She was convinced she could have been happy with him, when it was no longer likely they should meet.
Today, I want to talk about why Elizabeth's train of thought here--her retrospective yearning for a potential relationship that may never come to be--is dangerous. I'm aware that up until this point, Elizabeth was adamantly opposed to marrying Darcy. But things changed; he changed. Four months after she refused his proposal, she finally came to understand him better and, in turn, would have now "gladly and gratefully received' his proposal.
She now began to comprehend that he was exactly the man who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her. His understanding and temper, though unlike her own, would have answered all her wishes. It was a union that must have been to the advantage of both; by her ease and liveliness, his mind would have been softened, his manners improved, and from his judgement, information, and knowledge of the world, she would have received benefit of greater importance.
But for all Elizabeth knew at that moment, Darcy and their future together, happily reading books in Pemberley's vast library, was no longer an option. Perhaps he had moved onto someone who did not insult his character or proudly refute his proposal. At this point in time, Elizabeth stood looking into a Darcy-less future.
Bleak. I know. But we have to be realistic.
Very little good can come from holding onto someone who is, for all intents and purposes, gone from your life--possibly forever. Of course, I understand the appeal of clinging to the memory of someone, refusing to let go of them emotionally and hoping for that "someday" when they finally get their shit together and come back for you. It's even worse when the separation is the result of stupid behavior on behalf of one or both participants in the relationship; when there seems to be no logical explanation for your breakup. The best thing to do--and it's incredibly hard not to do--is to not wallow in your loss. Because while it is your loss, it's his, too. Don't ever forget that.
After recently being ghosted, I sought comfort with my friends, as one does. Most of them expressed their irritation with his inexplicably douchey behavior. They wrote him off, declaring I was better off without him. I was tempted to agree, but couldn't quite get over the loss and rejection. A few of my friends told me to just give it time; he'll come around.
"Guys always come around," my friend Lily explained. (In case you're wondering, Lily is married with a one year old. She hasn't exactly been single for a while.)
And, while I love my friends for their blind positivity, that's just not a realistic way of looking at the situation. It would be incredibly unhealthy for me to continue to carry a tiny flame for the guy who ghosted me. Nevertheless, it was a difficult blow to come back from. I've found that, after a breakup in which you were the dumpee not the dumper, it's easy to look back on the relationship with rose-tinted goggles--sort of like how martini or beer goggles make people funnier or more attractive, rose-goggles make us remember everything about the relationship better than it actually was.
One of my blindly optimistic friends reminded me of when she first met her then-ex, now-boyfriend. They'd been going out for a few weeks when he randomly broke up with her via text message, claiming that the relationship wasn't good timing what with graduation and spring break on the horizon. (I'm not kidding. He used spring break as a reason to break up with her.) Anyways, a year and a half passed. She dated other guys, never very seriously. One day, her ex reached out to her again, and she took a chance. The timing was finally right for both of them. They just celebrated their four-month anniversary and it doesn't look like there's an end in sight. The fact is, she never really let go of him. I met her almost a year after they broke up, and I knew about him before he reached out again--she had a serious case of rose-goggles. year had passed and she was still hung up on the "someday" with her ex.
But I suppose I should tie all of this back to Elizabeth and Darcy. Elizabeth, without any idea that she would soon marry Darcy, still carried a torch for him, even with the almost certain knowledge that they would never be together. I admire her honesty; to acknowledge her feelings, even if they were to be (potentially) unreciprocated. To love with the almost certain knowledge of not being loved in return is brave. It is also, in this day and age, very unwise.
Let me be clear: it is not unwise to feel or express love. But to not allow yourself to move on, to dwell on what life could have been life, not what life is, is unwise. Living in the past will get you nowhere. And yes. People come in and out of our lives unexpectedly and without warning. But we cannot wait around for those people. I'm not one for leaving things up to the universe, but when it comes to love, it's impossible to force time to work to your advantage. So I'm going to discourage any behavior that involves mooning over an ex. Because that's not a step forward, it's a step backward. And sadly, we can't afford to live in the past. It's not like we can turn back time.