1. let yourself feel
Your feelings are valid. Your emotions are real and affected by the situation, a situation in which, at first, you may be asking yourself, “why did this happen?” and contemplate the reasons. You may be sad, angry, and all of that is because you ended a relationship where you spent time and energy on the other person. Your mind, body, and soul are thrown out of the loop, going through all of the pains at once. But, remember, you are not alone. You should not feel obligated to put on a smile in front of your friends when you need them the most. Many of us, including me, struggle with this “people-pleasing” attitude and fear the idea of expressing weakness that may shy others away. Fortunately, you will notice that your true friendships will shine when they validate your feelings at this time of your life. They will reserve time to listen to you, maybe send you a text or give you a call to ask about you, and invite you over to watch a movie. Letting your feelings go is how you grieve, and every time you vent or cry is another step closer to accepting this new life chapter that awaits you.
2. cut off contact
Over the past couple of years, I have learned that nothing good comes out of staying in touch with the person you ended things with incredibly fresh out of the relationship. Maybe once there is a mutual understanding and you both are completely over each other, it is possible to reach out and be amicable.
No matter the duration, you and the other person spent a portion of each other’s lives with late-night talks and early morning coffee shop dates. This person knows you inside and out from cover to cover, so well that they know you better than you know yourself. Your communication with them satisfies a level of comfort knowing that you can tell them your highs and your lows. When you are no longer together, the security of having a best friend to share your life with, someone who you felt was your support system, the one who celebrates you, is gone. After a hard day at school when you kill your presentation in a class, all you want to do is call that person to tell them all about it. As hard as this can be, there needs to be a break from this routine.
You need to break this routine to clear your mind from any emotional attachment. The trick to moving on is to give yourself space. I have seen so many relationships go from good to bad, then messy, from “breaks” that end with “hookups” and tears. Another thing to keep in mind is that some people confuse the concept of missing the person and the concept of missing the idea of the person and routine, so it’s essential to take the time to clear your mind and think logically about the situation to decipher your true emotions. I am not saying to delete their number or block them on your socials, but be mindful that there is a chance that staying in communication with them may hurt you in the long run. Instead of getting over them, you may waste more time as you maintain the feelings you have by talking to them. Staying in communication clouds your decision-making from a more intelligent, wise choice to an in-the-moment emotional one.
3. stay distracted
Distraction is critical, mainly because if you occupy yourself with other activities, errands, and so on, you are keeping your mind off of troubling thoughts. You are avoiding thoughts of the person that can make you feel emotional and miss them to the point where you feel the temptation to message them again.
It’s one thing to let your feelings fly, but it’s another to stay in your bedroom dorm and mourn. Self-care is the biggest priority through this process. Take the time to plan an activity, whether going therapy shopping at the Natick Mall or going to Dog Therapy to meet some furry cuties on Linden Street or even if it’s a plan to take a hot bath, put a face mask on for the night. Self-care boosts your immediate mood, and although it’s temporary, so are your emotions about the breakup.
4. surround yourself with friends
This goes off of staying distracted, but I want to distinguish this from the previous topic. Regardless if you are in or out of a relationship, your friends are always there for you. Although you may feel that the person you were with was your best friend and maybe they knew you differently than your friends, you should take this as a sign to strengthen your friendships who lift you and make you genuinely laugh. Your friends are also there as your support system; they are there for a shoulder to cry on and encourage you to be the best version of yourself. Take this as an opportunity to let them in on a bigger piece of your life instead of your ex-partner. After all, you are only in college once. It’s essential to step out of the bubble you were in and experience young adulthood with your friends. It’s something to think about before your life gets busy working a nine-to-five job where scheduling an afternoon to lunch with a friend in your calendar becomes challenging.
5. focus on you & learn to be okay
You are important. While being in a relationship, you may start to feel dependent on the normalcy with your ex-partner often, that you can rely on them to be there for you since, after all, your ex-partner is your “other half,” right? No. You need to learn that the only person that is your best friend is you. You will always stand up for yourself and be in charge of your decision-making to increase your mood and overall quality of life. The more you spend time with yourself, the more you start to feel comfortable with accepting your worth, who you are, and valuing your space. Confidence does not appear overnight, but practicing self-care will have you realize that no matter the situation and among all the people who come and go in your life, the one that stays to believe in you is you.
You are the one that carries you through your successes. Take the time to work on your priorities; because we are only in college once (with hefty tuition). All jokes aside, it’s time to nerd it out, dig your nose into textbooks, and make connections. Because the hard truth is that anyone can leave at any moment in your life, so it’s important to be independent in all areas. Whether that be emotionally independent—where you are not attached to someone by the bond you have, physically independent—where you are not reliant on seeing someone to be content, or financially independent—where you can go on with your life without needing anyone to fund your state of living. Always have a plan for yourself first.
As I say, people do leave all the time throughout life, but they go for a reason. Some people are meant to stay temporarily, some are meant to stay for life, and others are meant to not know our existence. That means if our partner leaves, it was not meant to be, and we need to learn to be okay with that. It also means we are one step closer to the next greatest thing, which doesn’t necessarily have to be another relationship.
So, cheers to new beginnings. Instead of focusing on the past, let’s get excited for what’s to come in our futures ahead.