Nothing sucks more than a break-up or a heartbreak. We’ve all been there, on the bathroom floor (or any floor for that matter), gasping for air, and asking the heavens or whoever was willing to listen: why? Why us? What did we do to deserve such tragedy?
Cue months ahead or maybe even a year or two ahead, and here we are, fully in love again and in a brand new and much better relationship. This, people, is the cycle of romantic relationships right here. You lose one, you get another one.
For a lot of people though, relationships are all they know. They live and breathe in the same one that seems to take over not only their youth but their entire lives. And when tragedy befalls and they wake up on that bathroom floor, alone, they feel like life as they know it has ended. And this is where they’re wrong. This is where everybody who’s living the post break-up despair and thinking there’s never going to be sunshine, love and rainbows again, is wrong. Why? Because they never learned how to be alone. They never learned that the most important relationship, the one you’re born with and die with, is the one you have with yourself. When entering a duo, your own self sometimes tends to take the backseat of the relationship; when the driver leaves the car unexpectedly while still in motion, then you crash, because you’re so taken aback by the shock of being alone in the car that you don’t even have time to react and grab the wheel. And sometimes you recover from that crash and learn not to fear driving a car again, and sometimes you don’t.
But for those of you who want to recover, from that car accident, from that broken heart and broken relationship, then you need to know that now is the time to start seeing yourself as the main part of the picture, the one that needs the devotion and attention previously given to someone else.
Here are the 7 stages of getting back together with yourself:
1. Cry it out
I’m going to be honest with you: break-ups hurt. A lot. You cry. A hell of a lot. But I’m sure you already know that by now. The thing you need to understand is that there is a period after the relationship ends where you simply need the time to ‘mourn’ your loss. This is your time to feel sad and bad about what happened, to miss your partner, to cry every night before bedtime. You shouldn’t really hold it back, because it’s part of your healing process.
But at one point, during your nightly crying into your pillow process, you simply stop, out of the blue, and feel better. Calm washes over you and you feel at peace enough to fall asleep. It’s like feeling you cried it all, cried enough, and it’s now time to move on. It may happen several nights before it stops completely, but eventually, it will stop. The hurting will stop. The sadness and the missing will stop. Just accept the fact that it will take some time before you can actually move on.
2. Getting out of your cave
Before your family and friends have to break down your door for an intervention to get you back on your feet, you need to realize for yourself that it’s time to stop wallowing. Now that you’ve cried it out and scared yourself when looking in the mirror because of the way you look thanks to the additional dark circles around your eyes and the untangled bed hair, it is time to get out of your cave and start getting out in the sun a bit. Clean up your temple of sorrow aka your room (throw out all the used tissues, wash your pj’s and your sheets, put all the things that reminded you of your ex either in the trash or back on the shelf, open up a window to let the fresh air in), take a long shower, shave, do your hair, put on some clean clothes and get out of the house.
3. Trying something crazy
This is usually the phase where people want to try something different and crazy. Girls dress up in their best outfits and go out to parties and clubs to show everybody that they still ‘have it’, while guys may go on a sleeping rampage and hook up with different girls for every day of the week, or have endless gaming marathons. It’s that time where you feeling screaming to the world (and your ex) that you just don’t give a shit anymore.
So go out there and do your thing, feel free again, just remember to not go overboard with it. We don’t want to end up in jail, now do we?
4. Finding things you forgot you loved
Remember that time you used to love going dancing but had to give it up because your partner didn’t dance? Or the time where you used to love playing weekly basketball but just stopped going because it’s so much more comfy to spend the weekend in bed with your partner? How about the time where you used to go out and take beautiful photos and spend hours upon hours learning new ways to make them better?
When you’re in a relationship you tend to focus on the ‘us’ part than the ‘me’ part. You get so comfortable in habits that were set as a couple, that you put aside the things that you loved doing, because you don’t have time for them anymore or because your partner didn’t like them, or because at the time it seemed better to do something with your partner rather than with yourself. Well guess what? It’s time to go back to your own roots and find the things you loved doing for no one other person than you. Not just because when you’re passionate about something, it will give you personal satisfaction and bring you happiness, but also because at that time you’re going to be so immersed in what you’re doing that you won’t even think about anything or anyone else. You’re living in the moment, and the moment is for you and you alone.
5. Meeting new people
You feel comfortable doing things by yourself now? Great, then it’s time to get out there and meet some new people. No, I’m not saying to get back on that horse and start dating again. I’m saying it’s time to get out that front door, reconnect with your friends, and star hanging out with people again, be sociable, be part of the crowd once more.
You may not realize this, but you get to learn a lot from just being around people, listening to what they have to say, and chip it with your two cents on the current matter. When Dalai Lama was asked if he has a special someone to confide in and discuss things (as many of us have a partner, a best friend, a sibling or a parent), his answer was as simple as it was astonishing: no. He likes to talk to everyone and will confide or talk about his most inner thoughts with people that are present at the moment, no matter if they’re cleaning ladies at his hotel or some famous person. He felt like you can gain insight from all the people you meet and talk to, and that you shouldn’t just resort to one or two persons in your life. The world is, after all, an oyster waiting to be explored.
6. Making new habits
One of the toughest reasons of letting go of a relationship is simply because of the habits you made with your partner. You’re used to having him or her around you at all times, maybe even having a certain morning or night ritual. You’re used to going to the same places with that person, watching movies in bed, cooking together, not to mention talking daily about the things that are going on in your life.
When you wake up one day on your own, the most painful thing to realize is that you won’t get to do the same things you were used to doing anymore. That’s when the new habits have to come in. You have to learn to live without someone for a while, and that will mean getting used to cooking alone, watching movies by yourself or with other people and giving new meaning to old places. By continuously doing something, over and over again, it becomes less painful and more as part of your life.
I remember when, after a pretty brutal break-up, every single time I would hear James Morrison’s song, Broken Strings, I would immediately remember my ex and a specific memory that I had of him. It was painful, but I knew that I had to get over that trigger, so I kept listening to the song until it eventually became just another song that I could appreciate without feeling the urge to start sobbing.
7. Oh, hello new me!
So here you are. You went through the healing process, you faced your fears of being alone, you starting doing the things that you love for yourself and hopefully, you started appreciating life as it is from a whole new prospective. Now all you have to do is get out there, back on the horse, filled with confidence, and let the Universe make its magic.
Break-ups are never easy and whenever we experience one we feel like our whole world is crashing down on us, but we have to remember two things: we’re not the only ones going through this and just because your relationship ended doesn’t mean your life ended to. You simply have to find the strength to live it a little differently.