Plainly put, breakups suck. No matter which way you slice it, they are garbage. Regardless on how amicable you feel the split is, someone is ALWAYS going to end up with a broken heart. Whether you are the dumper or the dumpee, it all hurts in some form or another.
I’ve been through my share of breakups and relationships problems. I’ve learned a lot along the way, but in all honesty every situation is different, and recovery will vary from one breakup scenario to another, but baseline will generally remain the same, time, space, healing in each situation.
Breakup recovery can feel similar to recovering from loss due to death. In both instances you are adjusting to life without the other person and the death of relationship. While death is obviously more final and complete, emotional response to both scenarios can be somewhat similar.
Before we jump into the goods, let me remind you… pain heals. Nothing is permanent. Your heart will mend, and you will be back on your feet in no time. It may not feel like it now, but trust me, you will be just fine. Pain, suffering and heart break are always rough in the moment, but in the grand scheme of things, they actually strengthen you and teach you a whole lot about yourself!
(Check out my article on The importance of time between partners for more info on this topic.)
My best advice on getting through a breakup like a badass.
Don’t jump directly into the arms of someone else. While it may be tempting. Especially when they slide into your DM’s as though they have notification settings on your relationship status… Just don’t do it. You’ll most likely regret it and you’ll feel like shit if you let it happen. I know they say that the best way to get over someone is to get over someone new, but that’s total bullshit. You need time to heal and process things before you can legitimately move on to someone new. Random sex, though fun at times, just isn’t worth it. Save yourself the time, energy and guilt and just lay low until the feelings pass. They created vibrators for a reason, ladies… use them. Pleasure yourself. Plus, there’s a good chance you’ll do a better job than that random you’re contemplating anyways. Gentlemen, we all know you’re familiar with how to get the job done on your own. Get to it. Nobody wants to end up having an emotional breakdown while getting it on with a stranger. Awwwkkward.
Do your best to move on. Don’t wait around. Nobody knows the future. Nothing is guaranteed. Life goes on and we all must continue moving forward. Feelings, wants, needs and desires will change as we grow and evolve. This is how life works. This is how we grow. Who you once thought was going to be your forever turned out to be a seasonal player in your game of life and that’s ok! Accept the lessons that you learned in this experience, apply them to current life (if they are positive, of course) and move forward. If you make your way back to each other naturally, so be it. Don’t push or beg or try to force the situation. You’ll only end up pushing them away and inevitably feeling like shit from the continuous rejection. Nobody likes to be rejected. It hurts more when it’s coming from the person you once loved / once loved you.
Out of sight, out of mind. Delete. Block. Unfollow. In the age of social media access to people, even those we don’t want to access, is limitless. If the temptation to contact them is too much, remove them entirely. This doesn’t necessarily mean they will be gone forever, just until your heart heals a bit. Like I said before, if you naturally find your way back to each other, then so be it. Stop torturing yourself by following along in their daily life. You’re just making things more difficult for yourself.
Don’t push your feelings away. OMG, FEEEEEL, for the love of god, let yourself feel. I know you don’t want to. I know it hurts like hell. I know it feels like your heart is being crushed inside your chest. I know the physical pain associated with heartbreak and I know the emotional wear it can cause on your overall well being. I know how much it hurts, trust me, I’ve been there. Seriously, if you don’t deal with it now and you don’t allow yourself to flow through the motion of emotions nasty things are going to resurface in other aspects of your life and / or manifest themselves as physical pain within your body (stress, when not dealt with properly manifests itself in your body. A great book to check out in regards to this is You can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay). We are human, not robots. Do not try to stifle the emotions or push them away in an attempt to avoid them. This will bite you in the ass. Trust me on this one. I am notorious for compartmentalizing and it’s not good. Those emotions WILL come up and it will not be fun. Do yourself a favour. Take a Friday off work if you must and book yourself into some self care (think of something you LOVE doing and do that – hiking, spa day, day trip, whatever floats your boat, ect). Here’s an idea, take a day to grieve cry, be emotional, ugly cry, yell, scream into a pillow, binge on some wine (hide your phone to avoid drunk dialing – DO NOT DRUNK DIAL) eat an entire pizza to yourself, spend the day in your PJ’s curled up in bed, let it flow then pull yourself together, fix yourself up, go buy yourself something nice, something that makes your feel good and then rock on with yo’ bad self.
Out with the old. Clear out the space, remove the stuff that belonged to your ex. You don’t necessarily have to delete or throw away old photos, rather, store them in a box somewhere you don’t have to look at them or see them. Clear off your devices and computers and put all those memories onto a memory key and throw it in the box. You two spent time together creating some wonderful memories. You don’t need to forget it all, just put it away until you can look at it without pain or resentment. Naughty pics… delete those. Don’t be an asshole here. Delete. Delete. Delete. Those are not yours to look at anymore, so be respectful to your ex and let them go.
Rely on your friends. You’ve helped them through breakups I’m sure, it’s only fair that they do the same. Feeling weak? Call a friend. Need a boost. Call a friend. Need to vent. Call a friend.
I’ve coached many friends through breakups and recovery. My experiences range from diffusing full on hysterics to encouraging feelings when someone is numbing out and a little bit of everything in between. No two reactions are the same and that’s to be expected. Know that whatever you are feeling at this time is likely completely normal and it’s ok. Feel what you need to feel, learn what you need to learn and move on with your life. If this person is meant to be in your life you two will make your way back to each other naturally and you have to trust that.
Trust the process.
Do the work.
Live your life.