Over the last few months, I have learned so much about myself, about life, and about starting over. I know now that nothing is forever and that I am the only one that is responsible for solving my problems.
Usually, I try to focus my energy on posting about my adventures, recipes or products that I enjoy, but since I have found it so valuable to talk to my girlfriends that are going through breakups as well, I thought a vulnerable post about my relationship and my breakup could be a helpful resource for other women in my position. It was nice for me to know that I am not alone. I am not an expert in any way, shape, or form, but I do know what has worked for me, what is not working at all and all the things I will never ever do again, so hopefully, these tips will help you cope with the end of your relationship.
Cry, Cry, Cry
This is step one. Bawl your f#c*ing eyes out. The breakup may feel like a nightmare that you cannot wake up from but you just have to work through it. Breakups are tough, it feels like a huge loss, I was losing the person that I talked to every day, a person that I thought I was going to share the rest of my life with and the person that I really trusted and cared for more than anything.
When I love someone, I love them with all my heart and I hold them in such high regard, so it is only natural to be completely distraught and only focus on all the good times we shared, and how to make it work. It is hard to get to the place where you finally see all the cracks post-breakup. You start to identify the disingenuous things your ex may have said and wonder how you missed all the warning signs.
The best thing for me was just crying when I needed to cry, actively feeling all my emotions, and taking the time to unpack the reasons why I am upset so I can move on. Being sad is okay and totally natural, it is important to try not to rush through it. I still have days where I am sad and I over-analyze myself and all the things I could have done differently, but for the most part, crying and letting it all out has helped me move forward. If I hold on to those emotions, I will never heal.
Cut the Cord
Do as I Say Not as I Do
I was terrible at this. I was so used to taking care of my partner, it seemed unthinkable that he would be able to survive on his own without my constant support. I responded to all his text messages and emails and I was essentially the exact same person for him that I was in our relationship. I put up no boundaries and said yes to every request. I became obsessed with his social media and kept close tabs on him. I was sad that no one on his side reached out to me to make sure that I was okay. I would feel left out if I saw him hanging out with our mutual friends or doing things that we used to do together as a couple, let’s just say I still cared a lot! So so so unhealthy, I was completely taken advantage of but it was my own fault!
What I Should Have Done
The minute the deed is done, I should have cut him out, I needed to delete him from social media, ignore all his calls and get him out of my space as soon as possible. The more boundaries to put up the better. Dragging it out was so damaging and it was preventing me from moving on.
Start working on forward movement, put together a list of all the things you need to do post-breakup (housing situation, dividing up assets, etc.) and find a mediator to facilitate all future communication. I put together a post with all the things I had to deal with when I was going through this process.
It really is the hardest part, its the end of an era. Every time I opened the door to communication it just set me back. It felt familiar, it felt comfortable, and it felt right but it is important to remember the reason for the breakup and know that I am the main priority now, not my ex-partner.
Obsess Over Self-Care
Choose something once a day to do for you. Download a mindful app, or a breakup app, go to a fitness class, do a face mask, treat yourself to a day at the spa or read a good book. Find something to add value to your day that you can look forward to and feel good about doing. Worry about taking good care of yourself, eat good healthy food, go to yoga and be gentle. Take the time to look good and you will feel better as well.
Take this time to learn about yourself and what you can take from your past relationship. After hours of therapy, self-help books, and tearful conversations with my friends I had completely psycho-analyzed myself in the hopes of identifying my patterns. I realized that I had some unhealthy behaviours that I wasn’t in tune with. Over time, I had started to numb myself, I would watch hours of TV or I would obsessively shop online because I was unhappy with the state of my relationship. I was searching for the love and compassion that was missing in my relationship and I wasn’t getting what I needed.
I know now that if there are issues in my relationships, romantic or otherwise, I need to talk about them and not wait for them to blow over. Communication is key, and it can be done in a calm manner, not just in the heat of an argument.
I also identified a pattern of me compromising too much and over functioning in my relationships; I would try to make my partner happy and leave my needs behind. It is really important to me to have a partner that will not only appreciate me for helping them be their best self but will also want to help me to be my best self. I need to make sure my values align with my partners and try to maintain these values in my future relationships.
