There is probably one thing a man should know about breakups.
Never break up by walking away.
Mature men never disappear running away from the last talk. Women can do that. They can break up with a man by disappearing and ignoring. They think: “He is not an idiot, he will get it”. And indeed, if a man is not an idiot he will.
Being a man, whose woman left by walking away you can only do one thing — let her go. It’s a painful way of ending a relationship but growing in your ability to forgive those who hurt you is an indispensable part of growing into manhood.
Never break up over the phone or even worse over a text message. Face her. Meet her in a public place. The fact that she is seen by other people will restrain her from being overemotional. Nonetheless, the place should provide enough privacy.
The meeting will end up with a river of tears and two broken hearts so try to mitigate the pain by refocusing the blame on yourself: “It’s not you. It’s me.” Mature people understand that in most cases a breakup is not a fault of one side, both partners have an equal share of responsibility. Tell her that you will be always there for her if she needs something but make it clear that it is better for you not to see each other for some time. Chances are she will never contact you again.
If you are a woman and you are reading this, now you know a very likely scenario of a breakup. Knowing what to expect will help you to react maturely.
The tricky part about breaking up is not letting it break you. In that sense, I guess I am not the best person to advise about breakups. I had my fair share of them in my life, they were painful but they never beat me to my knees. Yet, I’ve seen men who were broken by love. This is a letter to one of them.
Mik is a good man. He is intelligent, witty, and cannot hide his kind heart behind a pretentious “I’m a dick” mask.
His Dad is from the US and is a mix of Hungarian and Italian blood and lives on Rhode Island. His Mom is half-Brit and half Irish but born and raised in New Zealand so Mik calls her “kiwi” with love and makes fun of her British pride. She lives on a boat with her husband sailing over the channels of Mother England. Mik comes to visit her once in a while.
He calls Korea his home. He lived here for over 12 years. Having both US and NZ passports his life in Korea is comfortable, sometimes too much.
Out of these 12 years in Korea 3 of them, he suffers from panic attacks. They started when he broke up with his fiancée. He took her home to meet his parents after they had been dating for two years and when they came back to Korea she broke up with him after one week.
When I asked him what happened he opened up a little: “She said: I don’t love you anymore. And then I love you. And then I don’t. And then I love you. It was confusing.” He never understood what happened between them but his life that he planned to go one way suddenly went sideways. “It was bad,” he says “I was in a black pit of depression and soon the panic attacks started to develop”.
Three years after the devastating breakup he smokes, he drinks, and he is taking medications to keep the panic attacks away. “I want to take back control of my life,” he says. He is 40 years old and he feels lost.
He admits that he is an alcoholic. His drinking is always followed up by the panic attacks the next morning, but at the same time, he notices: “Alcohol prevents them from happening. Once I was on Jeju island for work and one day my friend had to drive me to a hospital. At that time, I didn’t know if I should come inside and wait until I get worse or if I should stay in the car and wait until my panic attack will pass. Eventually, I went to a convenience store and bought myself a beer. Surprisingly, almost instantly I felt better. Alcohol has some kind of mitigating effect.” Drinking knowing that alcohol is both a trigger for panic attacks and a sedating agent must indeed be confusing.
We have been talking and I shared with him my story. Mik asked me about my self-development journey. He mentioned a funny thing, he said “You just took the extremity of self-destruction and turned it into the extremity of opposite polarity. As for me, I just want to practice moderation.” He claimed that among twenty people who were in the bar at that moment there were some people who would just have a beer or two and go home. He insisted that alcohol is harmless if consumed moderately.
I disagree. I know from personal experience the gravity that alcohol possesses. I also know that moderation is something that people are horrible at. Maybe I am too extreme. Maybe I will get accused of falling into dogmatism. So be it. I know what works for me during this period of my life. I say “during this period” because I don’t want to sound categorical. I learned that my life is in constant change. What was true for me 10 years ago is not true anymore. What’s true today might not be such in the future.
I age but I can’t afford to be mellow. I intend to stay fierce. I cannot imagine myself to be a flabby guy in his 50s with a big soft belly sated with life. I am scared to become like guys in their 40s, who are just 10 years older than me but so hopelessly tired of life. I am scared to wake up one day, look myself in the mirror, and notice that the fire that once was burning in my eyes has long died out and my two eye pits became a home for something terrifying — the acceptance of the defeat. I’ll be extreme but I refuse to prioritize comfort over growth.
“Life hits hard,” Mik smiles “many men just don’t get up.”
It might be so but… Fuck that.
Sorry, Mik. I wish to know what it is like to love a woman like that. I wish to know if I am strong enough to withstand the pain when someone takes your heart and shatters it into a million pieces. I wish to know that but…I don’t. I trained myself into someone who others may perceive as heartless. I expanded the range of my not-give-a-fucks day by day. Maybe I am too extreme in my methods but being extreme is exactly what keeps a strong spine. When life will knock me down I want to be one of those who get up, spit the blood, smile, and hiss: “Hit like a pussy”.
You can do it, Mik. You are ready to heal but you are so scared of change. You have been building the sandcastle of your lifestyle for so long that you forgot how to enjoy the sea. You listen to a hubbub of million demons inside you that talk over your inner voice. It whispers you to let go. Listen, Mik.
The Silence exists within you.
It exists within everyone. But the door into it can’t be found as the result of serendipity. Self-discovery is a product of self-development, not the other way around. As I am writing this, I am closing my eyes for a moment feeling a gentle touch of Silence. I am entering the space beyond the words. This space is within reach for everyone. It is your second nature. You are welcome here. And there is something very important that this space teaches you once you are inside of it.
You are complete.
You are not one of two halves. You are One. You are already everything you need to be happy, you are a self-sufficient totality. You don’t need another human being to fill the void. You need to make peace with the void. Yes, you are only a human and breakups can knock you down but they cannot make you yield. Enter the state beyond thoughts and you will see how to become a source of love, not its dependent beggar.
Resurrection from the ashes of your burnt soul is a painful, time- and energy-consuming process. But no one can walk this path for you. You must.
Healing is not a chance. It is a choice. I believe in your healing, Mik. You have to believe in it yourself. Take care.
Thank you for reading my book “Meditations of the Millennial”.
If you want to support me on my mission, please, share this book with someone you love. Maybe they will find what they seek on its pages.