So you broke up with your boyfriend. Or, your boyfriend broke up with you. Either way, the ending of a long term relationship is a more difficult struggle than you could have possibly imagined. Have you caught yourself thinking “It happened, and I feel fine!” Only to realize that you are, in fact, not feeling at all fine by any stretch of the imagination.
But you know that no matter how many times people tell you that you are handling it well, you are quietly processing what has happened in your own way. On your own time. In your own personal safe space that you have created to allow yourself to feel everything that has happened without judgement from anyone.
1. Your heart hurts terribly.
This may not happen right away. In fact, it may not even be the first thing you feel. The first feel you may feel is nothing at all. Just the numbness of your heart and mind trying to work out why a thing that was, isn’t anymore. It takes a lot for your mind to process why something is gone, and this is especially true if you still haven’t found the much needed closure that comes much later in the process.
For me, I found it when I traveled back home and met with my ex who I found out had been in a new relationship shortly after we broke up. Going to meet him made me nervous. Getting the courage to ask him the question was easy, because I had thought about possible responses he might have for me. I played out in my head best and worst case scenarios of where he was at in his life, just 6 months after we had split. Of course, the worst case turned into reality. “I have a boyfriend.” Each word stuck me like a knife into my chest, one, two, three, four times. My ears started to ring. Had he really moved on?
2. You compare your life to his.
I learned much later that this is not a good way to keep him in your head. All I wanted to do was run away back home to California. I wanted to put as much distance between me and him as possible. Once I got back, I couldn’t escape. He was (is) everywhere I turned. From my neighbor calling for their dog “Charlie” to a restaurant “Order for Charlie!” to being introduced to a friend of a friend. To seeing his mom’s favorite bottle of wine at the grocery store. To buying said wine and drinking it even though its gross, just so you can feel closer to him. I know, who does that?
We all do.
In one way or another, don’t we? We feel crazy. Sometimes others call us crazy. They get worried and tired of us constantly obsessing over something that is over and done to them. But that is just it, it’s only over and done to them. We are still going through it. Our brains still haven’t quite decided why they are gone and it is playing a game of catch up. So we do these things. We do them even though we know its a trigger and its partly because we want to feel their presence, but also because we miss what we had when we were with them.
There in lies the difference. We miss the relationship. Of course I miss him, and I am feeling like I always will have a piece of him in my heart, but I know that I can find that again.
3. You feel completely alone.
For me, I wanted to feel this. Of course, I had a rebound and I clung to that like dirt to a white surface. I wanted to feel alone, but I also wanted to keep up with what he had. I wanted so badly to find love again ,too soon before my heart had healed.
It wasn’t until I found my closure after our meeting that I truly felt utterly and completely alone. From the moment I found out that he had moved on, I had an important realization that I needed to move on, too. I couldn’t keep living in the past. So, that’s what I did. I stopped seeing people for a while. There is no predetermined time to do this, you just have to feel it out. For me, it was around a month or so.
I felt a feeling of accomplishment for this. Focusing inward instead of outward helped me center myself. I was so damn selfish, and I that was okay. Hell, I’m still selfish. I deserve more than I receive, and in a way we all do. We deserve someone who will treat us the right way, and love us unconditionally. So if you haven’t found that, I implore you to wait for it. Wait for your hero to come and
rescue you. The guy who will sweep you up off your feet and carry you to your happily ever after.
4. You are never alone.
It took me turning to my company handbook that I forgot about for a long time to realize that there was a statement in there that they had us underline on the first day of orientation. “You are never alone” it said. This didn’t really sink in for a while. Mostly because it was just an orientation class (or so I thought) and they were gearing that statement towards teamwork and making you feel supported by your peers. It wasn’t until I started working for a few months that I realized that my peers would become my family.
“The people in my life are here for a reason.”
Repeat after me: “The people in my life are here for a reason.” They are here to support you. Most of them, anyway. And it is up to you to know the difference. Be a judge of character. If their heart is pure, they should be in your life forever.
5. You begin to heal.
You are at the stage where you begin to listen to heart break music. You begin to process your grief. You belt out music while sobbing uncontrollably in your kitchen while no one is home. But then you don’t. You begin to drink wine. Your favorite kind, not the cheap kind, because you appreciate yourself. You love yourself. And when you drink, you don’t cry. You don’t cry because you don’t have to. You don’t feel like it. You acknowledge your pain, but you don’t succumb to it.
“You don’t have to feel happy all the time.”
Healing is a process. The cliche of saying that stings me. But its true. I always say, “Ew, love!” when I see it. Just like the kiss cam I saw at a baseball game I went to a few days ago. I went with friends and had a good time. I laughed. A lot. Laughter can be and is a sign of healing. You don’t have to feel happy all the time. Nor should you. But I began recognizing signs of improvement today and that is the most important thing. Healing is an organic process that happens naturally. But recognizing it takes meditation and self awareness. It is the persistence of the heart to move on.
6. Moving on?
Let me pose a question here. Do you really think that for the rest of your life you will be alone and in the same situation that you are in today at this very moment? The answer is simply “no.”
Life is too variable to stay the same. You will meet the one for you. Your heart will heal. Just like you’ve undoubtedly seen it heal before in different situations. But you need to give it time. No matter how frustrating that may be.
One more thing I would implore you to do before we move on. Trust the process. Your life will go by in time, and will be filled with adversity, struggle, and heartbreak. Feel the pain. Learn from it.
7. Keep moving forward.
Here’s a little secret: No one can choose your path for you. You shouldn’t let others do so. That will only lead to unhappiness.
Let me repeat that. We are alive to live. From here, right now, today, you get to choose what you do. Whether that’s starting fresh with someone new, taking time to yourself to be open to better opportunities in the future, or, dare I say it, getting back with your ex, it is solely up to you.
But before you make a decision, ask yourself: Is this what I really truly want? If it is, then go forward with it. Pursue it with so much passion you feel compelled to see it through. Once you feel these feelings, you have your answer of what you should do. Be attuned to the universe around you, and listen to what it has to say.
Now, go forth, fellow human, and create your own happy ending.