I’m going to get straight to the point. If you’re my age, this time of year, you will either be experiencing or one of your friends will be experiencing a circumstantial breakup. Either both or one of you is going off to college (or a gap year) and either one of you or both of you think(s) it’s better to do it alone.
I went through one last year when I was a senior and my (ex) boyfriend was a year older and was taking a gap year and working and traveling around Europe. And although it was one of the worst experiences I’ve had so far in my young life, it taught me so much.
I want to help anyone who is or will be going through something similar so I’m going to share what helped me through this unavoidably difficult time:
Focus on yourself
In the beginning, all you’re going to want to think about is him/her. And you’re going to be thinking a lot. So instead of thinking of someone else, think of yourself. Focus on making yourself the best person you can be. After my breakup last year, I made a list of new years resolutions (work out more, read more, eat healthier, etc.) and was so motivated (because I wanted to get my mind off of my ex boyfriend) that I actually stuck to them.
Let it out
Crying is good. It literally lowers the levels in your body of a chemical called manganese which causes anxiety, aggression, fatigue, etc. And it will feel good to feel something and to let out everything that you’ve been holding in so tightly.
Write it down
Whatever you’re feeling, bad or good, write it down so that you can get it out of your head.
It’s hard when you go from telling someone everything to telling him/her very little or even nothing so it’s normal if you can’t stop thinking of things you need to tell your ex. To make the transition easier, though, you can write down a list of things you want to say the next time you see or talk to him/her so that you’re not constantly reminding yourself/constantly thinking of him or her. I’d also suggest jotting down your favorite memories so that you can stop worrying about forgetting them.
Keep him/her sort of close (but not too close)
If you continue talking and acting as you did when you were together, you might as well have stayed together. Love is actually like a drug (no actually, it affects your brain like a drug) and it’s hard to give up, but you can’t move on until you let go. Although, if your relationship was so important to you that you don’t want to lose this person fully, it’s okay to keep him/her in your life as a friend, as long as you both are on the same page and both want to be friends. It could be hard at first, but it’s definitely possible if you both want it badly enough.
Listen to music
It feels good to know you’re not alone. So when you hear that song that resonates with you better than anything you’ve ever heard before, embrace it. Sing along at the top of your lungs and pretend you’re in a movie and know that you are not alone in how you feel– it’s just a part of life.
Recognize that it’s hard
Don’t beat yourself up about being sad. It’s normal to be sad. You had something great and now it’s gone. But remember, too, that you’re not going to be sad forever. The hedonic treadmill theory says that after huge positive or negative events, we are quick to adjust our lives back to a stable level of happiness.
Don’t forget about the good times
Remember how lucky you are to have all the special memories that you made with this person. And remember that even if you don’t have him or her anymore, you always have those memories.
And never ever forget how lucky you are to have loved someone so much that it hurt this much to leave him or her…