The other night I got an email from a reader that went something like this:
“It’s 1:45 am and I’m sitting in my room seeking some unbiased and sound advice.
Soo today I found out that my ex-boyfriend is together with someone else. And it suuuucks. Of course it is the inevitable part of any post-relationship, but all I can think about is them together, living up the college dream (whatever that entails), while I’m across the country laying in my bed on a friday night seeking a (brilliant and amazing) stranger’s advice.
Anything you can suggest for trying to move on for once and for good?”
I paused for a moment. I felt her pain, because exactly a year ago I was dealing with a similar situation.
Unfortunately (or fortunately?), there is no quick fix that I know of. There’s no magic heartbreak pill that’ll allow you to wake up the next day and have moved on once and for good! (Or if there is, please let me know immediately. I’d like to sell it and make millions. K thx.)
If I could’ve given the Therese of the past some sound advice, though, it’d have sounded something like this.
♥ ♥ ♥
I know you’re hurting right now. You’re reeling at the thought of him with someone else, gasping for air in between sobs and hiccups, your mind racing with rage at the very thought of it. How could he? Your heart’s as shattered as the glass that you’d like to throw straight at his head.
But calm your thoughts, little one. Trust me, Therese: listen close. I know the past months haven’t been easy for you, and believe me, there will be more trials to come. It sucks, I know.
But let it. Let it suck. Open to the pain, to the deep rage, to the even deeper hurt. Open to the feeling of craziness that rushes through your veins, to the urgent need to call him or to call someone else, to rush into his arms or to rush into the bar, to indulge and satiate or to run as fast and as far as you can.
Can you allow yourself to do neither of these things— to neither indulge nor repress, but to simply stay right here, to be right here, to open to what is?
Can you stay right here in this place?
Pace around the room fifty million times if you must. Write pages upon pages in your journal, until the ink smears and the pages crease and until your hand begins to shake. When you don’t know what else to do, take yourself for walks in the foothills and feel your feet pound against the dirt. When you don’t know who else to call, call on God. When you find yourself sobbing, sob with all you’ve got, but don’t let yourself go running to his door.
Turn off your phone if you’ve gotta. Delete his number, even though you have it memorized by heart— trust me, dear Therese, one day those digits will escape your memory for good. And as much as you crave his comfort, find the strength not to answer when he calls you.
Don’t shrink away from the pain: open to it. The crack that lets darkness in? It’s also where the light comes through.
Yes, open, dear Therese, and know that in allowing space for what is, you are cracking open the shell of a false self— of who you once were, but who you are to be no longer.
Open, and make room for who you really are to emerge. Because who you really are? She is beautiful and strong and wise beyond belief, beyond your comprehension.
And when you can’t see your way out, just keep going.
Just keep walking, keep making strides forward, step by step by step.
Trust that far deeper than this pain is a love that holds you– a love that’s safe and secure and that will never let you fall.
Know that you are never alone.
Step by step by step, tear by falling tear, you are walking your way into a newer, stronger, more vital you.
And before you know it, dear Therese, you’ll have made it through. I know it’s hard to believe, but the day will come when you won’t think of him much anymore, when he’ll be just a vague memory of times that once were. Yes, the day will come when you’ll be able to think of him & her without feeling like you’ve been suckerpunched in the stomach, gutted like a Halloween jack-o-lantern. (The day will also come when you’ll no longer want to poke their eyes out with a burning hot steel rod. Just sayin’.)
That day, Therese— that day will come. Promise.
But until then, keep taking steps forward. Keep opening to Life, to the ups and the downs and the goods and the bads, for there can be no up without down, no joy without pain. Continue to reach out and to ask for the support you most need. Know that it’s available– always, always, always.
You can do this, chica— you’ve got it in you.
This I know for sure.
Sending more love your way than you can handle,
# # #
More helpful articles for breakups:
- Dealing With Crappiness? The One Thing You Must Know
- Why Losing Your Boyfriend/Job/Mind is the Best Thing That’s Ever Happened to You
- One Weird Way to Escape Heartbreak, Loneliness, or any Dreaded Feeling
- What To Do When Sh** Hits The Fan (It’s Not What You Think)
- Weird But True: The Secret to Dealing With Those Things Called “Feelings”
- The Time Tested, Tried and True, Totally Weird Way to Deal With Sucky Feelings
- Of Love & of Art [Risk is The Price of Admission]
- Why I’m Still Single (Rewriting the Great Love Stories of Our Time)
[Image by Helga Weber]