Breakups suck. Especially when they’re unexpected, out-of-character and done via one measly little text. No conversation, no coherent reasoning, no nothing.
You’re left wondering what happened. Where did it all go wrong? It felt like it was only yesterday that we were talking in future tense and exchanging ‘I love you’.
And now this.
The person you loved and who supposedly loved you for all these years is nothing but a stranger.
Until two weeks ago, I never truly knew what heartbreak felt like. I can’t say I’m a fan. But I’m determined to take this pain and channel it into something useful, hence why you’re reading this. I may not understand what leads someone to do a Jekyll and Hyde, but I’ve learnt a lot of lessons along the way; lessons that might hopefully help one of you if you’re going through heartbreak.
Succumb to the Emotional Rollercoaster //
Myself and those around me never saw it coming. The last time I saw him was the weekend before the breakup; he had been staying with myself and my family for the weekend. That Sunday afternoon he didn’t want to leave, he kept turning around to give me another kiss goodbye. Who knew it would be goodbye forever.
Sudden breakups, with no foresight, can be one of the most confusing things you can go through. Especially when prior to that moment, everything seemed perfect.
For awhile you’re going to be in complete and utter shock.
I said the phrase ‘I can’t believe this’ so many times it lost all meaning. I wondered where my best friend went and who this imposter was. How can someone change so much in one day? I couldn’t understand how someone can tell you how much they loved you one week and then act as if you don’t exist the next. I wondered if he had really loved me at all; surely if you love someone you won’t let them go so easily?
So many questions. Yet, no answers.
Then, scattered throughout the shock you get these unimaginably sharp pangs of sadness, anger, betrayal and disappointment – just to name a few.
As much as I wish I could take all this pain away, it’s inevitable. I like to think of emotion as energy in motion. If you don’t let that energy flow, it’s just going to keep building until you explode. So, allow yourself to succumb to the emotional rollercoaster. We seem to live in a world where people view sadness as weakness and each time we start to expose our real emotion, we cover it up with an ‘I’m fine’. It’s ok not to be fine.
It’s ok to be heartbroken.
Cry out all the pain and frustration. Some days will be easier than others, but above all, remember that time heals everything. One day you won’t feel like this. But until then, you just have to work through the emotions and take it day by day.
Surround Yourself With Loved Ones //
Breakups can make you feel more alone than ever but it really doesn’t have to be this way. Confide in those closest to you. Having someone to talk to and a shoulder to cry on makes all the difference. There are people willing to listen to you and care for you, let them. Even just having people message you asking how you are and wishing you a good day means the world.
I honestly don’t know how I would have gotten through these past two weeks if it weren’t for my family! Not only were they able to ensure I kept my sanity, but they were also able to empathise in my shock and disappointment because they too had lost someone they considered to be family.
Look After Yourself, As Best You Can //
We often underestimate the severity of prolonged emotional stress on our health. During this time, it’s more important than ever to look after yourself.
Initially though you may find it almost impossible to eat and don’t worry because it’s completely normal. What’s happening during this time is your adrenaline and cortisol levels are out of whack. The emotional stress is causing your body to prime for a ‘fight or flight’ situation because of signalling from the sympathetic nervous system and HPA axis. However, for digestion, your body has to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, the ‘rest and digest’ system, which it can’t do effectively until you’re in a better state of mind. Yep, I can’t even write a breakup post without going all science nerd on you guys, ha! For those days where you just can’t eat, try to get in some soups and smoothies – that way you’re still getting in nutrients. And of course, try your best to stay hydrated and get enough sleep!
If possible, also try to reduce your workload to allow yourself time to grieve. Obviously, we don’t plan breakups into our schedule, so we can’t always take the time off – we have responsibilities. But if something doesn’t budge, your physical and mental health can take a toll.
For me personally, heartbreak hit during my final exam block for university – one of the most important and stressful weeks in my academic career! And let me tell you, juggling my final exams whilst on an emotional rollercoaster was incredibly tough. By my last exam I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown and had barely eaten or slept in over a week. Don’t let yourself get to this point!!
Remove Reminders //
Get rid of anything that reminds you of them because it’s going to make it so much harder to move on. And if you can’t bear to get rid of it yourself, send it to them and they can dispose of it how they wish. After all, they are the ones that caused this. You’re already paying for their actions, let them take some responsibility.