Talking through my emotions, learning new skills on how to cope, and trying to grow as a person has made my break up feel like a blessing. The Dance of Anger has become my bible, There were things that I had been doing for years that weren’t serving me and reading that book really helped me to break down these behaviours and try to work on re-training myself. It is not going to happen overnight and it is a process, but I am working towards it.
Women That Love too Much helped me understand unhealthy attachments that I was completely unaware of. It digs deeper into my issues with setting boundaries and understanding what a healthy relationship should look like.
Rely on Your Network
Your First Love is Always Your Hardest Breakup
My first heartbreak was catastrophic, I would cry every day at work, I couldn’t eat, I lost 30 pounds and I was so dependent on my family for support and constant interaction. I was a draining human being. Fast forward to now, I still have not mastered the art of breaking up, but I am actively trying to get better at it.
Find Your Tribe
This seems like a no brainer, but you need to have a strong network. I can’t believe how much my friends and family stepped up in my breakup; from helping me put together IKEA furniture, to taking me for a night out on the town to calling me every day to make sure I am okay. Everyone rallied around me so I never felt alone. The people around me lifted me up and inspired me. We have created this new tribe of women that are there for one another. It has strengthened so many of my relationships and brought us closer together. We push each other, we talk about our goals and dreams, and we cheer each other on. Everyone has a breakup story and you can either let it transform you or break you. I would like to think that mine has transformed me. I actively reach out to my girlfriends to make plans and I have started to put myself out there and make new friends.
Know Everything is Going to be New
This is the worst part, especially if you love routine! You will want to get back together, you will be lonely, you will miss him and you will want to try and be friends; these are all regular emotions, but stay strong. Processing change is always hard, so just think of everything as being new and exciting.
Deciding on a Routine That Works for You
I completely changed up my routine and started to form new ones. I used to make dinner every night, go to brunch on the weekends, and do weekly trips to Costco. Now, I cut down on cooking and I focus on meal prep. I skip brunches and go to fitness classes instead. I do more activities during the week and I let go of all of the things that “we used to do as a couple”. I have removed all the photos of him from my home and erased him from my life. It is so necessary.
Break Up with Revenge
This one was hard for me, I will admit when I see red there is no turning back (therapy is helping me with this). In the heat of the moment, I wanted everyone to know my sob story, but at the end of the day, revenge is a dish best not served at all. I would rather people see me as a strong woman rather than a crazy ex-girlfriend. Remember, even if your ex doesn’t deserve it, you do. You deserve looking like the superstar that lets everything roll off your back. Revenge may feel good in the moment, but it will make you feel shitty about yourself at the end of the day.
Focus on Forgiveness
Your ex may have done unbearable things to you, and they may not deserve your forgiveness, but forgiving your ex is not something you need to do for them. It is something you need to do for you, so you can move on. Work on trying to let go of the past, so you can move forward.
Don’t Think Cause You are Alone, You are Incomplete
I think every girl needs to hear this. Society creates this expectation that to be a complete person you need to have another half. People don’t need a counterpart, it is great if you meet someone that compliments your life but its also completely okay to be alone and to feel comfortable being alone.
Embrace the ‘Me’ Time
Being by myself has been liberating, single Jaemie is way more fun than coupled Jaemie. I feel calmer, open-minded and confident in myself. I don’t have to constantly worry about someone else’s feelings. In a weird way, I feel more like a whole person than I did when I was in a relationship.
I have always been a very shy person and for some reason, I associated it with being weak or uninteresting, however, my friends perceive me is completely different light. They tell me I am authentic, kind, and relatable.
“The loud aren’t always strong and the quiet aren’t always weak.”
When you are in the right relationship, you should feel like they are a great addition to your life, not a burden. Know who “me” is and be respectful of who you are. Don’t let someone else tell you otherwise.
My ex may have told me that we have the same values, but his actions completely contradicted them. I want to be in a relationship with someone who has similar values and principles and is willing to celebrate my true self. I truly believe my breakup needed to happen so I could get back all the parts of me that I let slip away over the years.
