How To Forget About That One Person That Broke Your Heart

In this week’s Hola Papi!, the advice column by writer, Twitterer, and prolific Grindr user John Paul Brammer, a reader writes in to share a sad, sad story.

After hooking up with a friend, he fell desperately in love with him and that friend, um, didn’t return the favor at all. Now our dear reader can’t get him off of his mind even after cutting off communication with said love.
And he just wants it all to end. Can Papi help? Maybe. Let’s find out.

If you want his advice, just email him at [email protected] with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start out your letter with Hola Papi!


Hola Papi!

Where do I begin? I am French. 20. A musician. And I feel broken.

Last year, my best friend introduced me to this guy she went to college with. We liked each other almost instantly, and we had sex a few hours after we met. It was the second time I had sex in my life. Now I wish we hadn’t.
We had sex again, and again, and again. And then we texted a lot because it was holiday and we were both at our parents’ houses far away from each other. And then the worst happened, Papi: I fell in love with him.
At first, I didn’t even realize I loved him. It took me a few months and the sight of him kissing another boy to realize that one, I was madly and irrepressibly in love with him, and two, he did not love me back at all.
We had one last conversation (not a nice one) in which he half told me I was a psychopath, and I half told him that he was the biggest asshole ever. And then we never saw each other again.

I tried to get over it. I really tried. I went back to living my life. I made friends, played music. The one thing I didn’t do though is have another relationship, because, well… guys don’t really notice me, and the only other guy I tried to get close to rejected me.

It’s been more than a year. I look like I got over him. I rarely speak about him and what happened between us. When I do, I do it like I don’t care.
But the truth is, not a single day goes by that I don’t think about him. I don’t think I love him anymore, but I still think about him, and sometimes I wish he would come back, although I know he won’t. Moreover, I can’t even imagine myself in a relationship anymore, although getting a man and making a home and a family with him was once one of my greatest dreams. When I try to, it feels ridiculous and out of place.

I just want to forget about him and what happened, and I can’t.

Am I broken? Will I spend the rest of my life thinking about a guy that has forgotten me for sure?

Signed,
Almost

Hi, Almost!

I’m glad you are French. That just sounds neat. Being French and all. Also, wonderful touch on the “madly, irrepressibly in love” bit! Stephenie Meyer is shaken, retired, quaking. Twilight has been pulled from the shelves. Who is Edward Cullen? Wigless. Irrelevant.

Anyway, the issue here is that you are trying to mourn a relationship that did not happen, and your infatuation with this guy has prompted you to build a narrative around him that makes him bigger than he needs to be. You don’t need to let him go. He’s already gone. You need to let the idea of him go.

You laid out some really intense emotions, and I responded strongly to them because I can relate to catching feelings for an emotionally unavailable man and then pretending he was “different.” I don’t mean to downplay this person or your experiences with him. But when we look at the facts of your case, we have a guy you hooked up with and wanted to be with, but he rejected you. That is something that can be overcome. It’s regular-degular rejection.
I don’t think you’ve tackled the rejection yet. That’s the phase that comes after letting go, and you have not let go of what you wanted this guy to be. I think that’s a choice on your end. It’s easier to keep him there, in that “almost” place, and blame everything bad on the tragic situation. You can blame it for being the reason you’re single. You can slap his face on other guys who reject you. It’s at least a little bit convenient, isn’t it?

You aren’t broken. You just aren’t healing because you’re loitering here in the infatuation stage. This man, who from my perspective has acted exactly as many, many men do, has subsequently become your solar system. That has more to do with you than it does him or your dynamic with him.

I also think you’re also making excuses for not putting yourself back out there. So many people say, “Guys just don’t like me.” But who are “guys?” All of them? I do not believe it, Mimi. You’ve tried to get close to one other person who wasn’t feeling it. One. That is not a bad track record, Almost! You should see mine. Egad.
And don’t worry so much about not being able to imagine yourself with another guy. You are 20 years old. At 20, I could not have imagined that at 27 I would be writing an advice column on the app I used to hunt down closeted frat boys in Oklahoma. Yet here I stand before you.

Life’s a trip! Lean in.

Papi


JP Brammer

John Paul Brammer writes the Hola Papi! advice column at INTO. His work has appeared in NBC News, BuzzFeed, The Guardian, and more. He is working on his first novel.

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