Dumped and doing my best: dealing with a break-up

In my experience, going through a break-up is really brutal. Heartbreak can be a really profound type of grief, and unless you’re in it (or have recently gone through it) it can be difficult for people to understand the weight of how you’re feeling.

There’s no ‘wrong’ way to deal with a break up, just different ways.

I’m no expert, I’m a writer for Messy. But when drawing on my own experience, the one thing that’s helped me more than anything else is focussing on self love until I set some sort of an objective for getting through this break up.

When I say set an objective, I mean decide on a direction I want this break up to take me in.

I’ve experienced limerence in the past, so for the sake of my sanity the objective CAN NOT be to end up getting back with my ex.

But it could look like coming out of this a more confident person, being more decisive about the next person I date, or learning a new hobby so I feel a bit more removed from the person I was in my last relationship.

At first, the feelings are very raw and scary. When they’re this raw, I try to make sure that I keep busy, focus on doing things that make me feel happy and light and have ‘appointments’ to see friends and family.

I try not to spiral, so I play happy music 24/7 and don’t let myself listen to sad songs. When I start feeling a sense of dread about the fact my image of the future has fallen apart, I try to reframe it in a way that tells me the universe is trying to surprise me and I truly never know what’s around the corner… in a positive way. I wear silly hats around the house, stay physically active, and stalk TikTok creators or celebrities my age who have been through big break ups and ended up with partners who seem much better suited to them.

I remind myself that I could meet my next partner within a week of deciding I’m ready, for all I know.

Once I feel a bit more brave and secure, I confront the deeper and more scary feelings that rise through the break up.

One thing I’ve learned is that if you repress and try to bury things, they can scream at you until they make you sick. And if you don’t confront things, the pattern will likely play out again until you recognise it.

I try to incorporate time to reflect. Whether that looks like journalling, meditations or going on regular walks. I try to recognise beliefs I have that lead me to feeling so sad, and ask where they are coming from.

Break ups offer a great opportunity to notice deeper emotional issues or behavioural patterns buried in our psyche. Once we’re aware of those things, we can try to adjust them to become a belief that serves you better.

I’ve found that when I truly give my feelings the attention they deserve, I notice areas I need to work on for myself. And when I notice those gaps, I have a logical understanding of how to make myself feel a bit better again.

When it comes to a break-up, it is very easy to spend so much of our time focusing on other people and what they are doing, how we could have fit into their lives, or what they think of us. In reality, this is the time we need to love and be with ourselves the most.

If you’re going through a break up, the biggest piece of advice I can give you is to stay in the present moment.

Remember that you can never be on the ‘wrong path’ for too long. Things are taken away for a reason. Just do the best for yourself and things will line up the way they should.

The final step, for me, when I am content with myself and my own company, is to script a new direction for my life.

What have I learned about my life and myself? What do I want to change? What can I do in my life now to be the version of myself I’ve decided I want to be?

And how do I see a new partner slotting into that life? (when I want one).

It might sound delulu, but I set a standard of what I will accept by scripting how I want my next partner to show up in my life. How do I want to feel in the next relationship?

Like they will listen and communicate clearly? Like I’m actively pursued? Encouraged and supported? Protected and secure?

This helps me feel like I’ve learned enough from my last relationship to know what to look for when I move on.

When I look back at some of the most gnarly break ups I’ve ever lived through, I smile, because it was the start of a new, drastic change in my life that ended up paving the way to much better things.

Some happy songs to get you through this time of high emotion.

For more articles about relationships in all their complexities, see our friends, family and flings content pillar.