completely whole.

We broke up almost 2-and-a-half years ago. For the first few months following the break up we still talked every day, still said ‘I love you’ and went on occasional dates. However, this was too much for me to handle and I told him that I couldn’t do it that way, we were either dating or I couldn’t talk to him at all. I did and still do not want to be friends. Since then, he still contacts me on every major holiday, my birthday, our anniversary just to “talk” and we end up talking for hours. Our connection is still there, which is kind of unnerving. We have gone on a few dates in the past year and slept together once, which I realize is making it even harder for me to move on.

The problem is I feel like I haven’t been able to find anyone else that I have that “spark” with. I don’t feel the same connection with anyone else, and he’s told me that he feels the same. I’m not saying that I want to be with him again but I want to be able to move on from this and find someone who won’t break my heart and leave me. My biggest fear is that I’m not going to find something as good as what we had with someone else and that (as ridiculous as this sounds) I’m going to end up alone for the rest of my life.

I watch my friends with envy as they go out and meet new men and start new relationships while I seem to strike out repeatedly. Sometimes I feel as if I am watching my life pass me by, even though I go out and try new things and put myself out there. How do I move on from this? Will I find that spark again? How do I know that I won’t end up alone… the eternally single friend as everyone else finds someone to pair off with?

-- Scared, lonely, and hopeless, Waltham


SLH, I lost some sleep over this letter. I think that’s because …

Once upon a time, there was a young woman named -- well, let’s call her Deredith Boldstein. Deredith dated someone very wonderful in college. Let’s call him … Draco Malfoy. (There was a resemblance.)

Deredith and Draco adored each other. But for obvious reasons (age, geography, etc.), they parted ways after graduation. Deredith was expecting the break-up -- she knew it was necessary -- but when it actually happened, she was miserable. She felt scared, lonely, and hopeless. She spent much of 1999 and 2000 eating pizza and watching angtsy programs on a magical network that was known as the WB.

Deredith’s friends didn’t know what to do with her. She didn’t want to date anyone else. She didn’t even like to go out very much. She kept in touch with Draco Malfoy, but after every phone call and visit, she felt more confused, more rejected. Draco still loved her, but he was moving on, dating various muggles he didn’t even like that much. Deredith began to lose faith in herself. She ate more and more pizza.

One day, Deredith woke up and decided that she couldn’t accept what she had become. She told Draco Malfoy that as much as she would always love him, she needed to cut him out of her new life. She had actually done this twice before, but this time she meant it. She took his number out of her phone. She took down his pictures. He respected her wishes by staying away. It was difficult for both of them. They missed each other terribly. But eventually the feelings faded. And by eventually, I mean a few years.

Break-ups are weird. Sometimes the ones that should take forever to get over are a breeze. Sometimes it’s a fling that knocks the wind out of you. Your break-up was big. Not only did you lose the object of your affection, you made a major life change. You’re not in college anymore. It’s a whole new world and you're doing it alone.

Even though it’s difficult, you must let him go. Once he’s really gone, you can start the recovery process. Maybe he’ll come back to you someday. It’s possible. But for now, you need to learn how to be happy without him. Allow yourself to go through the mourning process. It’s unavoidable.

As for friends pairing off while you’re brooding and miserable-- don’t even think about it. Those people probably felt lonely and left out while you were in your relationship. This stuff is cyclical. There’s no rush, and you’re right, you have plenty of time.

The saying “time heals all wounds” should really be “an almost unbelievable amount of time heals all wounds.” You just need more time and some real space.

If you’re wondering about Deredith and Draco Malfoy, it all worked out for the best. He married someone else. She moved on and found sparks in new places. And because she was older and more settled when she found those sparks, they shined brighter. She’ll always love Draco -- and most likely, he’ll always love her, too -- but Deredith knows now that Draco would have never made her happy in the long run. I mean, nothing ends a relationship like Voldemort. She would have never put up with that nonsense.

My point is: It gets better. It gets better. It gets better. I promise.

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-- Meredith