For many years now, I have held onto people who were not meant for me.
Finally, this past week, after struggling very intensely about parting ways with someone I had been seeing casually, I was able to let him, and everyone else, go.
It was not easy. I wanted to keep clinging on for a week or so and sent way too many texts, before and after making an enormous mistake, which has been my usual method of operation if I’m being perfectly honest, although I am well aware that it was a highly dysfunctional “strategy.”
I actually realized my time and energy is worth more, and that this person was not meant for me.
As I let him go, I was able to release the hold that all of the others had on me, and now I am actually okay with being single and maybe not allowing myself to get into situations with men where I am having casual sex in an undefined situation-ship when I know I will inevitably end up wanting more.
I finally finished filling out the guided journal I started about a year ago now —these emotions were very painful to navigate, and I was working through recovering from yet another situation-ship — although this one had gone on for around five years if you include communication via text.
Your Heart Will Heal by Chrissy Stockton has essentially saved my life.
I feel whole again.
1. YOU PROBABLY FEEL LIKE SHIT, AND IT’S OKAY THAT YOU FEEL THAT WAY
As Chrissy states over and over again, the only way to truly recover from pain is to feel it, so if you need to cry on the kitchen floor or eat an entire pint of ice cream, or sob your eyes out while watching Netflix for a week, that’s okay: This hurts, and you’re allowed to feel that. In fact, you’re actually supposed to if you ever want to fully heal.
2. MOVE YOUR BODY
I know I feel like sinking into the floor after a breakup.
Sometimes, I don’t even want to get out of bed.
Even breathing without the person I thought was meant for me can feel like a huge challenge, because there is suddenly such an enormous absence in my life.
Sometimes, all it takes is getting out of bed, and then putting one foot in front of the other. You may simply walk to your mailbox and go back inside, but, honestly, every little bit counts.
If that’s all you can do, it’s okay: Sometimes baby steps are what you need to engage in in order to move on with your life, and, maybe tomorrow, you’ll be able to walk to your car and get some new clothes or self-help books. The next day, you could walk around the block, and, finally, you’ll likely be swimming laps or mountain bicycling again as you come back to yourself.
Every day, it will get a little bit easier to be single, until, finally, it’s not hard at all.
3. REMEMBER THAT THE PAIN WILL GO AWAY
Sometimes, that pang in a person’s heart can feel eternal when we lose someone we love, or even when we lose someone we thought we loved.
Honestly, the pain will go away. It might take weeks, months, or even years for some, but you will heal, and you’ll probably recover a lot faster if you allow yourself to muddle through all of the messy feelings you’re experiencing right now.
4. REMEMBER THAT THIS PERSON ISN’T IN YOUR LIFE BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE
As painful as it is to admit this, some people are simply not meant for us. Stephan Speaks is a great YouTube channel for relationship advice, and the guy has an excellent video in which he explains frankly that, if a man or a woman has abruptly exited your life, it’s for a good reason.
It might not feel like it right now, but you are likely better off without your ex-partner, ex-lover, or ex-friend with benefits.
People usually split up due to toxic behavior, general discontentment, or some other pattern that is simply dysfunctional.
5. WHEN YOU FEEL YOURSELF IDEALIZING THE GOOD TIMES, REMEMBER THE BAD ONES
Sure, your boyfriend may have bought you ice cream one time and you could have laughed for hours on that road trip. Maybe he’s a smooth talker and he’s really good with compliments.
Does that make up for the times he used you for sex, cheated on you, verbally abused you, controlled you with his money, or lied to you and manipulated you?! Absolutely not.
Sometimes, it’s all too easy to idealize the past, but let’s face it: If you were extremely content in your relationship — whatever type of relationship it was — you wouldn’t have broken up in the first place.
You’re almost always better off, if you really think about it.
