How to Get Through a Break Up When It Doesn't Feel Like the End

I searched, "How do you make it through a break up?" and I read through every article that I could find, but none of them have the answers that I am looking for. Because for the most part, people write about breakups when they end terribly, when they’re scorned, when there is foul play, abuse, trauma, and every other terrible way a relationship could end. But what about those times when something ends for a good reason? What if it doesn’t feel like the end? 

So I’m writing this for people that go on and search for a voice to talk them through it, but mostly I’m writing it for myself because trust me, I do not have all the answers that you or I am looking for. 

Think about why you’re taking a break. 

See our problem, I think, comes down to this: he lost himself and I needed him too much. We gave up a lot for each other, and it took a toll on us. He moved into my apartment with my friends and lost what it felt like to be independent and be himself. I spent so much time trying to put us back together that I ended up doing more harm than good. 

He was subtly trying to ask for space, and I couldn’t give it to him at the time because I didn’t want the space. Him and I spent so much time focusing on the other person's happiness that we completely lost what made us happy without each other. At the end he could see this and I still couldn’t.

Us ending amicably honestly hurt more than if we had ended badly. I felt like I couldn’t be angry because what he was doing - while it may seem selfish - was the most selfless thing he could have done for both of us. 

Don’t pretend that the other person is the enemy.

First let me tell you about my person. He is the kindest human being that I have ever met. "Kind" may seem like a generic thing to say, but to me it’s not. He is kind in the way he never has anything bad to say about another person. He is kind in the way that he always put me and my happiness first, which is what I speculate was a part of our downfall. 


Small sign that says

There’s a million nice things that I have to say about him, and I know that sounds weird. How could he be all of these great things if we aren’t together right now? 

I don’t believe that to get through a breakup you have to shit talk the other person or hold onto any anger towards them. That’s a huge thing that people do. They breakup and then act like talking bad about the other one will make them feel better. But it doesn’t matter what happens - he is/was my person and the person I fell in love with, so why would I run my mouth about him when that isn’t going to make it hurt any less? 

Us not being together together right now does not make him my enemy. I still look at us as being on the same team because we both still want the same thing - for the other one to be happy. 

This next part is important. It’s for the friends that have someone going through heartbreak. I know that you see the pain on our faces and want to make it better by saying things like, “You deserve better,” or “They were so shitty,” etc. But that’s not going to help heal the other person. If you’re like me, set clear boundaries and tell the people around you how you need to be loved to make you feel better, because it’s your heartache and you get to decide how you want to be treated.

Mourn the loss, but use it to fertilize your growth. 

joaquin Phoenix speech

I think something that is taking me a while to learn is that the loss of a relationship can lead to a lot of grief. My mom told me though that I needed to give myself time to mourn. Even though nobody died, a huge chunk of my life was now missing and I needed time to grieve that. 

The first few days were the absolute worst. It felt like every single nerve in my body was on fire and I just wanted to turn it all off. I walked into my apartment that we lived in together and I couldn’t look at one thing without bursting into tears. I wanted to burn it all down and lock myself in it forever all at the same time. I opened the fridge and sat there and cried at the Brita - yes a f*cking Brita - because I couldn’t help but think that he wouldn’t be there to help me do stupid tasks like refill it anymore. 

I couldn’t look at our pictures or be alone to hear myself think. He was ingrained in every memory and action that I did. I was/am in so much pain and for so long he was the only one that could heal me when I was hurt. But he couldn’t be this time. 

And that was the problem: I literally couldn’t live without him. Now I still want him around, but I know how to live without him. I am rediscovering a lot of things about myself, like I’m still really fun, I actually like to sleep on the other side of the bed, my friends are still here for me, and I am still me without him.

One of the biggest things that I learned from this was to just stop rushing things and focusing on the future. I have such a problem staying in the present that I could only have tunnel vision for the life I wanted us to have someday. I am learning to take things day by day, hour by hour, and it honestly helps me be a lot more present with myself and the people around me. 

I don’t need him to breathe anymore, but I want him. I want him around and I want us to be an even better version of us. I don’t know how long it will take to get there, or if it will, but I’m willing to wait a while to find out. I don’t want to rebound or be one of those girls that finds someone else to feel the void. I want to learn to fill the space that he left. I want to re-get to know Payten and who she is right now. 

I will focus on me while he rediscovers himself and then maybe we can be us again. And if we can’t, I wouldn’t change one thing because the love that we felt for each other was undeniably real and it is still there. 

you are what you listen toNot everything I’m doing is productive and it shouldn’t seem like I have it all together, because trust me I have drank a lot of my sadness and done all of the stupid sad girl cliches because of it. I listen to a really sad playlist when I just want to revel in the loss. Nick and I still talk everyday and see each other, which for now is a good thing even though it seems like it might not be. 

I’m not perfect and this is all a new process for me, but I hope that it resonates and can help someone even just a little. What I am learning is that not all breakups have to end terribly, some just need to end for a while for the growth of both people. 

If you want to listen to my playlist to be sad, here it is: Sad Girl Hours