Spoiler Alert: You're Going to Survive This Breakup
Here’s the skinny: Humans are pretty bad at relationships. We just are. There’s no way around it. We make mistakes. We fall for mistakes. It’s just the honest truth.
Sure, we can manage relationships well enough to keep the world spinning, but when it comes to deep, personal relationships - there’s going to be heartbreak at some point or another. We’re going to dive a bit deeper into how to get over that awful breakup in your love life, but this is all also true for any sort of close personal relationship in your life too. Nobody’s perfect, so we can’t expect our relationships (friendships, relatives, romance) to be unflawed.
There’s no fail proof guide to navigating the hurt and fallout that comes from a failed relationship. Every person and every relationship is unique - what helped me, might not help you. What happened to me, might not ever happen to you. While, there’s no blueprint for getting over heartbreak - there are steps we can take to heal, grow and ensure we don’t repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
TIME HEALS ALL (BUT HEELS HURT TO WALK IN)
There is no such thing as an official timeline for getting over a breakup. I’ve heard silly equations - multiple the number of years by months, etc, etc. I don’t buy any of that. Everyone is different. What takes me a year might take you a week (ok, if it takes you a week, please do us all a favor and pump the brakes, but you get the gist). The key is to go at your own pace and take all the time you need. You will know what is right for you.
Focus on self-care and make yourself a priority. You’ve prioritized the needs of someone else and now you’re able to refocus on you. Give yourself the TLC you need and be patient with yourself. You’re going to have many well-meaning friends telling you to move on immediately by finding someone new. My advice? Try taking time to reconnect with yourself. There is so much you can learn about yourself when a relationship ends. Use this time to self-reflect.
Were there goals you had given up on because they didn’t quite align with the life you were creating with your partner? Take this time to re-evaluate what makes you happy.
Fun Fact: I didn’t wear lipstick for 5 years because my boyfriend at the time HATED lipstick. Guess what I do now? Wear the brightest lipstick I can find any chance I get. Sounds silly, but it was also silly that I allowed someone to tell me what I can and can’t wear. Especially when it’s something I’ve always loved wearing.
TRUST YOUR INTUITION
You’re going to know what feels right to you. Only you will know what helps and what hurts you. Everyone’s got a different method for healing a broken heart (and they’ll likely offer their unsolicited advice to you over and over again), but only you will know what resonates with your heart.
Find things that make you feel better. Maybe spending time with your family will make you feel grounded and in touch with your roots (doing things you enjoyed and visiting people that existed before the relationship can help volumes). Exercise can make you feel more confident and boost your mood. A new haircut can make you feel like you’ve got your groove back. You’ll know best.
PROCESS THE PAST
If you need to grieve the relationship, then you need to give yourself permission to grieve. Allow yourself to feel your feelings. I’m that girl who usually puts on a “strong face”, but I’ve learned the hard way that this helps nobody and only delays the process of recovery. When we push our emotions away, we are only suppressing them instead of managing them. In my experiences, the chances are much higher that they’ll arise with more vengeance and sometimes even in your next relationship. Deal with them as they come. The last thing you want to do is carry around the pain longer than you need to and ultimately let it affect new relationships.
TAKE A LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND MAKE A CHANGE
This might be the most important step of all. Once you’ve given yourself the time, healthy dose of self-care, and processed the relationship - it’s important to stop to evaluate the whole situation.
Were you treated well in this relationship? If not, did you recognize it when it began? How can you protect yourself better next time?
What did you learned from the relationship? What parts of life were you ignoring before it? How are you wiser now?
Sometimes we need to take a step back to evaluate the positive and negatives of the relationship. Sure, it was important and special to you, but dissecting the good and the bad will help you stop idealizing and help you move forward confidently (and eventually in your next relationship).
Work through the hurt in order to learn from it and be able to be open again. Don’t allow the pain to close you off to others. It’s easy to develop a false-belief during a breakup that says, “There’s no one better out there.” It can lead you to questioning the path you’re on, but it’s not true. Our paths might be marked by heartbreak, but they don’t have to be defined by it.