Heartbreak can be brutal. If you are currently going through one, I am so sorry. It sucks. Trust me, I’ve been there too, and quite recently too. It’s like all the time and effort you invested suddenly feels wasted. Now here you are, feeling lost without a clue on what to do next. I want to share with you how I managed to get through it and find my way to a happier version of myself. Believe me, If I can do it, so can you.
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It was the 9th of November 2022. I was sitting in my friend’s house in Anguilla. I had just arrived the day before and was looking forward to a week of tranquility on my favorite island to visit. But something wasn’t right. My marriage was falling apart, and I knew it.
My phone pings, and I quickly check the message. It’s from my husband, and my heart races as I read the first sentence: “You deserve better.” I didn’t need to read the rest to know that our marriage was over.
The reasons why our marriage ended are not important. It’s a story for another time. What I’ve learned is that there is seldom just one reason. It’s usually a string of events and happenings that lead to the unavoidable. I knew this day was coming, I could feel it. But still, I wasn’t ready for it.
Now, almost a year later, I’ve realized that sometimes shit needs to happen so that the stench of it can wake us the fuck up. There is light at the end of the tunnel though. We are resilient beings capable of overcoming almost anything.
In this blog post, I hope to help you navigate the initial shock of a breakup and find your way to a happy life post-marriage or relationship.
The following advice is based on my own personal experiences and opinions. I am not a licensed therapist. So, take from it what speaks to you the most or follow this guide to the T. Whatever you decide, I hope it helps you find your way out of the terrible heartbreak you’re feeling right now.
We hear it all the time. Forgive them so you can move on or forgive and forget. While I wholeheartedly believe in forgiving the person who did you wrong so you can move on, the forgetting part is a load of shit. The first few days and weeks after a breakup are the hardest. The pain is almost unbearable, and every little thing can trigger you. In these moments, it’s crucial to forgive yourself. Be gentle and understanding. Forgive yourself every time you find yourself dwelling on the relationship or reaching out to your ex. Put your hand over your heart and repeat these words: “I forgive you, [insert your name].” It may feel strange at first, but, believe me, it works.
It’s Your Business. Nobody Else’s.
In the aftermath of a breakup, you’ll encounter numerous questions, unwanted advice, and comments from others. Everyone will have an opinion. While some people genuinely want to help, others are simply looking to satisfy their curiosity. Politely let them know that you’re not ready to talk about it and kindly ask to change the subject. If they continue, don’t hesitate to be firm. You don’t need friendships in which people disrespect your boundaries.
Your closest friends and family might want to know the details, and that’s okay. Share your feelings with those closest to you, and get the weight off your chest. However, remember that the only people that were in this marriage/relationship were you and your partner. Your friend’s advice will be based on what you’ve told them and on their own experiences and emotions. But while your closest friends can provide support, the healing journey itself is one you must take by yourself.
Talk to Someone
Although your friends and family mean well, they might bring their own baggage and insecurities into their advice. Consider talking to a professional, such as a life coach or psychologist. Focusing on yourself with the guidance of a trained professional can be super beneficial. I am so grateful for my life coach, who has helped me overcome the darkest of days and who continues to be a big support for me today. Our conversations are something I look forward to every time. When looking for a therapist or coach, make sure it is someone you can be your unmasked self with. It is important to feel that click with the person to whom you will be emptying your soul to.
Feel the Feels
Ignoring the pain and trying to move on quickly is exhausting and totally counterproductive. Allow yourself to feel the emotions that come up. Analyze and question them. What are you feeling? Is it sadness, anger, frustration? Study these emotions and understand their origins. Cry, vent, or scream if you need to. Embrace the rawness of your feelings and then let them go.
I personally found, for instance, that my anger towards my husband was actually masking deeper insecurities and a fear of abandonment that I have been carrying since childhood. Yes, I went deep. I had to. The separation was the perfect catalyst. It created the perfect time for me to heal, while I continue to do some major work on myself.
Say No to Drugs and Alcohol
You’re going to want to numb the pain. With a pain so intense, I can’t blame you. I went through, thankfully, a very short period of heavy drinking, and I made a complete fool of myself in the process. But here’s the thing, it only makes everything worse. Alcohol is a great escape but at one point you’re gonna have to face the music and go through the storm to get to the other side, my friend. Besides, healing from heartbreak is painful enough. The last thing you need is a nasty hangover on top of everything else.
One of the most important steps after a breakup is to distance yourself from your ex. Block them on social media and avoid responding to their messages, unless it’s necessary, such as when it concerns children or important matters related to the separation or divorce. Keep the conversation focused on the topic and avoid rehashing the breakup. Their business is no longer yours, just like yours is no longer theirs, and you need to prioritize your healing.
It is all about you now. For a long time you had to put all your energy and focus on their happiness, their success, and their needs. This is YOUR time now. Don’t let anyone interrupt your process. What usually happens when you stop making them the center of your world, is that they will try to find a way back into your life. Don’t let them! At least not yet if a reconciliation is what you want, that is. So, ghost them! Don’t answer their text and calls. Keep the focus on you.
No Contact with Their Friends and Family
This is a hard one that not everyone will understand but it helps you to cope, especially in the beginning. Avoid contact with their friends and family. Block them on social media too, even temporarily. This really helped me in the beginning. Every single photo or post from clueless family members will set you back. You don’t have time for that.
