In every breakup, there is a series of stages that occur in the first few weeks. I could argue that you'll feel many stages in one day.
Half the time you're incredibly confused why one moment, you're feeling okay, and the next—you're trying so hard not to text your ex.
One minute you're relieved you've ended things, and the next—desperate to talk to them and convince them you two should get back together.
This is normal. Yes, you heard me: normal.
But, what I have to say is going to come as a surprise to you (actually, it won't. Because you were looking for some tough love by clicking on this article).
Here's the tough love: you need to pick yourself up and stop blaming yourself (or him) for everything that went wrong in the relationship.
Your ex played an equal role in the relationship's termination. (Is that too harsh to say, "termination?")
But here I am, full-well knowing that you are an incredibly strong person who just needs a little....kick in the butt.
As a breakup coach, it's my job to assess where you're at in your breakup. You might still be the "Sweatpants Phase." (Read: Friends episode when Chandler ends things with Kathy.) I think you're right on the cusp of working through this. You're looking to take matters into your own hands.
It's time to face these realities—together.
1. You're going to lose (their) friends
With any partner you have, you're going to make new friends and connect. Connecting is what us humans do with each other.
Unfortunately, when the ex goes, many (or all) of their friends do, too. That's part of the circle of life. (Or circle of relationships, whatever.) You might want to seek clarity or compassion by connecting with his friends post-breakup, but don't. It's most likely only going to give you false hope and hinder your healing.
What's good about this is that you don't need walking reminders of your past relationship. Let it go. Let him move on with their life and their friends, and you can move on with yours. We all know you'd hate it if your friends kept talking to him, and you kept wondering what he was up to. Right?
Look to your friends, even if you just have one. Hell—even if you just have your mother. Look at the people in your life you can confide in. Having someone who reminds you of a time before them can be extremely comforting. They serve to remind you that you're so much more than just an "ex-partner" but an incredible, smart, fun person making a difference in life and business. And don't you dare try and pretend that's not true.
2. You're going to feel uncomfortable frequenting your local spots
Chances are, you may never want to walk into that local bar with the amazing happy hour and cheap appies—the place you two used to always go after work or before a game. He's most likely not going to stop going there either. You'll need to be the person who decides to find a new place to go. You're going to have to be the bigger person.
It might sound really unfair, but if you want meaningful distance in a relationship, you've got to listen to this tip. There's nothing worse than holding your breath and secretly hoping you run into him there while you're "randomly" popping in to get a "casual" drink before your Bumble date. Save yourself from the embarrassment because this does not go over well.
3. You're probably going to have to give up his Netflix account (or any other subscription service)
If you're anything like me, then you are watching Netflix on your ex's account. I didn't get a new Netflix account until I convinced my parents to get one, only after my ex lost his credit card and the account shut down while his new CC was being mailed.
Don't be like me. You don't need a reminder every day when you click into the profile that you're actually looking at his name, and his family members. Just pay the $13.99 or whatever price it is per month. That's $13.99 of dignity you're investing in yourself.
4. You will have to let go of that travel dream you had together (and make it your own)
I once (past tense) had a friend who ended things with her guy and she said she dreamt of going sailing around the world with him, but now that their relationship is done, her dreams of sailing international waters are shattered.
But I thought to myself, if it's your dream, you should just do it.
She should have just done it. You know what she did instead? She got back together with him. Despite all the hurt he put her through, they got back together to make her dream happen. You might think, "wow great." But no—she is likely unhappy secretly, but her dreams of travel remain alive and well.
The moral of the story here is that we attach our dreams to another person, but it's not about them making our dreams come true for us, especially if it's an unhealthy relationship.
Create your own fate and destiny, and watch your dreams turn into reality. Every now and again, I think to myself: my friend could have met her actual dream guy while she travelled alone sailing around the world.
5. You will need to start over
If there's one thing I know, it's that breakups aren't really just about ending a relationship, it's about that moment of, "holy sh*t, what do I do now?"
It's a scary feeling. One that paralyzes us to look back into our past and rearrange reality.
Instead, just embrace the scary feelings. The good stuff happens after you've accepted some of the scary realities.
I swear, people don't tell us enough that our wildly erratic and emotional thoughts are actually pretty normal. We end up hiding them until they force us to take a leave of absence at work. (You don't want this.)
I just went on a slight tangent there. So once you've acknowledged the scariness of starting over, then comes the motivation and thoughts of, "how do I make good use of this breakup, and how can I use it as a clean slate?"
Clean slates are amazing. Each morning is a perfect time for a clean slate. Your breakup is going to be the best clean slate you've ever been given—if you are constructive with it. See #6 on how to make this happen.
6. You will need to fill your weekends with "me" time now
You're probably still feeling how crappy it is now that you don't have any guaranteed weekend plans, but did you really have them with him? I'm sure half the time (or more) was spent with you organizing what you two did together anyways. He was likely non-committal, and you ended up driving to his place most of the time.
Instead, now you can be the CEO of your life. It's actually an incredibly freeing and happy feeling once you let yourself know that. Obviously, with any new habit, it's going to feel unnatural at first. That's okay. Let yourself feel weird and unnatural as you enjoy your own company. And then watch now your energy shifts as you go through the process.
There are endless amounts of ways to get in touch with yourself and be constructive about your breakup. Just download my 40+ breakup activities checklist for some inspiration.
Alright, to recap what you just learned:
Ditch his friends—you don't need them anyway. You've got your own friends
Frequent new local spots instead of the ones you dined at with him
Get a new Netflix account or ask to share your bff's account
Create your own dream instead of relying on him to make it come true
Take advantage of the clean slate you've been given
There you have it — a little tough love, from someone who gets exactly how crappy a breakup can be.
If you're thinking, "wow Nancy, I really don't like you right now," then fine. Here are my downloadable tools to help you through your breakup. You won't stay mad at me for long.