There isn’t a handbook to tell us how to get through this stuff. Sadly, nothing can prepare us for heartbreak. It is a certainty in life and unfortunately we all have to go through it. I had a lot of it before I got married and oddly enough I’m grateful for the things I went through because those experiences allowed me to grow, to change, and to thankfully find my person. I do, however wish I had listened to the advice given to me while I was in the throes of it because maybe, it would have been a bit easier to deal with and maybe there would have been less tears and more hope. So, I’m passing the well-meaning advice I received back then on in the hopes that those searching for solace, for love, dealing with heartbreak, or those ready to move forward can use it in some way that is positive and helpful to them. You may read this and forget it, or some of it might stick and hopefully you’ll have an easier time avoiding or dealing with what comes your way. Just know that no matter how bad things are in the moment, they ALWAYS get better and there is light at the end of the tunnel. Your heart will heal and you will find love again. Here are my “words of wisdom”:
There are always signs, don’t ignore them!
When you meet someone new it’s always exciting. You have hope and believe in the possibility that they could be “the one”. What you miss when you’re smitten with this new, intoxicating human is the thing that may be right in front of your face. People will always tell you exactly what you need to know about them within the first few dates or hang-outs (Whatever time you’re spending with them). LISTEN TO THEM!!!!! If someone says, I’m not looking for a relationship…they AREN’T! If someone says, I don’t want to get married or I don’t want kids, they don’t! It’s really quite simple. PAY ATTENTION to what is being stated clearly and if those things don’t jive with your plan, don’t stick around hoping to “change them” because you will NOT!
Once a cheater, always a cheater!
Sorry I’m not sorry for this one. If a guy or girl cheats they will always cheat. This is a sad fact and one that people often try to overlook, justify the behavior, ignore, or worse leave and go back to the ones who hurt them. People who cheat do so because they aren’t happy with themselves. They need constant validation and they are insecure with who they are. They need to feel wanted all the time and they need to be the center of attention in the relationship. Even people who are treated like queens and kings will cheat because THEY aren’t happy with themselves. It’s not you. To ignore, overlook, pretend it isn’t happening or delude yourself into thinking they will change is asking for heartbreak. There is only one exception to this rule. If a person cheats and ends the relationship they’re currently in quickly and doesn’t stay and continue to lie and cheat then you have a case of the cheater looking for a way out of a bad thing and being too afraid to break-up with the person they’re unhappy with so they create a catalyst to give them a way out. THAT is the ONLY time a person may not be a cheater, but then you’ll be dealing with a coward. (A post for another time).
Dumpers and the Dumped!
If you are the person doing the dumping odds are you’re over the relationship and you will readily move on to greener pastures. If you are the one being dumped, well, things aren’t going to be as easy for you. I hate to say it, but it’s the truth. You will romanticize a shitty relationship because it’s easier than dealing with the reality which is that the person ending things wanted out. That is a tough pill to swallow, but swallow you must! Here’s the thing, if it ended, there are probably a lot of reasons that it ended that you are ignoring because nursing your broken heart to a healthy shatter is easier than admitting fault or seeing the truth about someone you once loved. Sometimes people are assholes, sometimes you’re the asshole. Sometimes people are incompatible, but lie to themselves and settle for things just because they’re easy and available. No matter why you ended up in a relationship, the reasons it ended are probably crystal clear, but as human beings we love to search for reason and meaning and look into things more deeply than they really should be looked into. Your answers are right there in front of you and in order to move on, you have to be honest with yourself. It was going to end regardless and there isn’t anything you could have done differently to change it because you weren’t meant to be together in the first place. We all do it. It sucks if you’re the one who gets dumped, but here’s the silver lining. Your heart will mend (in-time), you will see the light, and you WILL find someone else. It’s never the end of the world.
They all come back around SAY. NO. EVERY. TIME!
This is a truth that has proven itself over and over again and for every single person I know who gets dumped (in a relatively normal fashion that is). If the relationship ends organically and you are the one being dumped, you can rest assured that at some point when you’re feeling better, you’ve got your groove back, and you’re moving on you will send off some kind of bat signal to the person who broke your heart and they will be there with lightning speed to tell you they “made a mistake”,” they want you back”, “let’s meet for coffee”, whatever nonsense they’re spewing to get your attention. While this may sound great and give those of you who were dumped hope, also rest assured that this person is still the dirt bag who broke your heart and they did NOT change, they are no different than when they left you high and dry in the first place and the relationship will end again if you take them back leaving you worse than before. SAY. NO. EVERY. TIME! It is not to your benefit to go backwards and if they couldn’t give you what you wanted or needed before they won’t be able to now. Give NEW LOVE an opportunity to grow and leave the past in the past. I promise you, it’s not a mistake and you can do better!
This can be facilitated even in the worst of circumstances to some degree that is beneficial. If you are without attachments of any kind i.e. a marriage or kids then you can and should do this and with ease. I’m not saying it won’t be hard, but it is the best thing you can do for yourself and it is necessary. You don’t need to keep your old hangouts, don’t go to that party or wedding you got invited to before you split just because you think you “should”. Let me save you the embarrassment and heartache, you shouldn’t. You WILL feel like dirt after you see them, you won’t get their attention in the way you have imagined, and they will always disappoint you. Cut your ties. If you DO have a child and/or a divorce situation to contend with, limit your contact to child related or relationship ending discussions or interactions only. i.e. drop offs, pick-ups, medical information, childcare coordination, divorce hearings, custody hearings, moving out, whatever. But, DO NOT interact more than you need to. Treat the other person with respect if you have a child with them, but you do not need to be cozy and warm if the ending was particularly gut-wrenching or is difficult for you to deal with. The less contact, the better, because it will allow you to move on and get over them. If you think keeping in contact or telling them how you feel will help…it won’t! You deserve some peace and you definitely deserve to be happy so, be glad it happened, learn something, and move forward. You heart will mend more easily with less contact.
