Heartbreak is a real thing, and anyone who says moving on is an easy process is either lying or has never truly experienced real heartache. The process of healing is hard and it’s exhausting, but it is necessary. It is one of the most challenging things you will ever have to do, but you are not alone! Use these tips and tricks to navigate your journey through the stages of heartbreak and always remember that every heart takes its own time to heal. It won’t happen overnight, so don’t rush it!
The first few days after a breakup can be hard, and they can seem very surreal. It can be difficult to accept the fact that this person we thought about every minute of every day is no longer a part of our future, so we can tend to simply block it out. We tell ourselves it’s not real, or that it’s only temporary. “He’ll come back, it was just a little fight” or “she’s just mad. She didn’t mean what she said”. While this can feel like a good bandaid, pretending it didn’t happen will only make the reality hurt that much more. Denial is a temporary solution to a permanent problem, and if we allow ourselves to get caught up in the illusion it can stall our healing and hinder us from moving on to bigger and better things.
The best way to handle denial is to face the problem head-on. Lay out the facts and what you know. Write them down. Having a physical reminder can actually be a huge help. Remind yourself of what happened, and tell yourself “it happened. But it will get better”. As sucky as it is to have to keep re-living your breakup, keeping ourselves grounded in reality is the only way to combat denial. Find yourself a friend that you can trust, and when you’re ready sit down and tell them what happened. Sometimes all it takes is saying it out loud to make it finally feel real. And when you fall apart (because you will, and that’s completely healthy), your friend will be there to help put you back together.
After the reality has sunk in that this person we trusted and we shared all of our secrets with has left for good, it’s only natural to feel angry. “How could they hurt me like this”? “What did I do to deserve this”? These are totally normal questions to ask, but unfortunately most of the time there are no answers. The lack of information and the feeling of betrayal by someone who we felt secure and comfortable with is enough to elicit some angry feelings out of even the most even-tempered people. At this stage, it is incredibly important to allow yourself to feel all these emotions, but DO NOT let it consume you.
It’s okay to be angry, and it’s okay to be mad at the person who’s done this to you. But the minute you let your anger control your actions and take control over your reason, it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate. Find a healthy outlet for your anger. If you enjoy writing, get a journal. Write down all your negative thoughts, and then get rid of them. Burn them, throw them out, tear them up. The physical action to an emotional response will give you a sense of catharsis and will allow you to purge all the toxic emotions that have been running rampant. Take a kickboxing class, scream into your pillow, listen to some heavy metal. Whatever you can do to let go of your anger. Getting caught up in all the hate is a vicious cycle, and it will not leave you alone if you do not tackle it. Feel it all, and then let it go.
3. Bargaining / Negotiating
At this stage, we have moved on from being angry to being desperate and lonely. We miss the comfort and the familiarity of our S/O, and we’re willing to do anything to get them back. We begin to dream up scenarios of what we can do to win them back, and come up with ways to stop the pain by concocting random and irrelevant excuses to reach out to our S/O. “If they see how upset I am, I’m sure they’ll take me back”; “*Insert S/O name here* really hated when I did *insert action here*. If I change myself, they’ll want me back”. If at any point, changing yourself to fit the ideals or opinions of someone else is the only way you can make things work, remember that the right person will love you for all the things you hate about yourself. It is never worth it to alter yourself for someone else.
It might feel like a perfectly reasonable thing to reach out to this person since they were such a big part of your life for so long. But reaching out will only make moving on harder, and you will never be able to fully move on. Eliminate the temptation, and delete everything you have to get into contact with this person. Make it so that even when you want to reach out, you can’t. Write down all the things you wish you could say to them and read through them. Most of the time, the things we wrote down become a little less reasonable after we’ve read it through. With each item you write, remind yourself of something you love about yourself. This is about healing and loving yourself, so start reflecting on all the things that make you so absolutely amazing.
This can be one of the hardest stages of heartbreak to get through because it is at this point that we have exhausted all our other options and we’re honestly just plain tired. We’re tired of feeling, tired of hurting, tired of trying to feel okay when we’re not. We have realized that at this point there is no going back. Everything hurts, and the littlest things require an extreme amount of effort. It feels like things are at their worst and will never get better. You have officially hit rock bottom. The good thing about rock bottom? You cannot fall any more than you already have. You are at your lowest point, and things can only get better from this point.
The best thing to do at this stage is to take it day by day. It can be extremely frustrating to try and force yourself to feel everything all at once and then get up and move on. That’s not how real life works, unfortunately. Each day you will have struggles, triumphs, setbacks, and milestones. Relish in the happy moments every day, and remind yourself that nothing is insurmountable. You WILL be okay, just not today. Acknowledge that you’re struggling, and enlist all the help you can get. Let your close friends and family in on what you’re feeling. The worst thing to do during this stage is to isolate yourself. It might feel like being alone and wallowing is what you want to do, but it’s at this stage that you crave the security and the warmth of others. Don’t be afraid or too proud to lean on your loved ones. That’s what they’re there for!
Well, you’ve finally done it. Sure you still have a long way to go, but you know that you can do this. You know that this heartbreak will make you stronger and that you are on your way to becoming a healthy, self-reliant boss babe. You battled through what you thought was impossible, and you came out the other side with a smile on your face and your head held high. You’ve learned to accept you cannot change the actions or the feelings of others, and that focusing on yourself is the best thing you can do.
With each day comes more confidence, more optimism, more peace. You have gotten your closure, and you are ready to accept your new future. Take your time in this phase, and bask in the warmth of your accomplishments. Don’t rush it. Enjoy your new-found independence and use this time to work on yourself. You can never take too much time to make yourself the best possible version of yourself. Be happy and healthy, and love yourself BY yourself.