Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Break-ups are undoubtedly one of the hardest things to go through.
Even if things end on good terms, you're still left with a lot of feelings, and probably a lot of your former significant other's stuff. When my almost three-year relationship ended, I had no idea what to do, and I looked for advice and reassurance everywhere. I just wanted to get back to feeling like myself, something a part of me thought would never happen.
Obviously, everyone's experience with a break-up is unique. There are a million factors to consider, like how long you were together, why things ended, who broke up with who, etc. But as I slowly healed, I talked to a lot of friends who had gone through their own break-ups, messy or otherwise, and noticed some trends.

At first, you might panic.
Immediately after the breaking has been done, you'll probably feel like you're no longer sure how to function. Especially after a particularly long-term or co-dependent relationship, you might freak out, feeling like you don't know how to go about daily life. And that's normal, because your daily life that once consisted of texts back and forth and date nights and spooning is now entirely different. There's no getting back to your normal life. You have to rebuild a new daily routine that works for you. The best things you can do in that case are try to keep really busy, and enjoy all the time you now have to just have fun with friends. Try to see the positives, like the fact that you now get to be completely selfish when deciding what to eat for dinner or what movie to watch. It's the little things.
So know that it's okay to panic and wonder What the hell am I going to do now? Just don't let the panic drive you to any rash decisions.

Shoutout to my best friends who saw me through all these crazy phases. This is us on Halloween, 2 months post break-up (we were Pretty Little Liars)
You will go through a "rose colored glasses" phase. 
Once the initial panic fades, you will probably go through a period of time where you decide that breaking up was a huge mistake. You'll forget all of the logical, sound reasons for the break-up and instead choose only to remember all the happy parts of the relationship, even if there aren't all that many to reminisce about. Even if it was entirely the other person's fault (i.e. they cheated on you, killed your cat, etc.) you will blame yourself, telling yourself that they only did those things because you were emotionally unavailable/too clingy/whatever other bullshit you choose to feed yourself. You'll chastise yourself for not cutting them more slack, for not working harder to fix things.
Again, it's normal to have these thoughts. But what's most important in this phase of post-break-up-dom is time and space. I know a lot of people who have ended relationships for all the right reasons, only to misguidedly get back together two weeks later because they let the rose colored glasses cloud their formerly clear vision. So, when you have these thoughts, do not- I REPEAT, DO NOT CALL HIM. Do not text him. Do not tell him you want him back. Your future self will thank you for this, believe me.

You will tell yourself it's okay to talk/hang out with him because you're "just friends."
This is a particularly un-fun part of the post break-up roller coaster. At some point, you may end up talking to them a lot. Whether it's about your past relationship, the weather, your dog- whatever the case may be- it's probably not a good idea.
When you're fresh out a relationship, this isn't what you want to hear. You want to believe you're both well-adjusted enough that you can instantly be friends again with no weirdness. Plenty of well-meaning friends will tell you to take time away, to not talk to them, but you do it anyway. Because you guys are cool, and you're just friends, so what's the big deal, right?
Wrong. The old wounds can't heal if you keep ripping off the band-aid with Oh hey this reminded me of you, lol! texts to your ex. It's nice to be civil if you see each other, and being friends down the road isn't out of the question. But if you're using the friend card to defend the fact that you just miss talking to him, stop talking to him.

You will eventually hit a point where you are HAPPY. Actually happy.
Break-ups suck. When people say you'll eventually get over it, they aren't trying to be pricks. But that's what it feels like when you're knee deep in wallowing and some friend with good intentions is like "Oh don't worry, you'll be fine in a few months!" That's great for you in a few months, but right now it just sucks.
I'm about to be hypocritical and tell you exactly what all your friends are telling you, so don't hate me. But sometimes a cliche is a cliche because it's true. You will hit a point where you don't have to try not to think about them, where you don't have to give your best friend your phone when you're drunk so you don't call him. If you have a good support system and truly give yourself time, you can even come out the other side of a break-up happier than before. After all, there were reasons you broke up. Reasons that made you unhappy. Now that you don't have that drama dragging you down, you have more time to focus on things that actually make you happy, not just what you were comfortable with and dependent on. Maybe that's a hobby that fell by the wayside, or meeting a new guy who treats you how you should be treated. Whatever it may be, you'll feel happier, more fulfilled, and so glad you didn't end up getting back together with your ex.
Repeat after Taylor.

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