You two were going to be together forever; now you are sitting alone on the loveseat, eating ice cream with a shovel and wondering what happened, what you did, and how you can fix it.
Breakups dont have to involve long complicated relationships, nor do they have to involve actual spoken words to be final...and painful. The girl who invested six dates into someone who ghosted for no reason hurts, and the guy who was in a four year relationship and found she had been cheating on him also hurts. These may be extremely different levels of the same pain, but they still hurt for most of the same reasons.
Why does it hurt?
1. Broken trust: A relationship is built on trust. The deeper in you go, the deeper your trust becomes...and the more you are vulnerable to being deeply hurt when it falls apart.
2. Bruised ego: This is somewhere at the bottom of every heartache you will ever experience. Someone basically rejected you...they rejected who you are, what you had to offer, what you shared in the relationship. They rejected YOU, in favor of another experience, in favor of just being alone, in favor of another person or in favor of some reason you cannot fathom.
3. Embarrassment: He left you. She ghosted on you. Did everyone know she was cheating or that he was planning on leaving? Now you have to tell everyone it is over, tell the story again and again. Some people will get to say they told you so. Yeah. Ouch.
4. Failure: You cannot help but feel you failed. What if you had...if only she had...what if I had tried...I never should have said...why did I wear...
5. Hope: Believe it or not, hope can be a painful thing. The ups and downs of a breakup period hinge on the birth, death and rebirth of hope. One moment you just know you can get him back, the other you realize you will never hear from him again. This constant shift is like a physical pain in your chest.
6. Feelings of being alone: Now there is one where before, there were two. Sounds like something you would read in a Harry Potter book, but is a simplistic way to say it. You would share your dreams with him, vent to her, and cuddle next to him at night. He would be the first text you read in the morning, she would be the last one you read at night. He or she went past any level of friendship and would be the most important person you were in contact with that day. Now you feel that no one else will ever be able to fill that space. The times when you most expected a text from her hurt the most, the silence of your phone at 10am when she would text hello is the worst silence you will hear.
These are only some of the reasons your break-up hurts so badly. It can be complicated by kids, ruined friendships and so much more.
How do you get your life back?
1. Realize your pain is valid. Do not let any one downplay what you feel. "It was only eight dates, how could you be hurting?" or "We all told you she was a cheater from the start" are well intentioned phrases used by friends who really don't know what else to say to help ease your pain. Accept them at face value, but do not let the words make you feel guilty or "stupid" for being in pain.
2. Busy, busy busy...then, be busy again. You can occupy yourself in any number of ways to keep your mind from dwelling on him or her. It will not be easy to drag yourself out, but it is worth the effort. And while you are busy busy busy, be sure to:
3. Leave your phone home. If you are home, put it in another room. Turn it off. Do not let the silence of your phone taunt you. Amazingly enough, if you pick up the phone after being away from it and see there was no contact attempt made, something interesting happens...you begin to get angry instead of hurt. Now instead of gazing tearfully at the phone as a waiting victim, you approach the phone, flip it over and see no message...and you WILL curse him or her. Small, positive steps. Try it yourself and see. Anger beats woe is me, anytime.
4. Let yourself grieve. In another take, I will outline the stages of grief and you will be amazed at how they parallel the stages post break up. Your emotions will swing like a pendulum...let them. They need to.
5. Allow yourself to imagine he or she was in front of you. What would you say? You may not have closure, perhaps he never gave you the chance to understand. Seek your closure in your imagination; it helps to be able to vent, cry and rant without him there...he cannot cut you off. You will also be subconsciously practicing what you may say if you do get a chance to see him again.
6. Revenge is a dish best served...not at all. In the immortal words of Elsa's famous catch song in Frozen..."Let it go." Take the high road. You will, believe it or not, feel better for being the bigger person. The best part of no revenge...it always leaves them wondering what you are up to. No amount of revenge will ease the pain you are feeling right now and in fact will only make you feel lower and worse about yourself.
7. Do not call. Do not beg. It will not help. You will never get him to love you again or get her to change her mind by nagging, pestering and being a weak minded nuisance. There is a reason the No Contact rule is so successful. The basic premise of the rule is that there is no contact between you and your ex for at least thirty days. Stick to this rule. It can be benefiical in helping to draw him back to you or help her see why she misses you, but it is also very beneficial in helping you cope, heal and move on. Delete his contact info; sure you know it by heart, but you will have the chance to stop yourself from sending that text if you need to manually input his number. If you are having a really hard time resisting, see #3. Think you feel bad now? Imagine how much worse you will feel when you send a text or call...and receive no reply and a voicemail prompt. Your best strength right now is resistance.
8. Think about how you feel right now. Today. This minute. Burn it into your memory and heart. Write it in a journal. Never forget how much you hurt right now, the pain this person has caused you or that you have caused each other. One day, he will contact you again. Sure as the sun rises, your alert will go off and there will be a "hey" from her on your messages. You can choose to drop everything and run back, and possibly be feeling this way again if the relationship goes south. Or you can realize how much you have grown away from the pain while you were apart and decide you don't want to feel like you do right now, this moment, ever again because of this person. Maybe you will be lucky and move past all the damage and heartache; it has happened before. The odds, however, are most likely against it in the long run.
9. Date. As soon as you feel you can. Your heart may not be in it, but you need to pick up as soon as you can and move on. I do not subscribe to "the best way to get over a man is to get under a new one," and in fact that is a TERRIBLE idea. You can certainly plan some dates to get out there and start over again, though. Remember the words of the song, "God bless the broken road that led me straight to you?" What if this break up was clearing the way for the next relationship, the real one that is going to last you forever? What if tonight the guy you are meeting is going to be your last first date ever or she is going to be the one to fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle? Dry your eyes and give it a try. I know, not everyone has options for the next one...so get yourself out somewhere you can meet him or her.
There is a saying in a song that I love..."All the broken hearts in the world still beat, let's not make this harder than it has to be." What truth there is to that little lyric!
Tomorrow, the sun will rise whether you want it to or not. Soon enough, the good days will begin to outweigh the bad ones again, it will get a bit easier to breathe, the cute girl at the grocery store will catch your eye and you will start to feel you can move on. In the meantime, embrace the pain as a necessary step to healing.
And that is myTake.