6. TRUST THE ORDER OF THINGS: MAYBE THE TIMING IS JUST OFF
There are so many perfectly happy couples who part ways simply because the timing is off: Maybe that’s you — Perhaps your girlfriend is moving to California to attend UCLA or your boyfriend is heading to Nashville to pursue his dreams of becoming a country singer.
If this person is truly meant to be in your life, they’ll come back to you when they’re supposed to.
You have to be careful with this though: Sometimes, people genuinely reenter your life because they are in love with you.
Other times, they might not be getting any and remember that you put out, so they could try and get sex from you again, or they may simply be lonely and feel like you’re the only one they have the option of being with, which is sort of an insult really, because it could feel as though they’re settling, and they might leave if someone they feel more attracted to comes into their life.
It’s absolutely essential to practice extreme caution when a former lover re-enters your life: You ought to make sure they’re with you for the right reasons before proceeding, otherwise you could risk getting your heart broken all over again, and the cut may feel even deeper this time because you thought they had changed. I would highly recommend giving them a very long time to prove that their intentions are pure before trusting them again, especially if they’ve wronged you in the past.
Take my word for it; I was in a situation like this for a very long time, and pain and disrespect only got worse, but I held onto unrealistic hope throughout the whole ordeal. Please don’t do that to yourself!
7. YOU ARE WORTHY, WITH OR WITHOUT THEM
Thanks to the Hallmark channel, a lot of us have a complex where we think we aren’t good enough unless we have a partner in our lives!
That’s not the case.
You are inherently worthy because you are human.
You don’t need anyone else to tell you they love you to feel good enough. You don’t need to be spending every hour of every day with a person you fancy to be good enough, and you definitely don’t need to earn a certain amount to be good enough.
Your worthiness as a human is not up for debate.
8. FORGIVE YOURSELF AND BE KIND TO YOURSELF INTERNALLY
Maybe you made a poor choice or a mistake.
Perhaps you said something you didn’t mean or got angry with them.
Whatever the case may be, your actions do not define who you are as a person.
Even if your ex never forgives you despite you cowering at their feet, you are allowed to forgive yourself.
You deserve to.
Also, don’t cower. Ever. I’ve done that before and it gives the other person way too much power while you spiral into a seemingly endless abyss of shame.
Apologize once with sincerity, even if it’s just over text, if you can, and then go your separate ways. If they’ve blocked you and won’t even allow that, move on. They can take it or leave it. You said your peace, and you probably don’t want to be with someone who is so unwilling to communicate and work through issues anyway…
9. YOU MAY NOT BE GOOD ENOUGH FOR THIS ONE PERSON, BUT THAT IS ONLY BECAUSE THEY’RE THE WRONG PERSON. THE RIGHT PERSON WILL LOVE YOU UNCONDITIONALLY!
Ladies, have you ever dated a man who constantly made you feel like you could never measure up?
If you have, this is for you:
“Why You’ll Never Be Good Enough for Him,” by Kim Quindlen
It’s not that you’re too heavy or too thin. It’s not because you’re too slutty or too much of a prude. It has nothing to do with the size of your breasts or your thighs or your stomach.
It’s not that you’re too successful or not successful enough. You could spend your entire life asking yourself what you did wrong or what it was about you that wasn’t good enough for him, what it was that other woman had that you were missing.
You’ll never find the answer. Because there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s not that you aren’t pretty enough or smart enough or confident enough. It’s not your finances or your job or your friends.
You are just as you are supposed to be.
You are perfect even among all of your imperfections.
In short, he does not define you, and you are good enough despite his judgments towards you.
You deserve to feel good in your own skin, no matter what happened.
You are worthy because you are a person who was meant to be on this earth, and you are deeply lovable.
This can be reversed too: There are probably plenty of men who have experienced this feeling as a result of a woman who wasn’t interested, and the same goes for them: You are good enough because you are human, regardless of what she thinks of you.
Each one of us is inherently lovable, but some people just aren’t meant for us: This has nothing to do with our value as human beings.
10. NO CLOSURE IS CLOSURE
I always want closure with the people I’ve spent time with or been intimate with.
