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Alexander has been contributing for THS for over a year! While he attained a major in communications at SFU, he also recieved a minor in Psychology. Despite those accomplishments, Alex has also never had a full cup of coffee (crazy right?!). Alex is a lifelong sports fan and will defend his Seattle Seahawks to the death, especially if faced against a 49er fan. While Alex's long-term goal is to become a marriage counsellor, he also has a strong passion towards writing that he looks forward to exploring.

Living Again After a Breakup

Photo Credit: Mike Wafa

Photo Credit: Mike Wafa

Relationships—especially the right ones—are a lot of work. What might be even more work however, is learning to love yourself again and moving on after a relationship ends. When you’re with a partner, a lot of your life becomes intertwined with theirs and that can cause the attachment to deepen. Your interests became theirs, and theirs yours; and similarly, your Facebook friends ‘mutual counter’ starts skyrocketing.

So when a relationship ends, as they’ve been rumored to happen, it can cause quite a shock to both partners systems. All of a sudden their day-to-day lives have been dramatically altered and for many, not in a fun way. I want to talk about that initial break, as well as point out the importance of being realistic when thinking about your past partners. In turn I will divulge some tips I have learned to help move on after a relationship ends and the strength that comes from that. When you lose that person, your life might seem full of emotions that are foreign and scary to you, but it is not all pain. And what you are left with may not be a relationship, but instead a fantastic opportunity to learn about who you are and what you want in life and in your future partner.

What comes with the first stages of a breakup? For some it is a lot of confusion and pain but ultimately it is a sense of being unsettled. Every day is so much different that even little things like not getting text messages may have a tremendous impact on your current identity and attitude. It might be natural to try and hide away from those feelings, but it also important to realize they’re healthy and normal. And while they might not be fun, it is important to embrace and recognize these feelings as being part of the moving on process. If you don’t want to confront your feelings right away that is okay too. Your actions and how you move on, are your reasons and how you choose to move on, should not be judged by others. I know the cliché is somebody crying with a bucket of ice-cream while watching Netflix—but have you actually tried that? It’s really an outstanding idea—at least until you reach the bottom of the tub! It is always hard to assess how you, or a close friend, are doing after a breakup because every relationship ends for a different reason and no two people’s reactions are the same. Others may not want to look back, and instead may throw themselves into other commitments to stay busy and that’s okay too. It is important to know that nobody handles a breakup the same way and even if your ex-partner is handling things in a different way, it does not invalidate your own coping mechanisms. On the plus side, you can probably now wear pajama pants/robes/Batman onesies’ all the time with at least limited judgement!

Breakups might suck but it is also a fantastic opportunity to pinpoint the areas or aspects from your relationship that you would not want with a future partner. It is important to be realistic both about why the relationship ended, and about the actions of your partner and yourself that led to that decision. When the time for reflection comes and it might not be right away, you may benefit by being able to look at your relationship and say, “Okay, we broke up, but now I know I need this and this in a relationship.” It is important to be able to identify why you got hurt, and use that new information when deciding on future partners so as to avoid making the same mistakes. For some (myself included) they may take the time to write out the reasons for why a relationship ended. It is far too easy to sugar-coat your past partner, and it might become even easier as time goes on and you forget how the relationship was towards the breakup. The time you spent with your partner (in my case 2 years) should be spent full of love, and that love does not go away right when a breakup ends, but the letter may be a reminder that it as not all sunshines and rainbows. What may present itself through reflection is the realization that the feelings or aspects that helped you fall in love were no longer there in your day-to-day life towards the end and as sad as that is, it also makes moving on all the easier because the person you loved and now miss is no longer there. They too have changed their identity when moving on, just as you are striving to do. It is very easy to miss the good days but it is also very dangerous to forget the bad ones. Instead of being able to move on and say ‘now my life doesn’t have that negative element’, you instead would only build up that past partner, and that confusion as to how you lost the ‘perfect person’ could lengthen your hurt as you try and move on.

As painful as a breakup can be it is important to also remember that an unhealthy relationship is so much harder. An unhealthy relationship makes every day tough, even when there are good moments and it is physically and emotionally draining on both partners.  In some cases an unhealthy relationship can take an extreme toll on your self-esteem and make you perhaps feel incapable of love. If this happens it may make moving on all the harder as you may start to question what it is in life you deserve. Yet hopefully in time you will be able to look back and see the negative traits in the relationship that led you to feel that way, so that when a new partner comes along you already know what you deserve and need, what to avoid, and are more capable in finding those traits.

One of the bigger aspects that becomes paramount at the end of any relationship is the opportunity to really grow as an individual in ways that you cannot in a relationship. It is the unfortunate side-effect that comes from having a long relationship that you may have forgotten what you did before that partner. Your life had been a routine for so long that to some, may have been ripped out of nowhere and there is anxiety that comes with that as well. But you can take every day as a new adventure and a new day that you are living just for you. It is a sense of independence that can be both terrifying, but also liberating. You may make physical changes (Hello breakup, moustache!), or it may be emotional traits that you wish to strengthen or develop so you can be better for your next partner. You may want to check out a new hobby (Quidditch, anyone?!), go travel or do any number of things now that you may suddenly find yourself with more free time. Did your past girlfriend hate gaming and horror movies? Well guess who just bought themselves a PlayStation 4 and new scary movie! If you are bored and need to get out of the house, I hear your friends will be there for you even when the rain starts to fall. And this ‘new you’ while uncomfortable or anxiety building will slowly form into a stronger individual person than you were at the start of your last partner and with that will come the confidence to move on.

Breakups are not easy and they take a lot of work to get through in some cases. But getting to the stage where you can move on? That is well worth the effort that goes into it. When you finally move on it may not happen with an all of a sudden ‘lightbulb’ moment. It may be a slow-building realization of how far you have come from the person you were when your last relationship ended and hopefully, you will see how much stronger you are currently. Your identity will have shifted, so much so in some cases, that your past partner’s traits no longer appeal to you and that too can be a huge part in moving on.

But no matter what the situation is, why your last relationship ended, it is vitally important to realize that it is okay to be single too.  It is okay to not have another partner and it is okay to be able to take days purely just for you. When you have that other partner they can help complete who you are but they cannot become who you are and this happens very easily with longer-term relationships. While that can be a great way to have your relationship deepen, it definitely makes breakups seem all the more formidable to get past. But you must not forget to love who you are again before someone can come into your life and add so much. It is through conquering challenges in your own life that you can realize how much you are capable of and the focus is perhaps never more on you, then during a recent breakup. It is a scary time and it may hurt and have 1,000 different emotions attached, some fun and some not so fun, but everything passes except the lessons and new identity that you have learned from your past breakup.

If you are sitting there and you are hurting just remember that sometimes we cannot see that light at the end. But instead of  stressing, take solace in the knowledge that the person you’ll be in your next relationship is still forming. You don’t have to move on immediately, you are allowed to be sad. When the time is right and it all comes together, you’ll have the confidence to be able to put that love into every action again. Alongside the knowledge that now more than ever that you will be okay with or without another partner.

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One Comment on “Living Again After a Breakup”

  1. xtreme24photography December 1, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    Hmm mm… Actually right… It’s painful sometime to let go.. But I believe life must go on

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