One month ago, my boyfriend of four years broke up with me. I was heartbroken beyond belief. It felt like I was never going to get over it and my life was over. I was depressed and even considered making some terrible, permanent mistakes. He was the first guy that I thought I was going to marry and even brought him home to my family. I thought my life was over.
But it wasn’t, and here I am, healed.
The silver lining: This was probably the best experience life could have given me at the time. I learned so much about myself and about life. Although I couldn’t see it before, now I am so grateful for the experience.
Break ups are hard and heartbreak is even harder. So here is a list of things to do to get through your break up and over heartbreak.
You have to allow yourself to be sad. Light some candles, close the blinds, put on sad music, whatever it is that you need to do to get all of that emotion out, DO IT. If you don’t it will stay bottled up inside like a water balloon and eventually it’ll burst and you will be worse off. You have to face the sadness, it’s the only way to get over it. I locked myself in my room for the first three days and would only speak to my sister and one or two very close friends.
2) STAY AWAY FROM THE HEARTBREAKER
This is a huge mistake I made and resulted in set backs from my healing process. My ex boyfriend is an amazing, sweet guy. As much as we were boyfriend and girlfriend, we were best friends. The hardest part for me was losing that friendship, so I thought I could hold onto that part. WRONG. Seeing your heartbreaker is an instant way to reverse all of the progress you have made. It’ll remind you of all of the reasons why you loved him and will make you even more sad. The best thing to do is STAY AWAY. If you want any hope of being friends with him again, the best thing to do is stop talking and revisit the friendship again later. If you had a great relationship and a clean break up, chances are the friendship will be there later.
Oh, and if you are thinking of being friends with benefits, think again: you’ll never get over him and you deserve better.
3) GET RID OF EVERYTHING THAT REMINDS YOU OF HIM
After 4 years, everything reminded me of him and my room looked like our relationship threw up on it. Pictures, gifts, even blankets and teddy bears. GET RID OF ALL OF IT! Just like you don’t want to see him, you don’t want that constant reminder of your relationship breathing down your neck. I also had to stop listening to music altogether eventually to allow myself to heal. Every song reminded me of him.
4) TAKE YOUR TIME
Contrary to popular belief, changing your Facebook status after a long, serious relationship is not easy. If you don’t feel comfortable letting the world know yet, that is OK. Ask yourself, “if I get 15 messages from people right now asking what happened, will I be ok?” if the answer is no and you feel like you’ll be distraught all over again, just wait. I was lucky and my ex texted me before he changed his and we did it on my own time. It took two weeks and it was still hard, but I was ready. If you didn’t have a clean break up, just hide your relationship status for a while to not draw attention to it. Or stay away from Facebook altogether.
At the same time, do not feel rushed. People mourn at different rates. It may take your friend 3 weeks to get over someone but it may take you 3 months. That is perfectly ok and only means you were in the right for having feelings for a good guy.
Also, don’t rush into another relationship. Women are so vulnerable during a break up and it is so easy to go back to an old love interest, that guy that has been interested in you down the hall, or someone you aren’t even attracted to. Just like you need time to mourn, you need time to heal, find yourself again, and reflect. Rushing back into another relationship is the last thing you need and will result in a rebound relationship (which only hurts the both of you) and transferred emotion.
5) REACH OUT (with caution)
Find those people in your life that are there for you and ready to listen. Be forewarned; choose these people wisely. You want to surround yourself with positive energy. Your friend that just went through a bad break up recently may not be the best person to be around at the moment, or your friend in an amazing relationship. You want people that have no problem listening to you go on and on about your break up. It’s normal to feel “not good enough” so surround yourself with people who will remind you of how awesome you are. Remember, this is about YOU, YOU, YOU. No one else. It’s amazing after a relationship how many friends we may have unintentionally cutoff or not spent enough time with. Resurrect those relationships; it’s unbelievable how forgiving friendships can be. Don’t be ashamed to talk to that old best friend you may not have talked to since you started dating your ex. I bet you they’ll be happy you reached out and willing to support you the same.
Also, do not be alone as much as possible. It’s scary the depths of darkness we can allow our minds to wander into when we’re alone and sad. My roommate became my best friend and I kept my door open as much as I could. We even had sleepovers in our living room! I went to the library, Starbucks, consumed myself with school work, went home each weekend, spent a lot of time with my sister, and worked more. Stay away from yourself! (And if you enter that depth of darkness and consider doing some scary permanent things remember this: as awful as you feel, you will impose that on everyone who cares about you. Is it really worth it?) chant this mantra (or make up your own!): I am STRONG. I WILL get through this.
Break ups are such a great way to learn about yourself. You are moving from having a connection with someone else to being alone which forces you to learn about yourself. You don’t want to miss a minute of this or a single lesson you can learn from it. Some of the lessons I learned: life is too short to take people for granted, I don’t need to define myself based on someone else, I am strong. If you don’t already have a journal, GET ONE. Seriously, this is some juicy stuff you’ll want to look back on, especially if you go through another heart break!
7) GET OUT THERE
Finally, the good part. Once you are healed, you feel independent and free, get back out there! (Not sure if you’re ready? Trial and error my dear! Go with your friends so you have support, and if you find yourself not ready once you’re out, it’s ok!) This doesn’t necessarily mean find another guy, but just get out there and enjoy the single life. Surround yourself with other single people, go to happy hours, hit the bars, go clubbing, do all of the great things life has to offer now that you have no attachments to anyone. While you may think he was the greatest thing that ever happened to you, he’s not. YOU are the greatest thing that happened to YOU. LIFE is GOOD and HUGE. EXPLORE IT. My wise sister told me the world is this big giant thing and when we are in a relationship, even if we don’t realize it, we are constricted to this tiny piece of it. Break out your camera/journal/yoga pants/picnic basket/beach towel/binoculars/bicycle and get out there and explore the world! You’ll find things you never imagined. Allow yourself to feel the FREEDOM (maybe even host a freedom party with your girlfriends! My sister did this and it was awesome)! You have a lot to look forward to. Being single is GREAT.
I can tell you, I never thought I was in a restricted relationship. Turns out, I was constricting myself. I centered my life around him because I thought love was the most important thing. Personally, I was too young to think about that. Now, going to Medical School in Australia is a possibility for my future and that is so exciting!
So, there you have it! 7 ways to get through your break up and heal your broken heart. This was easily the darkest and hardest time of my life so far. Remember, it only gets easier and if you experience set backs (even a year later), that is totally normal. It was not easy but you are strong and you’ll get through it! And if all else fails, listen to Frank Ocean:
Much love and smiles,