Surviving the Break-Up

As someone who has gone through more break-ups than I’m proud to admit, I’ve declared myself an expert when it comes to moving on. 

I know right now it feels like your world just came to a screeching halt, but trust me, despite the awful heartache you are feeling now, there will come a day where you think, Why did I waste so much time being upset over him/her? I can’t give you an exact date as to when that day is, but what I can give you are some tips on how to start the healing process now. 

*Cue the Nike Run Club voice over* Here we are, at the start of your run. In this case, your run is this break-up. I never said moving on was going to be easy, but you’re here now. And by being here, I can already tell that you want to get over your ex. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have clicked on this article, and you definitely wouldn’t have read this far. Now, let’s get started.

 

Step 1: Stop talking 

As harsh as it sounds, you need to stop communicating with your ex. That means, no texting, no calling, no Snapchatting, no direct messaging, nada. Some people think this step is a bit dramatic and that it isn’t necessary for every situation, but don’t be fooled, it is. Whether you are trying to completely forget about your ex or transition your relationship from romantic to friendly, you must stop talking.  At this moment, feelings are still lingering, which means any communication, no matter how friendly it may seem, could be misconstrued as flirtation. For the time being, you two need to stop talking. It’s time for you to focus on yourself. Not on your partner’s feelings, not on what went wrong, not on how to win him or her back – forget about the “what if’s” and the “could’ve been’s” – for now, those thoughts need to be left alone.

 

Step 2: Slowly but surely, get rid of reminders

Your iPhone background of the two of you? Change it. That teddy bear he or she got you for Valentine’s Day? Trash it. That birthday reminder you have for him or her in your calendar? Delete it. The saying, “out of sight, out of mind” could not be truer, and in step two, it’s time to get rid of all those little reminders floating around in your life. Photos, texts, t-shirts, and everything else in-between need to be packed up and thrown out. 

The removal of reminders may take time. I don’t expect everyone to be able to pack up the past six months or three years of his or her life and toss it out the door, (but if you can, kudos to you.) Baby-steps are steps nevertheless, so no matter how long this process may take you, getting rid of these trinkets he or she left behind after the break up will not only keep him or her off your mind, but will also get you physically engaged in the process of moving on. 

While we’re talking about reminders, I think it’s necessary to address the social media aspect of a breakup. I understand unfollowing your ex can be a bit much, especially if you both hope to one day be friends again. Seeing him or her posting up on social media can be hurtful however, so I advise you to mute their social media stories and posts. He or she won’t be notified that you muted their account, but you will be able to scroll freely through your social media feeds without updates of his or her latest night out.

 

Step 3: Cry

Let’s be real, if you haven’t cried yet, deleting those loving text messages or packing up his/her old t-shirts surely did the trick. Whether you are the dumper or dumpee, you are allowed to be upset over this breakup. He or she was a big part of your life, and now that your relationship is dead (sorry to be harsh), it’s time to mourn. So, put on that breakup playlist I know you’ve already made on Spotify and cry your heart out.  Allowing yourself to be upset is healthy, but don’t let this sadness consume you.

Sadness comes in waves. Some days you may feel better or worse than others. So when you are happy, enjoy it, and when you are sad, experience it, but do not think these fluctuating phases will last forever. With time, the tears will stop, the wandering thoughts will fade, and you will be focused on bigger and better things.

 

Step 4: Find a hobby 

Now that you’re single, you’ve got some new-found free-time in your schedule. Unfortunately, Netflix won’t be able to fill this gap forever (nor should you allow it to), which means it’s time for you to find a hobby.  Some people use this time to work out more, (can you say, “revenge body?”), some use art, music, or writing as a creative outlet, and others throw themselves into meditation and other mindful exercises. Whatever your exciting new hobby may be, it’s important to engage in this activity for yourself. Don’t join a band because your ex thought drummers were hot, and don’t join the swim club because you know he or she runs laps every Tuesday at 3:00 PM. This is about you and your personal growth. Wondering what your ex-girlfriend or boyfriend would think of your new hobby is the OPPOSITE of what you should be doing right now.

 

Step 5: Lean on your friends

No one wants to be the whiny friend who is always going on and on about his or her ex, but sometimes, you just have to vent. And your friends are there for moments like this! Friends are your support system, so lean on them now. Whether you’re in need of a late-night rant session or a girls-night-out, they are here to help you through this breakup. I can’t count the number of times I have ranted to my friends about an ex, and have they ever turned me away? Nope. No matter how annoying my post-breakup thoughts get, and I know they get annoying, they are always there for me. So go ahead and call your go-to girls up! You’d be surprised by how eager good friends are to cure your breakup blues.

 

Step 6: Reflect 

At this point, you’ve cried your heart out, you’ve begun investing in yourself, and you have your support system on-call. What’s left to do? Funny you ask. Remember those, “Where did I go wrong?” and, “What could I have done differently?” thoughts that I told you to ignore for the time being? Well, it’s time to unpack that box.  Hopefully, you are now at a place where you can think back on your relationship and not beat yourself up over what you could’ve done differently. Instead, you are now able to see your mistakes and patterns, and take note of them in order to avoid repeats in your next relationship, (because yes, there will be another.)

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So there you have it! From one expert at failed relationships (me), to a newly heartbroken individual (you), I hope my breakup breakdown will set your healing process into motion. 

Because despite popular belief, “winning” the breakup is not about moving on first. It is not about whose new love-interest is hotter or more accomplished. And it’s not about who can care less. It’s about being content with yourself, the life you’re living, and knowing what you have to offer the people around you.