Start Goal Setting
If you start setting goals for yourself and then start achieving them, this will feel better than any relationship ever will. Also, who doesn’t love being surrounded by a goal-oriented motivated person? I definitely want to keep someone like that in my life. Make some deadlines, set some targets and start writing your goals down and working towards achieving them.
My Own Personal Goals
I have always been very passionate about goal setting. At the beginning of every year, I write out a forecast of all the things I want to achieve. One of the things that I haven’t fully dove into is my blog. I have decided I am going to try and get in front of the camera more often and share more real-life personal experiences so I can be more relatable to my audience.
The dating patterns are real for me. I thought I had escaped them but they just showed up in a different form. The thing about breakups is that you have to take them one day at a time. A song, a weird dream, or an inside joke will prompt you to think about your ex. Maybe down the road, you can go back to that place in a different capacity, but for right now journalling will have to do.
Have conversations with yourself, write about your feelings daily, write about the good days and the bad days, write about your terrible dates, write about your amazing ones, write down your brilliant ideas and your hate letters that you want to send your ex. Spit out all the feels on a piece of paper and then try not to think about it for the rest of the day. Use your journaling as an outlet to help you heal and explore your emotions. It is normal to have an infinite number of unanswered questions for your ex but over time they won’t matter, so write them down and move past them.
Warm-up to Dating
Ease into It
Dating was a hard one for me. I do recommend a multi-step process. First, give yourself a night out at a gay bar. This way there is no pressure, but it is still a night to get out there and let loose. Once you feel ready for the real thing, get dress up and plan a girls night out. I rarely went out during my relationship so I forgot how nice it feels to be approached and have guys fawn over you and want to buy you drinks. It seems superficial but the ego boost really helps you remember when you’re ready to get back out there, there will be other guys that come your way.
Get the First Date Over With
Getting over that first date is like ripping off a band-aid. Have a drink beforehand to warm you up, choose a place close to home, and have an exit strategy. My first date was actually great, we laughed and had really good chemistry, but he wasn’t someone that I would get into a relationship with. It was the perfect rebound situation and it helped me get excited at the prospect of dating again. I will be completely transparent, meeting someone in real life is 100x better than any dating app.
Enter the Dating App World
If you don’t think you can step to a real date, dating apps are a safe alternative. I had been in a relationship for so long that I missed all the dating apps. When I first downloaded a dating app, my matches wanted to meet right away and I just didn’t feel ready for it so I deleted it. It felt way too real. It took me a few months to feel comfortable putting myself out there again. The compliments and attention, although very surface level, are a nice bonus, just be careful not to base your self-worth off of your matches or the attention that you get.
When it comes to dating be honest. Let them know you are fresh out of a relationship and you are just testing the waters. Setting boundaries and being respectful of other people’s time allowed me to feel comfortable with my decisions and steer clear of any drama.
It may take a few dates or a little while to feel a spark. There is always a chance that some of your dates will be way more into you than you are into them or vice-versa or you may be wildly attracted to the completely wrong guy, just know that it is all in good fun and don’t take it too seriously. Choose fun activities to try, get out of your comfort zone and at the end of the day, at least you will just have a fun story to tell.
With the apps, it is possible to go on a date every single day, so be sure to make time for yourself first and have dating on the back burner as something fun. I noticed that I would feel exhausted and drained after my first few dates cause I felt like I was carrying the conversations, so I decided to take time back for myself. Try to really be in tune with how you are feeling and be respectful of it.
Spoiler – I put together all my single girl experiences in a blog post.
Breakups are always tough regardless if they are messy, or if they are amicable, it is always going to be a process of dealing with the loss of that person in your life. Just to put things in perspective there are people dealing with intense trauma and life-threatening diseases in this world, so know that your body and mind is capable of handling heartbreak.
One thing my friend told me is that you will never downgrade, which I think is a good way of thinking about it. With this time, I have been working on bettering myself, figuring out what I need from my relationships, and learning from my past mistakes, so when I am fully healed, I can have that bigger better relationship. The person who is winning in the breakup is not the one who finds someone new first, it is the person who finds fulfilment first.
I would love to know your tips for getting over a breakup. Let me know in the comments if you find posts like this helpful.