By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Most, if not all of us have gone through a breakup of some sort (usually bad, let's face it) at one point or another in our lifetimes. You may not want to admit it, but you have, and it's okay! As I mentioned, we all go through them eventually, and it's important to know how to deal with a breakup when you come across them. You could be in a thousand different relationships (okay, maybe not that many) and still not know how to handle yourself when you part ways with someone you care about and can't imagine yourself not being with.
Whether it was under their terms or yours, it virtually doesn't matter. You should conduct yourself the same way, regardless. The same can be said for how long you guys were together for; it doesn't matter. It hurts me to see people I've known for years go "off the deep end" once a relationship they were in comes to an end, and hey, I'm not excusing myself from this, either. Now, I don't at all consider myself a "relationship expert," but I'd like to think I've learned a thing or two from my many mishaps over the years when it comes to romance and relationships. Thus, take my advice with a grain of salt, but I hope it can aid you in helping you get over a recent relationship!
1. Don't find someone else just to fill that hole
You're in a relationship for so long that you get used to talking to the same person everyday, going out with them on the weekends, and so on and so forth. But when they're gone, you're looking for someone to fill that vacancy. Personally, I'm one of those people who doesn't mind being on their own because that's where I feel most comfortable, but not everyone can handle being alone for an extended period of time, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.
But my advice to you would be to not search for someone simply to fill that void. It'll be apparent to the person you hook up with that you're only with them because you're either desperate for attention, you want to make your ex jealous, or both. If they don't realize it, then you'll risk hurting them in the long-run if they end up failing for you when you feel nothing for them. It's acceptable to jump right back into the dating game immediately following a breakup, but don't do it just because you feel the need to be someone. Do it because you truly have feelings for them.
2. Stay busy!
If getting right back into the dating game after a breakup isn't your first choice of action, then you'll likely be dealing with loneliness for a while, especially if you're the aforementioned kind of person that can't stand to be by themselves for a stretch of time. Again, you'll get used to talking and doing stuff with the same person for so long that you'll find yourself with a lot more free time on your hands once the relationship is over.
Instead wasting time checking out what your ex is doing on Facebook or literally eating your heart out, do something productive. And by that I mean find something you enjoy doing and do it. If your mind isn't on the breakup, then it won't bother you as much, trust me. It could be something as simple as watching a movie or hanging out with friends, but you utilize all that free time toward something that will be benefit you in the long-run (maybe helping out in the community and focusing more on school work), then it's a win-win situation.
3. Don't spend time thinking about what you had
This can be applied to many similar scenarios that involve losing someone following a relationship or even to death. It's completely acceptable to mourn or be sad over a loss of someone you love and care about; we all do it. But the key is not wasting all of your time feeling sorry for yourself. For a time, sure, but for weeks on end? That's where it crosses the line of being pathetic, and as mentioned in the previous paragraph, think of all the productive things you could be doing with the time you're wasting.
Being sad about losing someone will not bring them back, no matter how much crying you do or how bad you feel. You can take action if you want to get them back (talking strictly about relationships now), but it's incredibly important to not stress out about what or who you've lost but rather appreciate what and who you still have. I'm a big believer in focusing on what you have in life and making the most of it instead of complaining about what you don't have or what you want. That's not to say you shouldn't strive for more (in fact, that's exactly what you should do), but don't take for granted the people that are in your life currently, and likely will always be there when significant others come and go.
4. Refrain from lashing out
Of all of these steps of getting over a relationship, I've (unfortunately) had the most experience with this specific stage. It was at a time when I was significantly more immature than I am now (and we're going back a few years here), but I've learned from my mistakes as all human beings do. But the thing is, I see people around my age (early 20s) and even older making these same mistakes that I did years ago, and it's bothersome because it's extremely avoidable.
If a relationship you're in doesn't end under amicable terms, refrain from lashing out at your ex in an attempt to "make their life miserable." It's easier said than done and I totally understand that, and as much of a cliché as this is, think before you act (and certainly before you post anything online, it's there forever!). More often than not, it's done out of spite and because you still have your feelings for them, so why would you want to make them hate you? That's definitely not going to make them want to get back with you, no matter how much you think they "deserve" it. Simply put, it's immature and you're wasting your time and theirs. You'll look back on it years down the line and wish you didn't do what you did, regretting burning that bridge with your ex. Focus on the other listed steps here instead of going berserk and risking ruining your own reputation for something that's not even close to being worth it.
5. Enjoy the freedom of being single
This will be easier for some than others, but it's essentially a culmination of everything above. You can waste all the time you want whining and groaning about your relationship ending, but it will change nothing. It's also okay to start searching for your next partner, but in the meantime, enjoy the perks (and there's a lot of them) of being single. Many people take being single for granted when they really shouldn't because typically those are the same people who are complaining about being in a relationship when they wish they were on their own.
All that money you were spending on your significant other? Either spend it on yourself, other people or just save it! All that time you were spending with time during the week and on the weekends? Either work more (to make more money) or use that time to focus on your school work or spend it with your family! As single guy or girl, you're free and no one is telling you what to do or live your life, so take full advantage of that while you can. There is nothing that bothers me more than the notion that being single is a bad thing. It absolutely isn't, nor is it a bad thing to be in a relationship. It's all personal preference, and as long as you're happy that's all that matters.
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