The 6 Stages of Getting Over That Bad Break Up.

Before I start this blog, I would like to disclose that I have experienced terrible break ups more times than I’d like to admit. And that this blog post is written for 3 people:

  1. First and foremost, for the younger Heather, who has spent too long on getting over too many exes.
  2. Anyone who wants to find solace in the fact that they are not the only ones out there that have fallen deeply for someone to just have their heart broken afterward.
  3. All the peeps out there who have not presented the privilege of letting someone else into their lives on a deeper level, meaning you have most likely not been in love. Therefore, you haven’t had your heart broken yet. This serves as a gentle warning to run and hide 🙂

Anyways, let the rant begin.

Most people have probably had a romance that goes something like this:

Someone catches your eye.
You strike up a conversation.
Exchange numbers.
Text.
First Date.
Fall in love.
5 dates later…
They are clearly THE ONE. Duh.
And then…
The worst thing happens.
They break up with you.
And boom life sucks.

You wake up every morning with a deep pit in your stomach. The moment you open your eyes you think of them. Check your phone, no texts. No calls. There is a lot of crying (at least for me). And you think to yourself, how the hell do I get over him/her?

After experiencing a hard break up, moving forward seems like quite the daunting task. Which, it is! A lot of people might say that falling in love quickly is naïve and reckless. You should guard your heart with extreme caution. Falling for someone quickly is foolish and never works out. Well, I am here to tell you that while that advice may have a bit of truth to it, ultimately love is all about feeling and not thinking. That is, after all, the magic of love! So, don’t feel stupid for falling hard and then getting blindsided afterward. Please know that potentially being heartbroken is something that just comes with the territory of getting into any relationship.

However, being heartbroken does not mean thinking of yourself as insufficient and incapable of being loved, successful, and happy. I’ll admit, truly believing that is easier said than done. Feeling like a strong, independent, capable human being after losing someone you thought you’d spend the rest of your life with takes time. That’s one thing I have learned: All healing takes time, lots of it. Fortunately for all of us, time is always working. It never stops, so it’s always in our favor. As time continues to tick away, the process of getting over your ex progresses as well. From my own experiences, I have discovered that there are roughly 6 stages to getting over your ex. You may skip one or two. Some stages may take longer than others. Ultimately though, healing is dependent upon your actions in each stage. So below, I discuss each stage of getting over a break up, how I have experienced each stage, and some advice on how to come out of a break up feeling FIERCE.

The 6 Stages of Getting Over That Bad Break Up

Stage 1: Desperate for Answers.
You’ve had a minute to process that your used to be significant other (UTBSO) dumped you. After getting over the initial shock, a million questions start piling up in your mind. When did they start thinking that we wouldn’t work out? What specifically did they not like about me? What should I have changed about myself? If those things were different, would we still be together? Not all questions are necessarily negative either. I remember wondering what parts of the relationship my UTBSO enjoyed, which dates they had the most fun at, and what they liked most about me. I believe those types of questions were swirling in my mind because despite the fact that I already knew the answers, I longed to hold on to the happier moments of the relationship, and thinking about those answers gave me an excuse to remember the good times.

My piece of advice for Stage 1 is to first, take a hot shower and eat your favorite junk food. Comfort food always makes everything better! Secondly, I would suggest to journal out your thoughts. Your mind is not working properly at the moment. Therefore, it’s unreliable. The conclusions you are making are not realistic or based on logic. They are generated from a mixture of loss, anger, and possible regret. By writing down all your thoughts, you are leaving yourself a documented trail that you can look back on the next morning and anytime afterward, with a fresh perspective.

Stage 2: Failed Acceptance.
So, you have all the questions. Now time to get all the answers by calling/texting them. Yea that’s a great idea. During stage 2, you are nowhere near being over them, but your mind is so flooded with sadness and confusion, perhaps even delusional about what you are actually feeling, that speaking to your UTBSO seems like the best option to relieve the pain. Typically, your ex will answer the text or pick up the phone call, because they are in the exact same position as you. After hashing out all the questions, getting half answers, and hearing the voice you thought you’d be hearing the rest of your life, you are slightly calmer. I’ve got my answers. What I heard makes sense…I think. Yes, we are over. Okay, life is a little better. This feeling doesn’t last long though. Before you know it, you are stalking their Facebook for any information on their current whereabouts, scrolling through old photographs of you both, heck, you even check their ex’s social media to see if there is any sign of interaction. Yes, I’m guilty of this.

