Breaking-up sucks. Nothing good or fun about it. Its hard.
My last breakup was about 15 months ago and it was painful in every possible way you can imagine. I remember feeling ashamed of yet another failed relationship. I also remember thinking: The older I am getting the harder it is. What a terrible statement. I felt stupid shortly after saying it. Why? Because it meant I was identifying my entire being into a relationship. It meant acknowledging that I had no life outside of a relationship. Mostly, it meant admitting to myself that I had no idea who I was outside of a relationship. It hurt. A lot.
Being negative was just the tip of the iceberg. I felt sorry for myself and I was often convinced that there would be no one else for me out there. To make it worst, I wondered if God had forgotten about me. Which in turn made me angry. I was angry for feeling forgotten, undeserving of a “happy ending” and I was also angry at myself for not leaving sooner. Contradicting isn’t it?
Lastly, I had to shake off the feeling of having to start all over again. I remember crying tears of rage. Confused. Upset. Angry. Feeling foolish. I felt my body go into convulsions. It was dark. It was cold. It was lonely.
The good thing is, no matter the daily emotional roller-coaster, I didn’t succumb to my vulnerability. Every day, bit by bit, I slowly moved one foot in front of the other and found the courage to continue my journey. I slowly started to see clear again. I slowly began to believe that there had to be something greater waiting for me.
How did I manage to get my groove back? Here’s how:
Coming to terms with the past: Coming to terms with this mutual decision was hard. OMG! I am single again. The hardest part was trying to stop pointing the finger and coming to terms with the past. It wasn’t his fault or mine, it was OUR fault. We EQUALLY contributed to this mess. Mentally destroying his every word and move or mine is easy to do when you are angry but if I kept going I knew it would never end. There is always room for blaming in breakups. Plus doing so catapulted me into this vicious circle of negativity and warranted the bad energy then made me sad. ENOUGH! Instead, I started focusing on why it didn’t work between us and what we couldn’t give each other. Setting the emotions aside and focusing on the constructive criticisms did it for me. I started thinking about the things that he couldn’t give me and I couldn’t give him which made it so much clearer as to why reconciliation was not possible. Rather than keeping tabs and pointing the finger, I built on the lessons.
Let it out: I cried like I never cried before. I was angry all the way to my bones. I had to let the pain go. I often doubted but I never went back on our decision. The grief I was feeling just made me feel empty and often confused but deep down I knew it wasn’t for me and I had to stand ground. Some people will write, some will sing, some will workout. Write him a letter and burn it! Whatever you decide to do, let it out! Its therapeutic really.
Talk it out: Talking things through with my family and friends helped so much. It isn’t easy at first to show that much vulnerability but while I wanted to hide and never come out again, I found solace and some great advice. To my surprise, my confidants had gone through similar experiences. Just when I thought no one in the world could possibly understand, there they were with empathetic stories. I felt less lonely and much better. Venting with people who understood made the grief so much lighter.
Go out: I didn’t realize of much I was consumed by my relationship until I was single again. Not sure what it is about it but we were so busy focusing on one other and our new cocoon that I had completely forgotten about me and how much fun I once had. Its like I associated fun with being single. Being in a relationship meant being serious and mature and focusing on the future together. Anything outside of that was below our standard and what we had envision for ourselves so I never went out. I looked forward to go home to cook, clean, workout and watch tv together. So, you can imagine when I finally went out, catching up with old friends, I realized how much I had missed these types encounters. It didn’t take too long for me to feel free again.
Fall in love with yourself: Everything in your relationship has been about “we, us or our”. While adjusting my vocabulary wasn’t easy, I made decisions on my own and consciously forced myself to be aware of how that made me feel. Only one person to please and that was ME! I learned so much in the process and discovered that I had changed in the past years. I had grown. I liked this new person and I was very proud of her. I started to see me differently and fell in love with myself over and over again as I became stronger and much more confident in my decisions.
