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Many people were truly shocked at how well I handled a break up of mine earlier this year. Over the last few months, friends of mine have been in similar situations and turned to me for advice. That is why I have decided to write this piece.
I won't beat around the bush. Break ups are never easy. It is inevitable that you will get hurt. It is truly rough. However, I've found that there are steps you can take to move forward... and fast.
- Grieve. After all, it is a loss. You owe it to yourself to mourn the relationship, whether it lasted two months or ten years. You have to say goodbye to your routine. Reminisce in memories you made with that person. Allow yourself to feel sad. Accept that you will cry... a lot. You'll have many thoughts running through your head such as "They'll find someone else soon," "Was I not good enough?" "What did I do wrong?" (PS, I will get how to tackle these thoughts later in this post). But there is good news; this is going to be the worst you feel. It can only get better from here.
- Cut contact. Now, I know this is a difficult one as you are so used to talking to this person every day. However, this is the golden rule. This will not only help you get over them, but it could also help you get them back (if that's what you want—personally, that wasn't my goal). This would be a typical case of "you don't know what you have until it's gone." Not being in constant contact could help your ex see that the grass isn't greener without you. But if getting your ex back isn't the goal or it's not an option anymore, then doing this helps you to become more independent and realise that life is STILL good single.
- Talk about it. This is super important. I felt that unloading my built up emotions and thoughts really helped during my break up. Your true friends will be happy to listen and give you advice. Talking about it clears your head and takes the weight off your shoulders. Doing this also enhanced my self confidence as your friends typically give you daily pep talks in order to make you feel better.
- Distract yourself. First of all, I want to say don't go straight to distracting yourself by talking to other girls/guys. This will only result in you hurting someone else or rushing into another relationship that you're not ready for. Give it a good month (I'd say) for that. But I personally distracted myself by going to the gym, going on dog walks, seeing my friends, going to family member's houses etc. Get stuck into work. Give yourself a project; start that blog you've always wanted to write, learn to play a sport, learn a language, go hill walking, take back up that instrument you stopped playing... There are so many things to do to take your mind off your feelings. Go do the things your ex had no interest in. I wouldn't say go out and get drunk in the first couple weeks as that could result in feelings being brought to the surface. But once you're ready, 100 percent get dressed up and get out with your mates and have a great night! You never know who you could meet...
- Recognise your worth. After being broken up with, there is a sense of self doubt. You feel that you're not good enough and you start to compare yourself to others. I put a stop to this pretty quickly by reflecting on the relationship and saying to myself "things didn't work out but I did my best." You didn't gel to this person or else you would still be a couple. I turned it around and looked at it as an opportunity to find someone I gelled with better. Going through a break up helps you realise your standards: what you will tolerate and what you wont. It makes you grow as a person and see what you really want out of a partner. You're good enough. It's just finding that person that sees that also. As it goes, "so many things in life are mediocre, love shouldn't be one of them." Personally, I wanted to be the best version of myself after my break up. I started hitting the gym hard, eating clean(ish), looking after myself, going out my way to help friends, etc. In doing this, I can honestly say I have never been so self confident and happy. I have never felt more myself.
- Don't resent your ex. Okay, I know this is hard. I have struggled with this step. To do this, I think you need to try and look at it from their perspective. For them to break up with you, something in THEM wasn't happy/fulfilled... and that's okay. This does not take away any value from you. There are many reasons people fall out of love; they grow apart, the relationship had ran it's course, one person had changed as a individual, distance etc. Sometimes it's no one's fault, it's just the way the cookie crumbles. If you have been cheated on, this is an even harder step. People who cheat... they're a unique breed. Personally, I think people who continually cheat on their partner lack emotional (or just normal) intelligence. A boy I know openly explains he used to cheat on his previous girlfriends and I asked him why he did it. His answer was "1. I liked the thrill of it. 2. I wanted to see if I could still do it, and 3. to impress the lads." It's nothing to do with their partners not satisfying them. It's the person cheating that has the issue. In this case, to not resent them you have to look at it in a way that you feel sorry for them as they may never be satisfied in a partner. However, mistakes happen too. If someone slips up but is honest and feels sorry for what they did, you have to either accept the apology and move on or not forgive them. Both of these options are okay. But I would recognise that they were regretful of their actions. They're not a bad person. If you resent someone you spent so much time with, you're resenting a part of your life. At the end of the day, there was something there for you to be with your ex in the first place. Everything they have done to you shaped you into who you are at this moment.
- Get back out there! When you feel like the time is right, you should start dating. I felt that going on dates boosted my confidence and helped me see what I like in a person and what I don't like. It's a good way to meet new people as well. It's exciting as this could be the time where you meet the right person for you.
Well, that was a lot to take in. I'm not saying what I think is right but, personally, these steps helped me get over my break up and now I'm as happy as ever.