The Breakup Survival Bootcamp
Ah winter — you’re about to leave us, and unfortunately, so is our current lover. Yup, it’s officially breakup season. Breakups are terrible — the withdrawals of an addiction + hopelessness for the future + regret of all recent decisions. In my attempt to help, I took inventory of several failed relationships (alright, a couple are mine), analyzed patterns, studied behaviors during and after a breakup and created, Bhavna’s Breakup Survival Bootcamp! This bootcamp starts after you guys have split, like for realzies. Not the 5 times you will discuss breaking up / break up and immediately get back!
Week 1: Stop Spinning.
Right after a breakup, your mind is like the Tasmanian devil, spinning uncontrollably thinking, what went wrong, you’re probably better off, you will never find love etc. etc. These thoughts are completely useless. Do everything to stop thinking! Work longer hours, meet your friends…don’t be alone. I also recommend regular consumption of wine. A glass or two is good for your heart. It’s also become the modern-day chicken soup for the soul. A little bit of booze will help you think less, and pass out.
Pro Tip: Don’t contact your Ex!! I want you running, but not back to square one. If you contact them, after your initial word vomit, you will just feel bad and nothing will have changed.
Week 2: Flush your System.
Start expressing how you feel. It’s a good idea to talk to your friends/family about it so you get more clarity and reduce the urge to call/message your ex (although at least half of you already did it :p). You’ve also been drinking/sleeping/ messing around more than usual. So start returning to a normal routine. This can be tricky if you were always with your ex, so find creative ways to fill up your time.
Pro Tip: Join self-improvement classes. Things you’ve wanted to learn but never registered. Work out harder. Exercise creates endorphin in your brain which makes you feel happier. Kick butt at work.
Week 3: No Pain No Gain.
Continue what you are doing, reaching out to your support system, finding reasons to smile, keeping yourself busy. Once you feel like you are in control of your feelings, do something difficult — take one step back to take one giant leap forward. I recommend you call your ex. Having a list of questions won’t hurt. Closure is a double-edged sword — you absolutely need it, but the process of accepting the truth is painful. And it’s important to understand their side of the story.
Week 4. Push Up!
Move on. Look hot. Invest in yourself. While relationships are great, it’s been a long time since you did things just for you. This is the perfect time to introspect and do the things you had put on hold when sharing a life. Most of this new-you will actually continue to exist in your next relationship because you took the time to find yourself. Personal fact — I made some HUGE changes at this stage once — changed jobs, cities, haircut. Only because I had so much clarity on what I wanted, and nothing was holding me back. So proud that I did it.
High Intensity: Don’t fall for someone else. It won’t last. You haven’t healed and you’re still seeking that drug-like intoxication we call love. The worst thing would be is if you meet the perfect person, but chalk it off as a rebound. I recommend 3 months before you consider another relationship.
Week 5: One Last Lap.
I bet this is not what you expected, but I’d like you to evaluate your breakup with this cleared mindset. All of us make mistakes. We jump to conclusions, get scared, and sometimes, just need a break. Relationships are hard. So, are you sure sure you broke up for the right reasons? Ask yourself:
- Did you plus your ex equal 3? Relationships should elevate us to levels we wouldn’t be able to achieve on our own.
- Did your ex make you a top priority?
- Before you guys broke up, did you feel you shared the same values and goals?
If your answer is YES to all, then go back and say how you feel before your ex moves on for good!
If your answer to these questions included a NO, then realize this wasn’t it and your post-breakup pain is not a reflection of how good the relationship was. In fact, the bad ones tend to leave deeper scars. Chances are, this relationship was just a way of you not feeling alone or, an old habit. People come for a month, for a season, or forever. You just have to figure out who’s who.
Yay! You’ve reached the end of your bootcamp. Well done. I know it still stings, but I also know you’re getting excited about the future :) And your future is bright. A breakup might be the worst, but being in love is an amazing feeling, and now that you’re healthy and happy, you’re positioned to find something that fits just right.