I know that some of you who follow this blog (and by the way I’m grateful to every one of you for taking time out of your already busy lives) are mostly over forty, separated, or divorced (more fool those idiots who let you go, chicks, or bravo to you if it’s something you needed to do). Either way breakups are a bitch and it takes time to stitch yourself back together. It’s often a bone rattling experience.
Some of you are awesome single parents. Some of you don’t have kids. Straight or gay, rich or poor, love lost can really hurt.
So you should know this. You band of merry women, who have seen the battles of loves lost…who have waged war on broken hearts while seeking peace somewhere in the barren waste lands of loves lost…
There is always hope.
I’m not talking about Prince Charming (have you seen Into The Woods?!). I’m talking about self love.
Gasp! Horror! I know, right? Who am I to be espousing such bloody wisdom. This is not The Elephant Journal after all and I am not some yogi . I wish I was, people…if only for the abs (and the mental peace)… But I digress.
I started this blog as a newly single (suddenly single!) chick, drowning in bubble bursting reality. I wasn’t prepared for it. Not was I ever going to be ready for it.
Yet there I was. Just like some of you might be now, and I sincerely wish I could wrap my arms around each of you and tell you that everything will be all right.
Of course I don’t know that for sure, yet I’m fairly confident. Why? Because as contrite as it seems …time heals most wounds.
When a relationship ends and leaves us bleeding on the battlefields of all those who have bared their hearts before us, we hope (some will pray) for a quick end to all that pain. Sadly, there isn’t one.
Why? Because if it’s real, then it hurts to lose it. If it’s real, then you need time to heal, and to honour yourself for all you shared, for all you knew and for the loss you grieve for.
These were lessons I learnt the hard way. I just had to ride it out, the loss of a long term marriage and relationship, the loss of perceived friendship and kinship, abc companionship. I had to grieve. I’m my own way and in my own time. You can’t rush it.
I desperately tried. I begged the universe to make it all go away. I read daily horoscopes and saw psychics (and I in no way discount their vocation), I self medicated with too much wine, and I ate too much ice cream, but no such wisdom can speed up time.
I’m no expert but I really did find that the following things really helped me.
1. Breathe. I know right now if your relationship has just ended, you want me to shut the fuck up. Fair enough. I hear you…but you still need to breathe. Slowly, in and out. It helps. Start meditating if you can. There are plenty of free apps for guided mediation. It’s not a cute all, but it helps to stay centred.
2. Cry. When you need to. When you feel like. When you can’t even help it. Let it out. Holding all that pain inside just prolongs the recovery.
3. Get mad. I think this was a long time coming for me. Get angry if you feel angry. If you don’t allow yourself to feel it and express it, you carry that seething blackness with you every where.
4. Fill your time! This is important initially. If you’ve spent all your time with someone then all that aloneness can feel overwhelming. Plan catch up with friends, read books, start baking, exercise, visit your family, start a course, learn a language, learn yoga, walk the dog….what ever your thing is, try to plan something fun each weekend so you have something to look forward to. Try it get into a routine. Accept invitations, even if you don’t feel like it.
Figure out what you want your new life to look like. What have you put on the shelf? What dreams did you give up on? What have you stopped doing that you would like to try your hand at again?
5. Spend time with single friends. My single gal pals were my salvation in many ways. They knew what it felt like to be single, they taught me that being single can also be more than okay. Sometimes it’s awesome, but it can take time to realise that.
They know things you might need to learn about the single world. If you don’t have single friends, seek some out! Jump onto a community FB page, join a group (see above) this might take you out of your comfort zone but hey – singledom has already thrown you out if your comfort zone, right?
6. Talk. Be kind to yourself. Unless you are a robot, you are probably going to be on an emotional roller coaster ride. You will probably make mistakes. You may even be a hot mess. This is normal of course for a short time. Talk to people you trust about how you feel. If you are struggling though, reach out and seek counselling. Speak to your GP to get a referral, and advice.
7. Laugh. It’s important. Find ways to bring joy into your life. Grab a girlfriend, or your kids (if you have them) and see a funny movie or play. Even a DVD night is awesome. Not feeling humorous? Fake it till you make it. It gets easier.
8. Write. Get yourself a note book and write about how you feel. No one has to see your thoughts and feelings, but getting them out often helps bring clarity to your life and the situation.
9. Be grateful. I know this sounds crazy but hear me out. One thing that helped me get through my marriage breakdown was writing down at least 5 things every day that I was grateful for. If you can’t think of anything, start with basics. Be grateful to be here and to still be standing. Be grateful for your D cup boobs, or your awesome friends/kids…or your job that pays your bills. Find gratitude in everything you can. Gratitude changes negative thoughts to positive ones. Someone wise once told me it takes practice to practice gratitude. True. But it’s worth it.
10. Remember how amazing you are, because you are! If you’ve been in a rut, shake it up. Get a hair cut. Buy yourself some sexy knickers. Get yourself a massage, pedicure or manicure, get those eyebrows waxed…or buy yourself a nice bottle of champagne, or new jeans, “just because”. Reward yourself for being you. Remind yourself how brilliant you were before you met your ex. You are getting there, day by day.
As the ABBA song so wisely said, breaking up is never easy, I know….but hang in there. It really does get better. And though we can’t speed up time, we can remember to take it one step at a time. Be kind to yourself.
Note: please note that I am just a chick writing a blog and while these are points that really helped me, I’m not a counsellor nor do I pretend to be. If you are struggling, please see your doctor or call:
Life Line Australia : 13 11 14
Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277 (for the cost of a local call).