These actions demonstrate the ultimate failed acceptance. Congratulations! Don’t feel silly for doing these crazy things though! I believe it’s a part of the whole process. I mean after all, your UTBSO was a big part of your life. Therefore, having them not around anymore sucks. Having a false sense of knowing what they are up to provides comfort and serves as some security that they haven’t moved on quickly either aka they aren’t prancing around town with someone new! While it does sound like I’m advocating being a low-key stalker, I want to note that being a low-key stalker will definitely slow down the healing process, at least from my experience. Quitting anything cold turkey is really hard though, so being a low-key psycho for a week or two doesn’t hurt in my opinion. Though, don’t overdo it, my friend. By overdoing it, I mean you are checking their Facebook every 5 minutes and it’s getting in the way of your study habits or work performance. If so, you may need to take some serious, but necessary action, such as blocking their social media and cell phone number for a little while. Now, if you are a tough cookie and can distance yourself from the UTBSO altogether until you have healed, kudos to you. The healing process will go much quicker for you! I, unfortunately, am incapable of doing that.

Stage 3: Let’s Be Friends?
My whole thought on staying friends with your exes is this: Before deciding to date, you were both great friends. Which then led to trying the whole ‘let’s be in a relationship’. This shows that the friendship came before the relationship. This is not a difficult question of which came first: The chicken or the egg? It’s very simple actually. The friendship came first, meaning that even though being partners with one another didn’t work out, a friendship still can! To me, completely disengaging from someone whom you were really close with, regardless of status, is just silly. Now I recognize that feelings are involved, and that the other party (my ex) may not view staying friends after dating as I do. However, most of the time attempting to be friends with an ex has worked, and lead to some of my best friendships. I just had to give them some space and occasionally remind them that when we were just friends life was chill, fun, and carefree! And eventually, they come around to being just friends again.

You know you have reached Stage 3 when you are no longer waking up every morning with a deep pit in your stomach, and you and your UTBSO are talking here and there. It’s nothing serious! But they are still in your life. You think you can handle being friends, because you are so over them. (Or are you?) Then, either you or your UTBSO casually asks to hang out.

This goes 1 of 2 ways.

Way 1: Typically, I have been the one to reach out as a friend first. All my UTBSOs have responded with a hesitant, “Yea sure.” After we hang out, things are chill, and BAM, we are just friends. I’m serious, sometimes it’s that simple. If Stage 3 goes in the direction of Way 1, well by golly you get to jump to Stage 5. Woohoo!

Way 2: After hanging out, you become a confused person again. Leading to Stage 4…Good luck.

Stage 4: Relapse. Oops.
You are back to feeling how you felt in Stage 1 and Stage 2. Being around your UTBSO did you no good. If anything, it reminded you of why you fell in love in the first place. You might not necessarily want to get back together with your UTBSO, but the reminiscing brings back all the feels and reopens those gashes in your heart that you thought were mending. This is not going well. It becomes clear that you are not over them yet.

During stage 4 is when I start to realize that my interactions with my UTBSO are not working in my favor. I ask myself, what am I actively doing to get over my ex? Typically, the answer is nothing. Okay, so what can I do to move on? Well for one, I gotta stop stalking their social media. Secondly, I need to fill my time with activities that divert my mind from thinking of them. Those activities will be different for everyone. For me, what works the best is surrounding myself with supportive friends. Those are the ones that don’t say “I told you so”, “I saw it coming”, and other “I” statements. Instead find the friends that react with “you” statements, such as “you have the ability to achieve anything you want”, and “you are beautiful”. While those words may sound generic and cheesy, when my heart is broken, those statements definitely do the job at lifting my spirits. I also remember my friends buying me ice cream, letting me cry on their shoulder, and being a good listener to all my current UTBSO woes (I hope that you have someone that can at least buy you some ice cream LOL). Lastly, once I hit Stage 4, I become a gym addict. I run a lot. I life weights a lot. I dance a lot. I lay in the sauna a lot. You get my gist? Ultimately, it’s up to you to make that initial realization that what you are doing isn’t working. After you figure that out, it’s essentially smooth sailing from there (at least when compared to the other stages you have endured).

Stage 5: Recovery.
Hey! You are starting to feel like your old self again. You are reminded that there are many beautiful things in this world that bring a smile to your face besides…do I dare say your UTBSO? You get excited to go out and do things with your friends, and you no longer wonder if you will run into your ex. For me, I know I have finally reached Stage 5, when I feel sexy again. Yes, sexy!

Stage 6: Yo, I’m A Strong, Independent Individual!
Welcome back, my friend! You survived. You made it out alive. You are ready to conquer the world again. No more crying. No more low-key stalking. No more confused texts in the middle of class between you and your ex. You now have the mindset that you are not defined by who you date, but what you do in this fantastic, amazing thing called life.

Ideally, one would like to jump straight from Stage 1 to Stage 6. You have some questions, then get some answers, and boom everything is all fixed. However, that’s usually not how being heart broken works. With that being said though, there are certain actions to avoid and specific things you can do to be proactive. I hope my extra long rant about break ups has provided you with some clarity in that.

Now go out and achieve all that you have wanted, on your own! But hey, if you want to experience all of it with someone special, you can do that too.

Until next time,
Heather Mei

Featured image: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/heart-break

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