The biggest risk as far as loving someone is concerned, is heartbreak. In Part 3 (Love Is Not So Blind) we talked about some of the difficulties a couple may face as they get to know each other and that some choose to stay together while others choose to break up. At the point that the couple breaks up, one or both parties will get heartbroken, which brings us to our story for today.
Heartbreak is one of the most devastating things in life, ranked up there with death. It generally feels like a never-ending death. The first few weeks especially are the worst, as everything reminds you of your ex…from the big things like places visited and meeting your mutual friends and their relas at every turn, to indirect things like the same car model and/or almost the same number plate in traffic, look-alikes, seeing them tagged on MKZ and/or retweeted by your mutual friends, etc. All these things tend to torture one’s life and add to the grief, but hang in there. All these things eventually pass, there IS indeed life after heartbreak. I hope that what I share will help whoever needs to read this, move from one day to the next or at least from one moment to the next.
Just to note, what I will share is for those who have broken up cold turkey and not for those who are still hanging out with their exes trying to be just friends, going back and forth creating grey areas regarding their breakup. For these people, read this by @roomthinker: http://www.thinkersroom.com/blog/2005/05/just-friends-a-scientific-study/
So…first things first, take time out and grieve. The departure of your partner is indeed a loss and you cannot ignore this. There is a void that has been created and unless you didn’t really care about this person, then you definitely need to mourn the relationship. Most people will usually go through the 5 stages of grief with relative amounts of time spent at each stage and in no particular sequence. These are; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It is not advisable to call your ex during any of these stages, even though it seems that they are the only person who can clarify certain issues or make the pain go away. The temptation to go back at this point is so high but you must remember that you were dumped or you dumped this person for a good reason even though right now the bad relationship seems far better than the pain you’re experiencing. If you go back at this point, you will experience the same issues and the events will repeat themselves.
So what do you do? Reach out to your loved ones around you. I know that at this point, any acts or messages that come your way eg. Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, etc may not feel significant because the person you love isn’t the one saying them, but do try and appreciate what your loved ones do for you. Their being there for you is really simple stuff like hanging out with them especially if they are fun outdoor activities. Go out as often as you can, and do not decline going to places that will remind you of your ex just because you made memories there. It is actually advisable to go to these places and ‘overwrite’ those memories by creating new ones. It works. For ladies, your loved ones will also listen to you vent and allow you to cry if you can indeed let yourself do so infront of them. Hanging out with the people who love you affirms you because you get to know that indeed you are loved. It also allows you to be yourself which takes no effort. On the other hand it prevents you from falling to pieces, because you’re unlikely to be a mess around them all the time. After a while you will manage to get it together which is a good thing.
After month one, you can breathe without balancing tears and can go to work looking a little upbeat. 🙂 Life is getting back to normal and you can now start talking to other people around you. This is the point where you change your FB relationship status and start letting random friends know about your new single status. Naturally, “ma-vultures” “comforters” show up who want to ‘help’ you through this ‘trying’ time! Kindly note, these people are really not interested in listening to you talk about your broken heart or your ex, nor are they interested in dating you. You will find that they are unlikely to take you on a proper date (except to get you drunk), but will offer to come by your house or invite you to theirs for a home-cooked meal and some TLC. Be wary about these people, as they can take advantage of your vulnerable self. Then again, any attention given does help in returning some of your self-esteem, and these people do indeed bring a smile to one’s face, therefore, having them around is not such a bad idea, as long as you know what you want and how far you want to go with them.
By the third or fourth month, you are now able to go out and mingle. If you’re in the same circle as your ex or live near them, you may begin to meet this person as you venture outside. I consider this step one of moving on and is often awkward. Just to describe it a little (assuming you really were in love with your ex), when you meet them for the first time after your breakup, you shake, you break into a sweat, you stammer and all manner of things. The first greeting is always super awkward. Do you just shake hands? Do you hug? What if you trip in the process? You used to kiss hello, so now? Do you smile? Do you not? Do you give a full toothy smile or half a smile (An I’m still pissed-ish look)? You don’t want to look to eager. It’s just AWKWARD! All I can say is, it will pass. Keep your words and actions at a minimum and you will get out of it unscathed. Do not try to discuss your breakup or ask for a second chance, unless they bring it up.
Then comes the next big milestone which is meeting your ex while they (or even you) are on a date. Again, it is a most awkward moment. Do you smile? Do you not? Do you introduce your friend? Do you not? Do you go over and say hi to him/her and their date? Do you not? AWKWARD!! Sometimes it can be a real booster if you’re the one on a date, more so if your ex looks and behaves upset! (sheepish smile) It may sound petty but it works. 😉 If you’re the one without a date, keep calm, be cordial and keep yourself busy with the people you are with or activity at hand. Remember, it will pass. 🙂
As these two encounters are happening or even before, it is wise to get engrossed in a project. A life-changing one. Do something drastic like change jobs, move house, go on a fantastic holiday, change your look, redo your interior décor, buy something big…a car, a house, etc. Something so utterly engaging and exciting that leaves you no time to think about your ex and your heartbreak. And you will find that day by day, you will start to forget the pain, forget the past and even forget the person. If you used to think about them every day, you now think about them every other day. One day you will wake up and find that you have gone a week without thinking of them! Buy yourself a shot of something nice for this achievement! 🙂
THEN! One day! Out of the blue! Someone new will show up who will enthrall you and suddenly everything about your ex, your heartbreak and your past will seem irrelevant. It only takes one moment to meet such a person. This new friendship is so strong that it will somehow catapult you out of your heartbreak quagmire. Whether it turns into a relationship or not, this person will have accomplished their purpose in your life. God is indeed gracious. Be very grateful for this person and do indeed keep them as your friend. So now that we are talking about another friendship and possible relationship, something you Must Must Must do to be able to move on is Forgive. Forgive your ex and forgive yourself (for what you did and what you think you could have done better). If you do not forgive you will Never move on. You will either assume that your new partner will behave the same way as your ex or you will think that you do not deserve him/her. This will weigh you down and prevent you from being in a happy relationship. Unfortunately the person who bears the brunt for your ex’s mistakes is the person trying to love you now. Hurt people, hurt people. So be kind to yourself and your future partner, move on.
Finally, pray. God in His mercy will always give you little things (and people) that will help you move on. Sometimes it is big things like a revelation regarding why your relationship did not work. Other times it is small joys and surprises that make you smile even when you don’t want to. The one thing that remains, it will pass. It always does. And as Madea said “Two three years from now, you ain’t even gonna remember they last name!” 😉
- Am I ready for love? Part 5 – Till death do us part by @SueBuku (samkitots.wordpress.com)