Break-ups are horrible; a type of grief that has no timeline or quick remedy. There are peaks and troughs, and it feels as though you are driving to a destination void of a sat nav or a sense of direction. We are, as I’m sure you well know, living through a global pandemic, which inevitably has knock on effects to our personal lives. To our health, our living situations, our mind sets, our baking ability and of course our relationships. Some are thriving, revelling in the close contact and the quality time away from external influences. Others on the other hand, have found themselves in a time of transition, closing chapters on relationships that have been constant, a source of fulfilment and comfort for as long as they can remember. I am not going through a break-up during a pandemic. I do however have the benefit of hindsight, looking back at my past relationships and how they ended, how I dealt with the loss and what I learnt from the process. Essentially, I would like you to feel less alone in the knowledge that the pain you are feeling is not something to be ashamed of – allow yourself to feel the grief. Acknowledge that this is a loss, but like any loss, time is a great healer and there is joy to be found in what lives on – in the lessons you have learnt, the growth you have experienced, and the endless possibilities that a new chapter offers.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE THAT MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD
It sounds simple. Of course you would gravitate toward the people that you love. However, there is a tendency to feel guilty when you are the sad friend, in need of love and bolstering. At some point, everyone will be this friend, the friend that can’t give anything but appreciation for all that they are taking. Appreciate that those you love will want to be around you – they will want to help, provide comfort, distraction whilst you need it and they will listen to you speak about the same thing for as long as you need to. You would do the same for them.
TRY NOT TO AVOID BEING ALONE.
Total contradiction, naturally, because life is all about balance. Avoiding being alone, filling your time with people, distraction, activity, is not sustainable. Eventually you will have to sit with your feelings, feel the space that is left, the urges to call or text, the habits you didn’t know you had. Write it all down – if you want to text them, write a letter instead, pour it onto the page and then think forward to after you’ve reached out. How will you feel if they don’t reply? How will you feel if they do reply but not in the way that you’d like? When I was in my lowest point, perhaps 6 months after my break up following a period of time in which I felt relatively normal again, I needed comfort. I needed to know that he still loved me, that I had control over having him back in my life. So I reached out, but I ignored the tone in which he spoke to me, the words that he used, the actions that followed. Allowing him to use me for sex was the worst thing that I could have done to damage the progress that I had made. I’d have been far better sitting alone, and feeling that loneliness. I have never felt more lonely than driving away from his house with nothing but the semen in my knickers to show for it.
MARK IT ALL UP TO EXPERIENCE.
You are here now because you are exactly where you’re supposed to be. This has ended for a reason and there will be things that you didn’t even know were wrong. Over the following weeks, months, years – these cracks will begin to reveal themselves. Likewise, the things that you took for granted will become apparent – the things you didn’t know that you loved about that person. Once you have accepted that the chapter has ended, you can begin to learn from all that they taught you. What you want in a relationship and what you don’t. How you would handle disagreements in the future as to prevent them from becoming arguments. What makes you feel safe and what makes you feel claustrophobic. What decisions you made based solely on them and their future rather than honing in on your own. Break-ups, though painful and sad, can also be an opportunity for growth, change and evolution. Digest the pain and use it as fuel to write your next chapter. First step, get a hair cut.
YOU WILL LOVE LIKE THAT AGAIN.
It’s the most worrying thing, when you’ve fallen so deeply in love with someone, you’ve lost the sense of where you end and they begin. How will you find that again? Firstly, it exists within you. You have always and will always love yourself that intensely. Though you may have forgotten throughout the teenage days of self-conscious mirror avoidance and the negative opinions of others you love yourself in a way that no one else can. Likewise, as you grow and change, as does the love that you feel. It had been so long since I had broken up with my ex, whom I was enamoured with, and I thought that perhaps that instinctual, instant love, would be something I would never experience again. But, then I bumped into someone in a manky pub in south-east London, where the floors are sticky and the light is unflattering and I loved him instantly. To no avail I might add but, I had that feeling, that gut turning, head spinning, feet off the floor feeling. I realised that it exists everywhere, it’s just in the timing and the context. Believe that it waits for you, for when you are ready.
TIME IS THE BEST HEALER
Every day helps the pain go away. Every day it will become easier, as though you were sailing away from an Island, eventually you just can’t see it anymore. Be patient and view the process as a journey. I daresay, enjoy it. I wish that I would have enjoyed the depth of feeling more willingly. I don’t mean enjoy as in pop a prosecco and celebrate. Experience the feelings with open arms and know that the reason that you are feeling so intensely is because you loved someone whole heartedly – that is something to be celebrated.
I know that if you’re in the midst of missing someone – advice is as useful as a cheap umbrella in the wind. It’s okay to wallow, it’s okay to not be very okay, it’s okay to eat ice cream one day and spin so hard at a spin class that you fall off your saddle the next. I listened to Adele’s album 21 for six weeks straight, I cried, I laughed, I moved on and I moved backwards. Trust yourself and your instincts – make good decisions and allow yourself to make bad ones – you know a bad decision when you don’t tell your friends what you’re going to do until you’ve done it. I rang Ellis on the way home from shagging my ex because I needed her – but I was embarrassed to tell her beforehand what I was about to do. Ergo, bad idea. You will rise like a phoenix from the flames – this will benefit you eventually. Close the chapter and look to the next. You’re safe and this too shall pass- I love you x