Roxie Nafousi is an Emotional Health Advisor, ambassador for the Mental Health Foundation and a writer. Follow her on Instagram @roxienafousi
Oh, heartbreak — that immensely painful feeling that renders you totally incapable to think or do anything other than lay in bed reminiscing on your lost love, wondering how life could possibly go on and contemplating whether you will ever feel happiness again. You might even find yourself googling “Is it possible to die from heartbreak?” after you’ve spent hours flicking through old pictures of the two of you together, stalking their Instagram and asking your best friend for the millionth time whether they think there might be ANY possibility that you might just get back together. Yup, heartbreak, we’ve all been there.
I’ve certainly had my fair share of heartbreak over the years, I have been where you have been and I empathise with all my heart because I know how horrific it feels. But, after a particularly savage heartbreak at the age of 23, one that I thought I would SURELY never recover from, I made a vow to never go through that pain again. I realised that if I could move on from that one, then I could move on from just about anything. I changed my whole mindset, figured out some KEY lessons to avoid going through that agony again, and realised that heartbreak is actually something to celebrate. Seriously. No one ever evolves more as a person than they do through heartbreak. As cliché as it is, you literally do come out stronger, happier and knowing yourself better than you ever have. If you do it right — this will be the best thing that ever happened to you. I can GUARANTEE you that every broken heart can be mended, and that you are about to embark on the most exciting new chapter of your life. But here are a few of my top tips to getting there, whether you’ve split up from someone after one day, one month or 3 years:
Let It All Out
Right, the first step is to acknowledge the pain and just let that sh*t out! The first few days, maybe even weeks are going to be rocky — a rollercoaster of emotions. One minute you’re sobbing on the bathroom floor, and the next minute you feel like Beyonce and convince yourself that you are absolutely over them and how dare they ever leave you. Five minutes later you see a couple holding hands on the street and the tears start again. It’s a WILD RIDE! All I can say is that for these first couple of weeks, go with it. Don’t try and be strong, no one expects you to be an ice queen and honestly none of your friends will believe you when you tell them you’re fine and you don’t care anymore. Open up, cry it out and ride the heartbreak waves. I can guarantee you that processing these emotions will really benefit you further down the line.
Cut ALL Contact
You DO NOT need your roll on deodorant you left at his house -that is just an excuse and everybody knows it. Your ‘easy breezy’ texts like this are fooling no one and really just sound something like this; “Hi stranger.. How are you? Hope you’re really well. I’m doing amazingly, in fact I’m the happiest I’ve ever been without you. I left an old pair of tights and a blunt razor for my legs and I realllly desperately need them so if I could just pop over when you’re home after work this week that would be great, just so I can show you how fabulous I’m looking. In fact, when are you home this week? If you could just send me your schedule so I know exactly what you are doing and who you are seeing each night that would be great. Thanks, X”.
Any contact whatsoever truly does just prolong the pain and it suggests that you’re not really accepting the break up at all (and we all know that acceptance is the starting point for dealing with just about anything). Seeing your ex’s name pop up on your phone just keeps them at the forefront of your mind and makes it near impossible to forget about them. I know how tempting it is to reach out, especially in the early stages of the break up, because they are the only ones who can ease your pain. It’s ironic really, considering they are the ones who caused it. When you think about it, contacting them is like having a Bloody Mary after a big night out — it eases your pain in the short term, but eventually you will have to succumb to the hangover and your liver will just have to spend even longer getting out those toxins.
Stay Away from Social Media
I often wonder whether break ups were easier pre Instagram. You can literally get yourself sucked into the most depressing and obsessive vortex of all — stalking the ex. Who is that girl he followed? When did she follow him back? WHY did she follow him back? And why is he liking THAT picture? In fact, why is he on Instagram in the middle of the day at all — shouldn’t he be at work? It goes on and on and on. It’s destructive! I would strongly urge that you are really strict with yourself here — either delete social media for a few weeks, or block/unfollow them. It doesn’t matter if it looks petty, you are doing this for your own sanity. Also, don’t ask your friends to stalk for you — that still counts.
Don’t Get Too Drunk
One of the first things I say to any of my friends who have just split up with someone, is “don’t get so drunk that you have a savage hangover the next day” because that really is a total disaster on all levels. The first few drinks you have, sure, they could relax you, make you feel better and let’s be honest, a glass of wine and a cosmopolitan can ease many pains in life. However, more than that and we get into the DANGER ZONE. Tears maybe begin, followed by rage, asking strangers if they still find you attractive, uploading all sorts of pictures on your Insta Stories in a bid to show your ex how much fun you’re having — all of which will be swiftly deleted the next day — and then worst of all, you begin to think it’s a good idea to text him to tell him you miss him, you love him and you want him back. Fast forward and you are filled with regret, your head is pounding, you are exhausted and now you REALLY feel all the pain of being newly single because all you need right in that moment is cuddles and toast.
