Broken is the only word that truly describes how I felt after my last relationship ended.
I spent a good 24 hours telling myself that I was going to be fine. I didn’t hate him, and that I knew it was for the best. I repeated this to myself and everyone around me until reality finally kicked in and I found myself sobbing so hard I couldn’t breathe.
My depression came back quick and hard. Getting out of bed was almost as difficult as sleeping. Eating felt pointless because I knew I was going to throw up later anyway. My emotional state alternated between numbness and spontaneously wanting to cry.
At the time this is being written, it’s been exactly three weeks and two days since our break up, and I’m still in a tremendous amount of pain. But going through this, I’ve learned a thing or two about the people around me. They have all been incredibly supportive in their own little way and I’ve realized that their different ways of caring have helped move the healing process along.
Here’s a list of the 5 kinds of people who have helped put me back together again – and who can hopefully help you too.
1. The one who coddles you
Comfy pajamas? Check. Warm blankets? Check. Copious amounts of ice cream? Check and mate. This is the friend who will stroke your hair as you sob your heart out and not complain about the gross amount of snot you’ve left on their favorite sweater.
This friend understands that you’re in pain and allows you to mope for as long as you want because they know the saying “time heals all wounds” is complete bullshit and telling you not to cry helps no one. Let them shower you with hugs, kisses, and Mickey Mouse waffles, they’ll serve as tiny band-aids for your heart.
2. The one who’s honest
This friend will tell you that you were an idiot and it served you right. This friend will not sugar coat or lie to you but do not mistake their brashness for being mean – they just don’t see the point of beating around the bush. It’ll hurt when they bite but sometimes you need to hear the cold, hard truth. You might hate them a little bit, especially when you just want to wallow, but the faster you accept it, the sooner you’ll be able to sleep again.
3. The one who listens
Maybe you don’t want someone to tell you “you’ll be okay” or “there are other fish in the sea”. Sometimes, you just want someone who will shut up and listen as you list out all the reasons you deserve better or ramble for hours about how much you hate him. Sometimes, you need someone who won’t judge you while you analyze every day of your relationship and repeatedly ask the universe why he didn’t love you. This is the rational friend who knows you just need to get it out of your system and that you won’t actually go out with those strangers you found on yikyak. But that’s something you need to figure out on your own.
4. The one who gets angry
I’ve always thought that threatening to hurt someone if they hurt your friend was a ridiculous thing to do. After all, we are only human and getting hurt is an unfortunate part of life. But as the broken friend, it is oddly comforting to know that there is someone out there who is angry for you and with you. When you tell them you’re in pain, this friend shows up at your door, armed and ready for battle in less than half an hour. You know this friend is 110% on your side, regardless of the situation, and will gladly slash some tires if the situation ever calls for it. It’s also funny when they are angrier than you.
5. The one who doesn’t know you
If you’re like me and your ex was someone from your friend group, it becomes exhausting after a while to pretend everything’s okay for the sake of the group dynamic. As much as you may hate your ex right now, you still secretly care that his relationship with everyone else stays good because they’re his friends too and the last thing you want is to split the group up just because you’re hurting.
With strangers, the possibilities are limitless. They know nothing about what you’re going through or who you are. You can be whomever you want and not have to worry about how it affects him (isn’t caring about someone a pain?).
We human beings are a fickle bunch and our wants change from day to day, which is why it’s important that we build a diverse support system to fulfill our complex emotional needs. We need friends who will let us be sad and irrational but also the friends who know we can’t mope forever and push us to move on. Balance is the key after all.
And as for the strangers, maybe over time they’ll become your friends. But they will be friends you made in a different time and in your world with them, they will never have to know he broke you.