After a year-long (serious) relationship, I broke up with my boyfriend. Although it was my choice to end the relationship, I still cried and at times longed to have him back. While sitting with my counselor, she mentioned that it was okay to process my emotions and feel sad, that it’s natural in “grieving process”.
The grieving process? That phrase stuck out to me because I had never considered a breakup something to grieve over. Up until then, I always had the mindset that grief for was when someone passed away. The more I thought and verbally processed it with my counselor, the more it clicked; that my partner and best friend was no longer a part of my life, no wonder it felt just as painful.
During the initial aftermath of my breakup, I felt numb. That’s the best word I could think to describe it, numb and in disbelief that this is my life now. I had my moments when a song would come on that reminded me of him, I saw something I knew he would like, or even when something exciting happened in my life, my first instinct was to tell him. Those feelings still cross my mind and it’s been six months.
However, it’s important to allow yourself to feel these emotions, because suppressing them will just leave you in a rut of sadness, or possibly even anxiety due to all the questions running through your head or even guilt that you didn’t stick it out long enough to see if it could work. Whether you broke it off, your partner did or it was a mutual decision, allow yourself to grieve and through your grief you’ll come to realize there is hope.
First, it’s important to remember the five stages of grief so that you can learn to recognize where you’re at to better help yourself. According to Healthline, the stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Second, there’s no timeline, requirement or criteria to fit into for each stage-grief comes in many different waves and forms for everyone.
One of my good friends recently went through a breakup from a serious relationship as well. She initially felt the same way, in shock and feeling numb. But while processing her emotions she thought to herself, ‘What advice would I have for my child after a breakup?’ This prompted her to begin writing a letter to her future child to read when they experience the same emotions because of a breakup.
“Something changes when we go from hearing other people’s advice to ourselves being the one that gives out advice for the situation we are currently experiencing. I constantly would allow people’s kind words and advice go in one ear and out the other, and I was stuck in this feeling of hopelessness…until I wrote out that letter as if someone I loved were going through the same thing I was experiencing. As soon as I wrote out the words that I needed to hear, hope began to shine through…and I was able to take my advice to heart, because at the end of the day, I know myself best. Trust the power of speaking encouragement not only over your life but over others you love.”
Self-care is also important during this time of grief, whether it’s working out, taking a walk through a new park, drawing a bath or reading a good book. Technology makes it hard, but try to have as little to no contact with your ex as possible. The more you interact with or come across them on social media, the harder the healing process will be. Take the time to establish a routine, such as getting enough sleep and eating well. There’s no need to rush into another relationship at the moment, just focus on bettering yourself.
Though it’s only been six months, I can solidly say I have accepted where I’m at in life and realize that I’m better off single than in an unhealthy relationship. I’ve learned what qualities I want my future husband to have, how to handle conflict in a serious relationship and realized that there’s no such thing as perfect relationship because we’re all human. It’s through conflict and trials in life where we can grow and learn to love one another better. But just remember, there is hope for you after this breakup and you will get to a point of acceptance and hope for your future, just like myself and a million other people have.