From Taken To Single: You'll Be A Hot Mess For A While, But You'll Survive

People will tell you breakups are hard for all the classic reasons: the pain, learning to be independent, etc. What they won’t tell you, though, is that the breakup is just the beginning of a long transition.

Once you feel ready to “get back out there,” you’ll fall flat on your face, over and over again, especially if it's been some time since you played the field.

See, there’s a reason why professionals are expected to keep up with their education throughout their careers: Sh*t changes quickly. This applies to relationships, too. If you’ve dated a guy for a long time, you better expect that when it’s over, the dating world will be completely different.

It's not so much that the world will have completely changed from when you were single; it’s just that you will have changed.

When you are in a long-term relationship, you get quite used to being yourself without thinking twice. The other person knows you so well — what you’re like during sex, what you’re like when you’re happy and what you’re like when you’re miserable.

Showcasing your best qualities went out the window right after that first fight you two had.

After the person's gone, at first, there’s relief. Finally, you are free to do whatever or whomever you choose. The guy on whom you've sort of had a mini-crush all this time is no longer off limits.

No, the hard part isn’t finding someone, but rather, figuring out how to act once you do. Your former significant other was completely invested in you, but this other guy you met at the bar? He’s probably not renting a sailboat to drive you both into the sunset. At least, not right off the bat — or maybe ever.

When you are in the committed relationship mindset, you'll have a sense of security and confidence. You'll think every guy you meet will care deeply about you, want to date you and be looking for all the same things you are. After all, why would there be so much chemistry if you weren’t completely meant to be?

You also have a void you are trying to fill; you spent so much time taking care of your ex that you need someone new to take care of. If you can't find this person, what will you do with your time?

If you are anything like me, you will fall flat on your face. You will feel stupider than ever before because while you were so into your significant other for the past five years, other people were living their lives.

They were growing up and learning to be independent. Most importantly, they were learning how to navigate less serious relationships and hookups.

When you’re getting ready to find a new fish in the deep blue sea, you’ll want to carry your life jacket. If you don’t, you’ll quickly find yourself sinking.

To put it bluntly, no person wants to be your everything. It’s way too much pressure and frankly, it takes a lot of the fun out of it. It’s not that you’ll never find someone who wants to be in a serious relationship; it’s just that the first guy who looks your way at the bar probably isn’t your knight in shining armor. Spoiler alert: There is no knight in shining armor.

Do your best to take it slowly and realize that every guy you meet doesn’t have to be your next serious relationship. Try not to get too upset or angry when these guys let you down easy. After all, it’s not really their fault that you spent the last five years with one person.

When you inevitably get rejected, hold your head up high and move forward — try not to make a fool of yourself. You are allowed to have feelings and be disappointed, but do it with respect for yourself and for the other person.

Lastly, for the love of God, please try to avoid stalking these people on social media and texting every time you are drunk.

Oh, and that feeling? The amazing one you had with your ex-boyfriend that you can’t wait to have with someone else? You’ll find it. Don’t lose hope. Just find a way to keep your dignity while searching. It won’t be easy, but you’ll get better at dating.