Honestly, I just want to say goodbye and wish them well sometimes.
Unfortunately, there are people who will not give you that, but guess what?
People get dumped without closure all the time. It isn’t pleasant and it isn’t respectful. But it happens. And those people get over their ex, too.
Your ex’s refusal to give you closure is itself a kind of closure.
They are showing you the kind of person they are. They are willing to dishonor the good times and intimate moments you’ve had together in order to spare themselves from an uncomfortable conversation. This is a nice springboard into wanting to get the fuck away from them and everything they stand for.
— Chrissy Stockton
Maybe you made a horrible comment which resulted in them not ever wanting to speak to you again, or did something else hurtful. Whatever the case may be, you’re allowed to forgive yourself and move on.
11. YOU WILL LOVE AND BE LOVED AGAIN, IF THAT’S WHAT YOU WANT
It’s so easy to get down in the doldrums after a breakup: You might start to feel like you can’t ever endure this pain again, and you’re a total failure at relationships and you’ll never find love and you’ll die alone.
Don’t go there.
First of all, being single forever is really not the end of the world. In fact, it would actually be a gift in many ways: You’d have a lot more time to spend hanging out with your friends and pursuing your dreams, not to mention traveling wherever you wanted whenever you wanted to in many cases.
You’d have a lot more freedom.
That being said, it’s more than likely that someone new will eventually enter into your life again when the time is right, and you can then decide if you want to embrace that person or not.
So many of us have many loves in this lifetime, and there is nothing wrong with that: It can take a long time to find one person to spend the rest of your life with. Furthermore, you may not want that — perhaps you prefer shorter relationships and cherish the time spent together but commitment is challenging for you.
Whatever you want from this part of life, and whoever you are, you are lovable and you deserve to be loved by someone special, if that’s what you truly desire.
If that’s not what you want, that’s okay too: You can still lead a happy and fulfilled life without a partner, and you won’t be truly alone — You likely have loving family members, vivacious friends, and perhaps even an adoring pet!
You are loved.
12. EMBRACE NEW OPPORTUNITIES
Sometimes it feels good to release all of the energy of your ex from your space: You may want to smudge the kitchen, the bathroom, and especially the bedroom if the person you were spending time with was in those areas frequently.
It’s important to clear the energy from the past and prepare for the future with a clean slate.
Chances are, you have a lot more time on your hands after the breakup: You could write that novel you’ve been dreaming about or go bungee jumping!
Maybe you want to spend more time with your friends or get a massage and release all the tension you’re feeling, or perhaps it’s time to actually get those defined abs you’ve been dreaming about by hitting the gym a bit more regularly and eating well.
If you want to move and you’d decided to stay put, so long as you are financially stable, you could potentially put down roots in your dream destination!
Whatever your goals are, there are now more opportunities, and the future is still very bright. It’s time to embrace the present, follow your dreams, pursue your goals while welcoming new people into your life!
You deserve to.
When you’re ready, it’s okay to love someone new, if that person is worth your time and wants the same things you do.
13. FORGIVE THEM
I know what you’re probably thinking: Forgiving that person is impossible — what they did was unforgivable.
Maybe it was, and you have every right to be upset about it, but your resentment and anger are hurting you more than they’re hurting the other person.
“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
Forgiving actions and condoning them are two different things.
You can forgive someone for hurting you without allowing them back into your life.
This does not mean you believe their behavior was acceptable. It simply means that you are not allowing them to take up free rent in your mind when they’re no longer in your life, and it means you’re allowing yourself to feel happy by forgiving them for their wrongdoings: Hurt people hurt, and that’s a reflection on them; not on you.
In addition, you’ll be a lot more healed and feel a lot better if and when the right person does come into your life, or even if you happily walk to the beat of your own drum for the rest of your days.
You’re allowed to be content, free, and happy, no matter what they did to you, because their actions were about who they were, and probably still are, as a person; not about your worth as a human being.