I’m in the midst of this myself right now and so I hope that I can offer some help on how to get over a breakup.
I’m not a psychologist or medical practitioner, so all I can do is share parts of my personal story (which includes my pain and fears) and what I have done to get through it and to come to terms with the end of a relationship.
When you are told that it’s over it can be excruciating and you can be left bewildered, in pain, unable to function and not knowing what to do. It can be just devastating.
I’m going to write specifically here about what to do if you are the one that was dumped (I really have an aversion to that word but it seems it’s the term that people use and I wanted people to find this article) like I was.
When I look back now which wasn’t that long ago, I realise now I was in shock. I was told in person that it was over but the next day I had to drive 1200kms to return to work. In the moment of being told I wasn’t yet feeling what I would eventually feel.
A month after the breakup I had I suppose you could say an emotional breakdown and left my job and returned to the city. I’d not had any communication with my ex during this time and work had kept me busy with no time to think or even feel what had happened. Underneath though clearly it had been brewing. The pain had just been suppressed.
So, I returned to the city and this is when it hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m not even sure how to describe it, but let’s just say I was crying all the time, I felt emotionally broken, was physically tired and my mind was running with questions.
It was not until my return to the city when I had space and time was I beginning to process what had happened but this is where I ran into problems. I had questions and no answers. I had heard his words that he was ending it but in that moment I had no idea of the questions I had and so I was left a month later not understanding. I had no clarity. I didn’t understand why or how this could happen given what I felt the relationship was (even if I knew there were some issues).
So, after the initial shock, I realised that I didn’t understand. I was devastated and had unanswered questions and confusion. How could he have said that a year before and then do that? How could he say he loves me and is in love with me and do that? How could only a few days before he be saying things that suggested a future and then end it?
I understood that he ended it for himself, for what was right for him but I was left basically clueless. He knew his reasons but I wasn’t clear on what they were and so was left guessing. A terrible place to be. I was stuck and suffering. I realised I didn’t have the opportunity for closure and so couldn’t move on. It wasn’t really over for me and perhaps I even harboured some hope.
I know myself and that I need to express myself and I wasn’t given or I hadn’t made the opportunity to do this.
So, I cried, missed him, thought endlessly about everything, every moment, the good, the not so good and cried some more. And I fought my internal desire to contact him.
Why didn’t I contact? I was thinking that it was up to him. He had ended it and so I felt it was up to him to make contact. Clearly, he wasn’t making contact which hurt but I was thinking it might just take a little longer for him to do so. Also, I was trying to have a little self-respect. After all, he had ended it. How pathetic and unattractive would it be if I contacted him. If he wanted to contact me, he would have. So, I was trying to have a little self-respect but also perhaps there was a self-protective mechanism kicking in of not being rejected and hurt again. All ego but nevertheless it was there.
So, for weeks I struggled with this but in amongst all of this, what did I do to try to work through it and look after myself.
What you can do to get through a breakup!
As mentioned before, I’m not a psychologist or medical professional, I’m merely sharing what has helped me. Seek out professional help if you need to. Here goes!
Allow and feel the pain
I know you’d rather run away and avoid pain, but rather than quash whatever you are feeling and distract yourself from your feelings, it really is necessary to allow yourself to feel it.
I’m not talking about getting caught up in the story for the story is what keeps you in that endless pain (as it did me), but there is grief and there may even be anger (among any other emotions you may feel) that you feel as a consequence of the incessant mind chatter.
A technique used that helps to dissipate the pain and heal (so that it doesn’t come up again and again and in other relationships) is to feel where the emotion sits in your body. You can read this article if you would like some more guidance on this technique.
One portal used during meditation is to feel the body and so here I’m asking you to just feel where the emotion is in the body and to breathe into it. If thoughts come, that is fine, watch them and let them go. Allow yourself to cry if you feel you want to. Don’t deny yourself those emotions.
Learn more about controlling your emotions here.
Write it out
As I was battling with myself as to whether or not to contact my ex, I wrote down what my questions were and how I was feeling. I had no intention of sending a letter but I’ll admit that I did think that if I were to have the opportunity to communicate with him I wanted to be clear and not miss anything out (that’s making me smile now) for I may not have another opportunity to have my questions answered.
This process helped enormously. I actually felt better.
Get out into Nature
If you can, get out in nature. I intuitively knew that I needed to heal and we all know that nature is wonderful for this. Find a patch of green. Walk, look, listen to the birds. Do whatever you can, to get a slice of this as regularly as you can.
Be kind to yourself
I was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted and could barely bring myself to do anything but I allowed it. If I didn’t feel like it, I didn’t. If I felt I couldn’t do it, I didn’t.
