Breakups are inevitable, losing someone you love before you’re ready to is unavoidable. This isn’t me guaranteeing all relationships will fail, but I’m guaranteeing that any relationship can fail, as secure and in love as you feel, it can happen. I sound like a cynic or someone who just doesn’t believe in love but on the contrary, I’ve experienced it. I’m all too familiar with love and the dangerous territory of co-dependance and attachment that seem to often be classed as ‘love’ nowadays. It’s going through this the hard way and being able to reach a level of understanding about this subject that’s changed the way I see relationships, love and commitment forever, and I hope this can do the same for you and help to make breakups less of a stomach churning concept. Breakups are a chance for growth and change, though not if you’re struggling to pass through the ‘my life has no meaning, I don’t feel whole, I can’t eat, I can’t sleep’ phase. I went through this phase very much alone (as most of us often do) - There was no Dua Lipa New Rules girl gang for me to lean on and have my hair brushed by every day because one of the hardest facts of a breakup is that you do just have to carry on living, life carries on with no regard for your feelings, you don’t get to just sleep through the whole thing and wake up ready for your new chapter.. You very much have to go through every day, minute and second of it, you have to feel the emotions you don’t want to feel, it’s unavoidable. We don’t get to have an Elle Woods Legally Blonde working out, reading books, becoming a lawyer montage that heals you. We have to experience the seconds in between, that is what this post is here to help with, dealing with every aspect of the breakup in the healthiest and most realistic way possible. So think of this as me mentally stopping you from picking up the phone, letting them in or being their friend (another Dua Lipa reference..)
Firstly I think I should start with why it hurts so much, because the feelings that follow a breakup are always the result of what the relationship has already done to you, whether that be for the better or worse. There’s a fine line between love and attachment, however it has the biggest impact on the relationship itself and to your own mentality. Whether what you’re feeling is genuine love or not will become most apparent when faced with the idea of losing said person. You’ve probably all heard that saying ‘If you love someone, let them go’ - When I first heard this it made no sense to me, surely if you love someone then you do all you can to keep them in your life, you don’t just let them leave, you fight for it! After all that’s the point of love isn’t it? Now I’ve learnt just how incorrect this is. Healthy love is more of an appreciation for who a person is in their full and a willingness to join someone on their journey. However attachment is the need for this to belong to you. The jealousy and desperation we experience when we feel this person is slipping away comes from our attachment to them, our need for them to be ours. The end of genuine love will come much more peacefully. That’s not to say it won’t hurt, however the majority of our ‘heartbreak’ comes from our inability to accept the loss. However if we can learn to differentiate between these two things (love and attachment), we can choose our relationships out of genuine healthy emotion rather than a need for someone to lean on.
SUMMARY OF LOVE:
I explained the concept of love to someone using another one of my made up analogies once, long winded as it is, it’s stayed with me for years and is a good clarification of what I’m explaining above so I’m gonna try write it for the first time, so bare with me here..
Everyone in life is driving their own car and we’re all going different ways on different roads, occasionally we find a person in another car whose going the same way as us and so we travel together for a while, we happen to be going along the same roads at this point in our travels so we enjoy the journey together, still in our separate cars. Now we eventually arrive at a turn off to which our destinations are in opposite directions, we need to take the turn off in order to get to where we’re going as our roads are no longer heading in the same direction, makes sense right? We say our goodbyes and continue on our journey.
However we’ve started getting out of our cars when we find people going the same way as us, we’re getting in their cars instead and that’s okay for a while whilst we’re going the same way but what about when you reach your turn off? You’ve reached the point where you need to go separate ways now but you only have 1 car now, so you’re either gonna have to decide whose destination to go to, or you’re gonna to have to get out and start walking by yourself.
The first part explains sharing an experience together (e.g a relationship) whilst still maintaining an equal independence and still having the freedom to make decisions based on your own personal growth. It makes this scenario within the best interest for everyone, both parties being able to continue on their own paths, this is love.
This second explains the act of losing your independence without even realising. Finding yourself depending upon another person to take you to places and finding yourself losing sight of your original journey, destination and car and instead just being in the passenger seat of theirs with nothing for you at their destination, this is attachment.
