Guest Post entry for Valentine's Day Carnival by the every lovely Sarah Von of Yes and Yes.
From reading your blog, I know that you recently went through a bad break up, and I'm currently in that situation. While it's not bad in the sense that we're not talking and hate each other, it's bad in the sense that it hurts every second of every day, and as much as I would rather be with him, he decided that we would be better off apart. How have you been surviving the break up, and getting through it to the other side? How you have been doing it and what has helped you?
Oh friend. I am flattered that you think I could write a 'how-to' post on this, but I think this piece should be more accurately titled "How to turn the corner after a break up, stop crying in the bathroom at work, and begin to enjoy your life again (but still sometimes cry when you hear that one song)"
But that's a really long title for a blog post.
That said, I'm happy to share the things that I've been doing that have helped me get through this messy, mopey time.
Remove the ex from your life (at least for a while)
The truly mutual, friendly break up is a rare bird - usually someone's feelings are bound to be hurt. If you were the injured party, I think it's particularly important to distance yourself for a bit. If you hang out with the ex all the time, you may find yourself trying to be your best, most charming self in an effort to make them see the error of their ways and run back to you. And if you genuinely enjoy each other's company and really like hanging out with each other ... well, that's not going to help anybody get over anybody.
It's really, really hard to take this step and you might even worry that you're hurting this person. Just tell them that you're not trying to be malicious or hurtful and that someday you'd like to be friends, but right now you need some distance for your mental health. Then defriend the emmeffer.
Be 100% honest with yourself about any issues that you had with your ex or the relationship
We all make compromises in relationships and no relationship is perfect - common knowledge, right? But sometimes when we're in the thick of things, we downplay how much something means to us in an effort to keep the peace ... there's not really any point in obsessing over his love for bad Science Fiction is there? But now that you're not together anymore, be honest with yourself about the things that didn't work for you in the relationship. They might not have been huge issues, but have a good think on them and be thankful that you don't have to deal with them anymore.
Put yourself on a dating hiatus
If you just got out of a relationship, especially a long term one, being single feels like visiting a foreign country. And as tempting as it is to hook up with the first applicant for the position of boyfriend, it's probably a bad idea. You're not ready for it and you might end up hurting a lovely, unsuspecting person who just wants to love you.
If you feel weird about being single, view it as a 'dating diet' ... none of that high calorie hooking up and number-swapping for you! Only heaping helpings of girlfriends, fun, and go-nowhere flirting! I've even allotted a specific end-date to my dating diet (Sept 1) to make it seem more fun ... as though I'll immediately begin making out with a delicious gentleman at the strike of midnight on August 31st.
Have heaps of fun with your friends
Now that you're single you probably have heaps more time to spend with all the amazing people in your life. Also, view this time as an opportunity for your friends to go to bat for you - don't be afraid to bawl your little eyes out over beer/cheese/bacon cupcakes. Or around the bonfire. Or at the coffeeshop. Or all of the above. You've helped them through their dramas, they will help you get through this.
But it doesn't have to be all weeping and yelling about how "you were too good for him anyway!" Go to the drive in, or the zoo, or the tarot card reader. Road trip and skinny dip and make popsicles. Do so many fun things that you're too busy to think about whats-their-name.
Make a new plan
If you were in a long term relationship, there's a good chance that this person played into your plans for the future. Maybe you were going to go to your second choice school to be closer to them, or live in the city instead of the mountains. Maybe you were going to work part time because they could support you. But things are different now and doesn't everything feel better if you have a plan? Sit down with a cup of tea and a journal and think about what you really want to do, now that you don't have anyone else to consider. The sky's the limit!
Make some changes
A new flat. A new haircut. A new wardrobe. The change in your relationship status might not feel so completely overwhelming when it's part of a hurricane of changes in your life. I think it also really helps to mix things up a bit so you're not constantly surrounded with the sweater you wore on your first date, the book he gave you for your birthday and couch where you first made out. Besides - this is a totally sanctioned excuse for shopping!
Take care of yourself
It is incredibly, incredibly tempting to devolve into a sweats-wearing, ice cream-snarfing, SATC-viewing mess, but you'll feel heaps better if you look after yourself. If you're going to fanny around the house all day, at least do it in a kinomo. If you're going to pig out, do it goat cheese and baguettes. If you want to watch bad TV, do it with your friends. Don't for get to shave your legs, get some sunshine and get a bit of exercise. It might be hard to get going, but you'll be so glad you did that instead of sitting inside, listening to Jeff Buckley and eating a whole frozen pizza.
Practice the art of letting go
You can't control your ex's decisions, you can only control your responses to them. Maybe they chose to end your relationship. That doesn't mean that you're not amazing and gorgeous and totally, totally loveable. It means that they weren't the right person for you right now.
How do you get over breakups? Have you ever been through a Very Bad Breakup?