Break ups are devastating, no matter their circumstances. At least one heart is bound to be broken if not both (let’s just stop kidding ourselves about mutual break ups shall we?). Breaking up in the mid twenties however, is an all new kind of hell. Call it the quarter life crisis or coming to your own, but mid twenties are as turbulent as years in your life come, and a break up is the last thing you need adding to the chaos.
If you’re going through a break up in your mid twenties, chances are you’re coming out of a somewhat serious relationship or what you imagined was your ride or die. As gut-ripping as these break ups are, there are a number of valuable lessons to learn from when you do go through this particularly horrifying phase of your life.
1. If you change someone, don’t expect them to stay that way.
A long long time ago, when Newton devised his first law of motion, little did he know that not just objects, but people too adhere to the law of inertia. Inertia is a state from which no change can be expected without applying significant external pressure. People are exactly the same. With enough nagging and fussing people might change to fit your demands, but let them go and they will turn right back into what they always were. This process of change is difficult to adjust to, mainly because it alienates you from your former flame even more than the break up already has, but this is a necessary lesson to learn – never try to change people for your benefit.
2. Soul mates are like spirit animals.
Yes, a hip internet survey yielded that your spirit animal is a Siberian Tiger. Chances that you’re visiting the local zoo to look at the possibility of adopting one of the beasts is pretty slim (right?). Similarly, soul mates shouldn’t always be brought home and put in bed. As in the case of the big cat, with soul mates, sometimes it’s better to opt for the more domesticated, less likely to kill you variant. Soul mates make a great case for a potential happy ending, but sometimes, the right partner is a little less perfect and a little more suited for the long run.
3. No, you (most probably) won’t die alone.
I know it feels like this is the end of the world and love as you knew it. Now you’re scarred for life and need a harem of cats to keep you company, till such time you die, ailing alone. Admittedly, the scenario is logically plausible, but how many cat ladies do you really know in person? The truth is that everyone finds someone eventually, plus you’re going through a breakup! There is significant proof that you are not in fact undatable nor undesirable. Mr or Mrs Right may not be on his/her way straddling a Unicorn, but somebody is on their way and just like Rihanna, people find love in hopeless places all the time.
4. You didn’t lose the love of your life.
Oh, if only we have the kind of appreciation we have for our exes before they become our exes. Suddenly the stars shine out of their eyes and they fart rainbows, sounds familiar? Fear of abandonment is a fairly common problem. We grew up in a time when our parents’ marriages were portrayed as eternal bliss in the flesh. Even now, knowing fully well that mother sleeps with the hatchet under the pillow, we cling to our idea of that perpetual bliss. That’s why it’s natural for your brain to trick you into thinking that your ex is the one. What you need to know however, is that love isn’t as simple as the one-time deal soul mates are sold to be. Love is a longer, more complicated process, and soul mates are made, not found.
5. Your ex is going to see other people.
Yep, and there’s nothing you can do about it. In fact, you’re not even allowed to have an opinion on the going ons of your former flame’s love life. I know it sucks, but that’s just how it is. If your cousin starts appearing in his/her profile picture, there’s a good chance that they are in fact bumping each other and not bumping into each other as often as it seems. Deal with it.
While you’re at it, this is a good time to realize that a lot of things in life are beyond your control. The economy, your next pay rise, Donald Trump, the quality of the next DC superhero movie, among many others are not directly in your control. Control is just an illusion a lot of the time.
6. You’re probably not that great yourself.
You’ve got a book of reasons why that sodding relationship and its disastrous conclusion are not your fault at all! But, think about it, people are not very likely to leave a perfect person. If nothing else, your ex would’ve at least pretended to be upset when things ended, had you been a really great person. So maybe, like all of us, you have redeeming merits and glaring flaws, and that’s okay, we are all human!
It’s easy to play the blame game and completely lose sight of our own flaws, especially in a relationship when someone is readily available to palm all the blame over to. If nothing else, breakups are great for getting some down time and doing some self reflection. You never know what you might learn about yourself.
7. Rebounding is inevitable.
You’re vulnerable, your ego is a little hurt, you have a point to prove and you want to win this breakup game. I get it, you’re going through a lot and a steamy new romance is a great way to patch all these problems up. Based on participation, rebounding should be an Olympic sport. Everyone does it and that’s ok. Hollywood has fed us the idea that rebounds are the sure fire way to get over breakups, it’s only normal to think it and believe it.
The problem is holding unrealistic expectations about your rebounds. Statistically speaking, the chances of finding true, undying love, two weeks into a breakup is not just suspiciously coincidental, it’s downright improbable. Rebounds are necessary and by all means, go ahead, have your fun, you ex is probably doing the same and there’s no reason to be left behind. Be careful who you get into bed with though, and have the right expectations – this might be true love, this might just be a romp between the sheets, be ready for both.