Writing In Bed

On Ending Relationships, Sometimes For Good

A reader asked if I would take a moment to write about ending relationships. I sort of feel I may not be the champion of this subject. I live my life with the flavor of heartbreak still metallic on the back of my tongue. It’s a lingering anxiety I wake up with almost every morning, always afraid I’ll hear something I don’t want to listen to or see something I don’t want to see.

We’ve all got a way that we handle heartbreak after a relationship ends. When it’s a romantic relationship, some like to cope by going out drinking and dancing. Some like to watch movies, eat ice cream and sob into a blanket. That actually sounds pretty good right now with or without the tears.

As for me, when it comes to long term serious relationships that reach a very stormy end, I sort of become catatonic and stop eating. Sometimes I cry, but for the most part I’m disconnected from the real world and forget to do the important things like laundry, dishes and flat ironing my hair.

When I was mourning my one big bad breakup a few years ago, I had my first “wake-up call” the day I got out of bed and walked into my kitchen on a Saturday afternoon to find a moldy batch of coffee that I had brewed who knows when. That’s what indicated to me that I needed to take ownership of my own happiness and start living life for myself again. That one tangible piece of evidence helped me reconcile the divide between the world in my head and the one in which I should have been living.

A romantic relationship is wonderful for as long as things are going well. So when it ends, how are you supposed to get over it?

There isn’t one singular, universal way for everyone to move on.

The first thing I did was reconnect with friends. You may or may not have noticed that some of us girls tend to give our free time over to our relationships and pass up opportunities for girl time. I feel this happened to me because I didn’t fully trust him and felt that if I wasn’t around, he would probably seize the opportunity to do something uncool. That in itself should have been a sign that I didn’t need to be with him. But my girl friends really came through for me post-breakup and they didn’t even hold it against me that I wasn’t spending that much time with them before it happened. They didn’t give me that hurtful line, “Now that you’re single you wanna hang out?” Instead, they gave me Lilly Allen’s Alright, Still and a whole lot of support. I still listen to it now to feel better.

It also helped to spend more time with my brother. We went to the movies a lot more and he’d also come over to my apartment for pizza. It felt good to have family over at my place. Pepperoni and cheese taste amazing when you’re also laughing.

I redirected a lot of my focus back into being a better teacher. (I taught English at the time and was in the middle of a credential program.) I even gave dating another try. In fact, there was one day when I had a lunch and dinner date with two different guys. I didn’t like either of them, but I was able to see how bad I’d gotten at conversation and small talk. I got a sense for how much more time I would need before even trying to pursue romance with another person.

Some relationships that have to end aren’t romantic. Even if you’re not walking away from a boyfriend or girlfriend, it still hurts really badly when you have to end a friendship and completely let it go. Whatever the circumstances, ending friendships has always put me right into a very humble place. However upset I am with the other person, I’m forced to examine what I could have done to be a better friend. I am forced to accept that the friendship is over and that the energy that went into it can be redistributed to the friends who are still in my life.

The days of moping are still there. The obsessive thoughts have a good run. The obscure Facebook status updates happen. :)

I wish there was a secret sentence that could be spoken to a heartbroken person to make him or her feel better. My mom used to say that she wished there was a way to remove that one part of your brain that still dwells on a person (and this was before Eternal Sunshine…). It just wouldn’t be a normal life if we weren’t bombarded with disappointments and broken hearts. They’re going to come from breakups, job losses and worse, when people we love pass away. We wouldn’t be functional human beings if we didn’t let things hurt. But I will tell you that if your heartbreak has reached a point of desperation so intense that your thoughts turn very dark, you must get up and move and call your friends immediately. I did, and they saved my life.

Featured Image by SliceofCake on DeviantArt.com. Definitely check out the amazing cake designs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/MaryJoe28 MJ Rojas

    what happens when you don’t have friends to call?? This reminds me of our first conversation on U stream :) we were kind of talking about thing like this and it also helps a lot to speak out your feelings when you’re going through a breakup (or haven’t fully recovered). I love this piece,we need more of this on HGigs, because it is always wonderful to hear a word of advice on the hurtful aspects of life too.