So now you have a better understanding (hopefully) of what love and attachment are, you can see how these two things play such huge and different parts in the effects a relationship can have over your life. As I said previously, if we can work on building relationships based on actual love, then we won’t experience such intense heartbreak. Although this post is more so for people already going through this or who feel they may go through this, as a sort of explanation for the whole process from start to finish so it becomes less of something we desperately scramble through our relationships trying to avoid and instead gain an acceptance for so we stop clinging to the wrong people and the wrong relationships.
Once a relationship that we’ve spent a lot of time in comes to an end, you’re left with only what’s left of yourself..And if you’re relationship was one based on dependance, that can normally feel like it’s not a lot. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, you’re left feeling incomplete because your focus hasn’t been on self completion but more about building a life around the person you’re in a relationship with. So now you’re left with a space, I see far too often (and during my previous break up I was guilty of) trying to fill this gap with doing lots of stuff, spending the time you usually would have spent talking to that person with talking either to someone else or to your friends and the time you would have spent with that person, going out and drowning your sorrows. This may feel like it helps however the thing is with emotions is that they demand to be felt. Whether we feel them straight away or months down the line. We will eventually have to feel them. The point I’m trying to make is the quicker and more intensely we feel our real raw emotions, the quicker we can begin to overcome them. A mistake we as humans have come to make is the idea that happiness is our default setting and that any other emotion is incorrect and something we should try to avoid. The concept that we should strive for a constant state of happiness and strive to achieve a point where we won’t feel any suffering whatsoever (basically anything we’ve deemed as a negative emotion) is far from correct. Every emotion, thought and feeling we experience is just as valid as the next and if it’s in our minds demanding to be felt, then the best thing to do is feel it, no matter how intense.
I decided to stop going out all night because I knew when I got home my bed was still gonna be empty and to stop trying to fill every second with communication from anyone else, because starting a new relationship whilst still going through heartbreak is like putting on shoes that are slightly too small, they may look good but you can’t wear them very long and they’re always gonna be uncomfortable as fuck. I decided to let myself be sad, to experience every second of it to the point where I was as sad as I could physically be and instead of seeking answers and comfort in the person I ‘loved’, I just decided to BE the person I loved and to comfort myself, give myself the apologies, no late night needy texts and calls necessary. It’s hard to process the fact that someone you can be so close to for so long can suddenly not be there anymore and you’re just supposed to move on with your life like it’s fine, right? But what I kept telling myself and the profound realisation I came to was, shit happens. It’s hard that people can leave but to accept the fact that they can is an incredibly freeing concept. It can come from nowhere, you can be the perfect couple, you can be madly in love, you can be inseparable, you can be best friends, but the simple fact is, people can leave. This may sound quite cynical, like I’m saying everyone should have a wall up and not let people in because they can leave at any moment, but that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying all of your relationships should be had with the acceptance that you can not control or know everything that will happen, and you cannot have a relationship based on control, ownership or the fact that anyone will be with you forever. The only relationship you should plan your life around is the one you have with yourself. Something I told myself the day I got the fuck over being heartbroken was ‘at least I’ve still got myself’ and I found actual comfort in that. How great?! That I could find real comfort in the fact that being on my own didn’t feel lonely anymore. So now I carry that with me in to all of my relationships, I know that no amount I can care for anyone else will ever effect the way I care for myself anymore, it’s like a healthy version of being in 2 relationships, like oh well if that one goes to shit at least I’ve still got me.
“Breathe. You’re going to be okay. Breathe and remember that you’ve been in this place before. You’ve been this uncomfortable and anxious and scared, and you’ve survived. Breathe and know you can survive this to. These feelings can’t break you. They’re painful and debilitating, but you can sit with them and eventually, they will pass. Maybe not immediately, but sometime soon, they are going to fade and when they do, you’ll look back at this moment and laughed for having doubted your resilience. I know it feels unbearable right now, but keep breathing, again and again. This will pass. I promise it will pass.” - Daniell Koepke
- Brooke Berry