Surviving the First 24 Hours of a Breakup
Breaking up is hard to do. Heck, it’s why there are so many movies, stories, TV shows and songs about the process.
I’ve been through it, too many times to count over the past few decades, and, to be depressingly honest with you, it doesn’t really get any easier.
No matter how mutual it might be – there is always pain associated with partings.
So I thought I’d jot down a few notes about what to expect in the first day or two of a split.
You’re probably going to…
Well if you’re anything like me – you’ll shed at least a tear or two. (This goes for men as well as women – it really does). The Cure got it wrong, boys do cry and that’s ok. Men are human too. They hurt too – so fellas take note – there is no shame in men crying. Seriously don’t be embarrassed, if you do ok? Auntie Thea says it’s good to be human!
Boy, is it cathartic too. If you feel the need to cry – don’t berate yourself for doing it. I am prone to crying my tear ducts dry in the early stages of recovery, I really am. Better out than in!
Back after my biggie break up (of ’99), I think I cried for three week’s straight. I kid you not.
Thankfully I’ve never cried so much before or since…but crying is something I do quite regularly (especially when healing) and I just go with it when it comes.
Don’t resist it – let the tears run out of you.
Well, I’m think I am probably like many people – in times of extreme stress and heartache – my appetite is the first to go.
Food truly is the last thing on my mind. (Of course some people have the opposite reaction to stress or loss, and they make a bee-line to the fridge…!)
By and large though, I think more people, at least in the initial hours, don’t feel like eating…
Heck, they don’t call it the “break up diet” for nothing, eh?
So try not to starve yourself. Eat a little something – toast or cereal tend to be my fall back staples. Soup is another simple, healthy option.
Really you’re going to need that sustenance to help you through the coming days and weeks…so don’t deprive or punish your body of nutrients, ok?
Open Up & Let it Out
Tell someone it’s happened. Someone you can confide in, rant to, analyze with and release it all to.
Opening up to close family and friends will make it more real. The sooner you make it real, the sooner you can heal.
You may not need to everyone right away – but find someone to talk to as soon as possible. If you have no friends or family members to turn to, then talk here or ask me to assign you a breakup buddy!
Be Here Now
One of the worst things I find about the early minutes, hours and days in Splitsville is the FEAR about the FUTURE. It can be totally paralysing.
You may know what I am talking about – all those questions – “what if I never meet anyone again?” – or “what if I end up alone?” – “what if no one ever fancies me again?” – really the list goes on…
If that starts to happen, stop and bring your focus to the moment and don’t project into your future.
Time and effort will help you over this. You may doubt me at this moment in time but really those worries will drop by the way-side in time.
On that note…
Dump the Self Doubt
In addition to the F.E.A.R. (False Evidence Appearing Real) – is our negative self talk. These are conversations where we often berate ourselves down into the ground.
It’s seemingly unavoidable that our confidence takes a knock whenever we break up with someone (particularly if we were left, but even if it’s mutual!)
Many of us are prone to those awful “if only” thoughts. You know the ones I mean — “if only I were_____” – then you might insert things like – “more tolerant” or “smarter” or “prettier” or “more sexy” or “younger” or “thinner”.
I am guilty of those damn “if only” thoughts – most people are.
By the way, I totally recommend watching this video from Marissa Peer, and taking her suggestions to hear.
Remember that breakups are seldom about one thing anyway. They’re usually for more complex reasons and incompatibilities – in my experience anyway.
Right now, if you can bring yourself to do it (it’s hard I know), but delete them from your phone, your buddy lists, your Facebook, Twitter or whatever social networking might link you.
Sometimes it’s premature and you work things out, but really in these early days you need to cut down on as much info about your ex coming at you.
Pictures, videos, status updates – they are not your friends right now.
In time, you can add them back – but for those early days – it’s about self preservation. Trust me!
I find that distracting myself in the early days is a good way to survive them. This can be cleaning my place, organsing my closet, compiling piles of things to dump or for charity,…
Whatever you’ve been putting off, now might be a good time start.
If you can channel your pain into your efforts, then so much the better. I am constantly reminded of Dianne Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give whenever I think of this. She was sobbing at her laptop as she wrote a screen play – pouring into it all her pain.
That’s my plan next time, I think. Ha. Speaking of plans,…
The future can look daunting without your ex. You often have plans of places that you were going to, or things you were doing to do, that all suddenly come to a grinding halt.
Pull out a pen and draw up a new plan. You may not stick to it, but some things to look forward to will really help you.
Some people book a holiday.
Others will have to figure out their living arrangements.
There’s bound to be something productive you can do with your time and energy. Have a think about it…
All in all it’s good to keep reminding yourself that “this too shall pass”. Everything does – the good days and the bad.
I know that you probably feel rough right now, but really YOU ARE GOING TO BE OK.
Really you will. Trust me I’ve made a career out of being dumped…
Your well being is all that matters right now.
That’s just a few things you can do to help you through the early days.
Remember: You’re bound to cry or at least feel sad. That’s a given. You’ll probably experience appetite fluctuations. You may not feel like eating but please do – even something light. Cut out as much info about your ex as possible. No good comes from snooping. Delete, delete, delete…and talk it out to someone. If not close family and friends then venting here. It’s free, supportive, 24-7 and global. What more could you ask for?