You imagined your whole life with this person. You wanted to grow old together and you pictured your future with this person.
But it happened.
The relationship came to an unexpected end and you cannot imagine your life without this person or see the purpose of life.
I understand, because I’ve been there.
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A short backstory of my bad break up:
After coming out from a long-term abusive marriage and finally divorcing my cheating ex, I was broken.
Within 2 months, I met a very good man who did nothing but love me and pick up the broken pieces. He even helped me with the legalities of my divorce.
I fell head over heels in love with him because he was funny, caring, kind, gentle and loved me every single day with a passion that was almost too surreal to be true.
We moved into a beautiful apartment with my dogs and we were a family. I’d never been so happy and content in my whole life.
We spent hours cuddling, talking about our future of marriage and kids and each day was pure bliss.
After a year of living together, he sat me down and told me that we needed to break up.
He said he couldn’t make peace with my past even though he had tried a lot. He also said that he had visions that he had to be with someone else (she was a girl in his church prayer group) and he firmly believed that God wanted him to be with her instead of me. Turns out, he had been wanting to break up with me for months because he just couldn’t fathom marrying a divorcee.
He maintained that he still loved me but he had to follow God’s choice otherwise he’d have to face the consequences.
Letting him go was easily one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do because I not only loved him more than anything in the world, he was also my best friend.
And although I was devastated in the months that followed this break-up, I realised with time that if he truly loved me, he’d have fought for me and somehow found a way to be with me instead of coming up with multiple excuses that featured God, his parents or my past.
I have gone through many ups and downs like watching my mom fighting a losing battle with cancer, going through a painful divorce but getting over someone I loved was by far my biggest challenge.
I knew I wasn’t the only one going through this ordeal, and this is why I have decided to write a post that will walk you through a break-up that is currently crushing you.
Here’s what you need to know about your breakup:
Before I go on about all the things you can do to speed up your recovery, here are some things you need to know right after you go through a breakup.
How long will it take for you to get over your partner after the breakup? And why does a breakup hurt so much?
According to Jay Shetty, when you are in a relationship with someone, there are 4 degrees of attachment (bonds) you form with your partner:
If you were only physically and mentally attached, it’s going to take some time to let go. If you were physically, mentally and emotionally attached, it’s going to take a lot more time to let go.
However, if you were physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually attached to this person, it’s going to take the longest time to let go and move on.
This is because your identity with this person has become one.
And you end up losing a huge portion of yourself when you lose someone that was this close to you.
So, understand that this is going to be painful.
But you can and will get through this even if you don’t feel like you can at this very moment.
You will get to a place of acceptance and peace one day, even if that day is not today
Sometimes there are lessons to be learned.
And the universe will send us people to help us learn those lessons. However bad it hurts now, there is a lesson to be learned from this relationship.
The intention may have been to make you stronger, love/respect yourself more, or show you that you are truly and fully capable of loving someone deeply.
It could also be a learning lesson – to help you learn how to pick a better partner next time.
Whatever the reason, you will eventually discover it now that you have more time for yourself.
This relationship had a purpose.
And now that it’s over, you can use this time to heal and grow. This is all part of your growth process.
Time heals all wounds
At the moment, you are still in shock or feel anger towards everything. It’s completely normal. None of this will make sense, but time heals all wounds.
And with time, you will be able to distance yourself from this person and the situation emotionally, and you will be able to see it for what it was and not what you romanticised it to be.
Do not rush your healing process
Your friends might encourage you to start dating right after your break up to help you cope with the loss. Or you may feel like resorting to eating junk food or drinking or smoking to numb the pain.
Do not do this because all you’re doing is bandaging a deep wound.
It is not going to heal if you rush the healing process. It’s only going to provide you with mild, temporary comfort.
To move past this breakup and actually start enjoying life again, you will have to let your feelings wash over you and feel your pain.
It’s not going to be easy to get over someone you love, but I can tell you for certain that with each passing day, you will get stronger your heart will mend itself until you feel whole and happy again.
Okay? Let’s begin!
What to do immediately after the breakup:
End things amicably and cut off all contact
Whether or not you got closure, it’s best you cut off all contact so that you can start the healing process.
Return your ex’s things to them and keep all the mementoes and photos in a box and store them in a place you will not see, like in a box at the back of a cupboard.
Delete all your photos in your gallery, or if it’s too painful to do so, copy them into a folder on your computer and put the folder in a place you won’t see for a while.
Unfriend them on all social media and if you have a habit of stalking them, block them so that you can resist the temptation to doing so.
Remember, you aren’t blocking them because you hate them; you’re doing it so that you can heal. And this isn’t wrong because it’s time you put your needs first.
Avoid drunk texting or calling your ex to explain things or ask for another chance. The best thing to do is avoid alcohol for a while because it will not make you feel better. It will only cause more pain once the high wears off.
