*Cover Image by Laura Stevens
A breakup can be really really hard and there is no way around it. The pain can be so unbearable we stop functioning properly in our day to day tasks. You might stop eating or stop sleeping and your quality of life can be greatly affected. So here are 15 really important things to remember when you’re going through a breakup that might just soothe some of that ache and make it easier to move on.
1. There is no timeline for moving on or getting over it
Sometimes after a breakup happens and a month has gone by and the hurt hasn’t gotten any less, we feel like there is something wrong with us or that we’ll never recover. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Remember, there is no timeline for moving on. Everyone will move on at their own pace and there is no special calculator to calculate how long it will take for you.
It can take weeks for some and months for others. But if it’s been a long time since your breakup and you’re still hurting, you might want to consider getting professional help from someone qualified to assist you in healing the wounds of the past. Just remember that it’s not supposed to be easy. Relationships are intimate connections we have with people and they can linger for years after they end.
2. It is okay to be alone and grieve
Everyone processes and copes with things differently. For some people surrounding themselves with loved ones works. But that doesn’t mean that it has to work for you. You might find that you prefer to be alone and grieve in private before you put yourself out there again – and that’s totally okay!
Take the time you need to process and heal in your own time. But just make sure you don’t withdraw for too long because isolation for extended periods of time can lead to depression.
3. Your progress won’t be linear
The truth is, moving on has its bad days, just like everything else. Some days you’ll feel over the moon and will hardly think of your ex at all. But maybe the day after is a mess of crying and hurting all over again. This doesn’t mean that your progress has been wasted – far from it.
Every single bad day is one less bad day to being completely okay. Your progress won’t be linear. It’s not a slow uphill of getting better and better every day. While you will reach that destination in the end, sometimes it will plummet before rising again.
Humans are complicated and our emotions are even more complicated. It is completely normal for you to be okay one day and everything but okay the next day. However, you can’t let that deter you. Let yourself feel what you need to, know that it doesn’t reflect on your progress at all and trust that tomorrow will be better.
4. It’s all about you now and that is not a bad thing
When you’re in a relationship for a while, things stop being about just you because they become about you and your partner. But when you’re single all of that changes. Suddenly you’re in the spotlight of your own life again. And this fact can scare a lot of people who are too used to being in relationships.
But you have to realize that it is not a bad thing. In fact, it is the best thing. You should be in the spotlight of your own life. While relationships come with many perks, don’t underestimate the perks of being single. Take this opportunity to really explore all the ways you can grow with this newfound freedom because it’s all about you now.
5. Your breakup is not a reflection of what you deserve
It is easy to fall into a spiralling tunnel of thinking we deserve the bad parts of our life. It is more comforting to accept a painful lie that is familiar than to allow yourself to learn a mysterious truth.
You don’t deserve to be alone. You don’t deserve to have your heartbroken. Your breakup and past relationship are not a reflection of what you deserve in the future. The only thing that determines what you deserve in the future is who you are in the present and that person can change every day.
6. The only love that matters in this lifetime is your own love for yourself
Sometimes, a breakup can make us feel like the lack of love from someone else takes away from the quality of our life. It might be incredibly important to you to have the love of others – whether it is friends or romantic partners. And while that is important, the thing that matters more is the love that you have for yourself.
People come and go. But the only person you have with you for the rest of your life…is yourself. That is why, the love you have for yourself, is the most important love of all.
7. Our partners should never be our sole source of happiness
Some people take their breakup even harder than others because over the course of the relationship, they make their partners their sole source of happiness. While it is completely normal and healthy to find happiness in your partner, they should never be the only or the main source of your happiness.
Because then the breakup makes you lose not only a partner but your happiness too. Plus, relying on someone else for your happiness can be exhausting for your partner and can drain them emotionally. It is never fair to anyone to put the burden of your happiness on them.
Your partner should be one source of your happiness, not the only or the major source.
8. The love we put into ourselves will never ever be wasted
When we break up with the one that we love one of the hardest parts for many people is not knowing what to do with all the love you had left to give. Not only are you feeling a major loss for all the love that you did put into the person, but now you also have no idea what to do with all the love you had yet to give.
