One. Take a deep breath. Then another. And another.
Losing a relationship feels like the end of the world. In most cases, it is the end of the world you envisioned for yourself and your partner. The pain you feel, both physically and mentally, is worse than anything you’ve experienced before.
You are dumped and you are devastated. Absolutely lost.
Your friends and your family are shocked, asking questions while giving you pitied looks and you deserve better pep talks we all want to cringe away from when we hear.
It sounds crazy, but it’s easier to recover from heartbreak on your own than with others. Step away from that pep talk shit. Stop answering everyone’s questions, the phone, the knocks on your door.
Step away from everyone and everything in your life, even for a few moments if that’s all the time alone you can get in a day.
The people who care about you will try to help you feel better and of course their support is appreciated, but in some cases— or most, it can add to the sadness and anxiety you feel. It keeps you dwelling in the past— in your pain, instead of taking the first step toward your new future.
Take a deep breath. Remind yourself that you are still alive.
A broken heart can’t actually kill you.
Close your eyes, inhale deeply and exhale slowly. Focus on your heart beating in your chest. Zero in on your body. Your hands that are shaking. The tears running down your cheeks that seem to never end.
You are still alive. Being abandoned by someone you love didn’t actually kill you like you thought it would. You are stronger than you think you are.
Breathe. Remain calm. Right now it is more important than ever to focus inward and reign in control of your body, your thoughts and your emotions.
Two. Mourn the loss of the relationship.
I’ll be the first to admit I’d much rather ignore my broken heart and pray the pain goes away quickly. Preferably with multiple bottles of wine, plenty of toxic people to enable me and every dollar I’ve earned.
But, like an untreated wound, your heart and your mind may not heal for the better if you don’t care for it properly.
Without going through the motions of pain and grief, two, four, or six months down the road you may suddenly find yourself brokenhearted all over again. Maybe you’ll see him at a party or tagged in a post on social media. Maybe something will stir a memory of the two of you when times were good and before you know it, that gut-wrenching pain you suppressed and ignored rears its ugly face again.
No thanks. Broken hearted once was enough.
You’re beyond hurt. That’s okay.
You’re scared of the future, terrified no one else will ever want or love you. That’s okay.
You feel about as desirable as the gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe. That’s okay.
I always loathed those super pushy people coming at me with the just forget about him or the you deserve better comments two seconds after I’ve had my heart ripped out of my chest. Though their intentions are meant to be encouraging, most of us need a hot minute to simply be sad.
That. Is. Okay.
The ending of a relationship is a lot like death. You need to process the loss and mourn it properly in order to move on.
Yes, it’s awful your love was not appreciated and reciprocated.
Yes, it’s not fair that people can’t treat you the way you treat them.
Yes, the pain can be excruciating. Sometimes more so than broken bones or childbirth.
You are allowed to be sad.
You are allowed to be angry and depressed.
If you ignore these feelings because they hurt too much, it will be difficult for you to heal. You may forget for a little while, but trust me, you will feel that pain again.
Feel the pain. Understand why it ended. Accept it is for the better.
Side note – Be careful to not stay in the mourning portion of your heartbreak for too long. Some people take years to heal and while that may be acceptable for them, it’s not for me and hopefully not for you.
Your relationship is over for whatever reason. Period. End of story.
Be sad about it then lift your chin the fuck up. You have a life to lead and the clock is ticking.
Three. Chase the happiness high.
Serotonin, Dopamine, and Endorphins for the win!
We’ve all seen it before. A woman finds herself suddenly single and broken-hearted. One moment she is happy and in love, then the next she is alone and lost, wondering if she will ever find love again.
If you’re reading this post then I know you can relate. We’ve all been there, sometimes more than once.
What does this battered down, broken hearted woman do? She changes her hair color. She hits the gym and starts eating healthy. She has her nails done and gets a wax. She buys some cute new clothes and redecorates her apartment. She gets a tan while running on the beach and rocks the newest line of makeup when she meets up with friends.
Some things she does with money and some she doesn’t. You don’t need to go broke trying to feel better. The point is, she finds moments of happiness in any positive way she can, as much as possible.
She chases the happiness high.
When people undergo surgery or break a bone they are allowed time to recover. To nurture their body, healing the inside and the out. The same should be done for a broken heart!
You’ve been hurt. You deserve time to heal and build yourself back up.
Positive change is always good. One of the best things you can do for yourself after a breakup is make yourself look and feel beautiful. Get a massive hit of those feel-good chemicals by bettering your body and your mind while feeding your heart and soul.
Remember, these changes are not for outside attention, and certainly not to win any heartbreaking POS back. Adjusting something simple about the way you look and how you treat your body is a great way to make you feel better about you.
After taking a massive blow to the feels, there is no greater way to jumpstart your recovery than to feel beautiful, inside and out.
Four. Pick a new hobby for distraction.
