Breakups suck. There’s no way around it.
Its been nearly two years since my four year relationship ended. This relationship was the first real, serious one that I’d had and moving on was no easy feat. Even though I knew it was the right decision for the both of us, even though I knew I’d be happier in the long run, it still felt like my heart was ripped out of my chest and a piece of myself was missing.
The hardest part for me was losing what felt like my best friend. The closest person to me. The one I told my secrets to, the one I wanted to turn to when every thing felt like it was falling apart. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like without him and I didn’t want to have to find out. But then, I did.
What I found out was this: I could definitely survive without him, and I could even be happy without him. I could move on. I could keep going. I could make myself happy. I could find love again.
If you’re going through a breakup, my heart goes out to you. Its ROUGH. Or maybe you’re holding on to something that you know should have been over a long time ago because you can’t stand the thought of going through a breakup. Been there, done that, and should have ended it long before I actually did. If I would’ve been able to see into the future, it would have been an easier decision to make. As hard as it was to get through, I ended up much happier and we both ended up better off for it in my opinion.
Here are a few key things that I would say to someone who is going through a breakup. These things helped me get through my breakup in what I would say was a mostly healthy way.
- BLOCK. You do not need to see your ex’s stuff on social media. The block button is your friend. Your ex will not be your friend. At least not at first. It’s so tempting to want to stay friends, to stay in each others lives. But to truly get a clean break, you can’t be friends. At least right away, and maybe not ever. My ex blocked me almost immediately and while it stung at first, it ultimately was the best thing for me. Not seeing his name pop up, not seeing pictures of him, it helped me to quit worrying about what he was doing that much faster. Even if they are throwing shade at you or posting pictures with other people, it can’t hurt you if you don’t see it. Let me repeat that: it cannot hurt you if you do not see it. Delete, block, and do not allow yourself to check up on them. I even asked my family to unfollow him so they weren’t tempted to tell me things. We blocked/unfollowed each other and I didn’t allow myself to go creep on his stuff or try to see what he was up to. Pretending that he didn’t exist was the best thing I could do to force myself to fully let go. Eventually I quit caring. Getting that distance right off the bat was super helpful though.
- Speaking of distance, keep your distance. For me, it was easy because we didn’t live in the same state anymore. Not seeing him, not having to worry about possibly running into him somewhere, not having to avoid a common friend group or favorite place, it was super helpful. But if you’re likely to run into your ex at the gym, or at your favorite coffee shop, or at the bar with your friends, try to avoid it. Switch up the time you go to the gym. Try a new coffee shop. Make time to see your friends when there isn’t a chance you’ll run into them. It might be helpful to switch up your routine anyways. The less you see them, the less you’ll want to see them, and the easier it will be to move on.
- Don’t allow yourself to paint a prettier picture than reality. After a breakup, you miss all the good things about your ex. You miss all of the little moments that you had taken for granted. You know what you don’t miss? All of the negative things that ultimately led to the end of the relationship. If you’re not missing those things, you’re not thinking about them, and you might find yourself questioning why you even broke up in the first place. When I found myself reminiscing on the good times and getting sad, I made myself think about the times where I wasn’t treated as well as I deserved. I made myself focus on the major issues that we couldn’t agree on. I made myself think about all the times I felt alone, and sad, and let down, and disappointed. This sounds depressing – but it helped me keep in mind that there were legitimate reasons for breaking up, and that it was the best thing for us even though it hurt like hell.
- Find something new to focus on all your new found free time on. A new healthy habit. For me, this was the gym and nutrition. I threw myself into working out and focusing on meal prepping and eating healthy. It gave me confidence and something to focus on. It helped me make new friends and new healthy habits. For you it can be a new hobby, or a new side job, or finding new friends. Get involved in something in your community. Spend more time with your family. Join a new group to meet new people. Rekindle your love of reading. Just do things that bring you joy. Whatever it is, just find something to keep you and your mind occupied. It is important to deal with your emotions and reflect on how you’re feeling, but don’t sit at home and be sad all the time. And it’s important that this new habit is a HEALTHY habit – I don’t mean something gym or fitness related, I mean don’t allow yourself to medicate heavily with alcohol, drugs, or food. None of these things will help you move on. (And alcohol is a depressant and usually makes things worse. No one appreciates a drunk crier).
- Don’t jump into something new too quickly. When you first get out of a relationship, you often have to rediscover yourself. What do you like? What makes you happy? It’s important to focus on these things. Be selfish for a little while. You have to work on healing yourself and getting to a healthy place before you can bring someone new into your life. You have to learn how to be happy all by yourself before you can truly be happy in a relationship. Make yourself happy all by yourself, without relying on another human to bring you happiness.
- Remember this: you will survive. Even if you are fresh out of a relationship and you feel like your world is shattered and your heart is in pieces and every single day without that person is hell on earth, you will survive. It will get easier. You will make it through. Time is your best friend. You will find someone to love again, you will find happiness again, you will not let this break you. Take it one day at a time, force yourself to truly and fully let go, and focus on finding yourself again.
No matter if you dated for 4 months or 4 years, breakups are tough. Be kind to yourself, but be firm with yourself, and see it as an opportunity for bigger and better things in the future. Give yourself grace and time to be sad, but force yourself to get out of the house and do things you enjoy as well. Appreciate the people in your life that are there to hold you up when you feel like falling apart. Lean on the people in your life who are there for you. I would’ve never survived without my sisters, my mom, and my best friend. Be thankful for the good times and use the bad to fuel the moving on process. Try to let go of any hate and forgive them so you can truly move past it. And remember, you were fine without them before they came along, and you’ll be fine without them again. Give yourself time and grace and a whole lot of love. Take all of that love you were giving to your ex and give it to yourself, and your family, and your friends. And for the love of God, quit creeping on their Instagram.