Thought Catalog
April 17, 2017

This Is The Playbook For Surviving Breakups

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What is the issue?
Unsplash / Jose Chavez

If you’re reading this you’re probably hurting or maybe you’re still numb from shock, either way I’m here for you. I can’t inform you of your own experience, but I can tell you what I dealt with and perhaps we can find some kinship in our shared sorrow.

At first, it didn’t seem possible. There is no way this is real was my only thought, but in the back of my mind I knew the truth.

Soon the pain came and it was bad. At first hatred stood in the way, guarding me from the fullness of the pain, but hatred is a bad dude and I had to ask him to stand down and take the blow myself.

Without hatred to protect me, the pain was an intense searing shock. It cracked me open like an egg and my emotional goo spilled out, but lo and behold I did not actually die.

The first play in the playbook is the passing play. Check your field of teammates and see who is open. Let them know you need a hand, that’s exactly what friends are for.

They might bring you a bowl of chips or take you out to the bar, either way being with someone who does care about you and thinks that your dark humor is funny is a really good first step.

When you wake up on your friends couch the next morning and realize you are still alive and all of those things really did happen, it’s time for the Hail Mary.

This may seem rash, but it’s the best shot you’ve got. Trust the experience, allow the feelings to occur. If you feel like crying then cry for goodness sakes! Don’t hold that in. Just let it happen. As the Beatles would say, let it be.

Okay so you’re at home now and you’ve done a fair amount of crying. This is the time to pull out the I formation. That’s the bonus of being single, you don’t have to worry about anyone else anymore!

Sure you’ll be there for your friends if the need arises, but you’re not including someone in each moment of your life anymore. Eat what you like, do what you want, and do it all knowing that your team is still behind you. They want what is best for you and hopefully so do you.

Necessary Line: Set clear boundaries. This is always important to do but how easy or difficult it is will vary depending on a number of outside factors. If you intend to never speak to or see this person again then that’s easy, there’s the line.

If you have other connections such as business holdings or children together setting clear boundaries takes more effort, but it’s also much more important. Take time to reflect on what you are and are not comfortable with and let your ex-partner know where these lines are (ideally before they are ever crossed).

Hey, don’t forget about the running plays. I know it’s easy to binge Netflix until your joints actually stop working, but eventually you have to advance in your life. So go outside, yes out of doors, and do some things.

What do you like? Or better yet, what did you like before you met this person?

Depending on how capable you feel, anything from going for a walk around your neighborhood to getting involved in the community with volunteer work, or even finding a new job or going traveling.

Stick your head back into the outside world and test the waters. Don’t push yourself if you’re not ready but don’t let fear stop you either.

Once you find something that fits and makes you feel like an actual human being again, Go Pattern that business! Run straight ahead, you can afford to be ambitious and dedicated now, because you’re not spending any time or attention on a relationship.

Moving on is good. Its ugly and painful and difficult but it’s good.

Overtime, there’s no such thing. Give yourself as much time as you need. Keep track of your progress and know that as long as you are moving forward you’re winning.

You might lament and think, I still love them, well good, that’s fine, love them. That is not actually sad. Love is taking someone in and seeing them as you, seeing your sameness, that doesn’t have to end.

The attachment is what needs to be released. Attachment and love are not one and the same thing.

If it feels like you’re dying then just know that death always precedes rebirth and prepare to come out of the darkness as a freer version of yourself. TC mark 

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