Breakups are really hard.
It doesn’t matter if it was six months or six years. It doesn’t matter if you were the dumper or the dumpee because regardless, it’s still a big change in your life and it’s really going to hurt.
I was with my ex for four years. It was nearing the make-it-or-break-it period where, by society’s standards of people in their late 20s, you should be thinking of “putting a ring on it” or maybe grow up the strength to end it.
Sadly, my heart was just never 100% there. He was a splendid man, but I wasn’t ready for any aisle lined with rose petals or joint bank accounts.
Breaking up with him was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. (Like way harder then that advanced Pilates class that almost sent me to the ER.) It was a pain that was somewhere between getting fired and mourning over a death of your first dog.
It has only been five months since the breakup, and that’s really just the beginning of the healing process, but here are some tips that have helped me profusely:
1. Boost your self-confidence in the vainest ways possible. Appearance isn’t something I’ve usually been that worried about. For example, up until my friend informed me, I always thought Birkin was just short for Birkenstocks. However, I can’t stress enough how important it is to feel good on the outside. Before I broke up with ex, I thought I’d never find someone as good as him. I also cut my own bangs way too short and gained 30 pounds and wore sweatpants every day. I have since changed my hair entirely, lost weight, and started putting makeup on daily. It may not seem like much, but when you feel beautiful, you start realizing that you deserved better all along and that you’ll be okay.
2. Run. Biggest mistake ever: I had to live with my ex for two months post-breakup. Mostly because of finances and Los Angeles cost of living, it just had to happen and it was the worst. We fought over the most minuscule things (ex: hand soap) and the only thing I could do was run outside and just keep running. I’d sweat and in my head I felt like the female version of Forest Gump, therapeutically escaping all my problems. The endorphins were enough to smooth away any anger I had built up.
3. Rebound (but don’t relationship rebound). I knew that the only way to get over him was to “get under someone else.” It totally worked like magic, but here’s where it all went wrong: date one lead to date five and here I was in another relationship again, and bam — another breakup. Platonic rebounds are good, casual sex is good, but if you can’t keep it to just that with no feelings involved, just don’t. You’re still so vulnerable at this point and you don’t want to be that girl who’s playing relationship leapfrog. It’s not healthy.
4. Find yourself again. My goals and dreams five years ago (pre-boyfriend era) were so much more motivated and hopeful. It’s so easy in a long-term relationship to lose your individuality where two people blend into one. Over the years I stopped being as creative, I stopped writing, my photography totally dropped off. Take time to pick it all back up and put it together. It’s hard, but channel that pain into creativity, or fitness, or whatever it is that you’re meant to do.
5. Girlfriend love is real love. Girlfriends. They are so important. The good ones will be there no matter what, even if you became distant over the years. Any time you feel sad or lonely, call a friend. Get coffee, get completely drunk with them on your couch watching Netflix, just get them back in your life because they will always be important figures in your life.
6. Feel. It’s okay to feel like a complete effing wreck. It’s okay to temporarily pick up smoking cigarettes while you cry to your old pug in your empty bed. Take it in and embrace it. Pain is a part of life and there is actually something so beautiful about feeling pain. It reminds you that you are human, and that you do hurt. Use it to be stronger.
7. Listen to Drake. I’m not even going to explain why because Drake is the king of emotions and heartbreak and he will fix everything through the power of his angelic voice.