I have spent most of my adult life in relationships. By association, I have been through a number of hairy breakups — the last three culminating in litigation, a divorce, and the other party’s laughably awful infidelity. I could say a lot about the way relationships end. But let me be concise: I find these five things about breakups to be universally true:
1) No matter how amicable it is, there will always be a How Could You, You Sonofabitch phase — the duration and intensity of said phase, TBD.
2) You will always remember the slow-motion moments in time when you knew it was ending and you were powerless to get off the tracks before the 6:15 to Albequerque came through. (You may or may not learn to jump; make a clean get away next time.)
3) Regardless of how badly it ends, there will be small joys you will miss immediately; quiet, meaningful pleasures you will miss years from now and they will well up in your throat when you least expect, triggered by innocuous things unrelated to the memory.
4) Relatedly, you will clean out a box (or, God forbid, a hard-drive?) and you will find that photo that captures the essence of your relationship — the moments in which it was good, so good. And you will remember the things you wanted to forget; you will be tempted to write or to call. But you won’t. Or you shouldnt.
5) Your next partner will snore/grind his teeth/use the word “et cetera” too much, just like the last one. And you will discover (to your surprise!) that it was not the snoring or the grinding or the overuse of the innocuous, imprecise, spacefiller, but really, the partner that was driving you nuts all along.