Amazing! Getting your heart broken does not have to be the worst thing in the world. After ending my most recent relationship last week, I’ve found myself bouncing back in rather good shape, due in no small part to the lessons I learned from having my heart broken once before. The breakup with my fiance over a year ago was the first real huge kick to the stomach I’d ever experienced and it taught me six things that made coping this time so much easier.
1. It Doesn’t Hurt As Bad As The First Time: On a pain scale of 1-to-10, my breakup with my fiance was, like, a 15 and this is probably, oh, a 4. Last time I felt like I had an obese elephant sitting on my chest for months, the dull ache was so ever-present. I am pretty sure a breakup will never feel that bad again, and knowing that gives me great perspective on the annoying itch that this one has produced.
2. I Took Control: Last time around, I felt utterly powerless. I had no idea the breakup was coming and then when it happened, I felt I had no control in it potentially working out. He was the one who needed to go to therapy and take care of his issues; he needed to decide if he thought it could work; he needed to figure out whether he really loved me. I was just barely clinging on to the wreckage of our relationship, praying I’d get to shore somehow. This time, I recognized that I had power too, saw the relationship for what it was—i.e., not working—and ended things before it got any worse.
3. I’m Not Scared Of Being Single: I’ve always been a solitary person, so I enjoyed it when my ex would go on work trips, leaving me to watch “America’s Next Top Model” in peace. But actually being single seemed like such a foreign concept back then. After we broke up, I got to rediscover the pleasures of running solo, which are even better now that I’m 30, make a decent income, and have my own apartment. (Being single is not quite as fun when you can’t afford to treat yourself to new shoes or take-out and you’ve got annoying roommates.) Being boyfriend-less again isn’t scary or even all that undesirable—especially since I can wear what I want without being criticized.
4. I Know How To Distract Myself During Low Moments: When my fiance and I broke up, I was obviously on the precipice of serious psychological despair. Watching movies, listening to music, reading—all of it repulsed me. But over time, I learned what aspects of pop culture actually nursed my soul during those low moments. So on Friday night, when I was down in the dumps, I canceled my plans, plopped my ass on the couch, and watched “Notes On A Scandal.” I cooked myself a healthy dinner and I committed myself to going to yoga the following day. Then I wallowed for a few hours, knowing that the next day was a fresh one.
5. I Cut Off All Contact: When my fiance and I went on our break/breakup, I kept the lines of communication open—way open. Bad idea. In my defense, I was still under the impression things could work out, but now I know better. I know my most recent relationship is not meant to be, and while I certainly think we can be friends eventually, for now, while my heart mends, I’m avoiding being in touch. That means no IM, no texts, no phone calls, and no Facebook/Twitter stalking. This takes resolve, however, so I’m limiting how much wine I drink after work.
6. I Know For Sure There Are “Other Fish In The Sea”: After I recovered from the breakup with my fiance, I met someone and we dated for five months. I fell in love again, I had fun, I shed some tears, and now that it’s over, I know I’ll do all that again (well, hopefully not the last bit) with someone else.
Original by Amelia McDonell-Parry