    Thank you for sharing this! xoxoxo

    PS: I LOVE the latest addition to your HG profile! :) so proud

  • http://www.facebook.com/leah.moran Leah Moran

    Great piece! After my last breakup I did all of the stereotypical mopes… sobbing, romcom movie nights, ignoring makeup and GHDs, wearing a man shirt and reading several self help books… then one day, I just got over it.. after all, I broke up with HIM! I reconnected with friends and family, got myself back in the dating game, and a year later met The One… only now I make sure I dedicate time to those who helped back then while in my relationship… friends and family are my everything!

  • http://www.facebook.com/daphnelovely Daphne Melvin

    sometimes i wish my break up was as simple as that. after a month or so of not talking after breaking up, my ex and i reconnected and decided to remain friends. there are just too many things about each other and about our friendship that meant too much to us to just give up.

    • http://www.facebook.com/WritingInBed Marianna Tabares

      I left out the part where I went nuts for a year and paid too much for therapy. :/

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=590619439 Linda Lopez

    I love this article. I have been in two bad relationships. One after the other. I jumped from one to the other cause I had been so use to being with someone for a year . I needed someone to always be around. Even if it meant being unhappy. I figured I had been unhappy and learned to live with it thus far. I completly lost sight of who I am. It didn’t help I was cast away from my family when I needed them the most. Some of the worst things you can think of when being with someone all happened but I put up with it cause their family was still there for me. Most toxic experiances have come from the time before, during , and after. I was catatonic. Even the law sometimes isn’t there to protect you when you need it most. How does a girl get by and feel like she hasn’t had everything taken away from her? I needed a friend like nobody’s business. People you wished most would be there took sides. Getting to this point in my life now, truely is a miracle. I am thankful for it. I will never let anyone takeover my life like that in a negitive way. My happiness is mine. & I still miss my Dad more than ever. I know he is proud of me up there. I know I am. & I will ALWAYS be there for another girl in need no matter how disconnected we are. Whatever it takes to help them remember who they are. I am all for the universal secret sentence. =) …sorry for the short novel.

  • http://www.facebook.com/laura.j.coker Laura J Coker

    Love this! I think I’m going to get a lot of use out of this in the coming months :/ But knowing I’m not alone will make it not quite so tragic. Thank you! <3

  • http://www.facebook.com/kimberlymontgomeryhawkins Kimberly Hawkins

    Catatonic cryer…that’s me! My last break up was back in January (the dead of winter is a terrible time to break up, don’t people know that?). I used up all of my sick and personal time at work, I didn’t eat for 2 weeks…I wasn’t even hungry. I had to force myself to drink. I cried when I went to sleep at night, but during the day I just sat on my couch, staring in to space. I eventually got out of that funk, and now I am at that point where I am trying to date again, but I keep comparing everyone to him. It sucks. I wasn’t even that serious of a relationship!

    • http://www.facebook.com/WritingInBed Marianna Tabares

      OOooh man, when you mentioned sick time, that reminded me of how many sick days I used because of the major anxiety I had when this heartbreak was setting in. I would wake up to get ready for work, then I just would have to call in because even in the shower I couldn’t stop crying. Man, I’m glad that’s over. Uuuff.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cassie.richards2 Cassandra Richards

    Thank you for writing this :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/WritingInBed Marianna Tabares

      Heeey, thanks for reading it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/cristinamoreno Cristina Moreno

    I’ve never had to end a romantic relationship (never been in one..which is a blog topic in itself, good lord), but I have had to end friendships, albeit in the most cowardly way possible: drifting off. I feel very lucky to have a pretty wonderful group of friends. The best ones, of course, are the ones who I don’t have to talk to all of the time…but when we do talk, it’s like we never stopped.

    I’ve helped some friends through breakups and I think getting them out of the house is always the best thing. Get out. Get away. Get moving. My hope is that everyone understands that they have someone, at least one person, that they can call for help.

    • http://www.facebook.com/WritingInBed Marianna Tabares

      I’ve experienced that even if I’m in a really dark mood and my friends drag me out, it still helps to get some air, even if I can’t immediately relate to the people who are trying to help me. As long as they understand I don’t like, hate their guts or anything, but that dragging me out makes a difference. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/pinkgrapefruits87 Lauren Nespoli

    It sounds like you have really good friends! I’ve never been in a relationship that I actually cared about by the time it ended so I can’t say I know this feeling, but I’m sure I’ll experience it eventually and I’ll remember the things you mentioned!

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