The Survivors Guide to a Break-Up

It’s me, Keye! I am by no means a relationship expert. However, dealing with a break-up, now that is a topic of which I am very much well versed. Over the course of the past 14 months I have been through so much more than I thought was emotionally and mentally possible for little old me to take. Alas, we must go on and to do so I came up with coping mechanisms. You have read about divorce and now here is my step-by-step guide to surviving a break-up.

There is beauty in sadness

Post-divorce I spent nights curled up on my kitchen floor, drinking red wine, screaming lyrics, while sobbing. Drunken evening ranting down the phone to anyone who would listen. I felt so stupid for being sad. I felt so weak for allowing myself this pain but, in actuality this is exactly what we should be doing at this point. Allow the pain, allow the sadness. It is okay to not be okay and you need to feel each and every emotion you are feeling; until you give your heart the kindness of hitting rock bottom, how can you pick yourself back up and rebuild? The old must be torn to ruins, before the new and beautiful can be built in its place.

Don’t play the blame game!

A relationship is something crafted between two people. Post break-up do not waste time blaming yourself entirely for what happened to your relationship. It was not all your fault. Two of you made something together, if that broke than two of you allowed that to happen. You may have allowed this to happen as it was in your best interest to get out of something toxic to you, as I did. Either way it is not all your fault, you do deserve love and what you had probably wasn’t it or it would not have ended.

How you feel over how it happened

How did it happen? Why did it happen? Some of the first questions I asked myself, but why? Why is it important how it happened or why it happened? Does it change what happened? Does it change the breakdown of the relationship? Simply, no, no it doesn’t. Having some form of clarity as to why isn’t necessarily going to give any form of closure. The likelihood is this will simply add more salt into a gapping wound. It happened, that’s all that matters. Focus on how you feel and really truly feel it, so you remember never to give someone the ability to do this to you again. Look back at the warning signs your partner gave you leading up to this point and remember them. Remember the feeling not the situation.

Soulmates are never temporary

The feeling of isolation can make it hard to breathe. A break-up hurts. You miss having that person, the person you thought was your soulmate, but guess what? They weren’t. I had alienated so many of my friends throughout my relationship and now my relationship had gone. Thankfully my friends, my true soulmates were there to pick up the pieces. Before you can go on the journey of rekindling the love you once had for yourself, first you need to rekindle the relationships with your true soulmates, your close friends. The people who were always there, who picked you up off of the floor. The people who love you when you cannot find reason to. Rebuilding this section of your life will help you build your new one. 

Something, not someone

Many of us think jumping straight into a new relationship will in some way fill the void of the old. To some extent I suppose it does. This is how we repeat past mistakes and allow someone to once more treat us like less than we deserve; like we don’t deserve to be loved at 100%! Instead of finding someone to fill the void, find something. Once you have found it throw yourself into it. It needs to be an outlet you can put your time and energy into, but also something to fill your evening and downtime in a healthy and productive way. For me it was my work and writing.

Past, not to be present

One of the hardest parts for me was the need for contact, or the need I at least felt. I would make excuses about needing to discuss areas of the divorce. Anything ridiculous so I didn’t have to bring myself to delete his number. It has to be done. I allowed myself a weekend to go through our wedding pictures, our emails and our messages. Once this had been done at a cost to my emotionally stability, it was time. Everything had to go, no trace of him was to be left in any part of my life. You cannot move on from someone if you have a constant reminder of them. Delete, delete, delete. For every piece of them you hold onto there is one less piece of the new you post break-up.

Not always new places, new memories

Together we had travelled the world, eaten at beautiful restaurants and drunk at far too many a bar. After the break-up these places can seem daunting, old places haunted by a relationship which once was. The best advice I can give for this aspect of surviving your break-up is to revisit, force yourself to go no matter how hard it may be. Make new memories, better memories, with better people in these places. The restaurant you had your first date? Well now, it’s the restaurant you celebrated your promotion with the most important people in your life. A memory cannot haunt you if you do not allow it too.

REPLACE AND RENEW FOR THE NEW YOU

It could be something as simple as a watch. In my case it was both my engagement and wedding rings. Though a simple material possession, a material possession with so much meaning and emotional connection. Every time I would pass by the box on my dresser all of the memories of our relationship came running back. So what do you do? We replace and we renew. In the same way we are now going on our own self renewal journey, the same is to be done with all of the things which once tethered you to that person. How you choose to do this is of course your choice. A new watch to replace the watch you once loved from them. Melt down the rings and turn them into a thing of beauty for the new you, from the old you.

WHEN IT’S TIME, IT’S TIME

You have had mutual friends for the duration of your relationship, possibly years. The likelihood of you finding out when they have moved onto their next victim, sorry ‘partner’ is high. So that begs the question…When is the right time to date (or whatever else your body is urging towards). Remember, I said, take the time to discover yourself before simply filling a void with another human. This leads down the same dark road as your previous relationship. That being said you’ll know when it’s right, whether it be casual dating, sex or your next partner. We all heal, grow and develop at a completely different rate as people, do not allow others to tell you ‘it’s too soon’ or that ‘you are making a mistake’. When you feel it’s time, it’s time.

FINDING YOUR NUMBER ONE

Whether it is something you can or are willing to admit to yourself and others or not, we all lose some part of ourselves when in a relationship. This can be simply through having to compromise in situations, when single we would not have too. I lost all of myself in my relationship, until I was unrecognisable to my friends, my family and even to myself. No matter how little or much of yourself you lost in the duration, you lost it. Now is the time to well and truly find out who YOU are again. Without compromise, no having to consider another human being, no one to adhere to and only your own expectations and desires to focus on. Now, now is the time to find out who you really are. Learn to not only be in your own company, but to enjoy it, love being with just yourself

I am not suggesting that these are all completely new ideas I came up with myself. But whilst writing this piece now I can honestly say I am happy, in love with myself and my own company. I no longer feel sadness over my break-up or my husband, I can truly say I am completely indifferent. A chapter of my life now closed. I hope this will help you do the same.