One of the hardest things in life to do is let go of someone you love, or deeply care about. Breaking up is such a strange phenomenon in that someone who was part of your everyday life, someone who knows you better than perhaps anyone, someone who you talk to and spent time with every single day becomes someone that you simply used to know.
I have recently been navigating my own breakup, and though we were only together for a little over a month, it has been incredibly difficult to go from having this constant presence in my life to once again being alone. Though we were only together for a short time, we spent the bulk of our time together, so the relationship felt a lot more intense than it might have if we had progressed at a slower pace.
Which, in hindsight, of course, I can see that it would have been wiser to progress at a slower pace than go from 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds. I am a hopeless romantic at heart, so regardless of how many times I vow to not let myself leap into a relationship at breakneck speed, I seem to always toss that rule out the window in favor of being swept off my feet.
But guess what? Being swept off your feet too fast only serves to leave you floundering and rootless when the relationship ends. So, if you’ve found yourself recently rootless, floundering, and alone following a relationship crash and burn, here are a few tips for letting go and moving on with grace:
1. Know that it wasn’t meant to be.
Realize that if the relationship ended, for whatever reason it was not the one for you. Anyone who can walk away from you or let you walk away from them is not someone who was all that invested in your life to begin with.
2. Reflect on the red flags you might have ignored along the way.
In my case, the guy I was dating was literally wrapped in red flags. But I kept justifying my decision to date him with: “I’m looking at his heart and not his issues. We all have issues.” This is a romantic concept in theory, but in reality, you’ve gotta look at his heart and his issues. And if he has more issues than Vogue, it’s time to unsubscribe before you get any deeper into the relationship.
3. Know that your might never have closure.
Have the final talk/exchanging of the personal belongings if you can, but don’t let a lack of finality keep you stuck. My relationship ended on a negative note with a lot of hurtful things said from both parties, and that did not sit well with me. Luckily I was able to reach out to my ex and ask him to come over and talk things out and he agreed, so we left things in a very peaceful place. No bridges burned, no bad energy between us. Nothing but complete closure.
This, unfortunately, is not always the case, and you can’t let a lack of closure keep you from moving on. If you have the kind of vibe with your ex that you are able to come together and talk things out and walk away peacefully, by all means do it. It’s always best to end things on a positive note. But sometimes that simply might not be possible, and it’s up to you to find your own closure.
You can’t rely on someone else to give you every answer you need in order to move on. Sometimes there are no answers, simply questions, and you have to find a way to either live with or let go of those questions and not let them keep you trapped in relationship purgatory.
4. Make a clean break.
Don’t continue to hang out at the places you know he’ll be, don’t try and stay friends with his friends, don’t find excuses to reach out to him every five minutes. At least not right now. You need time to heal and move forward with your new life without him in it, and you can’t do that if you’re still around him or talking to him or even just “accidentally” running into him every single day.
Perhaps at some point in the future, you might be able to be friends with him, but for now, focus on you and healing your heart and even becoming friends with yourself again. Chances are, if you’ve been in a serious relationship for any amount of time, you’ve probably neglected yourself and your self-care a bit.
5. No social media stalking!
Unfriend/unfollow/delete if you have to, but resist the urge to keep virtual tabs on him. I’ve done this in the past with previous exes and it’s only caused me unnecessary pain. Take a social media hiatus if you need to, in order to clear your head and refocus on your real life instead of your online one. Instagram and Facebook will still be there when you’re feeling a little stronger.
6. Take care of YOU.
A breakup is hard, and it takes a toll on your mental, emotional, and even physical health. Make sure you’re eating good, getting plenty of sleep, drinking water, exercising, and spending time with friends and doing other things you love. The beautiful thing about a breakup is that it teaches you what you want, don’t want, and won’t ever settle for again. This can be a time of immense growth, change, and positive momentum if you’ll let it. Use all your newfound alone time as an opportunity to reconnect with yourself and the things you love to do. Your work. Your hobbies. Your friends. Your break-up can be your glow-up, with the right attitude.
At the end of the day, breakups suck. There is nothing about them that is fun. But they can be master classes in letting go, moving on, and coming out better and stronger on the other side. After all, sometimes it takes a heartbreak to shake us awake and help us see that we are worth so much more than we were settling for. Trust that whoever leaves your life does so because they are no longer meant to be there, open your hands and your heart, and let go. The life and love you deserve is waiting on the other side.