WARNING: This is not a post about how to get back together. This is a post about dealing with a breakup. I’m not going to torment you with some possibility that more than likely ain’t happenin’ boo. I’m here to give you the ass kicking I wish I got this time last year. It will be tough but necessary. You don’t deserve crumbs, scraps, or bullshit. You deserve and are worthy of love and happiness. This person is not the keeper at the gate. You are in control of your future. From this point on, your actions are yours and yours alone. Read on if you think you’re ready…
Disconnect: PUT DOWN THAT PHONE! Cut off all communication with your ex. If a child is involved, put up proper boundaries to keep it as painless as possible.
How I learned this: I talked to my ex for weeks after the breakup. I found stupid excuses to get in touch and so did he. It made the eventual disconnect even harder. I was good at the beginning, I blocked his number and sent his texts to spam but I overestimated my resolve and broke down. You’ve become accustomed to this pattern in your life and no it no longer exists. In fact, you’ve become addicted. The “high” you get when he texts back or she nuzzles your neck is addictive and now you’ve got to quit cold turkey. You’re bound to slip up. That’s ok but don’t beat yourself up about it just make sure that you get back on track. If they couldn’t say what you needed them to say while you were together, they’re not going to find the words in the next days, months, or even years. It’s not fair to you or them to keep holding on when there’s nothing to hold onto. Let it go now not eventually.
Assess: Look at where you are now and determine where you want to be when this is over. Make a plan for how you’ll spend your time. How will you balance feeling out your emotions but not drowning in them? Or finding new activities but not using them as a means of avoidance? I know that’s not what you want to think about but if you don’t get out in front of the problem, you’ll just keep putting off…and causing yourself more trouble.
How I Learned This: I went through the motions. I didn’t plan on getting better, getting through it, getting anywhere and found myself in a nice old rut. I become increasingly impulsive and predictable. I hooked up when it wasn’t what I actually wanted or needed. I partied. I sat in my mourning too long. I felt powerless in a situation I had complete power in.
Support: Hold on to your support circle. If you were “that” person who completely ditched your friends for your ex, you’ve got some work cut out for you. Mend those abandoned bridges, not just because you need them but because you realize you shouldn’t have left them to begin with. It’s important to have people around you and not alienate yourself. Isolation is like adding fuel to the fire of depression. You want to be alone but you need to be around other people. Get out of your situation. Your ex isn’t in your life so why should they dictate how you spend your time? Go shopping, kayaking, antiquing, road-tripping, get out with your friends and refocus your attention on your life. Make sure they are supportive but be respectful of their needs. Don’t use them as emotional dumps. A breakup isn’t an excuse to stop being a good friend.
How I Learned This: I got so into this guy I fell out of focus with my friends. Against character, I spent everyday with him. All my attention went to him so I didn’t make as much of an effort to connect with the people who mattered most to me. That’s not good and a sure sign of severe codependence in a relationship. There’s a difference between making people priorities and making them options.
Interact: Meet some new people! Head over to meetup.com and find a group that interests you. Take a skill based class and make new friends. Take up partner dancing. Paint a picture of a tree drunk. Do something creative, constructive, and fun! This can be with friends or on your own. Make new friends but most importantly make new, positive memories for yourself.
How I Learned This: I was a huge mope. I moped around the apartment. I moped in the car. I moped everywhere. I was annoyed with myself. I remembered all the things that I wanted to do with him and thought that (for whatever dumb reason) I could never do them now. *eye roll* I lost time and wasted precious opportunities to live my life. I used my sorrow as an excuse to stop enjoying myself. Don’t do that, it’s stupid.
Redirect: Love isn’t a switch you can just turn off. If you broke up on Tuesday, you’re probably going to love them on Wednesday, and the wednesday after that, and the wednesday after that, and the wednesday after that…That’s ok. All of those feelings don’t have to be wasted. It’s not about destroying your feelings but redirecting them. Instead of spending time thinking about them, start to think of yourself. What are your needs? What did you learn? How can you grow from this? What do you want to do with your life? Focus on loving yourself. Focus on being the partner you want and need. Give yourself some much needed TLC…just not the channel.
How I Learned This: I spent so much time thinking about what I would say if I saw him. How I would be super hot with a super hot date and make him feel like shit. The usual ultra mature revenge fantasy we all have. But what was I actually getting out of spending all my time dreaming of a moment’s pleasure? Nothing. I needed nourishing too and I should have just given it to myself.
Mourn + Celebrate: No timelines, no pressure. Give yourself the space you need to just be. If you need to cry, cry. If you need a kick in the ass, pick up the phone and call your friends. Don’t make yourself feel bad for where you aren’t yet. Don’t be an asshole and make other people or relationships a substitute. You need this time alone. There’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t be self-destructive either. Find a way to approach, feel, express, and deal with the pain. You’ll be better for it.
How I learned this: the first few entries on this blog were basically my journal. Writing was such a relief for me. I felt like I could approach the things I needed to. Find that for yourself.
Reflect: Look at how far you come. One day you’ll wake up and the pain won’t be there anymore. No seriously. He won’t be the first thing you think about. The birds will start to chirp again. You’ll be invigorated by a project you’re working on. You’ll be focused on your career or passions. That person will go from being the center of your universe to living in a galaxy far, far away. I promise.
Now what have you learned my pretties? Have you done something similar to this? How did your most recent breakup fare? Sound off in the comments below and don’t forget: do better, feel better, be better!
Psst! Here’s the pinnable version of this. Pass it on to any friends who might need it!