So the only solution is to give it to yourself.
Put all the love that you used to pour into someone else, into yourself. It might be strange at first but over time you will see how you never waste your own love and reap the rewards of self-love. The love you give to others might feel wasted. But the love you give to yourself will never be wasted.
9. You are your best friend
No one should be your biggest supporter more than yourself. After all, the only person you’re stuck with forever is yourself. So why not get on your own good side.
Be kind and patient with yourself. Be your own friend.
Assign a rule. Before you say anything at all to yourself, ask yourself: “Would I say this to my friend?”. If the answer is no, then don’t say it and instead ask yourself “What would I say to a friend if they were experiencing what I am experiencing.”
There is no better way to find fulfilment in our lives and in ourselves than learning to be our own friends.
10. Life is unpredictable and always changing (and that’s good)
Sometimes we let the events that happen dictate the course of the rest of our entire lives. We think that one event will surely determine what the rest of our lives will look like. Yet one of the best parts of life is that it is completely unpredictable and always changing. And that is a good thing.
Your bad moments and experiences don’t determine the rest of your life. You have no clue what other surprises and miracles life has left to give to you. You’re supposed to change throughout your life and life will change with you.
So just because everything sucks right now doesn’t mean that it will suck forever. Expect change and know that you won’t remain in your worst moments.
11. It will stop hurting one day, I promise.
It feels like it won’t. But it will. It might take lots of weeks or even lots of months but it will stop one day. One day you will wake up and the ache in your chest won’t be there anymore. You’ll feel happy again. You’ll feel alive again. Maybe you’ll even start wanting to try again with someone new. But it will stop hurting one day.
12. Life isn’t supposed to be perfect
When we break up with our loved ones, sometimes a lot of the pain comes from what could have been and now won’t. We plan our futures with our partners, and when we lose our partners, we lose those futures too. Maybe you had a timeline for yourself or wanted to see your life play out perfectly.
But life isn’t perfect and it’s not supposed to be either. And that’s the beauty of it. It’s messy and complicated and painful and hard but it’s also inspiring and spontaneous and bizarre. It might not play out the way it’s supposed to. And you might not be up to date with your personal timeline. But that’s okay. Life doesn’t have a timeline. You’re given a chance to have a human experience in this world, so do just that.
Experience. Experience falling in love and heartbreak and falling out of love and disappointments as well as triumphs. Learn lessons from your experiences and have stories to tell. After all, perfect stories are boring to tell.
13. Your love and efforts were not wasted
When we pour our heart and soul into loving someone and it doesn’t work out, the feeling of loss is crushing. Not only did you lose someone you loved but you lost all the effort and time and love that you put into that person. And while it is hard to understand when the breakup wound is fresh – but honestly? You didn’t waste anything.
All the love and the support and care that you put into someone else will be returned to you one day. Your efforts haven’t gone to waste. Not only did you learn some valuable lessons from this experience but you can trust that the love that you put out will be repaid one day. It’s just an unexplainable way the world works.
14. We don’t need relationships
There is no other way to say it. But it’s true. We think we need relationships for some kind of fulfilment or even practical purpose but the truth is we only need things we think we need. You might think you need relationships to find companionship or support but plenty of people can forge friendships for that. There is always an alternative way to account for your needs.
So don’t trick yourself into thinking that you need to be with someone. Now, this doesn’t mean you should never be with someone but it changes your perspective on who you should be with. Don’t get into relationships that seem convenient. Don’t get into relationships needing someone else to fulfil the emptiness inside you.
You can’t limit yourself to someone and delude yourself into thinking you need them and have no choice but to stay with them or someone else.
15. The high road is one you won’t regret
Yes, we all feel like trashing our ex’s apartment and keying their car and hurting them back the way they hurt us. We truly think that revenge will soothe our pain and set things even. And it might even be a temporary fix.
But taking the high road, leaving our exes with dignity and respect for yourself in a mature fashion is something you won’t regret in the long run. You might get back at your ex and feel good about it for a while but it doesn’t take away any of the pain.
Besides, there is no better revenge than genuinely being happy and moving on.
Read our article on 21 ways to help you deal with a painful breakup for more advice on how to get through this hard time.