Breakups are never fun, but sometimes they are needed. Maybe something is nagging you in the back of your mind that something in your relationship isn’t quite right. Or perhaps you’re at an impasse, and you have to look at your relationship. Is what you want for your future the same as what your partner wants? Whatever the reason may be, the decision was made to break up and has left you alone.
Breakups are hard
Just because you broke up with someone for the right reason or what felt like the right reason doesn’t make it any easier. Losing someone you loved and cared for in your day-to-day life blows and can stir up a mess of emotions. It’s hard to process your frustration, anger, and sadness when, in your head, doubt and nostalgia bombard you. It’s so easy to think we made a mistake when all we can think about are the good times. That weird mix of emotions can be confusing, especially if you’re the one who broke up with the person. So not only are you emotional, but your feelings seem to contradict each other. But the ability to sit in that contradiction is a sign of maturity. Knowing the hard choice you made is the same as the right choice. Psychology Today’s article on mature breakups words it best. “I am a person who strives to be kind, and I am a person whose choice is creating hurt. Maturity is about making space for these competing truths without letting one obliterate the other.”
Tips for a mature breakup
We all have coping mechanisms. The easiest of each are the negative ones. It’s so much easier to get over someone if I can devalue the time spent with them. But that coping mechanism is not inherently bad. It just isn’t sustainable. This leads me to the first thing tip or thing to keep in mind.
Just because they weren’t right for you doesn’t mean they were a bad person
It’s easy to villainize an ex for the sake of our heartache. “I left them because they were bad.” Things ended, and that sucks, but we need to stop this trend of bad-mouthing exes. Now, if they were genuinely a bad person or abusive in any way, then ignore my statement. But no one is perfect, and that imperfection doesn’t equate to that they were a bad person. It just means they were flawed. Remembering that simple truth will let you look back on your relationship in a different light instead of all negatives.
Focus on yourself
The most cliche thing anyone can say to you after a breakup is to focus on yourself. But it’s true. Growth can hurt. I think about the growing pains I had during puberty and how much those hurt, so I can expect emotional and mental growth to hurt as well. But it’s all about perspective. If I sit back and trash the relationship I was in with my ex, not only am I hurting them, but I am also hurting myself. All that trashing is going to do is make me feel guilty and shameful. Instead of asking yourself why you wasted so much time with that person, ask yourself what you’ve learned from your time with them.
One of my favorite scenes from Boondocks is when Gin Rummy is explaining to Huey and Riley about “Known Knowns,” “Known Unknowns,” and “Unknown Unknowns.” There are things we know, things we know we don’t know, and things we don’t know we don’t know. (I hope that makes sense.) And breaking up with someone feels like we are stranding ourselves into that unknown territory of life. What will happen next? Will I regret leaving them? Will I ever find someone else? How do I be alone? Facing those questions head-on can be terrifying, but it will also grow and mature you as an individual. The unknowns of a post-breakup life can challenge us, but it can also show us how resilient we are. So while this time may be challenging, learn to love yourself and remember who you are as an individual, and the pain of your past will wash away with time.
To sum it up
While breakups are complicated and mixed with all sorts of contradicting emotions, they sometimes are necessary. Devaluing your past relationship is doing nothing but cheating you on the chance to grow as a person. This is all said more easily than done, but nothing in life worth having is easy. So while the unknown might be scary, remember to focus on yourself and your growth and that there was a reason you broke up with that person.