Breaking up is hard to do…

As weird and horrible as it sounds I fully believe that bad breakups are good for you. Let me hit you with my definition of a ‘bad breakup’. A bad breakup is one in which you either gorge yourself or can’t eat, cry continuously for days, and have to change his name in your phone to DO NOT CALL, JERKFACE, or SHOULD BE KILLED. Yes, those kinds of breakups. The ones where you feel like someone has ripped out your heart, poked it with sharp sticks, and ran it over with a truck. 
Now before you sharpen your pitchforks because you want to Gaston-me for thinking that having your heart trampled is a good thing, hear me out. Or at least give me time to run away…

I’ve been here and let me tell you it really does suck and I am so incredibly happy that it happened. An ex and I had been together for 5 years when we both realized we were trying to keep something together that was a train wreck. We were sick of trying to pretend like that long distance thing was good for us. We were trying to keep something together that was already broken. We had become addicted to the ‘presence’ of each other, addicted to this assured love being in a relationship brought, but not addicted to each other. So we ended it. And in the next two minutes I’m pretty sure I went through a million different emotions: anger, sadness, denial, regret, embarrassment, heartbreak and so on. It didn’t matter that it was pretty mutual or that deep down I knew it was the ‘right thing to do’ it still sucked. Then for the next month it was pretty much the same thing. 

After that month of feeling like my heart was in a blender, ideas slowly started to dawn on me. These revelations that everyone gets at the end of a month long breakup bender are why I truly believe they are good for you. 

1. You realize why the breakup happened: fights, different beliefs, unresolved concerns, or different life plans. It wasn’t because you weren’t pretty enough or skinny enough. It wasn’t because you aren’t ‘lovable’.

2. You learn you can be independent: you learn that you’re strong and that a boy does not define who you are. You see why all those women in the 60’s were burning their bras! You learn that you can thrive in life without a man and you can *gasp* have fun without a partner!

3. You learn what you need in a relationship: you see if you need someone who can take your crankiness in the mornings or someone to just listen without trying to fix the problem? Do you need him to show that he will really ‘leave and cleave’ or perhaps that you will be his first priority? You learn that there are needs that you require that are nonnegotiable. 

4. You learn what you value in a partner: you learn if you need a calming presence or someone to get you out of your comfort zone. Does it mean more to you when your partner gives you flowers randomly or when he always takes out the trash? Do you want them to be honest and completely open or do you want someone to protect you from the ugly in life? Or maybe a bit of both? 

5. You understand that a relationship means teamwork: it cannot be just one person that tries to make the relationship grow. A healthy partnership requires two people to work. If at the end of the day you’d rather give up than work to be with that person then it’s not right. A relationship is a pas de deux, it takes two people moving in sync with each other, supporting each other, making the other look good, with total dedication to make the dance deserving of a standing ovation. 

After becoming a more self-aware person through this crappy time you are ready to find that person who is willing to work with you, learn with you, grow with you, respect you, and love you for the rest of your lives together. 

So let’s recap. Go through hell for a little bit to find happiness? Deal. That’s a good thing in my book. 

PS if you need some happy if you’ve just been through a breakup peruse this

  • Michelle Harrison

    I Love this, I went through a similar breakup a couple of years ago, we were together for four years and I literally thought I was going to be the first person to die of heartbreak..and I’m fine now. I’ve realized that we were different people, and that even if we did stay together, it wouldn’t have been what I wanted in life. My boss at the time told me “You know, I think everyone needs to have their heart seriously broken at least once, it helps you learn about yourself” and it’s SO true. Thanks for sharing this as a reminder to us all that we will be fine if single!

    Miche from Buttons and Birdcages

  • Oxford John

    Breaking up might be hard to do, but sometimes it’s also the right thing to do.

    Here are 10 excellent reasons to break up:

    1. You know the relationship has no long-term potential. After dating for a while, if you realize that the relationship will eventually run its course, ending it is likely the best thing for both of you. You want to find someone who will be in it for the long haul.

    2. The relationship has run its course. Maybe you didn’t get out early enough. Get out now. When the relationship feels over, let it be over. Don’t cling to it just because you’ve wasted so much time on it already.

    3. You’ve been hurt physically or emotionally. Some damage can’t be undone. Staying in an abusive relationship will only deepen those wounds with time, it won’t heal them. Seek professional help if you’re not sure how to leave.

    4. You’ve been cheated on, or you’ve cheated. Rarely can dating relationships rebound from infidelity. Let him/her go.

    5. Someone else is on your mind. Do. Not. Cheat. If you’re constantly wishing your significant other was someone else — or that you could date other people — take the high road and end the relationship before things get messy.

    6. Everyone else is rallying against the relationship. If your friends and family — people who are generally trustworthy and supportive — hate your relationship, listen to them. Sometimes outsiders have better perspectives of an unhealthy relationship than those in it.

    7. Your values don’t align. Sure, you both like Thai food, reggae and Christopher Nolan films. But if all you have in common is the little stuff, the relationship is going to be stunted. If you know that you don’t agree on things like family, faith and finances, it’s okay to end things amicably so that you can both find people who have similar priorities.

    8. You’re not happy — and haven’t been for a very long time. Every relationship has its ups and downs. But if you can’t remember the last time either of you laughed or had a great time together, assess the health of your relationship. Are you staying because you want to? Or just because you’re stubborn?

    9. You feel uneasy about the relationship. If you’re constantly trying to convince yourself to stay, maybe you shouldn’t. Trust your intuition.

    10. You’re not growing together. Neither of you are at your best when you’re together. There’s no personal growth, you don’t feel good about yourself when you’re with your significant other and you’re no longer thriving. A healthy relationship brings out the best in both partners.

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  • Amber Thomas

    I was a serial long-term girl in high school and college. I was always good at settling in for the long haul… But better than that, I was awesome at break ups. It was like, hey, I’m done. Thanks for being so awesome the last three years but now you’re not being awesome. Sorry it didn’t work out. Of course I’d be sad about the whole thing, but once I was done there wasn’t a revisiting of it. That said, I concur with you here. It’s hard, yes, but it’s healthy too. :)