Breakups are never easy, no matter what caused them. But when you’re getting over the person you thought you’d marry, it can feel like you have an additional layer of pain to process. Not only are you grieving the end of your relationship, but you’re also dealing with mentally reshaping the life you thought you’d have. It can feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you and the future is a wide-open book. You didn’t expect to be single again, but now you're living a reality you never envisioned just a short time ago.
There’s no need to mince words here: Grieving sucks. But as torn up as you might feel right now, rest assured that you can get over this breakup with time and the right support. If you need to see a professional, a breakup coach or therapist can guide you through your changing (and often confusing) emotions. It may benefit you to take a break from social media, or to spend time developing a new hobby or investing in friends. However you choose to channel your energy after a split, remember and trust that you’re stronger than you think you are.
Elite Daily spoke with behavioral scientist Clarissa Silva and relationship expert Susan Winter to get some words of wisdom about moving on from such a devastating loss. Their advice will remind you that you’ve got this, and to take things one day at a time.
1. You Deserve A Break.
Try not to be too hard on yourself about how or why the relationship ended. “Cut yourself a break,” Winter suggests. “This was the last thing you expected to experience from your partner. You thought they were solid and reliable. You trusted them.” This situation isn’t your fault, and you couldn’t have seen it coming. The last thing you need is self-imposed judgment about your own actions. Take a breath and repeat a mantra of self-love whenever you need it.
2. There's No Set Timeline For Moving On.
If you expect to feel totally healed by a certain deadline, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. “Allow yourself to heal, because healing is not linear,” Silva says. “Surround yourself with your social support system, and try to refrain from examining what went wrong in the relationship.” There will come a time when you can look back and try to learn from the breakup, but right now, the most important thing is that you’re taking the emotional space and distance you need to grieve.
3. You Won't Necessarily Understand Why It Ended.
As much as you may want closure, relationships don’t always end cleanly. That doesn’t have to hold you back from moving on. “Delete the need to understand,” Silva advises. “Sometimes we really don’t know the reasons why things worked out the way they did.” Maybe your partner was dishonest with you, or they made you believe they were ready for commitment when it turned out they really weren’t. But unfortunately, no amount of worrying or questioning on your part will change that fact.
4. Things Change, And That's OK.
Most things in life don’t go according to plan. “Things changed. They changed. You're going to need to accept that fact,” Winter says. “Unbeknownst to you (and possibly your ex as well), not everything was perfect. There were issues underlying the relationship or within your partner that became evident and unavoidable.” Though the breakup may not feel like a positive thing right now, with time, you may come to realize it wasn’t the fairytale you used to think it was.
5. This Breakup Doesn't Have To Define You.
Even if your relationship ended badly, or you feel betrayed by your ex, that doesn’t mean all your future relationships are doomed to fail. “This doesn't mean you're relegated to being jilted in the future,” Winter notes. “It doesn't mean you're unlovable, undesirable, or destined to be terminally single.” Trust that your life has so much potential even without this person, and that there will be more love for you when the time is right.
6. Your Future Still Has Value.
You may have thought you had a future with your ex, but this doesn’t mean your ex was your entire future. “Build another dream,” Winter encourages. “It wasn't the person that let you down. It was the loss of the dream they led you to believe was possible. The person was only your vehicle to that dream.” When you separate your view of the relationship with your view of your future life, you can start to see a path forward that doesn’t include your ex.
7. You Have To Forgive Yourself To Heal.
Loving someone is difficult and complicated, and sometimes it ends in heartbreak. This doesn’t make the experience of love something that isn’t worth pursuing. “The only thing you did was try to show someone love and cultivate a life for you both,” Silva says. “Allow yourself to feel the pain and unburden yourself of what was your former life. All you did was demonstrate that you have the capacity to love and build a life for yourself. You can do it again.” Let go of any anger toward yourself and try to surrender to your new reality.
Change can be painful, especially when it means letting go of a future life you were looking forward to. But think of how much possibility is open to you now. “Sometimes we need to trust the process more than the apparent outcome,” Winter says. “True love and a lasting connection is your goal.” She explains that if this relationship didn’t work out, it’s probably because it didn’t actually align with your long-term happiness. And that only means you have more chances at love (and at loving yourself) moving forward.