Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Getting over a Break-up

I'm not over it yet.  Let's be upfront about that.  I'm still working through it and some days I'm confident and I'm a champion and I'm awesome and life is beautiful, and other days...I kind of just want to stay in bed.  And I won't lie...people who have mutual, amicable breakups leave me completely puzzled.  It seems I'm attracted to the type with severe personality issues that seem to think a breakup means you have to go all out to hurt and attempt to destroy the other person in whatever ways imaginable.  Unfortunately, people who act like that only really succeed in destroying whatever tender feelings or good opinions of their character might have remained.  I'm not friends with many of my ex-boyfriends for this reason.  Isn't that sad?

Anyway, enough about me.  Here is my list if How to Get Over a Breakup!

1. Go ahead and think about it and let it all out.  Don't get obsessive, don't drive yourself crazy and most importantly DON'T PRETEND EVERYTHING IS FINE.  It is OK to consider why the relationship ended, the good/bad points of the relationship, mistakes you both made, cry about the loss and hopefully reach a point where you can be at peace with the situation.  In order for relationships to work, both people need to be happy and if both people in the relationship weren't getting what they needed, it would have ended sooner or later.  Letting out the grief, feeling the feelings and getting to a place where you can recognize how it might not have ever worked is healthy. 

2.  Remove reminders of them from your life.  To this day, songs on the radio take me back to 17, riding shotgun in my High School Sweetheart's '89 Chevy Beretta as we drove to Krispy Kreme for a Hot Chocolate late at night.  While those are pleasant memories now, when we broke up I avoided Krispy Kreme until they went out of business, hid those cds, every picture, the shirt I used to steal and wear to bed and his favorite hat. The idea of trashing them hurt, but it hurt to have them in my recovery space; Now, I'm glad I saved those memories.

This is always my first step when it comes to breakups.  Some people call it removing Memory Triggers; I call it taking my space back.  In just about any relationship, there will be an accumulation of memories/things.  The best advice I can give is to remove those things and have a space that isn't tainted by what was or reminders of what could have been.  As a sentimental person, I would never say to get rid of things as you might want the memories later but when the hurt is fresh I think it is best to put everything away.  I return their personal items, then stash away every trinket, every favorite movie, and take down every picture.  I'm a very scent-sensitive person...so during this last breakup with the BTW, I packed away EVERYTHING and then shampooed the carpets, bought new sheets, and bleached stuff.

3. Stay AWAY!  Once you've gotten to a point where they have their things and you have yours, you need to keep your space sacred.  In my opinion, this means your head, heart and body too.  While you might have agreed to be friends or have some kind of platonic or pleasant relationship, while you're getting over it is not the time to do it.  So...don't hang out with their family, no calls/texts/online interacting up to and including Facebook.  In my experience, it is best to stay away until you're both in a place where you can converse on a strictly platonic level and without old arguments or issues, feelings of wanted to get back together, ect.  The best way to gauge this is asking yourself if you can picture them dating someone else, if the answer is no then you probably should not meet up for coffee. 

4. Get your things.  This is directly related to numbers 2 and 3...respect their right to their own space.  If you were the one who ended the relationship, don't give them a reason to be contacting you to meet up.  And...you never really know how people are going to react, so it's best to have your things under your control versus left with someone who is experiencing hurt and heartache as well.

5. Surround yourself with Support.  I can without a doubt say that I'm surviving this breakup because the day it happened and for 2-3 days after my mom came over and sat with me every night.  We didn't do anything, we had dinner and we talked when I needed to.  And without her I'd probably be in a much worse place right now.  After that, I had my sisters, my brother, my nephew, and my friends;  Everyone was available or made time for me.  Surrounding yourself with good people is one of the best things you can do.

6. Don't rethink your decisions.  We've all done it...questioned whether or not we made the right choice.  If it was your choice to leave, don't rethink it.  Once you start adjusting to not being in the relationship (and possibly finding yourself feeling a little lonely), it is easy to start downplaying the problems in the relationship, maybe even looking for reasons to reconnect.   If you weren't the one who ended it, don't think you could change it or go back and fix it or that things could be better maybe.

7. Take a Break.  While I think social media can be an excellent way to stay  in contact with people especially when you're feeling like you need support, it can also be a double-edged sword.  If you don't block your ex and you have lots of friends in common, you're just going to see their little avatar over and over again, have to see their opinions, maybe even see when they decide to move on...all things that will hurt. Not to mention, if you're like me and have open-mouth/insert-foot disorder there is a chance you'll say something you wish you hadn't.  And while it might seem like social media is a good place to vent, it can also be an window of negativity into (and out of) our lives.   Sometimes, it helps to get away from the things we can encounter via social media...like pictures of happy people and their happy families (because, yes, I get bitter for a little bit), or people who want to be miserable while you are trying to find the silver lining.

8. Write it down.  Try writing your thoughts and feelings into a journal, or poetry.  While I'm not currently journaling, I can say that writing poetry (even if it was just for me) and writing in a journal is what got me through being a teenager and a breakup or two since then.  Writing my feelings down helps me get them "out" and can help me process them.

