My Experience With: Breakups

To put it simply, breakups suck. Unless you are one of the rare people in this world who married your first boyfriend, then you know what I’m talking about. Nothing unites a group of women more than starting a sentence with “We broke up.”(Starting a sentence with “Ryan Gosling” will also unite a group of women just as much, but for argument’s sake, break ups are universal uniters, ok?) Most women can relate to the pain of a fresh breakup and could probably sit and talk for hours about their breakup horror stories, the many empty tubs of Haagan Dazs, and bad rebounds.

Bad breakups is a topic I wanted to tackle for a long time, but I never really knew how to broach the subject. I wanted to come at it with the right amount of humour and seriousness. It is a hard topic to write about because I don’t want the piece to come off with a “poor me” vibe. In fact, I want the opposite. I want to show that going through a bad breakup, which can bring you to the lowest point of your life, can also shape you into a better person. I want the reader to come away with a feeling that going through a breakup doesn’t make you a failure, doesn’t make you unworthy of love, but simply means you haven’t met the person you are meant to spend forever with. Each relationship, good or bad, teaches you something about life, yourself and what you want and not everything is meant to last forever.

I’ve been through a few breakups in my time. Most of them occurred when I was much younger and dating was just that, “dating.” I wasn’t thinking long term, but right now, so the breakups didn’t affect me much. There were a few that were difficult and it took me a while to mend my broken heart, and there was one that took the wind out of my sails and the light out of my eyes. It is that breakup that I want to discuss, because most of us have had a breakup like that. What helped me the most during my breakup was hearing friends talk about their similar experiences and how they were able to move forward, because when you are in that moment it can feel like it is swallowing you up and consuming your life.

What I remember most about this breakup, was the day after it happened. I remember watching “Eat, Pray, Love” on the couch, under a blanket, with a box of Kleenexes beside me. Today, this image makes me burst out laughing. All that was missing was a tub of ice cream. It makes me laugh to think that in my desperation, I thought I would be inspired by Julia Robert’s soul searching journey and that the movie would somehow help me to move forward with my head held high. The desperation with which I clung onto many things over this difficult time always makes me laugh. I think it is good that I can find some humour in this and we should all learn to laugh at ourselves, even in our most pathetic hours.

In all seriousness, the first week post-breakup was hard. I started to realize that I had lost so much of myself. Being in that long term relationship, I lost a lot of my identity. I was no longer, “me” but “us.” I got so used to talking to him everyday – sharing good and bad news, the inside jokes,  and all the places I would go to reminded me of him. I didn’t eat for three whole days because I couldn’t find a food item that we hadn’t eaten together at some point. I lost ten pounds in a week (not complaining here!). I let myself cry about the breakup for three days and on the fourth day I literally looked in the mirror and said, “OK, you’ve had your time. We are not going to cry about this for another minute. It’s over and crying is not going to help us here.” I started eating again, and refused to let myself dwell on the breakup.

I can’t say that everything was easy after this, because it wasn’t. I call this time in my life my “fragile bird” phase. I was flying along but anything threatened to break my wings. Driving by places we used to go to, forgetting for a minute that I couldn’t call him to tell him my good news, watching a TV show we used to only watch together – all of these little daily events threatened to crash my flight. I had a false sense that I was fine. I knew deep down that I wasn’t, but if I kept telling everyone (myself included) that I was fine, then I was fine, wasn’t I?

After the breakup I had to figure who I was, without him, which was scary. I had to figure out what I wanted in a relationship. I started dating three weeks after we broke up, which I do not regret. Getting out there and seeing that there was a whole world of men (or a whole sea full of fish) was important for me to know (It was also slightly alarming to find out how many complete weirdos were out there, but that’s a whole other blog post). To see that I was still desirable and that men wanted to date me was important.

Another important step for me was to move. I was living with a roommate at the time and you would think making the step to live alone would be a bad  idea, but for me I needed a fresh start and a place that was completely my own. This was a hard but rewarding experience. It was the first time I made a huge decision on my own (without the input of friends or family). There were times when coming home after a long day of work to no one was hard, but at the same time it was liberating to have my own space that I could afford on my own.

Friends and family always told me that time heals everything, but when you are deep in the depths of breakup mode, it is hard to believe this. It does, and I did heal. I went through a lot of ups and downs. I would go through periods where I loved my freedom. I loved being able to go out and date and have fun being single, but then there were other times when I missed all the good things that long term relationships bring.

