One of the biggest emotional challenges we go through in life is heartbreak. Breakups are incredibly painful at any age, but when you’re in your twenties and don’t have a ton of life experience under your belt, it can feel like your whole world is crashing down.
Personally, I think the hardest part of a breakup is navigating the dramatic change that comes with losing a loved one. This can often mean starting over in a new city, losing friends, or even having to split custody with a pet, not to mention the inevitable loneliness that comes from a breakup. However, we are humans who crave certainty and social connection, which is why I think it is so important to recognize the need for support during these times of loss.
I wanted to share some of the most helpful lessons I learned from breakups, which took months or even years to fully grasp. I hope these lessons can serve as words of encouragement that you’re not alone and you will get through this- one day at a time.
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay
Dealing with the loss of a relationship is like dealing with a death- if you loved someone and now they’re not in your life, how isn’t that similar to dealing with death? It’s dealing with the death of that relationship, and therefore you should feel okay to express your needs for extra support or seek out therapy support.
During the breakup healing process, consider reaching out for support from a therapist or counselor. It is a grieving process and however you feel is okay. Let yourself cry it out and use this time to pamper yourself and self-care like no other!
Take Up New Hobbies and Find Your New Normalcy
In coping with the loss of a relationship, I think one of the best things you can do for yourself is to try new things. Finding a hobby or interest will help you establish your new sense of normalcy.
When I experienced my first heartbreak at twenty-two, I started seeing a therapist to help me cope. This led to a lot of self-growth and healing and encouraged me to reach out to friends I had lost touch with, travel to places I had never been, and try new classes I had never taken.
Soon, I slowly started to lose sight of my old normalcy (aka the everyday things I did with my ex) and replaced it with new routines, schedules, and interests!
Know That Your Relationship Taught You Something
I remember feeling consumed by the thoughts that I had spent x amount of overthinking my relationship with this person and nothing to show for it- but that isn’t true in the slightest. Aside from the fact that, at one point, that person made me happy, I was able to leave that relationship with more experience and knowledge of what I like and dislike in relationships, unlike before.
I think that in those moments of despair, turning those dislikes and what didn’t work into what you now know you don’t want can be helpful, and acknowledging the new knowledge and self-realization that you have can be empowering for you and your future romantic life!
A Breakup Doesn’t Mean The Relationship Was a Waste of Time
This was one of the biggest lessons I learned in therapy when working through the grieving process of my breakup.
It’s important to remember that just because you broke up doesn’t mean the relationship was unsuccessful. Instead, you spent several months or even years with someone you loved and who loved you back. Isn’t that cool?
Any relationship, no matter how short-lived, can be meaningful and can make a difference in your life. Don’t let what happens post breakup cloud your judgment or your trust in yourself, when a relationship ends it ends, regardless of how good or bad the breakup was- that relationship has ended but that doesn’t mean that at one point it didn’t bring you joy.
There is No Timeline for Healing
There is an old saying that it takes half the length of a relationship to get over it fully, but I didn’t find that to be true in the slightest. Grieving a relationship that ended can be long and hard, and you’ll find that some days are harder than others.
Some days you might realize that you haven’t thought about your ex at all, only to find yourself crying in the car on your way home from work because your song came on the radio, making you miss them.
Remember that there is no linear route to getting over a breakup, and you’ll have tons of ups and downs on the healing journey. Give yourself the space and patience during this time and understand that this experience is teaching you some valuable life lessons, even if it might not seem like it at the time.
Know That Time Will Be On Your Side in the Long Run
There is nothing quite like the initial hurt of a fresh breakup, especially if you were the one having the rug pulled out from under you. I remember being nonfunctional- I couldn’t do anything that day aside from crying or screaming. And while I certainly had a long road to healing, I know that there was no greater pain that I faced than the days right after the breakup.
It did feel like ripping a band aid off of a wound that had yet to heal- it killed at first, and I had to tend to it in the months following, but eventually, that wound healed. And now I have a long-faded scar that reminds me of what has led me to become the strong woman I am today.
If you’re currently going through a breakup, just know that you’re not alone. I know how lonely it feels because no one knows the relationship that you had but please know you aren’t alone in this grieving process. Giving yourself time and patience to grieve. I wish you all the support to help you throughout the process and send good vibes your way 🙂