The last half of 2018 was really tough for me. I was in a very toxic relationship and finally had the courage to end things. A lot of people expected me to be okay because I was the one that ended things. Wrong. When a relationship ends, there is grieving on both sides. I am a very sensitive person and it takes me a lot of time to accept that someone is no longer in my life. This guide is meant to help others like me that are still grieving the end of a relationship. I know that no one else knows what is going on in your heart and the pain you are feeling, but I hope this guide can help you to at least start the healing process. I promise you will be okay. Here is Saanya’s guide to getting over a breakup:
Step 1: Delete/Block your (EX) significant other everywhere and their friends
I don’t care if you think you can handle it. I don’t care if you “decided to be friends.” As soon as a breakup occurs, your fingers better be hitting the block button. Everywhere. Block their calls, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and whatever else they are added on. Delete the number. Do it. Delete all the recent calls and texts that show you the number. You think I am dumb, but trust me I know you are trying to keep some semblance of this person in your phone. Don’t. Erase everything. You need to start fresh in order to heal.
You also need to do the same with any friends of this person. If there is a genuine mutual friend (not the ones you think are your friends but take the other person’s side), then you can talk to them and indicate that you do not want to see anything painful so you are blocking/hiding their social media stories for now.
Let me give you an example of what happens when you don’t do this. I broke up with my ex on December 28th (I know Happy New Year to me) and on December 31st, I saw a story on his friend’s Snapchat of him out partying at a club and sitting with some other girl, while I was blubbering and crying like a baby. That was my fault. I should have blocked his friend sooner. As soon as we were over, it should not matter to me what he does with his life. I was stupid and kept hurting myself for no reason. So please listen to me and block their friends too.
Step 2: Decide what to do with Memories/Photos
The next step is to figure out what you want to do with the memories and photos. Allow yourself to accept that there were good moments in the relationship. However, those moments did not outweigh all the bad. And that is okay. There are two schools of thought here. Some people like to throw out/donate everything to never be reminded of it again. Others will put the memories away and keep them to view when they are done the healing process.
Personally, as of right now, I have kept my memories in a box. I created a hidden album in my phone with all of the photos of us so if I ever decide to re-visit the memories they are still there. However, I have also been through a bad enough breakup where I literally burned memories and pictures. I know it was a bit dramatic, but no one gets to judge me. This is about you and how you feel. You do what you think is best, but do not keep the memories somewhere you can see them everyday and be reminded of the pain.
Step 3: Allow yourself to cry/breakdown for one day
Something very sad and traumatic happened to you. You are allowed to cry. That does not make you weak, it makes you human. However, you do not get to cry for weeks and weeks and dig yourself into a hole. I am giving you one day. Get it out. Cry, wail, blubber and listen to all the sad songs ever created while eating ice cream. Let it all out. But as soon as tomorrow hits, you pick yourself up and dust yourself off. You will get through this and your new theme song is “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child. Internalize that statement. Write it down so you can keep looking at it when you start to question yourself.
Step 4: Social MEdia is the Devil. Distract Yourself
Browsing Instagram and seeing “relationship goals” hashtagged everywhere is not going to help your healing process. I saw a Ted talk about creating a strong mind and the speaker mentioned that constantly comparing our lives to other lives is a bad habit for mental strength. I get it. You want to see what others are doing on social media but now is not the best time. The only person you should ever compare yourself to is you. Make sure you are growing each and every day. That’s all that really matters. It’s definitely hard to practice what I am preaching, but the key here is to catch yourself doing this bad habit. When I notice myself spiraling into a dark hole after browsing Instagram I reach for my “keep me distracted list.” A few things from the list include the following:
– Drinking a nice cup of tea at night and practicing gratitude
– Listening to my favorite upbeat songs
– Reading a productive book (self love, poetry or career oriented)
– Watching Netflix
– Hanging out and chatting with my parents
– Face-timing my best friends
There are so many ways to keep your mind off of social media and your ex. You just need to be strong enough to realize when you need a distraction and force yourself to pivot. Trust me, if there ever was a time to stay away from social media and “unplug,” this is it. Unless you can stick to watching positive messages, videos or quotes. Then I am all for social media because it will actually help in your healing process.
Step 5: Create (some version of) a Vision Board
After my breakup, I felt lost. My ex was my best friend. I hung out with him almost every weekend and talked to him 24/7 when I was not working. Now that he was gone, what would I do with my time? I had to dig into my dreams all over again. What were the things that I wanted to accomplish in life? I had forgot about me in the process of being preoccupied with my relationship. I realized that I actually had time to do the things that I wanted to do. So, I made a vision board. It was 2019 and I had 18 goals to accomplish. I printed out photos, made a board with my goals and nailed it to my wall.
I encourage you to do the same. Simply write down a list of your goals. Heck, even scribble them in a note on your phone. Record a voice note. However you choose to do it, create a constant reminder of what you want to achieve for yourself. Get that tattoo you were too afraid to get or finally quit your job. Focus on yourself now and making strides towards the life you have always dreamed of. In my relationship, I made a list of all the “couple” things I wanted to do like hayrides and seeing Christmas lights. After the breakup, I decided that I wanted to be comfortable doing all of these things alone. I want to feel empowered enough to rely on no one else but myself for happiness. It’s time to be selfish and that is totally okay.
Step 6: Write down everything you feel/want to say
Occasionally, when I am failing to keep myself distracted, I start drifting to the old memories of me and my ex. I think about that one day. His one decision that changed the course of our whole relationship. I have so many questions for him. So many things to say. Why did he do it? Did our relationship mean nothing to him? When I keep on thinking about all of this stuff my head and heart start to hurt. That’s when I use writing as my outlet. I write down everything I want to ask or say to him. Of course I am not actually going to send all of this to him, but writing it down gets it out of my head.
