To all the girls waiting anxiously by their phones right now for a text fixing everything with the boy they can’t believe has forgotten them—breath. I know your minds are spinning with every moment you’re now envisioning went wrong, with every future scenario you know you would have aced, and with the paralyzing fear of starting over. But, more than likely, you are taking on burdens you don’t have to.
Here are the 13 draining lies I’ve found race through our minds when a relationship unexpectedly ends—and the truths I promise can set you free.
I can’t be distracted—I need to focus on fixing this.
There’s a prevailing idea here that you can “beat fear to the finish line.” That if you just keep focusing on someone leaving you, you’ll be prepared to handle it. Realize there’s nothing you have to prepare for. The worst is over, and you’ve survived. And now, you don’t deserve to keep giving it all your focus when it’s giving you nothing in return. Think about who you are maintaining this focus for. While it can be gut-wrenching at first to continue your usual routines and social life, you will release your pain with every new laugh you have with your friends, with every workout, with every good deed you do for a coworker, with every small accomplishment you make, with every experience you put between you and your past (him).
Sex, given too freely, or not enough, or withheld, was to blame.
Honestly, fuck any judgment in this area. I’m going to do what I want with my body, and if it affects my relationships for the rest of my life, I’m gonna still do what I want, because personal freedom over my own body is paramount. The world needs to change on this, not you.
My friends and family will judge me.
I’m so convinced every time I tell my loved ones a relationship hasn’t worked out, they’ll see me as less, or be disappointed in me. But in reality, vulnerability is a beautiful thing to have with the people you care about in your life. They love you, not your relationship status, and they probably disregard other people’s opinion to a degree you can’t even fathom. And they likely have certainly been through the same thing.
I ruined it.
If you lose someone you thought was your person, trust me, they weren’t. Consider the fact that in this regard, you are not as powerful as you think you are. That being said, it’s humanly possible that they didn’t like something you did, or some part of you, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of–and nothing you could have hid for them your entire life. It’s important to have edges, and not fit with everyone – that’s what makes you human. And what makes the right people love you all the more.
I need to feel better right away.
As far as I know (and please, share your secret if I’m wrong), there’s no way to be a rock solid wall of happiness and energy when this happens right away. And that’s okay. Allow yourself to have a dark day (or several), to hide under your bed sheets, to eat your weight or cry in the shower. Cancel your workout, cancel on your friends, take a personal day. These urges exist for a reason, you’re accomplishing healing this way.
Never forget the world of unconditional support we experience in our friends, our family, our mentors and even in professional counseling services. I know it can be intimidating to open up to your loved ones about needing extra TLC, but that’s what they’re there for. You are never alone.
My life will suck now.
There will be hard times, but don’t forget about the ways in which you can exhale. Typically, there are sleepless nights of stress, arguments and dismal days where you are worried about relationships ending before they ever actually do. You’re free from that now! In fact, you’re free to focus on everything you changed for them, everything you forgot about yourself when you were there’s. You’re free to find a stranger wildly attractive and act on it, free to take a trip anywhere you want, to focus on your career instead of Netflix-ing a mutually acceptable show together (and welcome back, deliciously trashy reality TV you know you missed).
They didn’t like who I am.
Consider if they took the time to actually get to know you, or if they kept you at arm’s length with the intention of an easy exit. I often worry that I didn’t have cool enough hobbies, I wasn’t accomplished enough, or didn’t have the right opinions as the problem–then realize they never even asked about any of those things.
What I had was perfect.
You’re now free to honestly acknowledge all the things you didn’t like about this person–make a list, even. Revel in those flaws and red flags.
I miss THEM.
This isn’t always a lie, but it can be important to make this distinction if it is. I’ve often found I missed being with someone, more than the actual person I lost. Being in a relationship is what most humans are naturally drawn to, and having this desire is not shameful. But don’t confuse missing being with someone, with missing being with him (one is much easier to tackle).
There’s something I should be doing to fix it.
There isn’t, I’m sorry. Sometimes, the best option isn’t to keep holding on, to salvage anything. It’s to leave all the shattered pieces on the floor, the way it is, and move on.
If I made it easier, they would have stayed.
Do NOT second guess your boundaries and needs. In fact, I’d say hit the pedal on those any chance you get. And anyone that isn’t willing to handle your needs is not your equal, it is someone that needs you to shrink to fit them. Setting boundaries will have repercussions–it cuts many people out of your life–but trust me, the long-term people it brings in are worth fighting for.
I’m not going to be okay.
I know you don’t feel like yourself. I know you can’t see rebuilding your shattered heart again. I know you want to hide. I know nothing’s making you feel better yet. But I promise you, you are strong enough to get through this, and you deserve to. Anyone choosing to read this article gives love deeply, and the world needs people like you more than you know.