Breaking up with someone or being broken up with is possibly, to put it bluntly, one of the shittiest things out there. Even if the break-up happens to be the oh so ideal mutual kind, it still kind of sucks. One minute you have this person who’s been your rock and your person for whatever amount of time, and the next they’re gone. Even if it wasn’t really working out anymore, you still miss them, miss the comfort they brought you, and now you’re going to have to adjust to a new chapter of life – a chapter without them.
I went through a break-up fairly recently, but in my case I was indeed the one to initiate it. This was also my first relationship, so I have no previous experience of break-ups, but I’m going to share the small amount of knowledge I do possess. Oh, and I’m including some things I’ve learned from my friends who’ve gone through break-ups and been broken up with.
First of, I want to point out that being the one who did the breaking up doesn’t mean it’s easy. A lot of the focus in romantic movies and sad love songs is on the person who got dumped, and I completely understand that. However, that doesn’t mean that just because you broke up with someone you’re immediately completely over it, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt you, or that you won’t cry during the break-up and many times after. You’ll miss them and you’ll miss the good times. And the worst part, at least for me, was that not only was I hurting myself, even though I know in my heart it was the right thing to do for both of us, I was also hurting this person who I loved for a long time. Who I still loved when I broke up with him, just, not really in the same way anymore.
It sucks for both of you when there isn’t really a reason for the break-up. The one who got broken up with wants answers you can’t possibly give them, because nothing really happened to cause the ending of the relationship. There was no cheating, no horrible fights, just.. something changed, and it didn’t feel right anymore. And if and when that does happen, you know you owe it to yourself but also to them not to string them along any longer. Because that’s not fair for either of you.
Now, as far as how to deal with the break-up, my first piece of advice would be to try to end things amicably. There’s no need for there to be any bad blood between you. It’s good to maybe meet up a few times, just to discuss everything there is to discuss, because sometimes you forget something during the actual break-up talk, and you need everything cleared to be able to move on. But that’s it. It’s best to speak in person, no chatting because that doesn’t really lead anywhere. For me personally, after the post-break-up talks I needed a bit of a break. What I mean by this is that I didn’t want to snapchat or text my ex, and I didn’t like it if and when he did it. Once everything has been talked about, well, that’s as far as your responsibility goes. You can’t be there for yourself and them at the same time. You can’t console them, because that’s not fair on you. Even if you did the breaking up, you can’t be there emotionally for your ex, because that doesn’t give you time to think about your own feelings and heal. Instead you’re focusing on the fact that you hurt them, which is of course terrible, but it’s not your responsibility anymore. And they need to understand that as well. Making you feel guilty for breaking up with them is a really shitty thing to do, and once again – not fair to you.
Because we live in a social media-controlled world, there is probably some evidence online to show that the two of you were indeed in a relationship. How you want to go about this is probably something you should discuss with your ex-partner, but at the end of the day it is still your individual choice. When we first broke up, I said I wouldn’t be taking down any Instagram pictures of us, because they were just really good memories (and still are). We didn’t have any other evidence, we were never “facebook-official” just because that kind of thing isn’t really important to me. Nor was it to him. I did however end up deleting the pictures with him earlier this week. Even though they’re good memories, they were a constant reminder of the past chapter of my life, and I couldn’t move on with them there, so I deleted them, to ‘turn the page’ so to speak. And honestly? It felt so good. I needed them to be gone to be able to focus on moving forward with my life. But once again, this is completely individual. You might be able to move on with the pictures there, but whatever your ex-partner decides to you should still try to respect.
Now, everything has been settled, there’s hopefully been some kind of closure and all social media proof is gone. Now how do you deal with the void? Your partner was probably the person you relied on for everything, the one you sent funny memes and cute cat videos to and talked to about your day- You simply have to try to fill it with other things – and this is where friends enter the picture. Having a good friend or friends to rely on after a break-up really is the best thing in the world. Talk to them, I promise they want to listen if they really care about you. Do stuff together! Go out, go shopping, go to an art gallery or the library – just do anything. This is a great way to keep your mind occupied while you’re having fun with people you care about.
Then there’s everything else in your life you could put energy on, like work or school. I’m not saying to become a workaholic, but at least I’ve found that focusing on my studies and feeling like I’m being productive helps to keep me distracted and makes me feel good about myself at the same time.
And then there’s the most important thing, which I’m mentioning last even though it is the thing you should do first, as taught by Gilmore Girls – wallow. You absolutely need to wallow. Just lay in bed, cry, listen to sad music, watch sappy rom-coms and eat tons of ice cream – I promise you it’s going to make you feel better. Wallowing is a crucial part in getting to the first step of getting over someone, you really just need to have a good cry about it, by yourself, because everything feels at least a little bit better after a good cry. And after you’ve been down, the only way is indeed up, and you’re going to slowly realise, that this was just one part of your life – not the end of the world. It’s going to get better, although maybe slowly, it still is. And you’re going to be strong and independent, and remember that you’re young and that life goes on.