One of my lowest moments actually occurred months after the breakup. It made me realize that this whole experience is a process and not just an isolated moment in time. I had been dating a string of guys and was frustrated it wasn’t working out with any one of them. I remember calling my mom one Sunday afternoon and having her ask, “How are you?” I immediately burst into tears and started spewing off all my fears – that I would never fall in love again, that there were no good guys out there, that I would never get married, that I would never move out of my landlord’s basement apartment! I felt like my life was becoming unraveled, which is funny because on paper I had everything going for me. I had a great job, great friends, a place of my own, money in the bank, my health and going on four dates a week. I remember my mom saying that I needed to stop forcing it and that love would come when I wasn’t looking. She told me that when that when love came I would know it and things would happen quickly.

She was right, as moms often are. I met my current fiance in January of 2012. In just over a year and a half we have managed to move cities, change jobs, get engaged, get a dog, buy our first house and plan our wedding. If I could have looked into the future when I was that little fragile bird on the couch desperately seeking the advice of Julia Roberts it would have saved me a lot of sadness. However, I don’t regret going through any of this because today I am so grateful for my partner. I think of how I prayed for him to come into my life, how I wanted to have my prince charming and partner in crime more than anything and now that I have him I will never take him for granted.

One of my favourite sayings is no pressure, no diamonds. Diamonds are formed from carbon under extreme pressure in the Earth and without the pressure we wouldn’t have beautiful, bright, sparkling diamonds.  Going through hard times, it is easy to ask “why me?” but important to remember how challenging times shape up into better versions of ourselves. My breakup brought me to one of my lowest points, but through it I was built back up and able to shine. Life challenges us all the time, but it is what we do with these challenges that is important. Like diamonds, choose not to break under pressure, but to rise up into an even more beautiful and stronger version of yourself.


    • says

      Hi Erika. I actually started dating by going the online route. It was less intimidating than meeting someone in a bar or club. I went on a bunch of dates and it was nice to get to know a lot of different guys. I am actually still friends with quite a few of them and met my current fiance this way! It was scary at first to try dating again after being out of the dating scene for so long, but I found that a lot of guys were in the same boat as me. I wish you all the best of luck.

    • says

      I tried A LOT of them! Plenty of Fish was where I did most of my dating and where I met my fiance. I also tried OK Cupid, which I hated and paid for a 3 month stint on Match, which honestly I felt to be a waste of money.

  1. Anonymous says

    Hey – this is great advice :) I’m currently going through a rotten one, but I’m not too fussed about dating other people for a long time. Being alone and independent is such a great feeling after giving your entire person to someone else. Congrats on the engagement! :)

  2. says

    Tracey, I loved this. I started reading at work but quickly realized I wanted to give it my full attention.

    It’s amazing how many people have felt this same hurt and how many of us have come out on the other side bright and brilliant.

    And no freaking way, I also lost 10lbs in a week after the break-up. Not because I was reminded of him, but that the thought of losing ‘us’ was such a blow to the gut. I was incredibly lucky that the guy lives 2,000 miles away – but I still find it hard to go to the places I took him when he’d fly out to see me.

    Thanks for suggesting I read this. There’s something so much brighter out there and I’m thrilled you found yours!

  3. says

    Breakups definitley are not an easy thing, but from each one I have had – I have learned something from it and that has helped me in future relationships and breakups.

  4. says

    Great advice. Breaks up are never going to be easy but as i see it one relationship ends so a better one can start.I am so happy i am married and do not have to deal with all the dating stuff any more lol.

  5. says

    You let yourself mourn which you needed to do, but I love how you said enough. Then you began life anew. What a healthy outlook on break-ups.

  6. says

    Breakups are SO tough. I went through a period of time, after ending a 3-year engagement (just a few months before we were supposed to get married), where I only dated people who lived out of my city. It was much easier to handle relationships from a distance.