DEBUNK THESE STATEMENTS:
“But he was so perfect in the first year” — of course he was, everybody is charming and amazing in the beginning of a relationship and it’s very easy for everything to seem perfect in the honeymoon stage. But this isn’t really a true representation of a relationship long term; it is only through the difficult times that you really get to understand someone’s character and commitment.
“There is no one else like him” — you’re right there isn’t, but there is someone better.
“We were so happy” — were you though? Take off those rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia and ask your friends and family if this really was the case.
“I’ll never meet anyone again” — YES YOU WILL AND I PROMISE YOU THAT. Once you get out of this hellhole that is heartbreak and you build your strength and confidence you will meet the right person. EVERYBODY ALWAYS DOES!
“I’m clearly not good enough” — one person deciding not to be with you has no bearing on how great you are. It is simply that you two were not right for each other. You are more than good enough, and you shouldn’t ever change for anyone — you will find someone who loves and respects you for who you are.
“Maybe after he realises what he’s missing he will come back to me” — Firstly, saying this means you are holding hope for getting back together which means you’re not accepting it which means you’re not focused on moving forwards. Secondly, don’t waste a second pining to get back with someone who was stupid enough to lose you in the first place. It makes no sense, and when they realise what they’re missing you should be confident that you will be so happy you won’t want them back anyway.
“I still love him so I can’t be over him” — getting over someone does not mean you don’t love them anymore. I still have great love for my ex-boyfriends, they were such a huge part of my life. It is possible to love someone whilst at the same time accept that they aren’t right for you.
Once you are through the initial shock, accepted it’s over, you’ve let out the pain and you’ve cut all contact, it’s time for the fun part — your REINVENTION! I want you to focus all your energy now on evolving and becoming THE BEST YOU’VE EVER BEEN! Every day should bring you one step closer to feeling more confident, to boosting your self esteem and to becoming so strong that you radiate this energy that attracts all these positive vibes into your life. How? Exercise, start yoga, eat healthily (no more ice cream in front of the TV), socialise, read self help books, go out with your best friends, do not rush into dating — this is about learning to be happy SINGLE. Literally, DATE YOURSELF; be kind to yourself, take yourself for nice dinners, get cosy in front of the TV with your favourite Deliveroo option, Netflix and the whole duvet to yourself. Start to realise how AMAZING SINGLE LIFE IS! Enjoy the freedom, and the time, to focus all your energy on number 1 — YOU!
Of all the advice I have given, the most valuable is to trust that time really does heal all wounds. Even if you did none of the above, time alone would definitely help you to move forward — it’s just that using these techniques will speed that up! At the beginning of the break up, you will find that you wake up and immediately you get that horrible sinking feeling and they are the first thing you think about in the morning. God it’s awful! But one day, they’ll be the second thing you think about, then the third, and so on. Trust that life will go on, you will heal, you will be happy again and you WILL find love once more.
THE TRUTH IS, I TRULY BELIEVE THAT IN YOUR LIFE YOU WILL EXPERIENCE SO MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF LOVE AND IT IS POSSIBLE TO HAVE MORE THAN ONE GREAT LOVE OF YOUR LIFE.
SOMEONE ONCE TOLD ME, THE BEST LOVE STORIES DON’T ALWAYS END IN HAPPY EVEVR AFTER. I THOUGHT THAT WAS A SAD COMMENT AT FIRST, BUT THEN I REALISED HOW BEAUTIFUL IT WAS: JUST BECAUSE SOMETHING ENDED DOESN’T MEAN IT DIDN’T MEAN SOMETHING MAGNIFICENT. HOW AMAZING IS IT THAT YOU GOT TO EXPERIENCE THAT LOVE AT ALL? JUST BECAUSE IT DIDN’T RESULT IN FOREVER DOESN’T TAKE AWAY FROM HOW REAL IT WAS — IT IS STILL, AND ALWAYS WILL BE, A PART OF YOU AND YOUR JOURNEY. BUT NOW, YOU CAN ENTER THE NEXT CHAPTER OF YOUR LIFE AND EXPERIENCE A COMPLETELY NEW, DIFFERENT BUT EQUALLY BEAUTIFUL LOVE.
REMEMBER, LOVE TRULY IS ALL AROUND US.