Believe what you’re hearing!
If the person you are missing is telling you they don’t miss you. Believe it! If they say it’s over, it’s over! If they tell you they don’t want a relationship, they 100% mean they don’t. It’s not a queue to keep pursuing them. It’s a big STOP sign and you should absolutely stop. It’s hard, it hurts, and it isn’t the easiest thing to understand, but you need to hear what is being directly said to you, not what you want to hear.
Figure out what YOU want!
When you reach the bottom the only way to go is up. However, you can’t move forward if you don’t have a plan or some idea of what it is that YOU want. This doesn’t just apply to break-ups. This is just a basic life thing. Sit and think about what you like, what you want in life, what you want out of a partner, what you want for your career, your home (or eventual home). Ask yourself what things you enjoy doing and go do them. Find who YOU are and then, when you have figured that out, your heart will be able to accept the love of someone else who is meant for you. You can’t love anyone else if you don’t love yourself first. TRUTH!
Keep Yourself Busy!
It’s really simple; occupy your time with whatever you can. Work as much as possible, socialize, and get out of the house. Get up every day and make your bed, clean the house, go grocery shopping, make a list of chores that need to be done and complete them. Do any activity you enjoy. If you don’t have hobbies, find some. If you are lacking in the friends department, go join a group, fitness club, or church, whatever you have interest in and eventually you’ll meet new people with similar interests and those things can carry you through. Who knows, you might even meet someone worthwhile.
Give yourself time!
The old cliché “Time heals all wounds” is truer than you know. Give yourself time to heal, time to grieve the relationship lost. I don’t mean dwell on it or live in the despair you feel. I mean, accept what currently is, take a moment to catch your breath, and then pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move forward. Time is fleeting and your life will pass you by if you don’t grab hold and keep going with it. Give yourself time means not jumping into another relationship to try to replace what you lost. It means find out who you are, what you really want in life, and then moving forward to create the life you want and deserve. It doesn’t mean live in the past relationship because it wasn’t meant for you and there are truly better things out there if you’re willing to eventually open your heart to them.
If you want something different, you have to change your plan. Just because something didn’t work out it doesn’t mean that everything won’t. So, make a list of some things that you’d like to see change or that you’d like to accomplish in the next year and start working toward those goals or ideas. It will give you something to take your mind off of what is currently happening and move you in a better direction. I promise it works.
It’s not what you thought it was!
When you go through a break-up and especially if you’re the one who is broken up with, it’s easy to romanticize the failed relationship because all you see is what once was good. It’s a sad thing really because it isn’t until we are a bit removed from it that you see that it was most likely doomed to fail regardless. A bad relationship is like a train running at full speed. Nothing will stop it from eventually running off of the track. Be more honest with yourself than you feel comfortable with even, because it’s the honesty and truth that will help you move past it. If you lie to yourself about what your situation actually was then you will be stuck and who knows for how long and you’ll miss out on all of the wonderful things life has in store for you. Don’t waste your heart where it’s not wanted. It wasn’t what you thought it was meaning the relationship and as hard as it may be to face reality, you eventually have to whether it’s because you figure that out on your own or you’re forced into it. Either way, it’s better to rip off the band aid and accept it for what it was, know that it wasn’t meant for you, and push past it. If you can be honest with yourself you will see that your heart will heal much faster. It’s the lie you love, not the reality.
Find your tribe and love them hard!
I actually hateeee this saying, but in this case, it makes sense. Find a support system. Find people who are loyal to you, who have your best interests at heart, and who will be there for you when you need a helping hand, a reality check, a kick in the ass, whatever. They’re your people and they will help you through it. Show them love by making positive steps forward. Show them that you appreciate them. Your support systems are people who believe in you, who are your friends and not shared friends. They build you up, they tell you the truth even when you don’t want to hear it, they listen, they want you to be happy and they want to help you achieve your dreams and move on. They aren’t the people who offer drama, who stir the pot, who try to put you in awkward situations, and they are NOT your ex. Make sure you have this group established because you’ll need them, but treat them with respect because they’re there to help you.
Despite how awful it feels to get our hearts stepped on, there is so much to be grateful for in that darkness. Find the light and goodness in every day. Even if it’s something as simple as a good cup of coffee, a beautiful sunset or sunrise, a moment where your mind is quiet, a smile from your child, an encouraging word, or a hot meal. Take stock of what you DO have and not what you’ve lost. Be grateful because you aren’t guaranteed anything in life and the fact that your heart is broken doesn’t mean YOU are broken. It means you are being given something to overcome and your goal should be to come through the struggle a better person.
If you can do any of these things you’ll come through the suck that is a broken heart and you will have a shot at finding the person you were actually meant for. It’s a terrible thing to go through, but know this…if you are lucky enough to get through it something beautiful is waiting for you on the other side. I found my happy and the love of my life and I KNOW you can find yours too.