The Best Breakup Advice For Your Mid 20s, According To 20 People
There are few reassurances about breakups that can actually feel good to hear (and don't include the lovely phrase "give it time"), but one such saying is that you're truly not alone in this. To add some sense of proof to the fact that a lot of other women have had similar, gut-wrenching heartaches, I asked a bunch of 20-somethings to give me their best breakup advice for your mid 20s, and they were all so wise.
Breakups can really, really suck. Figuring out how to soothe that punched-directly-in-the-middle-of-your-gut feeling of heartbreak can be super tough. In fact, breakups literally affect your brain chemistry. "Heartbreak actually affects your dopamine levels, which is why you might, feel anxious, stressed out, and crave to see seeing the person," says sex therapist Carolanne Marcantonio tells Elite Daily. "The craving isn’t a magical sign you should be together; it’s just your dopamine levels adjusting. Knowing this can save you a lot of heartache. It can arm you with the information you need so you don’t text the person because the feeling can be very compelling."
So, the next time you feel like you're experiencing feelings that stop you in your tracks, remember that you're having a normal reaction and not a permanent experience.
For some extra reassurance, check out the following advice from some wise AF 20-somethings.
If You're Worried About Keeping Them In Your Life
It’s OK if you want to be friends with your ex. But you really have to let the relationship be “nothing” for a while before it can become “something" else.
— Maggie, 24
You're Allowed To Feel Sad About This Even Though It's Uncomfortable
Don’t let your sadness make you question yourself, or think that somehow missing your ex is a sign that the breakup was a mistake. You’re just sad. And that’s OK. After a breakup, you’re getting to know yourself again. Never forget that you deserve forgivenesses for the hurt you caused both yourself and your ex.
— Kaylis, 23
If You're Ready To Be Over It, Remember That
Healing isn't a destination.
— Kiana, 23
If You're Thinking Of Texting Them
Throw your phone into the closest body of water. (JK, but, like, don't text them.)
— Hannah, 26
If You're Struggling To Understand Why It Happened
Sometimes hindsight is 20/20 and sometimes, there are things that you will never understand: Why someone hurt you. Why someone doesn't love you the way you need or want them to. Why someone great isn't great for you. And this is OK. I have spent so many countless hours evaluating the romantic relationships in my life when a lot of the answers were embedded in the very unbearable grief itself that I was attempting not to feel or run away from. Allow yourself to feel this pain. This pain makes us human, and makes real love even sweeter. And, I promise you will be OK. Virtual hugs to anyone going through a breakup.
— Katie, 24
If You Are Sad About The Pictures They've Been Posting
This is my best piece of advice: Delete your ex. Unfriend, unfollow, unsubscribe, block, whatever you choose, do it. This doesn't mean you delete the person you went on one café date with. This is about the longer relationships, the ones that ache incredibly. The temptation to "check up" on them when you're lonely is sometimes unbearable, and when you're low, you'll forget what made the relationship fail in the first place. Also, seeing them all over your feed can be anything from disorienting to debilitating. Delete. your. ex.
— Dani, 25
If You Feel Like You're Never Going To Feel Better
Sometimes, the only way out is through. So, push through the pain, tears, and insecurity. That's how you make it through!
— Anthony, 23
If You Want A Reminder About Why This Is The Right Decision
Don’t try to salvage a relationship with someone who doesn’t fight for you.
— Kelly, 24
If You're Feeling Like The Grass Is Always Greener
If something is for you, all you have to be is you to receive it. It’s hard to not have the reactive type of love, where you think you like someone seemingly more after you “split.” It’s the idea of people, it’s the projection of having somebody. Once you remove that you have to do the real growing. It’s all growing pains baby.
— B, 24
If You Need A Reminder Of Your Power
In the words of JVN from Queer Eye, 'It will sort itself out. You are strong, you're a Kelly Clarkson song, you've got this.'
— Jesse, 25
If You Want Reassurance That You Will Heal
No matter how important someone may seem, you are worth way more than that. Never lose yourself in another person, be that the things you like, enjoy, value, or your morals. Love doesn’t have to be sacrificial, it should be nourishing and enlightening. In 10 years, that person won’t matter, but you will always have yourself.
— Lilly, 24
Don't Forget To Reach Out To The People Who Love You
Sometimes talking with a close friend can help because they have a different perspective on the relationship and the person, and you they can make you see things for the better.
— Arin, 24
Try Not To Beat Yourself Up
Be gentle with yourself about the things you missed, the signs you may have blown past in pursuit of your love. Sometimes, the knowledge and self-reflection you feel like you could've used in the relationship is only available after. Mourn the loss. Celebrate the discoveries. This is how we learn to love better, both our partners and ourselves.
— Shay, 25
You Can Grieve And Grow Simultaneously
No matter how f*cking much you think that you will never move on, you will. Those who are meant to stay will always come back and stay. Allow the grief. But please allow the growing too.
— Tracie, 23
There Are Tons Of Coping Mechanisms, But There's ONe That Is Most Effective
You’ll cry and you’ll vent. You’ll probably act destructive. But nothing is more healing than treating yourself with kindness.
— Lauren, 24
If You Have Cold Feet About Leaving
You’re never going to regret leaving a relationship too soon, but you will absolutely regret staying in a relationship too long. Surround yourself with friends and loved ones. Community is so important. Trust that they will be there to help you heal. All they want is to help you succeed. Don’t immediately rush into the arms of a new lover to avoid loneliness. Give yourself space to heal and be your own person again. Rush into the arms of your friends for comfort, because that’s what you’re really seeking and what you truly need. You don’t need to be sleeping with someone to earn their time and affection. Platonic snuggling is the best.
— Chelsi, 23
It's OK To Lean Into The Weirdness
Going through a breakup after a long-term relationship is honest to god the most surreal and out of body experience. Who am I? What am I doing?? How did my life get here? Did I waste my time? I always suggest leaning into it. Lean in to the weirdness and the directionless feeling you have. Listen to music you’ve never heard. Watch movies you’ve never seen. Pick up a weird hobby and then ditch it and then find another one. Make 18 different dating app profiles and then delete them and then bring two back just because... you’re interested in what’s out there digitally. Go to movies alone. Go shopping alone. Fall in love with doing things by yourself in a practice at being confident and strong as f*ck. Your time was not wasted if you can learn from it.
— Kayla, 26
Remember There Are Others Out There Who Will Fight For You
If you’re hurting, ask yourself, “Why would I want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with me?” You’re an awesome human, go conquer your life!
— Kassidy, 24
Relationships Are About Growth
If your individual growths aren't furthering each other's growth — what are you really doing?
— Ilyus, 23
Find People Who Really Get What You're Going Through
After my last big breakup, one of my friends empathized by just saying, “It feels like you’re dying, doesn’t it?” And that was the most helpful thing anyone said to me. The heartache felt impossible and unmanageable and I beat myself up for being dramatic, but being validated in how really truly sad I felt help me heal.
— Gab, 25
Sometimes "give it time" really is true, because time does have a lot of healing power. However, what the heck are you supposed to do during all of that "time" that you're supposed to be giving yourself?
That's where people who have been down heartbreak road before come in and offer you an empathetic shoulder (metaphorical or IRL) to lean on. Honestly, if nothing else, this should at least prove to you that you're definitely not alone in this experience of heartbreak. And so many who have been in your shoes are rooting for you along your way.