Letting go and moving on from a breakup

Things to keep in mind in the aftermath of a relationship

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Mornings and evenings are the hardest. I wake up and look over to see him not next to me. I look down at my phone only to find no new messages. I nearly act on that burning desire to send him a text asking how he’s doing, or call him just to hear his voice, only to remind myself that nothing would come of it.

A year and a half ago, I fell in love. I recognized the feeling as something that I’d never felt with any other man. It was a mature, passionate, caring, and honest relationship; we were compatible and had very similar values, opinions, and goals. The differences we did have — including a 10-year age gap — started off as inconsequential, but two months ago, they finally came to a head: “I’ve been thinking about this for awhile now; I think we should break up.”

When you love someone and you break up, what you felt for them doesn’t just clear itself away. So how do you come to terms with a relationship ending?

  1. Feel the pain

I hate vulnerability, so I often fake being OK when I’m dying inside. But I’m learning that it is OK to admit heartbreak. I cry almost every day, mostly in the morning or late at night. My advice to anyone going through a heartbreak is allow yourself to feel the pain. Don’t mistake ignoring it for moving on; if you try to bury what you’re feeling instead of dealing with it, it will only make truly moving on harder.

  1. Write it down

I felt lost for the first few weeks and uncertain with our decision to break up. I’ve been writing down how the relationship ended and why it needed to end. I write almost every day and most of what I write repeats itself somehow, again and again.

It helps me define what I’m dealing with and make it concrete. Even if you’re not a habitual writer yourself, this can be invaluable in figuring out, slowly, what to do about the breakup. Finding a way that works for you to clearly understand yourself will provide you with closure in the long-run.   

  1. Focus on yourself

I have one year left at SFU, so I’ve decided to make this year all about myself. I’m going to be selfish with my time. I’m going to work extra hard in my remaining classes; focus on establishing a career after I graduate; continue involving myself in extracurricular activities; hit the boxing gym; and spend more time with friends and family. Staying busy will help you keep your priorities straight, reminding you that you can achieve your goals with or without the person you lost.

  1. Accept the circumstances

I’m certainly not over him, and I feel like it will take me a very long time to move on and fall in love again. But I have definitely accepted that my relationship over. I’ve accepted that this break up was for the best. We are in different phases of our life and need to grow individually. Acceptance is key and I’m finding that the pain is more manageable. As cliché as this may sound — I guess time will heal all wounds.

I know I can’t wait for him forever. I also don’t know how I would react if I learn that he’s fallen in love with someone else. That is the scary part — the unknown future.  

Maybe in a few years we will reconcile and give the relationship another try. Maybe we will be happier with other people. But for now, this is my reality. If you’re going through what I’m going through, then realizing that is the biggest step for you to take.