Life is over.
Everything you loved, everything that made you happy, was all wrapped up in him.
And now he’s gone.
All you can do now is make the pain go away. Eating, drinking, sleeping, endless television watching. Whatever numbs you emotionally.
Then come the fantasies. Of him coming back to you on his knees, begging for forgiveness. Of him being struck down by a terrible disease, divine punishment for his betrayal. Of him sitting on the sofa with his ugly new girlfriend, aghast at the realization that she’s not you and could never be you.
The fantasies are the best part.
Then comes the healing. Getting your hair done, brandishing your credit card at the best clothing stores, stepping out on the town in killer heels with a killer attitude. He’ll regret what he did with every glimpse of you walking away.
Then the gossip mill goes quiet. Your breakup is no longer big news. Friends don’t want to say anything for fear of upsetting your feelings. You’re supposed to be getting on with your life.
But you can’t.
Breakups should be a short sharp pain.
You think you’re going to die, but you hold on. The emotional storm passes, and blue skies return. You live to love another day.
But sunshine doesn’t always return. The drizzle doesn’t lift. The gloom remains, darkening the world to monochrome.
This isn’t the time for a lecture about how everyone gets their heart broken and everyone gets over it.
It’s time for transformation.
How you deal with breakups affects you for the rest of your life.
You can lose months or even years of your life to emotional suffering. Divorce literally shortens your lifespan. All that drinking or eating or sleeping weakens you physically, until you’re like a patient emerging from a long stay in the hospital.
The way we break up is killing us. It’s time for a new story.
Here’s how it might be written.
Your life with him is over. He just told you. He walked away. He didn’t even bother to look back to see your tears.
You dig out your phone. You call your best girlfriends. They converge on your house with ice cream, red wine, and “Thelma and Louise.”
You feel their love surrounding you. There is such a huge gap in your heart where his love used to be, like a front tooth missing. But you’re swimming in so much love right now you don’t feel it. You’re drunk on all the people who care for you.
Over the next week, each time someone rubs your shoulders or speaks gently to you, you feel the tenderness. You can take your time and stay safe in your cocoon until you’re ready to emerge again.
It’s hard not to pick at your wounds. To listen to sad songs on the radio, watch “Romeo + Juliet,” or drop into despair when your friends don’t have more time for you.
But this time you won’t. This time, you’re making a new choice.
You’re choosing to love yourself like he never did.
It’s the one thing we don’t do when a breakup strikes.
Instead, we repeat his rejection by turning our back on ourselves. We hurt ourselves just like he hurt us, as if we deserve the pain.
Hurting yourself doesn’t hurt him. If you really want him to suffer, then heal quickly. Flourish in his absence. Become radiant, healthy and strong. Let him see that your love for yourself is so much stronger than his quickly-extinguished affections.
This is your task.
Take care of yourself like he never did. Listen to yourself like he never did. Feel great compassion, tenderness, and understanding for this girl who loved this boy so much.
Commit to taking care of yourself, as if you were an invalid or small child. Feed yourself good foods. Spend time in nature and reconnect with spirit. Banish thoughts of him to the wind.
You are the center of your life. You matter.
Life is full of moments like this. The only person who will be with you from birth to death is you. If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will.
Surviving a breakup takes courage. It may be courage you don’t have when you’re broken in pieces on the ground. But what’s at stake is your life: your happiness, your health, and your ability to find love again.
This is your story.
You write the ending.
Miranda Greer says
Thank you for sharing this – I needed to understand that I am the one who will be suffering not him! After his betrayal and affair he had I walked out and suffered in my own pain and self-pity! I need to learn how to love myself like he never did!
Amy Waterman says
A whole new life of happiness is beckoning you. 🙂