I’m in the early breakup stages of a two-year relationship. You know what the worst part of it is? Knowing that it is solely my fault. Sadly I have learned some steps that have made it a little bit easier. The pain hasn’t gone away, but these steps have helped me grow as a person.
First, here’s some background—I had been dating this amazing, thoughtful guy for two years. When we originally started dating I knew he was the “one.” How cliché, right? Sad, but it is true. I had never felt the way I did with anyone else and I won’t for a very long time. Like any relationship we had our ups and downs. At the end of the relationship it seemed like we had more downs than ups. It got to the point where neither of us truly trusted the other and how could we? We constantly fought, he was the jealous type and I couldn’t keep up with my promises. One minute we were fine and the next moment we were screaming at each other and storming away. In the end, I had reached out to an ex through FaceTime, who ended up messaging my boyfriend telling him that I had reached out. And that’s how it all ended: I broke the love of my life’s heart and was left with nothing.
Obviously there is more to the story, but I’ll keep those details to myself.
Here are a few pointers that I have to remind myself on a daily basis to get through this:
Step 1: Leave them alone.
I know it is hard. You’ve called them every hour on the hour and have broken the Guinness Book of World Records of the amount of texts sent in 15 minutes. Leave them alone. There is a reason why they haven’t answered the first text, let alone the 37th. They aren’t dead; their phone is working just fine. They’re just choosing to ignore you. You constantly contacting them is not just upsetting them; it will also drive you crazy.
Step 2: Put your phone away.
This coincides with Step 1. Waiting for a response that will never come is the worst feeling because there is nothing you can do. There is nothing like being on your couch watching six straight hours of Orange is the New Black and not getting a response. Netflix has given you a response faster by pausing your show and asking if you’re still watching (thanks for judging, Netflix). Checking your phone every four minutes will not make the other person respond to you. Looking at your phone like a mad person will only upset you more and you’ll begin to feel the steps of anger. “Why aren’t they answering me? Don’t they realize what this is doing to me?” Easy now. You’re the one that crushed them and broke their heart. They’re just trying to keep it together before they completely lose their mind.
Step 3: Reconnect with friends (more specifically, good friends).
There are so many types of friends that we have out in the world: old friends, college friends, work friends, party friends, real friends, etc. Reconnect with your real friends. Yeah, the night was fun going out and getting blackout with your party friends. You finally had a night where you completely forgot about the shitstorm your got yourself into. You ended up taking an unruly amount of shots that resulted in you sobbing with your head first in the toilet while throwing up. Without a doubt the next morning you’ll be hung over and feeling even worse than you already did. Real friends are the ones that you can sit with in silence for hours slightly sobbing and you suddenly feel better. Friends will help you get your mind off things. They’re the ones that’ll help you be strong.
Remember: Your family will always be your friend. There is nothing like being in your mid-twenties sitting on your mom’s lap sobbing uncontrollably. They will always love you regardless of what you’ve done. My mom has been my rock throughout this.
Step 4: Keep busy.
Go and do things you hadn’t done while in your relationship. I know for me I was never able to go and see my friends. Being out of college it’s hard because all of your friends have moved away for their ‘real’ jobs. Take this time to go on day trips and see the world. My boyfriend and I had this thing where we couldn’t do things without one another (goes back to the trust issue I had mentioned). Go to the movies alone, take your dog to the park, go out to eat, go to a museum and get lost in it for hours. Be proactive with what you choose to do.
Step 5: Stay off of social media.
No one cares how you feel on social media. Let me repeat that: No one cares how you feel on social media. And remember, this was mainly your fault—so save the encouraging quote Instagram pictures to yourself. No one knows the extent of your relationship, they only know that you screwed up and whatever else they heard through the grapevine. If your ex posts something, let them be. It is their outlet and you have to try to not get upset over it.
Step 6: Respect that they aren’t willing to see you.
You would think that after a two-year relationship you’d still be able to say goodbye. Sadly you have to accept that you’ll probably never see this person ever again. Try not to be heartbroken when they completely refuse to give that to you. But then you have to think: What good would even come out of that? Nothing. It is over. It would only hurt the both of you even more. Seeing each other would only result in screaming, crying, and spiteful words. Nobody wants to feel that way over and over again.
Step 7: Remind yourself you’re only human.
You’re not a horrible person, despite what your ex says and all their friends behind your back or to your face. You’re only human. You made a mistake. A terrible mistake that broke someone’s heart, but still, a mistake. The relationship you were in wasn’t rainbows and butterflies. You can’t be so hard on yourself the entire time.
Step 8: Don’t make the same mistake ever again.
There’s nothing you can do now but move forward from it and promise yourself that you’ll never do it again. Learn from this, and I mean seriously learn from this. Not only did you hurt someone, but you also hurt yourself. Remember how painful this felt and hold on to it for the rest of your life. That way you’ll hopefully never repeat this mistake again.
Step 9: Move on.
This step is for later in life for when you’re ready. It is time for you to move on. Yes, it sounds awfully selfish, but when it is time this is something you’re going to have to do. It is time to go out in the world and find someone new. But don’t forget all the feelings you felt during this breakup. Keep this with you for when you get into a new relationship so you’ll remember what to do and what not to do. That hurt and pain in the end will make you a stronger and better human.
Step 10: Smile.
Remember to smile at the end of this. It is only life.