I knew that eventually my energy level would increase and my desire to get out and about or do anything at all really would come back. It has!
Allow yourself to feel whatever you feel. Just be present with it, be willing to feel it and know you are ok. It’s ok!
Talk if you want to
If you need to talk to someone, do so. Choose someone safe whether it be a professional, a friend or both. Choose someone non-judgemental. Advice is ok, but ultimately you need to do what’s right for you at this time and always remember that people give advice based on their own world view and experiences. It might not be true or right for you.
If you don’t want to talk, then don’t. If people ask you about it, you can kindly say, “I really don’t want to talk about it now”. I had a lot of fear about people asking me about my ex. I had returned to a previous job, where people knew him and knew about us and I was scared that I would be asked. I was prepared though. I thought about what I would say if they asked how he was for instance and I decided I wouldn’t tell them a thing (it’s no-one’s business) and would just say “he’s good”. I was prepared to shut it down.
There are some things that we just can’t say to others, so again, write it down.
At some point though we have to be done with talking about it. Talking about it keeps it alive – including the pain. We have to let it go eventually.
Please meditate. I have many articles about this. Here’s a good place to start Basic Meditation Techniques for Beginners.
So, after three months of forcing myself not to contact him, I made a decision. That decision was that I would.
How did I come to this given my concern about it being taken as a lack of self-respect or my being hurt further.
I basically decided that I didn’t have to view this as a lack of self-respect but rather as a sign of respect for myself. I had given my time to this man. I had invested in the relationship and I had loved him. I was worthy and deserving of receiving some answers, of being heard and expressing myself.
Also, I really did think I couldn’t be hurt any more than I already was.
I needed to express myself.
So, I made contact via text (a little bit of self-protection still there). The response was negative, however, I was then able to express myself further as to why I needed clarity and he thought further on it and said we could arrange to meet.
Strangely though (or perhaps not), by this stage I didn’t need it. Over the week of text messages and him deliberating whether or not to meet I had decided I no longer needed it. I genuinely didn’t. I realised the futility of needing to understand. I realised that people say things at a particular point in time in a relationship and mean it at that time, but that things change. This is what I was hung up on. How could he say this to me (the loving and futuristic talk) and then end it. At the time I guess he meant it and for whatever reason he now didn’t. Painful, but it was reality.
The very act of expressing myself, helped me to purge, to gain the clarity I needed and to accept. I was able to let go a little more and felt I was able to now move on.
Your reason for contacting may be different from mine, but if you are able to do it and want to, do it.
It’s ok to be vulnerable. There is strength in that. Just be prepared though that the response may not be positive.
Sometimes we don’t have the opportunity to do this, so we have to find a way that allows us to express how we feel. If you really want to get it out, write a letter (and send it if you can) or text if you are able to do this if they won’t see you in person. If they are no longer contactable via any avenue, then just write. You need to be able to come to a place of letting it go.
All I would say is to try to have some awareness and space around this when you make contact. For more on awareness, read my article What is the power of awareness – waking to a life unimagined!
If you don’t feel the need to make contact, then of course don’t.
Create a life for you and be you!
It’s really made me reflect on my life as it has been, the patterns and how I have denied and even ignored myself. I’ve had to really look into this. So now it’s less about why he ended it, but more about why I have made the choices I have that aren’t really always the best for me or acts of love for myself.
I am finally thinking about what I want my life to be and look like.
I have had the tendency to invest too much in the other at the expense of myself. Now, I think it’s about me.
It sounds a little corny, but I’m actually discovering myself and I am becoming clearer on what I want for me, how I want my life to be, who I want to be and I want to know myself beyond the mind and ego.
This period of pain, discomfort, disillusionment and despair has actually helped with that and has set me back on the path of presence.
Presence is everything. I know that awakening is the only path that will lead to freedom and real joy. There are many courses that can help you tap in to presence. I’ve written reviews on a few – check out my list here.
It does get better
I have to say that I still have my moments and it hasn’t been easy to write this article because re-telling the story can have a tendency to throw you back into the emotion (re-living the story over and over is not healthy and is not conducive to calm). Feeling emotion is good if you practice the technique above, but the stories being replayed in your head are not unless you can just watch them without identifying with them.
I would still like to see him (but not because I have questions). I just miss him and I love him still.
But I want you to know that it does get easier and I do what I can do each day. I feel brighter and more energised each day.
I meditate, walk in nature, am a little more social now and I allow myself to feel what I feel and do what I must or can’t do when I have a bad day.
I have reflected on myself and my life and where I now need to focus which is on me.
There is light and there is only now. I hope that you have found this article useful (or will) and find some comfort.
Go forth with ease and just be!