Social Media May be Hazardous to Your Health
Besides blocking your ex and their friends and family on social media, avoid doom-scrolling for “advice” from people who clearly do not know what they’re talking about. There are a lot of “fetuses” – a term of endearment for the young and clueless – on Tik Tok and Instagram, that lack the life experience to talk about deep topics. A kid who just went through his or her first break up cannot give advice to someone who has been married for 10+ years. I’m not underestimating their breakup or their heartbreak for a second, but they lack the life expertise and understanding of the generations before them to be able to give sound advice to people like you and me.
This is what I did: I unfollowed every account that was making me feel inadequate, hurt my self-esteem or triggered me in some way. Instead, I followed accounts by people I looked up to and who inspire me. People like Mel Robbins and Cathy Heller. Remember that not everyone’s breakup story is the same and what you watch or read on social media does not always apply to your specific situation.
Delete the Pictures
Deleting all pictures of your ex on social media is not a petty act. It’s a necessary step to cope and create space for your healing. Constant reminders of the past can hinder your progress in the first few weeks after the breakup. Consider hiding photo albums or storing deleted photos and videos somewhere out of sight.
Make a List
Take some time to make this important list: Write down every single negative thing about your ex and the marriage or relationship. It’s important to gain perspective and remember the reasons for the breakup in the first place. This will remind you that the split was for the best and why you should not try to mend it at this time.
Now, here’s the important part. Do NOT send this list to your ex. This list is for your eyes only. Pull it up whenever you feel like begging your ex to come back or when they hint that they may have made a mistake letting you go.
While you’re at it, make another list of your own great qualities and all the possibilities that lie ahead now that you’re unattached. Read and re-read this list often to remind yourself of how awesome and “unfuckwithable” you really are.
Fuck that Last Conversation
You’re going to be drawn to the idea of “one last” rendezvous with your ex after the dust has settled, and you are going to find all kinds of excuses why this is a great idea. If you have already discussed the ins and outs of your divorce or separation, there is no need for another face-to-face. Closure is not going to come after that final convo. Take it from someone who has made this classic mistake and lived through it to warn you about it now.
Buy the Books and Listen to the Podcasts
Educate yourself on topics related to healing and self-improvement. Books and podcasts can provide valuable insights and guidance during this difficult time.
Listening to podcasts about healing and mindset saved me. No lie. Listening to someone who has actually been where you are right now can really be beneficial to your growth. Books and podcasts are now a big part of my daily routine. Glass Hearts and Broken Promises by Kayla McCullough was very helpful in those early days right after the breakup, while The Way Forward by Yung Pablo is one that I’m reading right now, and all I can say is Wow.
Meditation is key to the road to no more heartbreak. Since I integrated it into my morning routine I feel lighter, happier, and definitely more grateful. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for the life I created for myself right now, just 9 months after the separation.
It’s important to find moments of stillness during your day. I meditate every morning for 10 minutes, 15 or longer on weekends. If you have never meditated before, start with a 5-minute guided meditation. I find these meditations on YouTube (free), but you can also download apps like Calm and my current favorite, Insight Timer.
If you have never meditated before, it can be very uncomfortable in the beginning, but stick with it. I recommend you start with just a 5-minute meditation every day and work your way up to longer sessions. Believe me, It can help calm your mind, reduce anxiety, and help with your self-reflection.
“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” – Elle Woods in Legally Blonde
Working out or being active does indeed release endorphins which will boost your mood and overall well-being. Find a type of exercise that you enjoy and make it a regular part of your routine. I tried the Better Me app and I’m about to receive my treadmill to add under my wind-up desk so I can work out while doing some actual work. Talk about multi-tasking. I’ll let you know how it goes after I tried it.
And let’s be honest, you want to come out of your cave looking amazing AF. This will boost your self-esteem and make you more confident when you are ready to make your big entrance into the dating scene. And in case your ex is watching -and believe me, they are- you want to give them something to look at.
You’re going to have a lot of feelings and emotions in those first few days and weeks. Hell, if I’m honest, I still get emotional and angry about the separation at times. But journaling has helped me get all those feelings out on paper, so I don’t feel overwhelmed with emotions. For me, journaling is now an essential part of my daily routine. Sometimes I journal early in the morning, sometimes at night before bed, and sometimes whenever I feel like something is bothering me, I add an extra journal session into my day. I found that at times journaling even helps me find solutions to my problems.
Healing takes time but you will get there. You will wake up one day and be surprised that you haven’t thought about your ex for a minute, you’re going to laugh and smile again, and you WILL love again. But for now, focus on you and your healing. Work on changing your mindset and emotional growth. Take advantage of this time by yourself with no spouse or partner to worry about, and focus on you and your kids, if you have any. Remember that in order for a new phase in your life to begin, the old one had to end, and it’s ok.
You are not alone in this journey. Reach out to supportive friends, seek professional guidance, and be kind to yourself. I am 9 months deep into my journey and it has been challenging and beautiful at the same time. While I still have days when I just don’t want to get out of bed or the pain of the separation makes a temporary comeback, I remind myself of how far I’ve come and how totally in love I am with the woman I’ve become. I’m going to add something that might shock you. I am grateful for my separation because I needed to change my life and I needed to work on myself. I was so deeply unhappy for so long and had a lot of past trauma that needed my attention.
I invite you to be a part of the new community I started on Instagram. I want you to remember that healing is possible, and you will find your way to a brighter and happier future. You got this, babe.