It feels surreal to be writing this post 3+ years after one of the most painful and pivotal events in my life. I’ve wanted to write this for a long time, but I honestly wasn’t ready. Many of you who have been following me for years have asked me what happened, or messaged me for advice on how to get over a break up, but I couldn’t bear the thought of “reopening that wound” until now. I’m thankful that I’ve finally been able to heal and I wanted to share the things that really helped me work through that pain and thrive.
I dated my ex Tommy from the time I was 18 years old to the time I was almost 26 years old – a huge chunk of my young adult life (about 8 years.) He was my best friend, my rock, my everything. We moved in together immediately, bought a dog, and always thought we would get married and grow old together. Moving from Arizona to NYC was a huge step in our relationship and it was so fun exploring the city as young 20 somethings! After 8 years together and so many special life events, Tommy and I were just no longer compatible – we had grown apart. I won’t get into the details of how things ended but I will say that it was extremely sudden and shook me to my core. I was devastated and could barely eat or function for weeks. Losing Tommy and everything we had together – the routine and the familiarity was scary, confusing, painful, and overwhelming. BUT, I picked up the pieces and slowly but surely I rebuilt my life. Here are some things that helped me work through the pain and get over my breakup:
- Turn to your family and friends.
This is obvious which is why it’s #1 – but seriously, don’t hold back when you’re struggling! You’ve been there plenty of times for them, and they are there for you. If you’re feeling lonely reach out to them, if you need a box of donuts, ask for some, if you need a fun night out, have them take you out for one! Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
- Find a good therapist.
Depending on the severity of the break up, seeing a therapist can be insanely beneficial. Not every therapist is going to be the right one for YOU. You need to see which one jives best with you! I saw a wonderful woman in NYC after my breakup for several months who helped me tremendously. It was great to get an unbiased perspective and process/digest everything that happened. You’ll be surprised how many realizations and how much clarity you can gain through committing to once a week sessions!
- Don’t rush the grieving process.
I kept saying to myself, “Ok I’ll be over the breakup in a few months no problem.” Then it was, “OMG what’s wrong with me? Why am I not over this?! Ok I have to be over it by the end of the year latest.” I would put myself down for not getting over it as quickly as I thought I should. Well, grieving doesn’t work on a time clock or calendar and sometimes it takes months or years to get over a long term breakup and that’s perfectly normal and OK. Give yourself a break!
- Take the high road.
Don’t do petty things as revenge, don’t stalk his new girlfriend, don’t try to win him back, don’t troll him on social media, don’t unfriend/delete/block him (unless he was harassing you than obviously that’s a good reason!) and basically just don’t do anything rash because you’ll regret it I promise! Give yourself 5 minutes to cool down, take deep breaths, and think about how that petty move could affect you in the future. Take the high road, be a class act, and carry yourself with respect and dignity because you deserve the best!
- “Get back out there” when you damn well feel like it!
I made the big mistake of trying to get back at my ex and dating up a storm when I was newly single. I set up dating profiles, I went out every night, I said yes to every loser who asked me out – just to fill the void, fill the pain, and get revenge. And guess how it made me feel? I got a high from it the first few times and thought it was super fun, but after a while, I felt immature, lonely, empty, and at the end of the day just plain sad. So whether you’re pressuring yourself or a friend or family member is pressuring you to get right back out there – don’t do it. Listen to your gut and your heart. Heal your heart first, and and get back out there for the right reasons and you’ll be amazed at what happens!
- Avoid your go-to couple spots like the plague and find new ones.
I would literally get depressed going to the local grocery store we used to go to together. It was bad. I would be mid tears staring at a box of rice. Do yourself a favor and find a new corner store. Find a new favorite hole in the wall restaurant – switch things up! It’s a time in your life for new energy and new routines. Embrace the unknown and you might just be surprised and discover a new favorite hole in the wall down the street and meet a gorgeous new man! Just sayin’!
- Find a new hobby.
Throwing yourself into learning how to do something is such a good way to get your mind off things and better yourself at the same time. You may discover you had a hidden talent that you never knew of before! It’s also a great way to meet people and may help you in other areas of life that you didn’t even think of!
- Create a solid set of self care rituals.
You can read more about mine here. A few include Friday nights in watching rom coms and ordering Postmates, epsom salt baths, meditating, yoga, dry brushing, running on the beach, baking, and burning sage.
Read books about love and relationships.
The 3 books I recommend are; The 5 Love Languages, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, and The Road Less Traveled. These books have helped me tremendously. They gave me a new perspective into the different ways people communicate and offer so many relationship tips/tricks that I’ll use forever. PS – the stuff I learned doesn’t just apply to significant others! Most of it can be applied to friends and family relationships as well!
Become your own best friend.
If you feel like you’ve lost touch with that amazing, strong, vibrant woman inside of you, then start by reading DVF’s “The Woman I Wanted To Be,” go on a solo trip, and get yourself a strong set of self care rituals. Once you become your own best friend – your pain will start melting away – I promise it really will! – and you will get that pep back in your step. When you love and respect and honor yourself and your feelings you become a magnet for all the good things in life. Read “The Secret” if you haven’t already and you’ll get it!
I am by no means a relationship expert, I’m just sharing what helped me heal and get over my breakup! It takes time to heal and everyone’s path to get there is different, but you will eventually be able to move on and you will feel like your normal self again. Maybe even a better version of your self now that you’re independent! I promise it gets easier as time goes on! What are some techniques or things that have helped you move through a difficult time? I’d love to know! XO