Ending a relationship is never easy, because it means you are ending something you built with someone. You are ending a whole phase of your life where you had someone to share your doubts, your happiness, your fears, and your weird-moments-dancing-and-singing-like-Beyoncé; and that’s not easy.
This is something that happened to me recently, and I know I am not the only one experiencing this strange feeling of, “But we were good together. What happened?” Our relationship had been better than ever. We could talk about anything and everything. And all of a sudden, the love we once had for each other ended.
Every relationship has its own story, but every breakup is hard in its own way. Here are some tips to help you cope after the end of a good relationship.
Make sure you are well-surrounded
This is the most important thing that you need to do right now. Choose the friends and the family you want to tell first, and know that these are the people that will help you get over this situation. Your first few days alone, you need all the good people who care for you around to give you strength. And switch it up from time to time: your friends and family have lives of their own, but while they can’t always be with you, you can make sure there’s always someone you can reach out to when you need to talk about your pain. If someone doesn’t want to take this responsibility, don’t be afraid to let them know you are disappointed. It’s also a good time to find out who is a good friend to you and who isn’t.
Be genuinely happy you met this person and had them in your life
Whether or not the relationship ended well, you were both in each other’s life for a certain time, and you loved being with him/her. Remember this. Never regret spending time and energy on a person just because things ended. You chose to be with them at the time, and you loved it, and that’s enough.
Don’t be cruel to your ex
“There is or there’s no love,” my mom told me right after telling her about my breakup. This is something you and your ex can’t fake, unfortunately, and you can’t be mad at a person for not loving you anymore (and vice versa). Life happens. It is hard not to blame someone when something ends in life, and in this special case, there’s no exception. You could blame everything on them, but we both know there’s never one side to a story. You were both in this relationship, so you’re both responsible for whatever happened. You will feel love and hate for them, but part of being an adult is to see the good side of the coin. You cared for each other deeply, and that made your relationship stronger. It can make you stronger if you choose to take the high road.
You don’t need to understand why it’s over
The first days, I wanted to understand what happened to us, why we were not in love anymore, and when it had all started. The more I tried to figure it out, the more I felt empty and cried myself to sleep. One evening, my brother shared his first breakup story with me, and said that the only thing that helped him get through it was to accept that it was finished. You can try to understand what went wrong, but you will always feel pain, sadness, and anger towards someone you still care about when you do. Maybe later, when you’re ready to move on, your questions will be answered. But in the meantime, focus on moving forward and accepting the situation.
Give yourself some time and space
Look at all of this free time! When you were in your relationship, you thought there was not enough hours in a day, and now, look at how many things you can get done every day. Try new activities you’ve always wanted to try. This is the time for you to do whatever makes you feel better, so why not try new things? You might just find your newest passion.
It’s OK to feel sad
You have two choices: be happy or be unhappy. Or, if you prefer, you can decide how you want to perceive the breakup: is it a bad thing or a good thing? In order to move on, going with the “glass half full” mentality is helpful. But that doesn’t mean you should keep the bad feelings away, and not letting yourself feel your feels is an unhealthy way to cope. If you feel sad about the breakup, or about losing them, or if you’re missing them, it’s totally OK to be sad. Let your emotions come through, because they are in you, and they’re real, and they shouldn’t be left forgotten in a box. What you had with this special person was important, and you’re allowed to be human about it.
You don’t have to be friends with them (if you don’t want to be friends with them)
I believe that in any good relationship, there is friendship before there is love. Perhaps you promised yourself to stay friends if you ever broke up, not thinking that it would ever actually end. But you made that promise when you were still a couple. Part of the process of being single again is to follow your gut in doing whatever is needed to feel better soon as soon as possible. And if your gut says you can’t handle being friends with your ex right now, don’t be friends with them. Give yourselves the time and distance needed to heal from the pain, and renew your friendship when you’re ready (if you’re ever ready!).
Enjoy your time alone
It can be very hard to be alone again, and I don’t just mean being single. Before dating again, I think it’s important to be alone with yourself. You are a different person from when you first started going out with your ex, and it’s important to touch base with yourself. Now is the perfect time to redefine who you are, and what you want in your life; and this isn’t something you can do if you don’t give yourself the necessary me-time.
It’s super important to note that you should only follow any of this advice if you feel it makes sense to you. The only thing that matters right now is you. You are the only one who knows what it feels like to be in your specific situation, and you are the only one that knows what is best for you. Make sure to stay true to yourself during this not-so-easy transition. You deserve to be happy, and you deserve to find a great person, even if it just wasn’t him/her.
Vanessa Eroukhmanoff is an aspiring psychologist in the field of psychoanalysis, currently getting her Master’s degree in Strasbourg. She was born in France, but her heart also belongs to England, where her family is. She spends her free time with her cat, Kalel, and loves yoga, improv, DIY, reading, watching any and all TV and movies, and, when she’s bored, dabbles in photography. She is a chocoholic.