How to Survive a Breakup and Maintain Your Poise
By Vanessa Palencia
If I could tell you everything that I did when I experienced my first heartbreak, you’d definitely give me the award for “Most Cringe-Worthy Breakup Story Ever.” The story itself may be a bit long to recount piece by piece, but let’s just say that it involved slamming doors, trashing his locker (forcing him to abandon it and share another with his friend), and subtly putting him on blast via the school newspaper.
Talk about going crazy, right?
Recovering from a breakup is hard, and as the little snippets above prove, I know firsthand that it isn’t easy to just “move on.” But regardless of the seemingly void future ahead of you, I’m here to tell you that it’s going to be okay, so long as you don’t set his house on fire or do other irreparable damage.
During a breakup, your brain goes through some changes (backed up by science!), and what seems logical to you may not exactly be logical to someone else. Chances are, you’re reading this article because you are going through some indefinable pain right now and need some advice as to what to do. So, let me be the sister and friend that you need. Here’s my advice to you.
This may seem childish, but I assure you that it’s not. You need to fight the urge to obsessively look at their social media profiles and find out what they’ve been up to since you two split. This sort of obsessive behavior can lead you to preoccupy yourself with trying to ‘win’ the breakup competition of who can act like they care less. By blocking them, you’re allowing yourself to recuperate and find some solid ground to stand on. If needed, you can even unfriend them, or just disable your account temporarily. Anything that will help you forget about them for a little while.
Delete his number
I can’t tell you how many times I would text my ex at inappropriate times or drunk-call him. During the first few weeks of your breakup, you need to focus on yourself, and having their number in your contacts doesn’t really help that process. Think of the breakup as a clean slate. It’ll allow you to focus your energy on you and recreate yourself without him.
Restrain yourself from interacting with him
My first breakup was probably the worst considering that we shared the same circle of friends. It put our friends in a difficult situation because they wanted to invite both of us out to their get-togethers, but didn’t want the awkward tension that would come with it when we were both in the same room. If this is the case, talk to your friends and let them know that you’re taking some time for yourself. Your real friends will be understanding and supportive of this.
Put away all photos
I never burned my photos because I like reflecting back on past times, but I did store them all in a box and tuck them away in the far corner of my closet where they would be so much easier for me to forget. But if you want to burn them, then go for it. Everyone has their own method, just remember, the point of this, along with all the advice I’ve given so far, is to help you rediscover your inner peace. Revisiting the happy memories behind those photos during your grieving state of mind may make you forget why you two ended it in the first place. While it’s good to reflect on both the good and bad aspects of the relationship, you need to strengthen your mindset first and putting those photos away will allow you to come back to them at a more appropriate time.
Don’t jump into another relationship
Hear me out on this. Even if you fall madly in love with someone else within a few weeks post-breakup, don’t jump into it. If that person is meant for you then they will respect your space and wait. It’s extremely important that you take enough time for yourself. I took 3 years for myself and focused on things I liked to do and found my sense of identity. By jumping into another relationship you never fully develop the muscles of being independent and instead define yourself by the next relationship you fall into.
I spent weeks in the comfort of my room crying along to sad songs, and I really wish I hadn’t. Your heart will feel like it’s permanently broken, but that’s not the case. Even if you don’t feel like it, challenge yourself to go outside and take a walk in the park or watch a movie with a few friends. Maintaining your interaction with the outside world will help speed up your recovery time. It’s okay to feel sad about the breakup, but it’s not healthy to dwell on it. Don’t allow your breakup to turn you into a hermit. Prove to yourself and your ex that your life does not revolve around your previous relationship.
Refrain from bad-talk
You don’t know how good it felt for me to talk badly about my ex to friends and family. I believed that I was casting a negative light on them, but looking back I realize that I was shedding unfavorable light on myself. Talking badly about someone doesn’t look good and it can get annoying to people around you. If conversations about your ex pops up, remain neutral and don’t pitch in, or simply redirect the conversation to another topic.
Find humor in your life
Whether it’s just surrounding yourself with a few of your closest friends or watching a comedy, make sure that you incorporate a little laughter. While it’s important to allow some time to fully grieve for the loss of your relationship, you also need to look toward the brighter side of things and laughing can point you in that direction.
Every breakup situation is different. Some people break up amicably, and other breakups seem like the start of World War III. You might find yourself seeking advice for a particular scenario that isn’t listed here, and if that’s the case, just remember that it’s important to think things through. Try to see your situation through an outsider’s point of view. And don’t stress yourself out because you feel like you’re not bouncing back from the relationship fast enough. We all take different amounts of time in the grieving process, but just know that every day that passes by is just one step closer to being completely healed. As cliche as it is, time heals everything, so hang in there!