Remember, if they wanted to be with you, the relationship wouldn’t have ended in the first place.
If the person truly loves you, you shouldn’t have to ask them to be with you.
The reason the relationship ended was that it was not meant to be.
Do not try to take revenge or explain yourself
Anger does not solve anything, nor is it going to get you what you want. And vengeance will always come back to bite you.
You will want to say many things to your ex but understand that there is no point in doing so.
Even if you feel like you were wronged, then there is all the more reason to be the bigger person and just move on.
An important thing to realize is that no amount of digging, ruminating or bargaining is going to get you what you lost.
The relationship has come to an end.
Making peace with the break-up
Understand that whatever you feel is normal
You’re going to feel various emotions like shock, anger, confusion, fear, grief, anxiety, and so much more.
It’s totally normal.
You’ve imagined your whole life with someone, and it was suddenly taken away from you.
So, let yourself feel whatever you are feeling.
You may have days or weeks of non-stop crying. It’s okay. Take a few days off from work and let yourself feel those emotions.
Understand that no matter how much pain you feel now, it will get better with time. There is no exception to this rule.
You may feel your chest hurting, and at times, you will find it hard to breathe – this too is normal. But if it persists for weeks on end, you may need to see a Counsellor or Therapist.
Accept what has happened
Some get closure, and some do not.
Either way, it doesn’t matter because we have to make peace with what has happened – the relationship over.
If you both were perfect for each other, the relationship would not have ended. One of you was not getting your needs met, or the relationship was just not meant to be.
It can be a difficult truth to accept, but with time, it will get easier.
In a way, it’s good that this happened now and not 5-10 years down the line.
Do not go down the route of self-pity
It’s going to be very easy to crawl up into a ball on the floor and cry for days. And as much as you will need to get those feelings out, do not let them consume you.
There is no point in dwelling on the past, especially if it’s not going to affect your life in any way.
If you feel like you are incapable of being loved, or you’ll never find anyone as good as they are, or you might never fall in love again, understand that these feelings are temporary.
You are not your feelings. And thinking negatively is only going to cause you more pain.
Your feelings do not define you, and nobody can know the future.
You only know what has happened.
And as dreadful as things may seem now, you will get out of this and emerge strong again.
You are stronger than you believe
You have made it this far in life – which means you have conquered every single obstacle you have ever encountered in your life.
So, do not underestimate your strength.
You are going to get over this just like you have gotten over every other hardship and tragedy in life.
If you speak to the most successful people in life, you will find that they often uncovered their potential or their life purpose after going through some extreme pain.
Pain shapes us and makes us stronger and better. We become better versions of ourselves each time we are knocked down and have to get back up.
You will get over this and you will emerge stronger than before. Trust the process.
Talk to friends and relatives
I was blessed to have a few close friends and relatives I could share my heartbreak with. And I was surprised that everyone could see it clearly even when I could not see the real picture.
I was just blinded by love. They all told me the same thing, “The red flags were there; you just didn’t see them.”
Talking to them also made me realize that I wasn’t alone, despite what I believed.
Every time I felt like calling or texting my ex, I had an emergency backup of friends to dial to avoid making contact with my ex.
I highly suggest keeping a close circle of friends to help you through your breakup.
If you are uncomfortable sharing your story with people, try journaling.
I journaled almost every day during and after my break-up, and going through the pages now; I can see everything all too clearly.
The truth may not be visible now, but with time, you will gain more clarity.
Examine what went wrong during the relationship
If your breakup has just happened, you may not be able to see anything wrong with your relationship. This is because you are very emotionally invested with the person, and we tend to overlook a person’s flaws, especially if we love them a lot.
This happens with everyone who is deeply in love.
So, if you cannot see it now, take a few weeks off and get back to this exercise later when you can.
With time and distance, you will be able to see flaws and red flags in the relationship that you may have missed while you were still in it.
Maybe they were constantly iffy about committing, or maybe they were tiptoeing around certain discussions; maybe their actions didn’t really align with their words.
Think about the times they didn’t respect you or didn’t treat you right.
Because we are in so much pain after a breakup, our brains often replay the positive memories with the person. It’s a defensive and self-healing mechanism.
But remember, you are not your emotions.
And it’s time to take off those rose-colored glasses and see the relationship for what it actually was.
Putting yourself first
Put your needs first
If you are constantly thinking about your past relationship and ruminating over everything that you may have missed your partner’s red flags – stop.
Ask yourself why you are torturing yourself non-stop for someone that doesn’t love you and someone who’s probably moved on.
It’s time to start putting yourself first. And this means taking the first steps toward self-love.
Stop obsessing over someone who’s not doing the same for you.
Do not seek love immediately
As tempting as it may be to go out and search for your soulmate, don’t. If you are not okay being happy and whole by yourself, you will attract the wrong people.
And you do not want this because dating the wrong person is going to hurt you more.