Focus on your dreams: Now that I was single, I had so much more time on my hands. I got bored quickly because I was so used to doing things with him right after work. I didn’t know anything else. So I took a leap of faith, I took some classes and consulted with a mentor and made the decision to open myself a small company. It wasn’t easy to make the decision and I was scared but no struggle was worth getting in the way of my dream. I felt fierce and beautiful. That alone made was worth all the struggles. The more I felt confident about my decision, the more I felt like it was ok to be single. No relationship could define me ever again. No relationship would make me put myself on a shelf ever again.
Travel!: I caught up with friends everywhere. I have more stamps in my passport now then I did in the total years I was in a relationship. I went away with family and friends but on my own mostly. Nothing makes you feel like a “BOSS” more than taking a trip on your own.
Feel your best: I am an emotional eater. The first few months after my breakup, I followed a comfort food and booze regiment like I was going on death-row. I gained 20lbs. Blaming it on being in a “phase”, I was subconsciously punishing myself for “failing”. Truth is, I was angry. I hated having to start all over again. The thought of dating again made me question myself. I barely believed in someone wanting me again let alone having confidence in myself. One day, I woke up feeling fat and like I had lost sight of who I was before that relationship. I remember wondering what I had done and how did I let it get this far. Disappointed, that morning, something changed. I stopped the madness and told myself every day that I was worthy and beautiful inside and out. No one should ever have that much power to make you feel like this ever again. Just like that, I slowly started working out again. I went to the gym with my sister. We had our little support system and it worked out. We did what we could when we could. To reward myself, I went shopping! In no time, I felt sexy and attracted more dates than I could handle. Most importantly, I was so glad to find my confidence again.
Rebounding: I always had mixed feelings about rebounds but quickly discovered that it was a great way to get my groove back. Why you ask? Because your new hottie is not only easy on the eyes but he is also funny, charming and makes you feel good about yourself in the smallest things. And just when you feel low, that text message comes in and says “I had a blast last night. When can I see you again. or You have the cutest smile. or I keep thinking about (insert moment here)”. Just like that, you feel better. The clouds disappear. What better feeling than being entertained by someone who has absolutely no expectations from you and you of him. If you are ready, a fling can also be quite exciting. Maybe even what the doctor ordered? I mean, why not? Being confident with your sexuality is very sexy. Just make sure you are both honest and fair in the process.
Being single is not a death sentence:List the positive and awesome things about being single. Like not having to argue about the way things go in a dishwasher or which restaurant to go to or discussing your finances. Focus on your new found freedom and all the pros rather than the cons helps the negative energy dissipate quickly. Personally, I embrace my single-self. I love her autonomy, her courage and her passion to do whatever she wants to without having to check in with someone else. Every day, I wake up grateful and proud of my accomplishments.
Stop wondering about him:Do you Booboo! Simple as that. Questions like: “does he miss me?” or “is he thinking about me?” or “how is he dealing with the breakup?” should be of no concern to you. Truth is, if he wanted to know I’m sure he would find a way to reach you. If he did, than what? Who cares really. You mutually decided to part ways for a reason. Let it go and trust your future.
Move out: First and best decision I ever did was to move out of OUR place. It was hard but not nearly as hard as living in the same space you once both occupied. Think about all the memories you are surrounding yourself with. Negative soldier! That’s not healthy. All these things can’t possibly make you grow into what you are supposed to become. Let it go. Start fresh. Get your own space. Matter of fact, I took that opportunity to de-clutter. Out with the old and in with the new. That old t-shirt and the gifts all went down the garbage chute.
I might make it sound easy but it took me quite some time to accomplish this. What I learned was to listen to myself and to follow my intuition. I only moved on to the next phase when I felt ready. Lesson learned: Don’t confuse fear with being ready. Being scared is only because it’s a new phase not because you are not able to. You can do anything you put your mind to. ANYTHING.
The process of grieving a relationship is about you and you only. Today, I can honestly say that I feel happy about the split. I feel more free, strong and empowered than before. Most importantly, I discovered this beautiful person who wasn’t defined by her relationship. Once I shed all the layers I found this beautiful person. Just me.
I can promise you this – it gets better. MUCH MUCH MUCH better. Just keep going. Every day. One step at a time.