When you break up with your (now ex-) other half, you feel as if your world’s shattered. All those plans and sweet promises you’ve made to each other over the time of your relationship have been obliterated, and you ask yourself: what do I do with myself?
After reading many articles and anecdotes by women who have posted about their heartbreaks online, all I can conclude is that mourning is the best solution. But how long should you mourn a past love, I ask?
After questioning those in my close circle, it seems the general consensus is “as long as you need to”. My mother came up with a rather apt droplet of wisdom: “indulge in the thoughts of mourning. If you’re surrounded by good friends, you’ll get the support you need”. As I pull my hair and my facial expressions become reminiscent of the The Scream painting, I don’t know when mourning becomes acceptable or pathetic. Sex and the City proclaims how one should mourn at least half the amount of time you were together. Others suggest moving on as soon as possible until your interest and feelings dissolve, even if that involves finding a rebound, etc. It’s confusing whether moving on straight away is empowering or merely ignoring the extreme emotions you may feel.
From my own experience, moving on becomes easier if:
1) You block them on all social networking sites and your phone, e.g. Twitter, Facebook, MSN… The last thing you want to do when feeling emotionally fragile or on the brink of giving the heart breaker a piece of your mind is do it publicly or over texts. Yes, you might be drunk and all those feelings you’ve put aside have broken their way forward, or maybe you’ve seen them already conversing with the opposite sex so soon after your break up. Either way, keep your dignity. Pull back and think “how would I react if they did this to me?”. I gather you’d be frustrated, embarrassed or tempted to delete the comment/message. Also, stop the temptation to view their online life after you. You don’t want to torture yourself even more than you probably are.
2) You keep comments to friends and family neutral, if it was a civilised break up. Bad mouthing an ex, or anyone for that matter, makes you look insecure and resentful. Be grateful for the good times you experienced and understand why it didn’t work, perhaps reflecting on the signs when everything started to crumble into the dumps. If you’re wanting a cinematic experience of a break up, I really recommend 500 Days of Summer. As Tom learns in the film, he begins to see when things become patchy between himself and his ex-girlfriend. He finally accepts how incompatible they are and becomes wiser and better. It’s a cliche, but even if a relationship ends, you should always grow and learn as a person.
3) You should focus on what makes you happy without them lurking in the back of your mind. You used to think of yourself and ex-other as a joint entity, but now you’re solo. Do what makes you feel happy. If that means going out with friends, shopping, learning to knit or bake, changing your haircut or colour… whatever. Do it. That time you spent thinking about what would be best for the both of you has ended. As harrowing as it is, it’s just you, but it’s always for the best. Everyone needs time to themselves, and a break up’s a fish slap to the face to start doing it.
4) You shouldn’t ever look back. An ‘ex’ is an ‘ex’ for a reason. It didn’t work, so if two weeks after you’ve broken up and your heart swells with pain and they just so happen to get back in touch with you, say “NO!”. If they said within the break up conversation that they don’t love you anymore or just, plainly, don’t know, you definitely deserve better than that. They’ve probably got in touch because they’ve realised they’re alone and lost you, and they should keep feeling that guilt. They’re feeling upset due to their own choice. Move on, and please don’t look back, I know how hard that is to do. You deserve more than someone who’s half in with you; you want someone in
After my stress of trying to narrow down the time window of moving on, I realised that you can take as long as you want and/or need. By this I mean taking the time to reflect, look at the ups and downs and realising it’s best for you both. You may still love them or wish to keep them in your life, but when the wound’s raw steer clear. You owe yourself the time to move on where you’ll begin see everything clearly. Focus on you and be selfish. Your life, your friends and family, and your aspirations are more important than long-winded arrangements of squeezing them into your daily routine and general life.
Cry, eat ice cream and watch terrible films. You might as well make the most of being an emotional mess whilst you can!