It is so easy for me (or you) to fall back into old ways and just call him to ask this stuff, but don’t. That will thwart all of the healing progress you have made. I have a friend in medical school who told me that falling in love is like an addiction. When a breakup happens, your brain wants that quick fix (phone call or contact) one last time. However, that one moment of short-lived happiness through contact is not worth the pain that comes after when you start all over again to heal and get clean. Fight the urge. Fight the addiction and come out stronger on the other end for your own sake. Write it all down instead. Anything you feel. It’s not crazy or dumb, I promise. Just use the pen and not your phone.
Step 7: Listen to only happy songs. I’m serious.
Okay, confession. I am breaking this rule as I write this but I promise I just switched the song. Sad songs will only remind you of the past and create so much negativity in your mind. Remember step 1? You had your chance to breakdown and let it all out. Now you are not allowed. Sad songs are great, but they have so much feeling attached to them that its hard to hold back the tears sometimes. Instead, listen to upbeat music with happy vibes.
If you aren’t feeling the super upbeat songs, choose motivational or songs about feeling powerful. Do not listen to songs about relationships being over, missing someone etc. Definitely do NOT listen to songs that you used to listen to with your ex. Create a Spotify or YouTube list with all of the songs that make you feel happy or strong. Only play those songs and dance it out if you want to. For all my Grey’s Anatomy fans out there, Meredith and Christina had it right. Dance it out. Feel the beat. Let it all go and just be happy. It will all be okay in the end. This heartbreak is just a stop on your journey to a more fulfilling life and I truly believe that you will have a fantastic and fulfilling life <3
Step 8: Never Ever drink Alone
Do I even have to explain this one? While you are in your healing process, you need a bodyguard for when you lose your inhibitions. Sure, drink to have fun and let loose (within your limits of course). But, do not do it alone. That is just asking for disaster when you are drunk and feel lonely. Of course you will call your ex. That’s not helping break the addiction.
A few years ago on New Years, I drunk texted an old boyfriend saying “I Miss You.” He replied saying “Who is this?” Ouch. I know. That started the drunk spiral of tears and it was all downhill from there. So my point is, make sure when you drink, you have a friend that you can have guard you. Give them the authority to take your phone away when you get tipsy enough to want to contact your ex. That means its time for you to go home and go to bed. Tomorrow is a new day and you will go through it with renewed strength.
Step 9: Should you Rebound?
Man, if someone asked me this question when I was in college, my answer would be hell yes! Rebound all the way. But, as I have grown older (and I would like to think wiser), the answer to this question is “It depends, can you mentally handle it?” By definition, a rebound is someone to help you get over your ex, mainly for physical needs. I get it, we all have needs. It starts getting tricky when emotions come into play.
As an example, my friend told me a story about someone who got out of a relationship and immediately got engaged to the next person she dated. She is now married with one kid and still asks her friends about how her ex is doing. She clearly married a rebound. I am not judging or saying that this was a bad choice. I am just recognizing the fact that she is not over her ex and did not go through her healing process. She quickly replaced her drug addiction with a different drug to avoid the pain of withdrawal. It is important to experience the heartbreak and sadness to come out stronger and knowing what you need in your next relationship.
About two weeks after my breakup, my mom said her friend has a son that she wanted me to talk to. I was so lonely that I wanted to say yes, just so I had someone (who was quite attractive) to talk to. However, this time, I fought that instinct. In the past, I have jumped to a rebound quickly and learned that it only comes back to bite me in the butt and face what I am afraid to face now: the heartbreak. I told my mom, if she wanted me to give this guy a fair chance, I needed to go through my healing process. I needed time to do me and cleanse myself of the past. Otherwise, I would keep comparing this new guy to my ex or even just use this guy to talk to someone.
The next relationship I get into, I want it to be for the long haul. So, until I am truly to give myself completely to a new relationship, I am ready to face this loneliness and heartbreak by myself. Think about this for yourself. If you are getting into a new relationship just to avoid the pain of your last one, I encourage you to sit down and think about if a rebound is really what you need.
Step 10: Forgiveness
I am not quite at this stage in my process yet, but it is actually one of my goals for 2019. I want to gain the strength to forgive the person that has caused me so much pain. The goal is to forgive that person so that I can be free of this hate and anger. Forgiveness can come in many forms. Whether it be you finally gaining the courage to move forward or confronting the person who hurt you, the goal is to help you move forward without all of the negative baggage. The person who hurt you wants nothing more than for you to keep their memory alive and keep feeling that pain. Forgiveness relieves you of that burden and pain. This forgiveness might not come for years, but I think it is a very important step in your healing process.
Step 11: The Lesson
I am a firm believer that each relationship in your life teaches you a lesson. They are all experiences that help point you in the right direction in the future. Sometimes you do not see this lesson immediately, but its there. Each lesson eventually helps you figure out what you are really looking for in the ideal partner. Here are my lessons from my past relationships:
1. I need someone who is willing to show me love and make me feel like a priority
2. I am easily manipulated and need to recognize when a relationship becomes abusive.
3. I want a partner with ambition. I am no longer willing to “settle” out of fear of being lonely forever.
Take time after your relationship to think about what you learned this time. Did this relationship teach you something about yourself? About love? About what you seek in a partner?
Step 12: The Aftermath
You made it. The hardest part is officially complete: healing. You went through the pain and discomfort and are ready to start fresh. Starting fresh can mean you want to focus on yourself longer and work towards your own dream. Or, maybe you are ready to start dating again and put yourself back out there. However you define “start fresh,” remember the lesson you learned and make sure you never repeat the same mistake twice. I am so proud of you for making it this far and I wish you nothing but the best in your journey forward.