Write a Pro-Con List //
Yep, just like that episode on Friends where Ross wrote a pro-con list for Rachel. I am not even kidding – this helps so much. Breakups like this are weird because no matter how angry you are at that person for how they’ve handled the situation, it’s so hard to shake off your feelings for them. And let’s face it when you’re in this situation, reflecting on all the good memories is painful. To help us move on we have to start thinking more practically. Often when we love someone we become blinded to all their not-so-great qualities, but now it’s time to take off the love goggles and perhaps see these people for who they really are, or at least, for who they’ve become. And hey, just the fact that you’re in this situation means you already have a few things to add to the list: impulsiveness, communication issues when it matters most and the fact that this person could so easily let you go. So now rather than thinking about what you had, you can now start to realise what you have and that’s someone that is obviously not relationship material. Someone who is quite frankly not worth your tears. Ok, now for the pro part – write down all the lessons this has taught you and all the things you are grateful for in your life. In times like this we’re so focused on the negative, when really, we have so many wonderful things going for us.
Every time you feel down – check on this list!! It will slowly help you to train your brain, you’ll start to see this person more realistically rather than through love goggles AND you’ll be reminded by all the many amazing things in your life.
It’s Them, Not You //
Often when people make reckless decisions it’s because they are going through something internally. And rather than confide in you, they chose to punish you. Perhaps there were external influences involved (e.g. alcohol/partying, friends, family), a moment of weakness, misunderstandings or misdirected anger. Who knows. If the many psychology classes at university taught me anything, it’s that the brain is a complicated organ. We can barely understand our own let alone someone else’s. What I can assure you though, is that their actions speak more of them than you. A good person would never have treated you this way. So, remember this next time you think you’re not good enough. I promise you, you are more than enough.
And if somehow they failed to see this, it’s their loss.
Always Come From Good Intentions //
Whatever you do throughout this breakup, do everything with good intentions. Too often break-ups become a game of who can punish the other person more; whether that comes in the form of racing to find someone new to fill their spot just to prove a point or by slandering their name to every person you meet.
Rise above it and don’t let their behaviour dictate your character. Strip away the ego and allow yourself to heal in whatever time frame that may be. Maybe you’ll bounce back quickly. Maybe it will take you a little longer. There’s no right or wrong way as long as you’re always coming from good intentions.
And I know that right now this all seems unfair and revenge is probably tempting, but what comes around goes around. Perhaps one day they will care to realise how much pain they inflicted onto the person they once loved. And honestly, I could never live with that kind of guilt.
What makes breakups like this particularly hard is that you don’t get any closure.
To help find some solace, I suggest talking about your feelings to someone close to you, or even writing in a journal. And if you really must contact them, write them an email – but if you do make sure you keep it classy. Give yourself some time to read it over and get someone in a better state of mind to proof read it before you click that send button.
After that, do not contact them again or seek them out on social media. For them to have treated you this way, they are not the person you thought they were. Chances are you won’t be met with compassion or even an apology for what they did or the way they went about it. This will only make it harder for you and open-up old wounds. Besides, no matter how irrational his actions may have seemed, you have no choice but to respect his decision.
There’s a reason why every typical break up movie ends up with the girl having a makeover. It’s not that she wasn’t good enough before, it’s just that sometimes we can lose parts of ourselves in relationships. Not to mention tough breakups can leave us feeling emotionally and physically drained. Now’s the time where we can find ourselves again. The time to become the best versions of us possible. So treat yourself. Work on your health. Pour your passion into your hobbies. Go out and have fun. Reconnect with people. Spend time on things that make you happy.
Create a life you absolutely freakin’ love.
Look at the Bigger Picture //
Have faith that this happened for a reason.
Better yet, believe that this happened in your favour.
I know right now all you can see is pain, but in time the bigger picture will reveal itself. Perhaps you had to lose this person to find someone better suited for you and the path you’re headed on. In a year’s time or five years’ time you will be able to look back on this and connect the dots. But until then, have faith that you are where you need to be.
“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together” – Marilyn Monroe
Moving on //
We had always talked about our future together. I never thought I’d even have to consider one without him. Sometimes I wonder if I’d be able to trust another person again. How can you both be so happy for so many years for them to go and do this? But that’s the thing – nothing is ever promised to us. Not even life itself. No matter whether it’s a job, a big move, or even a relationship – there comes a time where we just have to take a leap of faith.
Sooner or later you’re going to meet new people. And one of those will be your happily ever after. Someone who will truly love you. And when that time comes don’t let the pain from this relationship tarnish your next.
Take that leap of faith.
For every one of you going through heartbreak right now, please know I’m thinking of you and sending you a giant virtual hug!
Here’s to the next chapter. xx