How to Adjust to being Newly Single after a Break-up

I remember when I first broke up with my long-term boyfriend. Everything fell to pieces, disintegrating at the delicate touch of five simple words, heavy with meaning and subtext.  I can’t do this anymore. Of course, they weren’t uttered once; it’s the twenty-first century after all. The rolling script of a text message punctured my lungs and for the next few hours I couldn’t breathe. There was no light at the end of the tunnel; he knew that, his actions or digital machinations indicated a gulf between us, despite occupying the same space, friends, city…everything. It was all drenched in him and me.

young couple flirting at restaurant table

So how did I make the switch between self-loathing to happily single? Was it easy? Is there a formula? A self-help book I preferred or a conversation I had to have? No. It was time; time and self-reflection. Periods of hating myself, hating him, hating life and then slowly learning to love it again. On my terms and only for myself. Here’s some tips on how to adjust to your new single status:

Don’t Be Afraid

Suspicion might override reasoning for a time, injecting an unhealthy dose of fear into every conversation you have. The down-talk, the I-am-horribly-ugly-and-undesirable-why-are-you-talking-to-me mentality many of us poison ourselves with. Try to stop. Replace these gaps in your head with something positive. You’ve gained agency, more time for you, the ability to surrender yourself to fresh experiences and environments. You have so much to offer the world, from your smile to the way you can link words together, calculate impossible figures, extract information or understand difficult people with empathy and patience. Don’t let the fear he or she instilled diminish you. You are becoming a better version of the extraordinary person you already were. And the other half? Pfft.

No Contact

It might be tempting to carry on the relationship in some form, whether you’re bed buddies or platonic friends, at least in theory. Don’t. Now, I do think it’s possible to be friends with an ex on a civil level, but if they’ve broken that trust and badly damaged your self-esteem, they don’t deserve your company. Don’t hand them the platter of torture instruments, because they will manipulate you the first moment it suits them. Cut them off. Even if you don’t know anyone else. Especially if you know nobody else; it’s evident they’re holding you back.

Losing Everything Can Be The Best Thing That Ever Happened to You

It’s often when our lives change so dramatically, we discover who we really are, uncovering personality traits and streams of strength we didn’t know we had. There is no additional exposition required. All you need is yourself, icecream, the Game of Thrones series and a couple of mildly interested friends to ear-bash (stay away from I-Can-Fix-It friends, your emotions and self-worth isn’t a machine, it can’t be fixed, only sutured and healed with time).

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