You may remember that over the summer my partner and I broke up. We were living together, we were engaged, we’d backpacked around the world together; we’d basically spent the past five years glued to each other, so breaking up was never going to be easy. But before you think ‘one healthy break-up doesn’t make you an expert’, please note that this healthy break up was actually a result of all my previous completely crazy, extremely un-healthy, and totally un-classy break-ups. It’s as if 19 year old me, plus 22 year old me, and not forgetting 24 year old me, had all secretly been writing a guide titled ‘What not to do during a break-up’ and now 30 year old me had been handed the finished copy.
My ex, the Beard, was without a doubt the most important relationship I’d ever had, who I had a deep connection with and he was one of my favourite people in the world, and ending our relationship was devastating. So I was mentally preparing myself to go emotionally bat sh*t crazy, I was preparing for Glen close to make an appearance because that is what I used to do, I’d become the crazy ex-girlfriend. But then I realised, the fact that I was already mentally preparing myself for a sh*t storm, surely proved I had grown up.
You see, in my 20’s my break-up pattern was always the same – refuse to accept the heartbreak and instead get back out on the pull ASAP. Trust me, this NEVER worked out and yet I NEVER learned, so off I would trot with my friends on a man hunt. I would quickly realise that I can’t just replace one meaningful relationship with a random dude, and that’s when the cracks, the crazy cracks, started to show. Cue phase two – stalking! I’d check his Facebook constantly, analysing every single comment or even begin sub-stalking every newly added female friend. Next the drunk texting would start, followed by the drunk dialling, I think I even hacked an ex’s emails at one point *cringe*
Trust me, you don’t want to be that person, no-one wants to be that person. And during my recent break-up, I refused to be that person. I knew it was going to be a difficult time, and heart-breaking and incredibly sad, but after everything we had been through, I didn’t want the time we had together to end with him getting a restraining order against me (seriously, there was one ex I actually thought might, and looking back I wouldn’t have blamed him) so I decided to have a healthy and mature break up and here is how you can too:
Accept what is about to happen
The first and most important part of a healthy break-up, is not necessarily accepting that it’s over – no one expects you to be able to do that straight away – but accepting that what lies ahead ain’t gonna be pretty. It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be, at times, excruciatingly painful and incredibly lonely. I was terrified of these feelings, of the heartbreak, of the changes, the loneliness, and especially the possibility of my ex going straight into a new relationship. But I just had to accept that these things would happen, and accept that it’s totally fine to cry about it, and to accept that all the pain I was about to feel would be worth it for a better future, for both of us. Once you accept it’s going to hurt, you won’t fear the pain as much, you’ll embrace it in order to move on, which is exactly what I did.
Delete your ex from Social Media
No matter how strong you think you are, you WILL look at their profile if they are available to you. It might seem sad or even scary, but denying yourself access to his online life is a good thing, trust me. It will stop you from checking in or seeing what they are doing. Even if you are on good terms and think you will be fine, you never know how you will feel when their face pops up on your feed. Despite remaining in touch with the Beard, I made the decision to delete him from Facebook. I also unfollowed a lot of his friends. Unfollowing means I am still their chum on Facebook and we can access each other’s profiles, but if they post any pictures of the Beard, I’m none the wiser as they don’t show up on my feed. Sometimes ignorance IS bliss.
This may seem like the worst thing to do during a break up, because surely booze and break-ups go hand in hand, right? Maybe. I suppose alcohol numbs the heartbreak for a while and is a bit of a distraction. But alcohol tends to make us do stupid things, such as drunk dialling or drunk texting. We make decisions without a clear head on our shoulders and then when we wake up we have to deal with the consequences of those decisions. Not only that but we have to deal with all the crappy emotions that are no longer numbed by alcohol (whilst also dealing with a banging headache, dehydration and the urge to eat seven bacon sarnies!)
Three weeks after my break-up I ditched booze for a while, for multiple reasons, but a big one being that I knew it would not help me through this break-up, it would only make things worse.
Write a list
This sounds a bit weird, but hear me out. When you break up with someone, you break up for a reason, and sometimes, when the heart is aching and you are missing that person dearly, you tend to forget about those reasons. You crave your ex, you want them near you, all these happy memories suddenly pop into your head and you question yourself. I know this because I did this, and I knew I would. How could I not after five years of living by his side and being his best friend? So I sat down and wrote a list, a list of reasons as to why we broke up. On the back of that list, I wrote another, a list of things I wanted for my future, things I can do now that I am no longer in a relationship (because there are positives to even the worst of break ups). I folded it up and popped it in my purse, and anytime I felt lonely and felt like I wanted a cuddle, or felt like picking up the phone and begging for us to get back together, I instead took out my list and gave it a quick read. It worked every time.
Remind yourself that you won’t always feel like this
I absolutely hate the phrase Time is a Healer, but Oh Em Gee, it is so annoyingly true. All the pain and sadness you feel won’t linger around forever and in order to have a healthy break-up you must remind yourself of this fact. Telling yourself that you’re never going to get over this person will only lead you to just that. Instead, look to the future and don’t dwell on the past.
Don’t get me wrong, this break-up hasn’t been easy. It’s been 3 months and I still miss him, but this break-up has felt mature and healthy without a big side plate of crazy. A lyric that has summed up my break-up beautifully, is a line from Paramore’s Last Hope:
“It’s not that I don’t feel the pain, it’s just I’m not afraid of hurting anymore”
Of course I have felt pain, and you will too, but sometimes you have to embrace the pain in order to move on. Don’t avoid it, or try to replace it. Just let it happen. And whatever kind of break up you’re having, don’t ever put yourself down, or let anyone else. Above all else you must remember YOU ARE AWESOME and you totally deserve happiness!
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