Break-ups are tough.
If you’ve ever been through a break-up, you’d know that it’s one of the most horrible feelings in the world. I daresay, going through a break-up is comparable to the experience of losing a close loved one. The pain is a different kind, more of a ‘sharp’ sadness, but sadness all the same. I guess a passionate relationship calls for passionate grief.
In fact, the pain of a break-up is so intense that studies have linked it to actual physical pain, in which the brain triggers sensations similar to physical injuries. No wonder some people take years to get over an ex-lover. Some don’t move on at all. YIKES.
So, if you have just broken-up with someone, I feel you. Here are some of my tried and tested tips on how to cope with your feelings. Firstly,
During the second day of my breakup, I immediately tried to ‘get better’ by reading motivational books and going out with friends. Being anxious and angry, I decided that he was not worth my time, or my tears. I went on for a week trying to push my feelings aside, trying to be ‘strong’, until one day I realised that it’s not working. I was suddenly so exhausted, physically and mentally, and all I wanted to do was cry.
So I did. When I broke down, the pain hit me like a wave, and I just cried and cried. It was overwhelming and excruciating, but at the same time it felt like a poison was being removed from my body.
Did I feel better afterwards? Not completely, but it was a good start.
In order for the healing process to start, you have to first acknowledge your feelings. It’s okay to feel upset, to feel depressed, or to miss that person dearly. Most people will expect you to jump right ahead and do post break-up stuff right after it happened.
But it’s important to acknowledge your feelings too. You’ve just lost someone dear to you and YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO BE UPSET. Just as you need rest after a physical injury, you also need rest after an emotional one.
HAVE A BREAK-UP BUDDY.
A break-up buddy is a person who is there for you for support. Choose a person who will make you feel better and more positive. It could be a friend or a family member.
Talking about your feelings is one of the most therapeutic things you can do in a break-up. My break-up buddy was a cousin who stood by through all the breakdowns and tears with a handy bucket of ice-cream if I needed it.
Initially I rejected her, thinking that I can ‘handle it’ by myself, and that I didn’t want to be a burden to anyone. But she kept calling and checking up on me, and taking me out. With that, I slowly realised that there’s no shame in admitting that I was upset. I also realised that there are people around me who still loved me unconditionally, so why not let them?
Years later, I decided to pay it forward when a friend of mine went through a similar thing. After having a break-up buddy, and being one myself, I can say this: TALK TO US. WE DO NOT MIND! Don’t feel bad about it, seriously.
HAVE A HOBBY.
Ah yes. My personal favourite. Having a hobby keeps you from overthinking about the past. It also lets you be the best version of yourself, and that’s important to your newly single status. Try exploring hobbies which makes you happy, like colouring, writing, volunteering, and hiking. Submerge yourself in activities and people that leave you feeling positive.
Yoga was something that I had always wanted to try, but I never really had the time to do it when I was a relationship. Although I was initially scared and apprehensive to go alone, I tried it anyway, and it was the best thing I ever did. Yoga not only made me physically fitter, but also trained my mind to be calm mentally. So keep trying new things to distract yourself – a break-up might just be an opportunity for you to find your passion.
Hating the person who did this to you is normal. It’s tempting to think “I hate him for cheating on me” or “I hate her for saying that I’m too clingy”. My ex broke up with me through text message, and never saw me again since then. I hated that, hated the fact that I was not important enough for at least a face to face conversation.
Plus I also found out that he moved on to another girl only 3 months later, while I was still pining over him. Was I angry? Definitely. It took all of my mental strength and maturity to not call him and yell at him. I knew I was better than that, plus the drama will only make things worse.
If you had broken up don’t dwell in that hate, because you’re better than that. You don’t deserve to have any more negative emotion piled on top of what you already feel. Also, your ex-lover is probably not as concerned as you, so why waste your energy? Spend that emotion on love: Loving life, loving family, loving friends, loving yourself.
On the surface, letting go means no text, no calls, no communication, no stalking. It really helps in the process of moving on. But on a deeper level, it means letting go of the hope that you and your ex-lover will ever get back together.
This was a struggle for me, especially when I reminisce on the good times. Part of me hoped that maybe things could go back to how they were, if only I’d pick up the phone and call.
So I did. I texted a lame ‘how are you’ message and sadly only received a one-word answer. OUCH. Looks that that’s my call to never text again, and so I didn’t. Trust me, I wanted to, even typed another message at one point, but I didn’t send it (luckily!).
This forced me to acknowledge that the relationship was truly over. When you’re feeling weak, remember – you and your ex broke-up for a reason. Instead of clinging to the past, look towards the future, and accept that whatever happens will happen. And it’s completely out of your control. As the saying goes: Stop looking for happiness at the place you lost it.
So important. In looking for short-term companionship, you might end up hurting someone’s feelings. Anyone you meet at this point will only serve as a comparison to your ex, and there’s no way this new person can compete with them, even if he’s Hugh Jackman.
TAKE YOUR TIME.
Even after several months, you may still miss your ex-lover. THIS IS OKAY. Everyone heals differently. Trust me – this feeling will pass. Don’t rush anything, and more importantly, don’t feel pressured to move on quickly from an ex. Lasting (and healthy) change takes time.
I took a better part of 2 years to fully get over my ex, and yes, I wished it took me shorter than that. But I focus on the fact that I got over him anyway, and that I came out from it feeling stronger and more mature.
Breakups are hard, but they’re not the end of the world. Use it to your advantage and grow from the experience. As the saying goes, love yourself first – eventually, someone else will join you in that love. Usually when life pulls you back, its usually pushing you to something better, so be strong.
PS: In case you were wondering what happened to me and my ex, he’s getting married this September, while I’m in a loving relationship with a man for two years now. I wish him nothing but the best, and although I still feel nostalgic over the times we had together, I know that we weren’t meant for each other – and things turned out alright in the end.
How did you cope with your break-up? Comment in the description box below!