9. Find a new way to cope.  Writing isn't for everyone.  But if there is anything I've learned in life, it's that pain can spark creativity.   Music, art, even knitting are all really great ways to occupy your mind and your hands.  Whatever you do, don't seek "revenge"....it doesn't promote healing, it only feeds bitterness and hatred, things no one needs.

10. Change your Schedule.  One of my biggest struggles in getting over this last relationship has been the changes in the schedule.  We were living together and his schedule was different than mine.  I was preparing dinner late at night for him to have a hot meal, spend some time together, and go to bed.   That is a pretty extreme schedule for someone who needs to get up at 6:45 to start getting ready for work.  It has been almost a month and every night I feel like I should get up and start making dinner and the time he would normally come home, I find myself listening for his car and looking out the window.  I didn't realize it at first, but in a way I had become very used to winding myself up and internally preparing myself for when he would be home.  One of the hardest things has been getting over that hump.  I'm still struggling, but what I've found helps is doing things that make me tired earlier, or finding things to do when I would normally be getting up to make dinner.

11. Make a List of Reminders.  It's hard not to go back.  Especially when time moves on and you find yourself feeling lonely, or you happen to see them out somewhere and your heart feels those old familiar tugs.  On one of my favorite shows, "How I met your Mother", they characters write themselves a letter to remind them why they don't want to get back together with their ex.  I'm not saying you have to write a letter, but you should definitely make a list of all the reasons your ex was not the person for you and what you didn't like about them.  Don't be nice about it.  Don't sugar coat the information.  Put it all down like it happened and like it was...not the toned down version you tell other people so they don't think you're ex is awful.  You're walking away for a reason, write down every single one you can think of and give examples.  Write down the things you felt, or didn't feel and deserved to.  Write down the turn-offs about them that you just "overlooked".    

12. Take care of yourself.  I have found that I get nauseous when going through a break up...all the emotions running high, the upset, ect.  It is important to remember to eat well, keep or start exercising, get adequate sleep.  Don't let the stress of what is going on in your life make you physically ill.

13. Look good.  I've always been a fan of the phrase "The best Revenge is looking good".  But...that isn't the point here.  The point is that part of taking care of yourself is looking good, and when you're experiencing turmoil inside...sometimes it helps to be able to look in the mirror and feel like you look good.  A drastic change like a haircut or a new tattoo might not be the best idea (unless it is something you've been thinking about for a very long time, but if a new tattoo idea suddenly came to you in the aftermath you might want to reconsider it), but something small like a new cologne, a new shade of lipstick, or a new outfit can give you the little boost you need. 

14. Straighten out you life.  Yup....start organizing.  Cleaning out your space, moving things around, getting rid of old things (and maybe getting some new things) is an excellent way to occupying your time.  Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end...right?  So try to embrace it. 

15. Explore new paths of happiness.  Take a class, read that trilogy, start enjoying hobbies you always wanted to try but never did because now is an excellent time.  

16. Embrace it.  This part isn't for everyone, but if you're coming out of a particularly miserable relationship and away from someone who was particularly miserable, or made you miserable...then embrace it.  Enjoy being able to do the things you didn't or couldn't do before.  Enjoy having not to compromise with someone who wasn't THE someone.  Enjoy being free to find someone who might be better suited.  In the month since our break up, I've started to notice all the things that I love that I wasn't able to have before for whatever reason.  I was calling them "Hateful Little Happy Things" because it made me happy and it would have been something the BTW was "against".  For example,  I made Pumpkin Cupcakes with White Chocolate and Vanilla Bean Mascarpone Frosting...my ex wouldn't have touched them if I had begged.  I put the legs back on the bed because there was no one there to bend them or complain about how tall the bed was.  One night, I fried Portobello mushrooms in a pan with some olive oil, onions, garlic salt, and pepper and then topped it with Provolone cheese and ate it on a pita...I couldn't do that before because of the mushroom "allergy" he claimed to have (I suspect he just didn't like them because his mother didn't).  I've gotten new piercings.   Find the "GOOD" in "Goodbye!"

So that's it.  Those are my tips for getting over a break up.  I hope something helps you.  And here is the last thought I'm going to leave you with....Today, my good friend who is also going through a struggle posted an interesting status update on Facebook.  It spoke to me immensely. 

"It's much healthier to find a relationship that works for you and gives you what you need, than to cling to one that causes dissatisfaction.

Life is too short for this. 

Relationships should enhance your journey. The problem is, most people give up their own journeys to take on someone else's."


  1. I really enjoyed this! I recently took a separation from my love-- we took 6 weeks. It was HORRID. But we did it, & I wondered when we got back together- for a few weeks if I had made the wrong choice, but then I let go.. stopped taking away from our time with my thoughts- Thankfully we are working things out beautifully, we have many kids & years invested.
    You are an inspiration & I JUST FOUND YOU THIS AM!!!
    Keep strong & make some more chocolate sauce!!!!

    1. Thanks for visiting! I'm glad things are working out for you. Unfortunately, in this instance it isn't an option but...I'm good with it. I think that when you know...you know.