23 Women On The Most Important Things They Learned After A Breakup

A collection from some of my favorite words from Thought Catalog writers over the years, on breakups and womanhood and what you learn.

1. Stephanie

Waking up one day and feeling like you’re totally over it doesn’t mean you won’t relapse in the future. It’ll take more than a few mornings of waking up and feeling like you’re over it; it might actually take waking up without realizing there’s something to ‘get over.’ (This is an imperfect science I’m working with.)

2. Katrina

Yes, he cheated on me, like I now think every other boy in the world will eventually do.

3. Lakendra

There is nothing wrong with you. Despite the things that your partner may have told you, you are worthy of being loved and being cared for in a manner that is respectful, genuine and true. You do deserve it.

4. Kara

And I’ve often found that when you leave the wiggle room, that wistful thought of “maybe this could work out in the future,” you never really move on, fully. Don’t punish yourself for being smart enough to recognize that this needed to be done, and brave enough to carry it out.

5. Jessica

When you are feeling sad, your ex will almost certainly be having a good day. They will be having a day of strength and togetherness, or even just mild plainness, all of which will seem bewildering and offensive to you, the sad one. How can they be okay? Don’t they see that you’re living in a tragic graveyard, tripping over artifacts of the now abandoned civilization you wrought together?

6. Chelsee

When the cashier tells you you’re buying a “beautiful blouse,” he’s not making a statement about how beautiful you are and how stupid that guy was for letting you go.

7. Eli

If you gave it a shot, a genuine, fair chance, there’s nothing to be ashamed of when it fails. It’s understandable that most people will go for a second chance—you know, just to be sure. But why do you need to keep tormenting each other with 5th and 6th chances only to have the same thing play out?

8. Stephanie

Let’s admit that sometimes it feels insanely good to break into pieces when a relationship ends; almost as good as the regular sex you no longer have access to.

9. Mila

My parents wanted me to date a “nice boy” so I even tried that, I tried to date boys but they felt weird and I tried to date other girls too but they felt even weirder, what do you call a sexuality that revolves around one person?

10. Gaby

I spent so much time beating myself up for not being a good partner when I was just trying to shoehorn people into relationships I didn’t want to be in.

11. Tasnim

Nothing can compare to the feeling of waking up together, beside each other. There we were stripped down to expose ourselves, without good lighting and good angles, without the option of disconnecting.

12. Chelsee

When someone pushes you away, it’s not an invitation to try harder to stay.

13. Mila

It’s going to be hard because I don’t remember you not with me. I don’t know who you are outside of me. You’ve only ever been mine, kissing my fingers and putting your lips next to my ear. Watching you do these things to someone else will feel like a weird replay of my own past, only with someone else cast as me and I’ll just be watching it, confused and displaced and feeling too big for my chair.

14. Sarah

I am no longer angry. I am no longer bitter. I refuse to allow what happened to me to make me into a hardened, unforgiving, bitter, angry person. I refuse to live that way. I forgive you. And I hope that one day in your life, you find true peace with yourself and with what you did to me.

15. Brianna

You’ll spend a significant portion of your life in search of love in many different forms, and it’s only one day that you’ll realize you’re thirsty and swimming in the middle of an ocean. You either drink or keep suffering. You either start seeing the love that’s around you or it will never be enough.

16. Katherine

They don’t tell you that one day you will break down and cry, not just cry, but really and truly red-face runny-nose sob in the middle of the Nordstrom shoe department because you saw someone her height, with her hair color, wearing her Hermes perfume and when you realized it wasn’t her, after having that flash of “oh there she is!”

17. YH

An obligation forces you to put on your big girl/boy pants, wipe off the tears and potato grease, and feign normalcy. Even if that normalcy is crying through your commute and running to the bathroom to cry some more – you will still be obligated to get shit done.

18. Diana

Learn the difference between drinking your sorrow away and partying your sorrow away.

19. Ella

Don’t settle for someone because it’s easy, because they’ve come ready-made, because they already love you. There’s more to life than what’s simple and convenient and available

20. Stephanie

Go on friend dates. Go to dinner, the movies, or parties with them. You are no longer singularly focusing all of your emotional energy on one other person; take the opportunity to focus it on those around you and become a better friend.

21. Jessica

Sleep with them. It’s only okay. It hasn’t been long enough for the absence of each other to make the sex awesome. It feels…good, but you’re both mentally already playing out the next morning’s regret, and it robs the moment. The inevitability of this happening almost makes it feel like a relief that you’re getting it over with. This will lead to a conversation about whether or not reconciling is a good idea, which also was inevitable, and as such, feels boring and perfunctory.

22. Gena

When you break up, there are new social norms you’re ‘required’ to follow; changing that cute profile picture of the two of you on a hike to your sexiest photo of you and your best friend.

23. Johanna

Love is difficult. Love involves two people with their own sets of desires, priorities and baggage. No one should feel bad that the default setting of competing egos isn’t harmony. I played hockey in high school, which I was terrible at. But I loved it so much. Getting accolades or succeeding at something is fun, but anything worth your blood/sweat/tears isn’t defined by whether you happen to be good at it.

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

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