You cannot love someone else if you do not love yourself.
In the weeks following a break-up, your confidence is going to take a massive blow. For too long, you’d been putting your partner first. And now that they’re gone, life is going to look bleak and empty.
But this is temporary.
And instead of obsessing over what you lost and thinking non-stop about someone who doesn’t share the same feelings you do, it is time to focus on yourself and start loving yourself.
If you feel like a huge chunk of you is missing, or you cannot do without the person, it means you feel incomplete, and you need another person to feel whole again.
So, do not rush into a relationship until you have healed properly and have learned that you are whole.
Nobody can complete you, and nobody can fix you. This is your job to realize that you are whole.
Only when you learn to love yourself and realize you are whole can you truly find someone that will love you.
Another person’s love should be an addition to our lives. It should not be our whole lives.
So, for now, focus on yourself and try to heal by yourself. This is the perfect opportunity to put yourself first and get a little self-care.
Figure out your other roles as a person
If your whole world revolved around your ex, you are going to feel like you’ve lost everything. This happens to people who focus solely on 1 person and give them their 100%.
I was one of those people, so I speak from experience.
It is now time for you to realize that your role as a person is much more than just a partner.
Figure out what else you are; you may be a dog/cat mommy, a sister, an employee, a caregiver, and write those roles down.
Take some time to figure out other relationships that you may have neglected during your time with your ex-partner and start rebuilding them.
Take care of yourself
Too often, when we are in love, we tend to neglect ourselves.
Now is the perfect opportunity to start walking on that path of self-care.
One of the biggest pros of a breakup is you will have more time for yourself. Yes, the silence takes some time to get used to, but I guarantee that it will get better each day.
Start taking better care of your health.
You can focus on tidying your apartment and cooking healthier meals. Start meditating because it helps you learn how to focus on the present moment and let go of the past. I started using Headspace, and it has helped me heal from my breakup tremendously.
Meditating also helped me sleep better.
Adopt a better lifestyle so that you can become more fit and increase your stamina.
Go for long walks or start planning coffee dates with your friends.
The best way to get over the past is by focusing on the present.
Learn some new skills
Pick up a hobby that you’ve always wanted to try or improve your already existing skills. Learn a language you’ve always wanted to learn.
I got myself a piano and some drawing courses because I have always wanted to play the piano, and I wanted to improve my drawing skills. I’m also learning French again because I adore that language.
Attempt to go out if you’ve always stayed indoors. I took up an improv class that meets every Sunday and although I was really pushing my comfort zone, meeting new people really helped keep me distracted.
Moving on isn’t easy. But it will happen in due time.
Finding love again
Yes, you will find love again
You are going to find love whether or not you believe it right now. We usually attract people who are just like us.
When I was in college, I was incredibly insecure. And I attracted my first partner, who was also terribly insecure. Needless to say, that it was a disaster waiting to happen.
The next person I attracted was emotionally weak because I was emotionally weak when I found him.
If you are damaged or hurt, you will likely attract someone who’s the same.
And things are going to turn dark very soon.
This is why you must focus on yourself and become a better version of yourself to attract someone who can actually become an asset to your life.
The universe is going to send you someone when you’re ready
When you are ready to love with your whole heart, the universe will send you someone who will love you unconditionally.
Until then, learn to love yourself and work on yourself.
For too long, we have been living under the false hope that love means having a partner or a relationship to feel whole and happy.
But true love comes from within.
And when you find the right person, nothing can come between you both. There is no chance that the relationship will end because that person will stick with you through thick and thin.
Know what you want
Once you’ve spent enough time working on yourself, please make a list of the qualities you want in a partner and read it every night before you go to bed.
This exercise might take you some time. Go through your relationship(s) and see what qualities were really lacking in you or your partner that led to its end.
I do believe in the power of the law of attraction. And doing this simple exercise will help you find someone with all the qualities you are looking for in a partner.
I highly recommend the following books because these books helped me with my break up immensely and my whole perspective changed toward my relationship. They genuinely helped me realize how much I had to live for and helped me start loving myself more.
A Return to love is all about loving yourself right after a breakup, and it will help you learn to let go. This is something most of us need help with. So, I highly recommend that you start with A Return to Love first.
And if you need a good pep-talk, you should follow Breeny’s YouTube channel. You can start with her video for girls who’ve just gone through a nasty breakup.
This breakup may feel like the end of the world at the moment, but trust me, it’s not. Your life is not over. Only one chapter of your life is over. The rest is yet to be explored.
None of this happening was or is your fault. It’s just something that has happened, and it’s something you need to make peace with.
Life goes on, and it’s surprising what we can live with and what we can live without.
Your future is beautiful, and there is so much in life to live for, even if you can’t see it now.
So, start your healing process and take it 1 day at a time. It will get lighter. It will get easier and you will feel free and happy again.
Just turn the page and start a fresh new chapter.