How to survive a breakup
BREAKUPS suck, but surviving the weeks after one can be worse. Jessica-Anne Lyons draws from her own experience to share some advice about life after a split.
It wasn’t the first time I broke his heart. In all honesty, I don’t even know if it will be the last.
We were each other’s first love and high school sweethearts. We were that couple. The one that all our friends thought would never breakup. But we did.
You grow up and realise that what used to make you happy just wasn’t – or couldn’t – anymore. And that makes things messy and devastating and confusing and, well, really quite awful. But it’s okay. It happens.
When you’re with somebody for such a big chunk of your life, they’re going to take a big chunk of your heart when they’re not in it anymore. And I’m not going to sugar coat it. It sucks.
I remember crying for days. I was sick and nearly went to hospital. My heart was broken and it felt like the rest of me was breaking too. During this time, my family and my best friends really showed their true colours, and, my gosh, are they beautiful. From the bottom of my heart, I thank them.
Know what makes you happy and unhappy
When it first happened, one of my best friends handed me a little notebook and told me to write down everything that made me unhappy about the relationship. It was amazingly cathartic and horrible at the same time.
There may not be a “right” way to go about surviving a break up, but when I feel sad, I just make the decision to do something that makes me happy. So from personal experience, my first tip for surviving a break up is to throw yourself into something you love. For me, that was blogging and writing.
One of the best things you can do in a time of crisis is surround yourself with people that make you feel special, know how to make you laugh and will listen to you with a mug of tea and a hug. When it first happened, one of my best friends handed me a little notebook and told me to write down everything that made me unhappy about the relationship. It was amazingly cathartic and horrible at the same time, and something I recommend to anyone experiencing a breakup.
Those pages of reasons are the reality of your relationship. Every time you doubt your decision – and you inevitably will – you can go over your list and remind yourself there was a reason (or lots of reasons) why it didn’t work out. Not to mention, a reason why it wouldn’t work if you went back at this point in your life at least.
A little time will pass and you’ll think it’d be okay if you try to be friends. My next piece of advice is – don’t.
A little time will pass and you’ll think it’d be okay if you try to be friends. My next piece of advice is – don’t. At least, not at first. My ex and I stayed in touch in the first couple of months after our breakup, and every time we spoke to each other, it would start awkwardly. Then we’d slip into old habits and comfortable conversation, until he’d say something horribly lovely and you’d just wish that you hadn’t said yes to meeting up in the first place.
My advice? Out of sight, out of mind. Delete him off Facebook or remove his posts from your news feed. Get a new haircut, rearrange your room and stop rereading his old text messages. Take down the pictures. Maybe one day they’ll be fond memories, but right now, they’re just painful. By doing this, you’ll give yourself a chance to look at everything rationally without throwing old feelings into the mix every time you’re reminded of him.
Naturally, things might get complicated if you have mutual friends. It means you’ll bump into him at parties, hear about him from friends and see photos of him on Facebook. My final piece of advice is just be nice. If you don’t hate him, which I certainly don’t, there’s nothing wrong with some friendly chit-chat before politely leaving the conversation.
Give yourself time
Why spend 60 seconds being upset when you could be having a minute of happiness?
I cannot emphasise enough that you really need to give yourself the time to heal. Once you’re emotionally ready to let him back into your life, you can, if you like. But if you jump too quickly into a post-relationship friendship like one of my friends did, you run the risk of being pushed back together in a relationship where none of the issues that caused the breakup in the first place have been resolved.
Give it time. Maybe you’ll reconcile with your ex one day, after you’ve both had a little more time to grow up, but for now, this is your time. And why spend 60 seconds being upset when you could be having a minute of happiness?