Oh this is a tough one, because I’m not having the best of days myself. But what do you do when it all goes Pete Tong (wrong)? You think you’ve met the love of your life, your soul mate. You’ve spent years together, matured together, made countless memories together and sometimes even started a family together and bought a pet, a house, and you have formed friendships with their family members and your friends circle has merged together. Then…..one day, it’s all over.
Sometimes months, weeks or just days before your wedding. The day that you have dreamed about and pictured with this person standing opposite you exchanging vows, and you can’t ever imagine it being any one else. How do you pick yourself back up from something like that? Unfortunately this is something that quite a few of my friends have experienced and I’ve been there to help them through it and it’s all to familiar to me too, although I was never engaged. So here’s my “top tips” or advice of what to do when it happens, and I pray it never does to you.
Go easy on yourself, give yourself a break. This is not the time to be hard on yourself; it’s okay to feel like the rug has been pulled from under your feet and your entire world has come crashing down around you. Feel what you need to feel, and do what you need to do. And if that means spending a week under the duvet crying, then do it. Get it out of your system. Don’t start an in-depth analysis of all the things you may not have done right, don’t start beating yourself up about what you could have done. A lot of the time, it’s not even about you, and that’s hard to accept; it’s hard to accept because it means that there is nothing you can do to fix it, which leaves you powerless to change things.
Understand that there is no quick fix. The saying is true, the best healer is time, you’ve just got to go through the motions, get through the process and give it time. You won’t feel this way forever, I know it might not feel like that right now but believe me, you really won’t.
Don’t rush into anything. This is a tough one, because a lot of people want that quick fix, want something, anything to happen to take away the pain and huge sense of loss they are feeling right now. Different strokes for different folks, some people rush out and get a piercing, or tattoos; other people go on a major shopping spree or buy a new car that their ex always wanted but never had. Just remember, this time too, shall pass so you don’t want to do anything that you are going to regret later on, or that is then going to be a permanent reminder in your life of what happened, in a bad way. Re-bounds fit into this category, chances are you’re not going to feel that great during it and you’re gonna feel even worse after it! Do not fool yourself into thinking that the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else, please!
Don’t isolate yourself. This can be tough, because a lot of the time you want to be on your own, to wallow. But you’ve got to find a balance, you want to surround yourself with a handful of really good, close friends but you need to set boundaries and distance yourself from your ex’s family and friends, otherwise things will get messy. If you have slowly lost touch with your old friends, previous to your relationship, don’t be afraid to call them, to reach out to them. They still love you and will be there for you.
Look after yourself, be diligent. If you suffer from depression, or have done in the past, get yourself down to see your doctor, tell them how you’re feeling, and if you need some medication to help get you through this, then do it. That’s what it is there for. You need a healthy mind state to heal. If you don’t suffer from depression or anxiety, but just need something to take the edge off things, try natural remedies like Rescue Remedy or Passiflora. Lavender and Hops are great natural alternatives for aiding sleep if that’s a problem for you at this time. Eat! Sometimes remembering to eat is a bonus, never mind if it’s eating healthy. Don’t neglect your body, you need to eat to give your body and mind fuel for the day so that you don’t slip into an unhealthy state. Wash, have a shower – I usually find showers better than baths at these times, bath time can lead to too much thinking. Showers are more invigorating, energising and refreshing.
Guard your heart and your soul. Be mindful of the music you listen to, the movies and tv programmes you watch, the advice you take. All these things can seep into your soul and change your mind state and not always for the best. Listening to Coldplay on a loop isn’t going to help your mood or your frame of mind. Not everyone’s advice is going to be good advice. Watching The Wedding Planner, The Notebook or P.S. I Love You is not going to help – unless you have completely shut yourself off from any kind of emotions and need to get in touch with your feelings and have a good old cry. If you do need to do any of the above, do it once and then start listening to something like Avril Lavigne, Pink or Taylor Swift to discover your inner fighter and warrior and get it into you that you can get through this! If you’re a Christian, or even if you’re not, stick on a some praise and worship and remind yourself that Jesus loves you no matter what and He will NEVER leave you! Hillsong United’s Zion album is my personal favourite!
Shake it off! Once you’ve got through the above points, and there is no time-frame for that by the way, you need to shake it off. Sometimes, literally shaking it out in the kitchen can help, get that demon off your shoulder, shake off the pain and the grief that can seem like it is all-consuming and draining the life out of you leaving you devoid of anything that remotely resembles happiness. Shake it off and get your ass going girl!
Exercise. Exercise is great, right now the benefits will be purely for your mind rather than any fitness or weight loss as the endorphins released from exercising is proven to increase and lift the mood. If you’re feeling really low and lifeless, try yoga and mediation. If you’re feeling angry and frustrated, try kick boxing or high intensity training. If you’re feeling like you’re stuck and can’t get away from it all, go walking or running. Stick the headphones on, a good running track or some funky house music to keep your mind on the beat and not the musical lyrics and off you go. Fresh air and vitamin D from the sunshine and day light will do you the world of good, even better if you can go running in a forest where you are surrounded by oxygen and something that is so much bigger than you – it really helps.
Understand that missing them is okay. It’s natural, it’s normal. Missing someone is part of the natural mourning and grieving process. It does not mean that you are meant to get back together. I’m not saying that, in time, you won’t get back together, but understanding that missing someone and grieving for the loss of your relationship, and what once was, is perfectly natural so don’t avoid it. Don’t give yourself a hard time if you find yourself reminiscing or smiling at fond memories. Not all relationships were bad, some of them were, but even at that, they weren’t bad all of the time.
Remember who you are. Remember who were were before you met them. This is especially hard for couples who have been together for so long that they have become used to being “Sam & Alice”, or “Sam’s girlfriend”, “Alice’s boyfriend.” And I can tell you, that’s really, really difficult. It’s like your identity has changed, it’s been taken away from you. You need to remember and get to know yourself, who you are, all over again, as just Sam, or just Alice. Don’t lose sight of what an incredible person you are, of the amazing qualities you have, of the all the positive things you bring to friendships and relationships. You are doing better than you think you are!
Surround yourself with good friends and get the hell outta there! If you had the wedding date set, you are going to want to get away for that time. The last thing you wanna do is be around for what would have been your wedding day. Gather a few of your close friends and plan a trip away, a trip that you can fill with new memories that you will have and treasure forever. Make that date conjure up memories of something completely different, like bungee jumping, sky diving, scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef etc., rather than it forever being the date you were supposed to get married. If you’ve got a milestone birthday coming up, do the same thing for that too.
Broaden your horizons. This can often start with your mind. Dare to dream again, dare to step out and take a risk – I know it’s scary, but you’ve gotta get back on the horse, back in the saddle! The biggest mistake you can make is not being willing to make one at all. Travelling is a great thing to do at a time like this. I understand not everyone can afford to do this, but it’s great at putting your life and your experiences in perspective, there is a whole world out there, something so much bigger than you. So if you can’t travel internationally, go to the mountains, to the sea, the ocean, a forest, anywhere that will surround you by something much bigger than yourself.
It’s okay to still love them. Just remember there’s a difference between loving someone and being in love with someone. And in time, even that will change. They may always hold a special place in your heart, and that’s okay.
I really hope that you have found some comfort and encouragement reading this post. If you are struggling feel like you are slipping under then please contact someone like The Samaritans or reach out to a counsellor or therapist who can help you work through this. If not, call your mum, your sister or your best friend, and remember, you will get through this!
So much love, Gabriella x