I wish I did not have enough experience to be writing this post, but alas – I do.
There are some things I’ve learned along the way in my dating journey, so I thought I’d share what I know about how to survive a break up, at least for me.
I think some of the biggest things that make breaking up easier are things that you have to start doing long before a break up ever happens, but since that’s not necessarily the most encouraging thing to hear after the fact, I’m gonna talk about that in another post (part 2).
Here are my practical in the moment things:
- Talk to God. Just be candid with Him, poor out your heart and start praying…. and listening.
- Talk to your friends. Hopefully you’ve got some great friends that you can be real with – talk to them, tell them how you feel about things. Don’t try to go it alone. I have some awesome friends, and they are there for me. It means the world to me to be reminded that even though one relationship is over, I have a lot of other people, who love me, and who want things to happen in my favor. One of the most helpful moments was when my friend Melissa came up with a plan for my “rebound relationship” – obviously I’m not going to go rushing into another relationship right this instant, but it was funny, it made me laugh, and it also said in a big way, that she wants the same things for me that I want for me. The plan by the way, included making a detailed list of all of the churches in the Kansas City area, and doing research on single men in those churches. She’s probably already started the excel sheet, and if you know Melissa, you know I’m not kidding.
- Feel what you feel. I’m not one for “medicating” my sorrows with ice cream, chocolate, a pedicure, going shopping or other luxuries… I let myself feel what I feel, and usually I think it’d be a waste to eat something great, or do something nice, when I won’t enjoy it as much as I would at another time. Maybe that’s weird, but I think letting myself feel bleh if I feel bleh is good, I tend to not feel bleh for as long if I just let it out. And I think I’ve just learned over time, that those things don’t help anyway, and honestly sometimes make things worse, cause you get down on yourself for eating so poorly or spending so much.
- Find something you can look forward to, and enjoy for what it is. I’ve planned a trip to visit my BFF from college in NC over labor day. I genuinely am looking forward to time with her and am so excited about doing our usual watch Clue, and eat sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting. I’m totally looking forward to going to the beach, I love the beach. It’s something that no matter what is going on in my life, I know I’m gonna have a great time.
- Make a list of take-aways. The things that you have or can learn from your time in the relationship. I think it’s helpful to give the experience purpose in and of itself. They don’t have to be major things, but I find it helps me to not continually ask “why?”
- Say what you need to say, but make sure it’s something that you need to do for you, and is not an attempt to manipulate or control the situation, and then do it in a respectful way. This can be a little tricky to do right, and I’m sure I’ve failed in the past. For me, I tend to be a very emotional person in the moment… lots of tears, and lots that goes through my head. I’ve learned it best to not always say things in the moment (I don’t always do the best at that), but to give myself some distance and time to let rational thought come to the surface. After I’ve processed, sometimes there’s something that I really feel strongly that I still need to communicate. I think about why I need to, what I have to gain for myself in doing so – regardless of the response I’ll get. For me this time, I needed to say a few things out of fear of holding on to them, and not letting go of the relationship for having never said them. So I communicated them, and then I…
- Let it go. It’s really not helpful to hold on to hope for things to work out. It doesn’t serve you well. It only ends up being a reminder of what you don’t have. And if you think about it, holding out hope doesn’t even make it more likely that it would work out, so you aren’t loosing anything, you are only gaining. Obviously, it’s not an instantaneous thing, it’s a conscious choice that you have to make over and over again to not spend time thinking about it, or hoping for it, but it’s so much better not to.
Those are the biggies that I’m trying to focus on right now, and like I said, I think the biggest things that help are things you have to be doing for a while, and I’m going to write about them next.