  7. says

    Breakups are horrible. I have had a few that were easy enough to move on from. But, a big one, like my ex husband and then the guy I dated for a year after that were extremely difficult. I feel like my age had a lot to do with it. Prior to that husband I dated. I had no desire to be tied down because I wanted to work on my degree and find a career. I can’t really say those relationships were significant. I think they suck so much because we start to self analyze. Depending on who did the breaking up, we start to question ourself. Whats wrong with us. What was wrong with them. Why didnt they like us enough to stick around. But, we always know how bad it is, we do get better and life continues forward. Chrystal @

  8. says

    I have to say that I handle breakups like a champ. I swear that I can emotionally detach in a second. I really am good at moving on and not look back. it sounds pretty cold, but I think it’s my defense mechanism being very good to me. My younger sister is just like me. Maybe a family trait?

  9. says

    You did a great job talking about breakups! I love that you were honest and gave yourself time to grieve. I think we have all had a breakup that we can look back on and agree that we are better because that person is no longer in our life.

  10. says

    I believe one of the most horrible experiences that a person may go through is breakup. Many people get depressed, sad, and lonely when a person whom they loved so much will leave them. Thus, it’s not difficult to find people having bad coping mechanism when dealing with breakups. It will test your maturity, character, and even your perspective in life. I believe during breakup, the importance of family and friends is very evident. When a person whom you spend most of your time with suddenly disappears, it leaves a void and emptiness in your heart and that’s where your friends and family steps in. Keeping busy and diverting your attention to healthy habits may also be another way to deal with breakup. :)

  11. says

    This is such a great post, I really cannot recall a breakup that was hard on me. My divorce decision was hard, but that was due to our children. I never really questioned the feelings and we are great friends. I guess, I am really still friends with most of my exes. I love this post, because it will be very relatable for many!

  12. says

    I know break ups are hard but I think staying with a person that you are not meant to be with and will only bring you down is far worse. I loved the Adele graphic also.

  13. says

    I love these quotes! I had one breakup that was really hard, but I got over it, and now I’m an old marry gal. It’s funny how things seem so hard at the time,but then we get over them an move on. People are truly resilient.

  14. says

    I broke up with me first boyfriend and married the second but even I can understand how being separated from someone you thought might be potential future material. It’s hard to move on when your dreams are dashed…

  15. says

    Omg this blog spoke to me! I mean breakups are the WORST, especially when its a longterm relationship with someone you truly love and you are steadily asking the universe wtf? On the scale of 1 to Adele how tough was my last breakup—definitely Adele status. Everything in your post was so true, you feel by yourself or think you are never gonna find love again and eventually you do. I have been single for two years…and I am not looking anymore and I am so happy about your engagement to your fiance Happy Story!!

  16. Angela S says

    My last breakup was five years ago and I haven’t started another relationship. I’m just not ready to let myself go there again. For now, I am quite happy not being in a relationship.

  17. says

    As much as I didn’t believe myself, I always said “look for the silver lining; this guy wasn’t for you and you learned another characteristics that you want in the next guy and something you DON’T.” I like the 1-Adele line- too funny!

  18. says

    I don’t get 1-Adele. Is it because she’s big or did she have a bad breakup? I feel so mom-uncool for not understanding! LOL!! I love the rascal flatts song – Bless the broken road. It’s so true. Congrats on your engagement! Finding the right guy is no easy feat!

  19. says

    A loved one I know has gone through some hard breakups and it has been so hard watching her go through the same. I just keep encouraging her to thank God that He moved those people out for a reason.

  20. says

    When I was 14, I met this guy at a baseball game with a few friends, he was a friend of a friend. And we hung out for hours after the game. Well we lost contact afterwards. Well a few months went by and then I seen him at a store we exchanged numbers talked some. The next thing I knew we was married and it was 4 1/2 years later! Well he ended up cheating on me and we went our own ways, my choice. He tried everything to get me back. But once a cheater always a cheater! It was the hardest thing to do, just walk away. But I am happy I did because now I have been with a wonderful loving man for 5 yrs and I have 2 beautiful daughters with him! So no not everyone is meant to stay in your life! ;)

  21. says

    I hate breakups and I don’t do them well at all. I broke up with a guy my 2nd year of college and I screwed up so much of my education after that. I’m now happily married (and I’ll get that degree someday)!

  22. says

    I love the pressure/diamonds quote. That’ll be used during the next soccer season.

    Also, I’m impressed at how, even in your sadness, turned the examination inward. Many people would attack the breaker-upper. You never did. Instead, you focused on yourself. That’s about the healthiest thing I think anyone can do with a broken heart.

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