Breaking Up: A Cathartic Release

Breakups are inevitable- they are impossible to avoid. It is the harshest part of the relationship to go through, even if you’re the person initiating it, but it is also a crucial process which forces you to mature and grow as a person. Breakups are subjective, meaning it feels different for everyone dependant on your personality and your situation, so it is impossible to set a strict guideline on dealing with breakups. Regardless of that, here are a few tips and tricks for those struggling with a breakup.

The first stage is the hardest, and the harshest- pain. This can vary from a week to a month or even several months, all contingent upon the individual. You might feel overwhelmed by the plethora of emotions- confusion, anger, despair. Memories consume your mind, replaying over and over again like a broken record. Devastated, depressed, desperate for comfort, you pick at your open wounds by going through photos, conversations, reliving tiny glimpses of your relationship in the past tense, feeling alienated from something that was once yours.

You might feel conflicted, not knowing whether you’ve made the right decision, going back and forth pondering on the same few questions, wondering why it happened, how it happened. This is a normal occurrence everyone goes through during a breakup, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Evaluate the situation realistically and ask yourself, “Would we still be happy together?”, whilst keeping in mind that it could never be the same again even if you had gotten back together. Understand that the relationship has turned sour, and upon realising that you turn to leave, respecting your happiness and releasing them for theirs.

You start directing your attention away from your ex. Focusing on present moments and the little things you have now, you start seeking for happiness in other things: family, friends, hobbies. The radiant warmth of the sun, or the soothing melody of the waves. You start realising how much happier you are without your ex. Time passes, memories fade into vague nothingness, and it hurts a little less day by day. You’re getting there- getting over it, getting better. Deep down you know you haven’t forgotten about them completely. How could you? You’ve spent days, weeks, months with this person. But you’ve understood this. You’ve accepted this, knowing he would always hold a special place in your heart.

The process of pain, however, differs for everyone. Perhaps you’re someone who immediately feels amazingly free after a break-up. Perhaps you feel empowered by your independence, feeling like a heavy weight has finally been lifted from your shoulders. Regardless, your ex is probably going to cross your mind at some point. Ashamed and vulnerable, you wonder why you let him creep back into your mind, hating yourself for thinking about him, for missing him. It’s perfectly normal to feel this way. Whether you were with them for a few weeks or a few years, only you can feel the love you’ve had for this person. After all, we’re only human, and it’s okay to miss someone you were once close to. Speaking from personal experience, I recall being fantastically free for ten months after my ex and I broke up, but seeing him with his new girlfriend was a harsh punch to the face. I knew it was mere jealousy, and it was definite that I did not want to reconcile with him, but it was still difficult seeing someone you’ve once loved, or were fond of with someone new. This feeling is completely justified, but the crucial part is to stop dwelling on these negative emotions and on the past, reminding yourself of the future ahead of you.

Your phone buzzes. The hopeful thought that they’ve messaged you creeps sneakily through your mind. Reminiscing on happier times, the tempting urge to message them festers in the back of your mind. ‘Stop it,’ you think, as you knock some sense into yourself, knowing that it wouldn’t be right. You know that you would either give them false hope by messaging them, especially if the wound is still fresh; or perhaps you had forgotten how toxic the relationship was, how badly they’ve treated you and how much you’ve hurt each other whilst you were together. You fling your phone away, refusing to touch it for fear of the urge taking you over, and you distract yourself with other things. You smile. You’re proud of yourself, feeling amazing for having the willpower to not text them. Trusting your instincts to move on, (and yes this is definitely hard because love affects any rationality you’ve had before), you go about your daily routine, trying to keep the breakup in the back of your mind. It will be hard at first, but you know you’re strong enough to pull through. You have faith in yourself, knowing that it will get you very far in terms of happiness.

To the you who’s going through a breakup: I urge you to find that inner strength within yourself that will guide you in making the right decision. Regardless of your current situation, your fate is in your hands, and your future is ahead of you. Let bygones be bygones, and look forward to happier times ahead. Trust yourself. Trust that your instincts will guide you to the next step in life. Experience and be grateful for what you have now, for the beauty in life itself. Don’t let a small thing like a break up prevent you from the infinite possibilities and amazing things you have yet to uncover.

And most importantly, embrace the break-up. Thank it for allowing you to mature, for teaching you the hardest lessons in life you know you’d never forget. Yes- it will be tough, and yes- you might just never be the same again. But someday you’ll look back on this with a lingering smile, grateful that you’ve had this experience.

Featured image by Suzy Yang

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