As fun as it sounds, I don’t mean binge drinking, gambling, and newly found club hopping addiction as methods of distraction. Those won’t get you anywhere but hungover and regretful of the choices you will probably make.
Find something to distract yourself and take up time, but in a good way.
Your brain and your pesky emotions are hardwired to push great memories from past relationships to the forefront of your mind. They blind you to the negative aspects of your previous love story and will come at you from all angles, at the worst possible times.
No moment is off limits.
Finally sitting down after a tough day at work? Hello, fond memory that will bring tears to your eyes.
Suffering through an especially intense week of PMS? Boom! Flashes of the great sex you used to have, but don’t anymore. Boo boo.
Enjoying a few precious moments of peace and quiet from your hectic life? Seems like a perfect time to recall every single time you thought to yourself, they’re the one.
Now they’re gone and you will be alone forever.
The fact is, you are not alone and you never will be. No one is. There is a world full of people you already know or have yet to meet. Friends, family, coworkers, roommates, your life will always be full of people you bring into it.
You will not die a shriveled up, spinster of a person in your apartment alone where your cats will eat you.
Besides that truth, the key to making it through the onslaught of painful memories of your relationship is to get out of your house! Find a hobby that excites you and stimulates your mind. Do something that makes you happy instead of allowing yourself to feel like shit every day.
As with breaking any bad habit, whether it’s smoking, drinking too much, or loving someone who left you, the key is to check yourself and shift your focus whenever your mind threatens to drift backward.
It happens frequently after a breakup. You’re not alone. Your brain and your body are seeking out the feel-good chemical reactions you are trying to heal from! Your heart wants you to crawl back to the safety and comfort of your past relationship so it can feel better. Safer. Loved.
Don’t do it! You can’t give in, reverting back to your broken self and the pain of that relationship.
You need a positive distraction until the craving for the past is over. Sometimes it’s short and sweet. Sometimes the need to regress lasts weeks. Either way, find something to lean on when the temptation to run back to what broke you strikes hardest.
Pick up a book.
Head to the gym.
Take a class in something that interests you.
Go for a walk.
Dance in your living room every morning and every night.
I promise you, this too shall pass. The longer you are able to focus on something besides what you’re missing about your failed relationship, the easier it will get. Days, weeks, and months will slip by and before you know it, you won’t be thinking of the past at all.
Five. Remember, you’ve made it through hard times before and you will again.
Odds are this is not the first time you have gone through a tough time. It doesn’t have to be a breakup, either. It can be something not at all related to matters of the heart, but strikes violently at your heart just the same.
When you were younger, was there a time you thought your best friend hated you? I remember at least a dozen times through grade school I fought with my friends and swore my life was over. The group of girls I adored stopped speaking to me and oh my god, I was going to die.
At the time, I was so broken down and beaten up I constantly begged my mother to let me stay home from school. My life was ending because my friends hated me and I would have rather died in the safety of my own home, thank you very much.
As a child, I thought I would never live through the pain and rejection of my first friends.
But I did.
I got fired from my first job when I was fresh out of high school. It was totally deserved because I was a shitty employee, but when it happened I thought my life was over.
I was so embarrassed, both about the behavior causing me to get fired and the fact that all my friends and coworkers saw it happen. I couldn’t look anyone in the face, swearing up and down I’d never leave my house again.
My life was over.
As a teenager, I thought I would never live through the sheer humiliation of losing my first job.
But I did.
In my early twenties I met a guy. It was your typical love at first sight, birds chirping, this is my future husband kind of love. I was enamored, pouring every bit of myself into him and our relationship from the start.
Years passed, some months better than others, but my love for him never went away. If anything, the way he made me chase him drove me to need and want him more.
The almost overwhelming way I felt about him was borderline obsession. Unbeknownst to me, I was nothing but a body he used to pass time.
We ended things more than a dozen times over the years, but the very last time we broke up I was devastated. Broken, beaten and used. I was too lost in my love for this man to realize how much of myself I’d abandoned, so when he left me I also left myself.
Sometimes when heart break consumes too much of you, you spiral downward. That was me, day in and day out for years after our relationship ended. I didn’t want to do anything but drink. I didn’t want to talk to anyone but him. I didn’t want to grow or move past him in any way.
I was broken and without him my life was over.
As a young woman, I thought I’d never live through the excruciating pain of losing who I thought was the love of my life.
But I did.
That’s the point of this vague look into my past, to show you the things I thought would end me? They never did. The broken hearts I endured over the years never took me down because in the end, I never let them.
Eventually, we make it through the pain.
Eventually, we grow stronger from the hurt and maybe we learn a little too.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It’s one of the best bumper sticker quotes out there, but it reigns so true. You will not die, even when you think you will. You will pass through this difficult time in your life, only to experience one or five or ten more.
The key is to always remember, you’ve survived before and you can again.