Because sometimes life can throw you unexpected surprises…
BY FRAN HAYDEN
Sometimes life can throw you some unexpected surprises. One minute you’re settled in a committed, wonderful, long term relationship and the next? Boom. Everything you thought you knew is thrown into the air (metaphorically or literally, depending on how angry you get). This happened to me very recently…
In the last week, I’ve gone from having my life planned out with said partner, to not, basically. Bye bye four years of commitment and solidity, hello future of uncertainty and unbalance. However, don’t get me wrong I’m very upset about this new, strange situation I’ve found myself in, but I’m also a little excited. Rather than shying away from this new found independence, I’m attempting to embrace it. No matter how alien it seems at first.
Think about it: to go from sharing decisions with someone to making them on your own. To go from considering someone else’s opinion, to just valuing your own. To go from making yourself look good for someone else, to making yourself look good for you. To go from sharing late night activities with someone, to sharing them with yourself. It’s a pretty big change to get used to, especially after four years. Fancy ready meals for one, here I come.
But I’m trying to deal with it all in the best ways possible. So, if you’re in a similar situation to me, don’t be afraid. Go with it. Here are my top 10 break-up survival skills to find your way out of the other side… (God knows I’m trying).
1. Support network
Make sure that you have an amazing support network of friends and family around you. Not only can they help you resist the temptation to contact your ex, but they can offer hugs in moments of loneliness, laughter in times of drunkenness and a lift when you find yourself in a less than satisfactory situation. Digital support can also be incredibly helpful at times, but try to prioritise face-to-face interactions where possible.
2. Go with it…
So it’s expected that you’re going to feel sad, happy, angry, pissed off and messed up, but you need to learn to go with the cocktail of emotions – not resist them. If you want to shout and scream, do it! If you want to cry into old photos of the two of you, do that too. Losing a relationship is horrible, you’re allowed to grieve for it.
3. Be kind to yourself
You’re bound to be a little vulnerable, a little delicate… so be kind to yourself. If you want to spend all day in front of the telly (PJs optional) then do it. If you want to go out and get drunk, do it (you know, safely). Allow yourself that extra half an hour in bed, that extra chunk of chocolate. You’re having a crap time, you deserve it.
4. Don’t bottle it up
I have two amazing friends who are in a relationship together. At first, it was kind of hard to open up about my relationship ending when theirs was just beginning, but I found that talking things through helped a lot. People can surprise you, some are a lot wiser than you might have credited them. Listen and, if helpful, absorb their advice.
5. Don’t listen to hearsay, ever
We all know what a tight-knit lez/bi circle can be like and we all know how much certain people love to gossip… Don’t listen to it, it’s not worth your energy. If people try and tell you that they saw your ex and whoever together, doing whatever they were doing – just don’t listen. It’ll only hurt more if you do.
6. Be the bigger person
It’s very tempting to text/call/Facebook stalk your ex, but don’t do it. Whether you want to send them an “I miss you” or a “You ruined my life” message, if it’s really over, it won’t be worth it. Accept that your relationship has ended and any declarations of this kind won’t help either party – especially you!
7. Believe in yourself
Deep down – below those red puffy eyes and sniffly nose – there is a beautiful person with a whole lotta’ love to give. Do not, I repeat, do not allow your ex to knock your confidence. No matter how your relationship ended, everybody has the potential to love again, and indeed the potential to be loved again. (You included).
8. Go wild – but not too wild
Of course, you’re allowed to let your hair down. Go out, drink, party, have fun but make sure you get home and into bed (maybe your bed?) in one piece. You might be tempted to go that little bit too wild, but that’s where a previously established support network can step in and help…
9. Have all the fun
You’re single again. You’re an individual. You can do whatever the hell you want! No one to tell you not to go somewhere or do something. You’re the master of your own life right now – so why not so something different? Something you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t before? Go on, you know you want to…
10. Be positive
Crucially, get into a positive mind set whenever and wherever you can. There is someone out there for you if you want them. When you’re ready, get out there and find them. And if you’re taking a break from dating, even better, there’s a lot to be excited about out there in the world…
One from the vaults! This piece was originally shared in 2018. Updated January 2019.
Only reading DIVA online? You’re missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, support queer content and buy the latest issue. Your support is, and always will be, invaluable.