Anatomy of a Healthy Break-Up

drive thru neon sign

drive thru neon sign

Preamble: I know it’s hard. We all know it can be crushing to recover from any ending, but we have all recovered. Each of us. We have all moved onto better and healthier and happier days and loves. Trust in this. Trust in that the Universe cleared this person from your world so that you might have room for someone who will love you harder.

The following come with the awareness that you are hurting something fierce right now, and they will all sound impossible, when in fact all they are are a challenge and nothing more. In time, this depth of pain which you are experiencing won’t even be a memory. Promise.

Endings are, by their very nature, sad. You’re saying goodbye to someone whose wrapped up in a lot of habits and warmth of body, put on either a fake or real (it doesn’t matter to your pain) foundation of hope. No matter the manifestation, it is painful. I was recently out for a walk with a beloved when she turned to me and said “You can want to cut a bitch but still be sad about the break-up”. Which, pretty much – it sums up the nature of endings. No matter your knowing their necessity for your health and well-being, they still tear at some part of you on some level.

The great thing is, you get through it. But that’s both the pain and the key of it, to ride out the slow and annoying pain of it in order to come out onto the other side. There absolutely are no shortcuts unless you’re planning on prolonging the pain and cutting off your mojo to other potential partners. Which is my way of saying, put on your adult underwear and just fucking get to it, to get through it, already.

Here are your ten rules, from which you absolutely can not deviate. If you tell yourself that you are not ready to action all items, it means that you are a glutton for punishment who has chosen – always, always, always, it is a choice – to wallow in your pain, remaining a victim of your own circumstance. Perhaps harsh, but now is not the time for coddling, rather it is the time for healing and opening new doors:

1) No carrier pigeons; absolutely no contact. No texts, Facebook messages, tweets, instagram likes, morse code tapped on their door, smoke signals. NOTHING.

2) Do not romanticize your ex. Get out of any false and unhealthy head-space wherein you may begin to convince yourself that you have somehow lost the love of your life. Because you haven’t. The love of your life is the one who sticks around to help you build a healthy relationship.

Which is to say that you can be with the wrong person, building an unhealthy relationship, but they too are not the love of your life. “Love” is meant to build, not deteriorate. It is also not about longevity in a shit-hole. It is not a matter of “Well, I have lasted this long, so surely they are the love of my life.” Committing yourself to pain doesn’t make you smart or in love; it makes you an unhealthy masochist.

3) Talk to your friends about everything and anything which crosses your mind and hurts your heart. All of it. Your friends who love you and who only want to see you loved and happy. Focus your conversation on how you can move on, not on ‘what are they thinking’ and ‘why doesn’t s/he like me’ because the answers to these questions are in fact none of your business (no matter how normal it is to broken-record ask them at the beginning).

4) Journal until you are so exhausted, the sight of a paper makes you sick. Write it all down, as often as you need. Envision the ink as the poison leaving your body.

5) Make a list of why you broke up, and wear this list like armour. Have your friends help draft this list because my guess is that they have a lot to contribute.

6) Get busy physically and eat healthy. Exhaust your body so much that your brain doesn’t have the energy to think. Fuel it as it is meant to be fueled, and avoid choosing to give yourself another excuse to feel bad. You already have enough shit on your plate, now make sure anything that is added to said plate is in fact healthy for your situation.

Improved self-esteem is a key psychological benefit of regular physical activity. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Get on this shit like a prick Klan member on the Confederate Flag.

7) Keep track of your healing. Again, write it down so you can see your healing. Six weeks out, when you suddenly are feeling like you have made no headway is when you can look at your list and think “Yup! I actually have come this far.”

8) Every single time you think about your ex, I want you to immediately state in your head “You were a bad investment.” Every single time, I want you to think this. Make it your mantra, because this is precisely what every person is when we invest in them and that investment falls flat. It doesn’t mean we haven’t learned or grown, it just means that the investment has finally proven negative in the end. This is okay, and it is a part of everyday love and experience.

9) Take on one new hobby. It doesn’t matter what it is. Just find something weird and do it. Get out of your comfort zone and LEARN something new. Get your brain busy on things other than the break-up.

10) Pray. Pray that He remove the pain of this bad investment as fast as possible. Pray that you find your lessons learnt, and use them to your advantage. Pray that in all of this room which has become available, a human worthy of you comes in and engages. Place your hope and love and trust in Him, if nowhere else. If you don’t Believe, then get your ass to yoga.

Postscript: The above are for the initial phase of a break-up. What is not in this phase is the reminiscing, the happy memories, the acknowledgment of love and light that did, if even for fleeting moments, exist in your relationship. This comes at a later time when such memories won’t serve as your excuse to re-engage in an unhealthy love better served in a garbage bin.