I’ve weathered a few bad break-ups in my day, and after my first one, my mom picked me up a copy of the book, It’s Called a Break-up Because It’s Broken. One line in particular stuck out to me, which was “Don’t put anything in your body that will make you a sad fatty.” I thought that line was funny, offensive, and a little bit true.
Now of course, there were times when nothing but Ben and Jerry’s would do, but ultimately I decided that that guy was not worth me putting a bunch of crap in my body over and instead, chose to get in really great shape.
Break-ups can be really hard because they represent the death of a dream—some kind of future that you imagined having that is suddenly gone in the blink of an eye.
On the one hand, there is a certain amount of grief that you just need to sit in and move through, and time really is the main thing that helps. But in my experience, there are some other proactive things you can do to help you get through this tough time.
- See the break-up as an opportunity to re-invent yourself. When we are in relationships, we often fall into routines and habits that we didn’t have when we were single. There are things you do more and less of when you’re in a relationship, like eating or not eating certain foods, engaging in different hobbies, hanging out with certain people. While the loss of some of these things can send us into a tailspin, it can also be a really great opportunity to reinvent the wheel. After a bad break-up in college, I tried my best to create a whole new life for myself that involved taking classes in departments I had never tried before, joining new extra-curricular activities, and hanging out with new people. I tried to say “yes” a lot to new things that I probably wouldn’t have experienced had I still been dating my ex.
- Be productive with your newfound time. When you are dating someone, a lot of your time goes into that relationship. While it might seem lonely at times, having more time in your schedule can be such a huge gift. There might be time to travel to or host old friends whom you haven’t connected with in a while, sit down and read a whole book in one sitting, spend a lot of time cooking or baking in the kitchen, commit to working out outdoors each day—you name it. There might be new things to try or just things you used to enjoy but didn't get to spend much time on while you were dating Mr. or Mrs. Wrong.
- Tell yourself every day that you are worthy of a fulfilling relationship with a respectful partner that you are excited to be with. Ugh. This one is hard. Being single and entering the dating scene unexpectedly can be really tough and if you are single for a while, you might start getting this feeling that you aren’t worthy or deserving of a relationship with someone who respects you or treats you well. You might second guess the fact that you left something that was shitty and worry that maybe, for you, that was the best that life had to offer. Let me tell you something: you are wrong. Being in a relationship with someone who doesn’t respect you or treat you well and whom you do not genuinely enjoy being with IS WAY WORSE THAN BEING SINGLE. And yes, we are all worthy of and capable of finding ourselves in awesome, fulfilling relationships. So make it your mantra, write it on your mirror, do what you need to do. The more you tell it to yourself, the more you will believe it.
Pro tip: If you have doubts about whether your relationship is “the one,” let me save you some time. IT’S NOT!