Breakup Advice From an Actual Person, Not a Fictional One

Taking breakup advice from Twilight, The Princess Diaries and The Wedding Singer was all I had after going through the abrupt end of my first serious relationship. None of my friends went through a breakup before, so I was often alone in my own thoughts on how to fix myself so I could hurry up and move along. I decided to turn to all the bits of so called wisdom I’ve absorbed from watching any movie, TV show, or novel I’ve read that’s ever had a breakup scene. Bella Swan throws herself into peril so that her sparkly vampire ex would run back home to rescue her. Mia Thermopolis, albeit not going through a breakup, has this whole beauty transformation to fit into the ideal image of a princess. Then The Wedding Singer - where Adam Sandler goes through a nasty split from his girlfriend to find the Drew Barrymore of his dreams- where the whole grieving ordeal only seems to last for a few days.

Of course, all of these examples don’t really display the actual process of going through a breakup, and what you should actually do when you are in this much pain. Most of what Hollywood portrays are somewhat shallow and unrealistic depictions of breakups. Get a makeover because they thought you were ugly. Show your partner that you can’t live without them by doing self-harming activities so they'll never think to leave you. Getting over a breakup will only last a few days or weeks, and everyday you’ll feel better. 

Let me give you some real advice that I’ve learnt through some of the breakups I’ve endured. While everyone’s scenarios surrounding the breakups are different, usually the advice is somewhat the same in the end. 

The healing process isn’t always an upwards curve. There will be bad days. 

After my first breakup, I thought that I would feel better every day. That somehow this magical process called ‘healing’ that’s granted to you after the breakup will just do it’s thing. But no, I had a lot of bad days. I’d cry a lot, ask myself what was wrong with me, why he didn’t love me anymore, and just things that didn’t help me through the healing process. If you find yourself going through some hard times, know that breakups are the result of grieving over something and someone you lost. It may take months or years, but you will learn to become patient with yourself. You are not on a fixed timeline to get better either. 

Self care isn’t fancy bath bombs and glasses of champagne.

One hard truth I’ve learned is that no matter how many fruit infused bath soaps, chocolate truffles, or pretty clothes I buy, nothing is going to fix that gaping hole in my heart. Self care is about rediscovering who you are, protecting your dignity and self worth. For the first days of the breakup, self care can be as little as getting out of bed, making yourself breakfast, or even getting out of the house. For me, I wanted to add something positive about myself - so I added more hobbies. Take up a gym class, learn how to dance, make something delicious in your kitchen. The more accomplishments you have under your belt, the more powerful you will feel.

Vent in any shape or form. 

I cannot stress this enough. You cannot hold your emotions and thoughts by yourself - that is a burden that nobody should go through. You are valid in what you feel and don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Compose a letter to your ex and never send it. Vent to a friend, ramble until every last thought or worry vanishes and you run out of things to say. It will feel like you are releasing all of this pent up bad energy out of you to make room for the next cloud of emotions coming through. 

Stop asking “what if?” and start asking “what now?” 

If you did all you could in that relationship, it’s not very helpful to continue thinking about the hundreds of other outcomes that could have resulted. “What if?” is an indicator that you are very much still stuck in the past, but you- I know- are smart enough to know that nobody has the power to change what’s already happened. But in the present, you can do anything. You have the choice to start thinking ‘what can I do right now that is beneficial for me?’

You don’t have the power to fix anybody. You only have the power to fix yourself.

One of the biggest things I’ve learnt from my past breakups is that you can’t fix anybody’s problems- no matter how many times you try or how deeply you know them. Sometimes this is the catalyst for some breakups. But just know, if you gave it your all - that’s all you can really do.

Lastly, normalcy is a societal construct. 

It’s very much possible that you still won’t feel ‘back to normal’ after the breakup. If you think that this is something serious, please consider reaching out to a professional. However, breakups create abrupt changes in our lives- they happen for a reason. In a way, they change us and mold us into something different. You won’t feel normal because you can’t relate to your happy post breakup self anymore- you’ve evolved from that person. But whether that change is something negative or positive, you need to figure that out for yourself.