The first step right now is healing. Obviously, I haven’t had much time to heal yet. There are a lot of steps involved in this and a lot of different things going through my head. My happy relationship imploded and left me with pain, confusion, and some trust issues. Moving on is not easy. Especially when moving on requires pushing through a lack of understanding.
I wish I knew what happened. One day she was sending me engagement ring emojis and telling me she was wanting me to propose and then four days later she was giving up on our relationship altogether (after I did propose and she said yes). I know parts of what happened but there is no explanation for all of it. Literally, even after it was all over, she refused to give me any hint as to what really happened.
To add to the confusion, I truly believed God was telling me I was to marry this girl. Even when all of the trouble started I felt Him reassuring me through a specific Bible verse that I was to marry her. Obviously something got muddled but what? Why did God allow me to believe this for so long and then end up hurt?
I don’t have answers and I doubt I ever will. I can’t let that stop me from moving on, though. There is a fear in me that I will struggle to trust a girl, or even myself, in the future. How could she really love me and then leave me the way she did, after all? She led me on to further our relationship and then ripped it all away like a dried on band aid. She hurt me like no one else ever has and I never saw it coming. And as for myself, well like I said, I never saw it coming. I believed I knew God was leading me forward with this. If I could be so wrong and so easily fooled how can I trust myself going forward?
Coping with this has not been easy. Losing someone who you loved so much and who claimed to love you is hard. What I finally had to realize is that the girl I thought I loved never existed. There is no way she could have truly loved me the way she claimed and the way she acted if she could give up so easily. There is no way she could have really loved me and then put me through the pain and suffering that she did. So, the girl I loved didn’t exist.
At the same time, a heart cannot differentiate between pain caused by real life and a well done performance. I may be able to dissolve some of the pain by rationalizing about my ex’s true character but I cannot rid myself of the pain caused by believing I had finally found my life partner. I caught a glimpse of what my dream looks like. I have always dreamed of finding love and I spent four months believing that I had.
All of this and more is part of trying to get through a tough breakup. It is a rollercoaster sometimes. One minute I may be doing fine in the knowledge that the girl I loved wasn’t real. Next minute memories of our time together make me slip back. Or maybe it is the realization that I no longer have that best friend to text all hours of the day, hold hands with, look forward to seeing, or kiss goodbye. Or even the fact that every relationship takes another part of me that I don’t want to give away before I give it to my future wife.
I suppose step one in getting over a breakup is realizing that it is in fact a breakup. Breakups are not temporary. It can be hard to accept and sometimes circumstances or words make it seem it isn’t over but if you cannot accept or see the finality of the breakup you cannot move on. You also cannot always trust the other person to give you that finality. Sometimes you have to step back and say, “if they are willing to put me through this then I need to stop pining over someone who doesn’t care about me.”
Cry, Scream, Etc.
Once you have closure you will have a wave of emotions to dig out from under. Do not try to bottle them up. If you want to make an explosion you tightly wrap volatile materials. These emotions are volatile. Do not keep them tightly wrapped up inside of you. Let them out before they force their own way out. Cry. Scream. Throw a pillow at the wall (harder objects may feel better to throw but inevitably cause more damage). Let it out!
Being angry, hurt, confused, whatever is not wrong! It is pretty much unavoidable. Don’t try and be macho man with no emotions. Go to a safe place and let it out. If you have a safe person to vent to even better. Do not keep toxic emotions stored inside of you.
One quick note: it is important not to wallow (this will be a point below). This stage will probably include some alone time to deal with things but do not prolong it!
This was only my third relationship. I have avoided frivolous relationships because I didn’t wat to experience this pain. But, one thing that has helped me through all three breakups and through every “near miss” (you know the relationships that never make it past “we are just talking” stage) is rationalization. Step back and think. Did you really want to be with this person? Did this person really treat you like someone who cares about you? Protecting your heart is a proactive engagement that I will probably discuss later but in the case that you are reacting to heartache try to think of why this breakup is good for you.
Avoid the Rebound
You are not a basketball; you don’t need to rebound. A “rebound relationship” is a tempting prospect after a bad breakup. You feel lonely and miss all the benefits of a relationship. However, a rebound relationship will only cause more pain to you and your “rebound”. Before you jump into something, take time to heal.
Trust me, I know that may not be easy. I want to just run off and jump into a relationship right away. I feel lonely, I miss kissing, I want someone to hold close, I long for someone to send sweet texts to, I miss a lot of aspects of being in a relationship. Notice something about those statements though? They all start with “I”. They all focus on my needs and do not consider the needs of anyone else. Selfishness is never good, especially in a relationship.
If you jump straight into a relationship after a nasty breakup you are carrying a bunch of baggage over that will weigh down the relationship. Right now I am carrying around a broken heart, trust issues, and deep confusion. I am not in a place to start a healthy relationship. Any relationship started now would be weighed down by my baggage, but, given time, the baggage will get lighter and be manageable enough to carry into a relationship. It may not be completely gone, but it needs to at least be small enough to not weigh the relationship down.
This is an easy one but also a hard one. When we are hurting it can be tempting to wallow in that hurt. We don’t feel like showing up and being happy around people. However, that is exactly what we need to heal. You obviously will need your time alone to deal with things (especially in the cry, scream, etc. phase) but you need to avoid wallowing. Get up and go see a movie, work on your truck, hangout with the family, go to the aquarium, or pick up extra hours at work. Just do something!
Be with God
This is obviously the most important step. God is our number one comforter. He is perfect, loving, and giving (Luke 11:13). He loves us enough to give His Own Son for us (John 3:16). When we are hurting is one of the times we need Him most in life. Pray (ALOT. Like alot alot. Did I mention alot of prayer?), read the Bible, listen to praise music, etc. Just be with God!
Now, this piece of advice also comes with this: remember God is forgiving (1 John 1:9). Whether you messed up in some way during the relationship, or messed up somehow after the relationship ended, remember God forgives. It is normal to question Him sometimes. As imperfect humans we may wonder why He allowed us to be hurt so deeply. I cannot answer why. I asked the same thing after it was all over. I can say this, however: God loves us and we need to have faith.
Even when we question God and wonder why He allowed something to happen we should still praise Him and seek Him. I am sure Job wondered why God allowed him to face so many horrible trials but He never turned on God. Like the casting crowns song says, “I will praise you in this storm.”
Do you have any tips for breakup coping?