We’ve all been there, we’ve heard the “it’s not you, it’s me”, or the classic “I think we work better as friends,” and our all time favorite, “she was just talking about the Chem we studied last night.” Let’s face it, break ups suck, especially when you’re the one being tossed to the curb like last weeks recycling – but we all go through it, and we all cope in different ways. By now you may have consulted your best buds on how to go about ending this insufferable self pity and how to stop listening to so many Fleetwood Mac songs- and they probably told you one of two things, either switch that music to Single Ladies and redownload your favorite dating app, or use this time to reflect on the relationship, on yourself, etc. Of course one sounds like a great quick fix, and hey, maybe it is for some of us. However, if you’re anything like me, and this relationship was more of a 2-year roller coaster than a lovely summer romance – keep on reading girl.
Before I go any further, let me point out that when I say don’t download that app right away, I speak from a horrific experience – let’s just say, the night resulted in nothing but tears and the realization that being on a date with someone who isn’t your boyfriend (well, now ex-boyfriend) is a terrible reminder of what you’re avoiding. Hopping right back into dating is a really hard thing to do, and while you might be thinking it could be a great distraction – that’s where you’re wrong. When you’re in a relationship, you sit across from this one person for every meal, you hold hands with this person during every movie, and you just grow into this sort of comfort with them – whether you realize it or not. Going on dates became easy, but this did not happen overnight. By saying yes to a date with someone new, you are committing to a night of having to actually try making conversation, avoiding those awkward quiet moments, and being reminded all night of how easy it used to be with your boyfriend, and how much you miss him. You’ll be putting yourself through a night of constant reminders about your ex, and that is the last thing you need to be doing.
And what’s worse – a one night stand. Do NOT subject yourself to the infamous walk of shame as a result of being dumped, sure this might work for some people but as I said before, after being with someone for a certain length of time you grow comfortable, and sex with someone new so soon after being with only one person for so long will be a bad wake up call to what is really going on in your life right now. Sex with someone you love is (obviously) much different than with someone you don’t, let alone with someone you just met who not only has no idea what you’re going through, but also would not care even if they did. This will not heal your pain, it may act as a band aid for a short time but it the long run will only make things worse.
There is a period of sad songs and ice cream for a reason, and this is not something to be taken for granted – or to be ashamed of feeling for that matter, even if people (or yourself) may be telling you otherwise. While some may refer to this time as “time to work on yourself”, I like to think about it as time to say goodbye to being the person you were with your ex, and welcoming back the person you were without them – who eventually you’ll get back to being (I promise). It’s a hard thing to remember who you were before this special person came into your life, and you might even need to remind yourself that yes – you once did live a life free of this person, but it’s an important part of the healing process. It might just be small things you stopped doing, like a hobby you forgot about, clothes you stopped wearing, or friends you haven’t seen. But remembering these things is a great way to not only distract yourself in a healthy way, but to get back to being you. Better yet, take this time to do the things that you couldn’t while you were with your ex, like maybe going out with just your girlfriends, or trying that restaurant that you never got around to trying. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to reflect on some things that maybe weren’t so great in the relationship, because let’s face it, no relationship is perfect, and with each one we gain more knowledge about things we like in people and things we don’t.
Basically, all I’m trying to say here is that you do not need to find comfort in someone else before finding comfort in yourself – and yeah that may sound cheesy but it’s the truth. We all go through break-ups, and we all cope in different ways – but please let me spare you this one mistake. Date when you are ready, and when you’ve had time to embrace your very own, very valid feelings. There is no greater peace you can find than the peace of knowing you’re happy with yourself, and you will be, even if it takes a little longer than you’d like!