Healing after a Breakup
This summer I went through a break up. I lost someone who I’d thought was “The One,” someone I’d never expect to leave me, someone who’d talked about marriage and living together and seemed so confident that we’d always be together. And naturally, I believed in it all. And then he left, simple as that. We were together and then we weren’t.
At first it felt unbearable, I didn’t know how to live with all the pain I was feeling. The day of and the day after were two of the worst days of my life, and the first couple of weeks featured me, sleepless and not eating, feeling physically and emotionally sick.
It’s been a little less than two months since it happened, and I’m fine. In fact, I’m good. This has been a time of immense pain and immense healing. So how do you heal after a breakup? There’s no easy way to get over a breakup, no pill to take and make you stop loving someone, no magic wand to wave to make you feel better instantly.
Breakups are gonna be different for each person. Some people may hurt longer than others. People cope and handle stressors in different ways, and what works for me might not work for you. I’m not a self help or psychology expert, I’m just a girl who’s lived through it. And these are just things that helped me hold on and grow throughout it all.
Surround Yourself With People You Care About
I cannot overstate how important this is, especially right after. Breakups can be traumatic, this person you love is no longer there anymore and you have to learn to live with that. It’s probably gonna feel lonely, and remembering that this person isn’t all there is, that other people care and love you, is incredibly powerful.
Don’t isolate yourself, don’t retreat into yourself. Let the people who love you in. Talk. Cry. Put a movie on. Hug. Eat ice cream. It doesn’t matter what you do, what matters is that you aren’t alone. You are important and have people who love you. Being surrounded by love and kindness in your darkest, most vulnerable moments is a really amazing thing.
I’m grateful I had friends who showed me so much love and support and saw me at my worst and were there to hold my hand and help me through. No one should have to go through a breakup alone.
Don’t Contact Your Ex
Once again, I can’t overstate how important this is. However, this might not come as easy as reaching out to friends. This person was probably a huge part of your life, you probably talked a lot. And all of the sudden that’s supposed to change. Not only do you have to adjust to no longer being in a relationship with this person, but to not having this person in your life.
Maybe you want to be friends with them, maybe you still want them in your life in some shape and form. That’s awesome, but right after a breakup is not the time to start making plans as friends. You’re probably hurting a lot, and you’re probably gonna have a lot of intense conflicting feelings. It’s gonna be a roller coaster. And if you involve your ex in that, texting or calling and saying whatever is on your mind, you’re likely going to hurt them too or say something you might regret and can’t take back (I’ve been there).
You have to consider your ex, they’re dealing with this too. Maybe they’re having a hard time too, and you both need to adjust to this new reality. Even if you want this person in your life, there should be a period of no contact. Constantly texting and talking and seeing each other is not conducive to healing and growth.
You need to learn to live without your ex. You need to learn that you don’t need them, that you are okay. There was a life before your ex, and there is a life after. If you still want to be friends, great, but you shouldn’t depend on that relationship with them anymore. You don’t need them. If you remain friends, awesome! But if you don’t that’s okay too. You do NOT need them.
Let Yourself Feel Your Feelings
A breakup is an emotional rollercoaster, and a pretty unpleasant one. You’re probably gonna be feeling a lot of things and feeling them very strongly. Breakups are painful, that’s just the fact of it. Losing a relationship that meant a lot to you is gonna hurt and there’s no way to avoid that.
Everything you’re feeling is valid, don’t try to suppress those feelings or put on a front for everyone. It’s okay not to be okay. Those feelings are going to arise to the surface and be felt at one point or another. Sit with your feelings, listen to them, notice what’s going on with yourself. Let yourself cry, let yourself heal.
Healing is a process and it might be messy and ugly and inconvenient or unpleasant for other people and that’s okay, this is your journey. This part is painful, it really is. It’s so much easier to push things down, but letting yourself sit with your sadness, your despair, your loneliness will get it out of your system and prove to you that you can survive through dark times.
One of my friends went through a breakup before I did and she told me “I’m my best self after a breakup,” and when, a month later, I got broken up with I remembered that. I wanted to be my best self, I wanted this to be an opportunity to learn and grow and fall in love with myself.
Losing someone you love is incredibly hard, but one thing that helped me was my perspective. I wanted to use the pain and create with it, I wanted to rediscover the part of me that got lost in that relationship. This is an opportunity to grow tremendously as a person. Throwing yourself into work, into a hobby, into your other relationships can be really fulfilling.
Maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to try or a place you’ve always wanted to visit. Maybe there’s a show you wanted to watch but your ex wasn’t interested. Watch it, go do that thing or visit that place you want to visit. Let this be a time where you listen to you.
This one’s very important and ties into rediscovering yourself. Above everything else, this is a time for you to grow and heal. And you should be taking care of yourself. Doing basic things may seem impossible at first. Maybe you’re not eating as much as usual, or maybe you’re eating too much. Ditto sleep. Maybe the idea of doing laundry or washing the dishes is overwhelming. That’s normal, and I promise it will get easier.
Take care of yourself, it’s gonna take time. Be patient with yourself. You’ll adjust to everything with time. You’re sleep schedule will fix itself, your appetite will return to normal, simple tasks will become simple again.
I’ve been doing really well with self care recently. I’m trying to look out for myself above all else. I’ve started meditating and taking it seriously, I’m exercising more than I ever have. I’m doing nice things for myself at every opportunity. Listen to your body and what it wants and needs. Everything else will follow.
You are going to be okay. You will make it through this. You are strong. Cry your heart out, eat as much Ben & Jerry’s as you need, blast as much Taylor Swift as you need (“Clean” is my personal favorite). Do whatever you need, take as much time as you need. This is your journey and no one else’s. Sylvia Plath once said, “If you love her, you’ll love somebody else someday.” I will love again, and so will you. Don’t give up on love.