When the love of your life tells you that it’s over, and it feels like your world has come crashing down around you, what do you do?
Retreat to your room with a box of tissues and several pints of ice cream? Start sorting through all your photos together, deleting them from your cell phone, hard drive, camera, USB... why are there so many photos of both of you all of a sudden?!
Then there’s the change of status on Facebook and all the text messages and private messages asking if you’re okay.
How are you going to stay sane throughout all this?
1. Know that it takes two
You’re grateful for the support of your family and friends, but the worst thing that happens after you are dumped is your self-esteem takes a nosedive. You start wondering where you went wrong, why you weren’t enough to keep him, and what he was looking for that you couldn’t give him.
Former guidance counselor Nympha Banzon says you shouldn’t blame yourself. “Always realize that a relationship involves two different individuals,” she says. “You should be asking yourself, ‘Where did we go wrong?’ Never put the blame on one person. Remember, it takes two to make a relationship work.”
2. Get to the bottom of things
If your ex wasn’t a jerk about the breakup and is still willing to be friends, Banzon says you can ask him to help you realize where both of you went wrong. Learn from the mistakes of your relationship. Talk to him calmly, after all the tears have been shed, when you’re feeling stronger and not so vulnerable anymore.
But if it was a bad breakup, then maybe you should skip this part and move on to the next suggestion.
3. Work on yourself
It will be impossible not to dwell on your breakup and what your ex could be doing at every possible moment, but if you force yourself to shift focus, you may be able to get over this sooner.
“Take this time to assess yourself and how you can best improve yourself,” says Banzon.
If you were able to talk to your ex and reach some conclusions about why your relationship suffered, Banzon says you can then work on your weaknesses. But if you didn’t, then make a list of what you want to improve in your life—and finding another boyfriend should not be on it yet (beware the rebound relationship!). Take a class, volunteer for a good cause, start a small business. Get out there and get busy!
4. Move on the right way
This is a choice you have to make for yourself, says Banzon. First of all, you need to be willing and ready to let go of your ex, your relationship, and being someone’s girlfriend.
“Moving on is when you tell yourself, ‘Enough is enough,’” she says. “But it doesn't happen overnight. It’s a process.”
What it all boils down to is choosing to love yourself despite everything that’s happened. Even if you made a fool of yourself, stalked your ex (and not just on Facebook), and turned all your friends away because all you could talk about was your broken heart, there is still hope. Once you have made the decision to focus on and love yourself, you’ll notice that your disastrous relationship is something you could actually live with and leave in the past.
“Do not get stuck with the pain and the bitterness,” adds Banzon. Do not stay angry at your ex and believe that it means you have moved on. It doesn’t. “It can destroy you even more,” she says.
What you need to realize is, “Ako naman: two simple but powerful words that express that you want to love yourself this time while you still can and are able to.”
Got a question or comment for Olivia? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Olivia Yao has been writing ever since she can remember. She has written for health, teen, parenting, and children's magazines. Her latest endeavor is being a mom to her three-year-old daughter—her toughest assignment yet.