Healing after a breakup can be quite a dark journey, but it's an essential part of our growth and having a more fruitful relationship in the foreseeable future. For many people like myself, I never saw the beauty in healing. I thought the power was in moving on instantly and being open to dating right after coming out of a relationship/situationship. I used to be a serial dater and played victim like it was nobody's business.
About two years ago, my toxic way of thinking used to be, yeah, it was his fault we didn't work out–he just chose to leave me like the rest of them. It wasn't until my last relationship that I realized I was just playing the blame game and not being accountable for my end of the partnership.
I really had to sit with myself and question all of my mishaps of how I'm going to work through my deep-rooted abandonment issues and why I see myself as less of a woman without a partner.
I felt like I always had a void to fill, and I knew being alone for some time wasn't exactly the option I thought I needed to do – and I avoided doing it. I went through the phase of overusing dating apps, and noticed I was beginning to see men as just a disposable swipe, just a face, not too concerned about character and values. My solution became I dated someone new to get over someone else and hoped to find my partner for life along the way.Thinking back on how I used to think made me feel a bit shameful initially, but as time went on, I thought of it as this was what I knew then, and that season also serves a purpose for shaping the woman I am today. In order to change my perspective, I had to take a 360-approach to any triggers and hold myself accountable for doing better. You can't do the same thing expecting better results – that's just insanity.
What should you NOT do after a breakup?
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Do not go rushing back to your ex for closure. There is a reason you guys broke up, whether it be for good or maybe you guys are able to get back together after working on each other's issues separately. But right now, we don't know where the future will take either of you, so you have to only focus on you! Create our own closure, and it shouldn't start with hate but appreciation of what you learned from that relationship.
Leave the dating apps alone for now or forever.
It will not serve you or the potential partner you entertain because you can't offer the best version of yourself before working on yourself. We live in such a microwave time frame where everyone is like, OK, that didn't work out, on to the next. But your heart and healing process doesn't work like that, and you need to provide yourself space to mourn.
The unfortunate truth is that most people don't like being alone; they quickly feel lonely and go to others to fill that void. You will never be a whole, healthy partner until you make it entirely your responsibility to be happy. Don't go running to friends with benefits or dating in general either because that's just another layer of avoidance to not deal with your reality. This is a season of discipline, and in order for you to learn the lesson, you have to hold yourself to high standards to attain a healthy and healed mindset.
What are the stages of healing after a breakup?
Allow yourself to grieve and mourn your significant other. You are allowed to cry; despite what others say, it's not a sign of weakness; it's just a human trait we all have expressing deep emotions. It doesn't mean you aren't going to deal with your healing process; you are doing that now, and as time progresses, those tears will come to an end.
Therapy is a great adventure to explore after a relationship. It will help analyze your feelings in the partnership and point out areas you fell short in because that's all you have control of – is yourself. They will ask questions regarding if you paid attention to red flags and did you address them? Did you feel like you settled for less? Were you vocal about things you were uncomfortable with, or did you keep enabling traits you weren't fond of? What was your argument style like? Etc.
I would highly suggest journaling in this season. Get to a deeper level to understanding the pain you're enduring. Read it back to yourself aloud to repaint the picture to look at it in a logical perspective being that your lens is sharper because you're not in the relationship anymore.
There are also great books and games to explore during your healing process. Psychologist and host of Therapy for Black Girls, Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, has created a phenomenal guided journal called Questions That Need Answers: After The Breakup. It's a great way to make sense of the chaos and set healthy intentions for your next relationship when you feel ready to date again. I've also been exploring this introspective game by We're Not Really Strangers Self-Reflection Kit, which includes a journal and a 52-card deck asking questions about yourself and your relationship with others.
Signs you're healing from the breakup
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Remember the date you set for being single? Well, you threw it out the window because you are finding contentment and joy in your solitude! You'll know your healing when the waterworks come to an end or just occur less. You're able to look at the relationship for all that it helped you grow as a person, and you're hoping for the absolute best for your ex-partner.
Any animosity or resentment you had prior, you simply let it go. You've learned that holding grudges doesn't help either party; it just holds them back from healing. You've forgiven yourself and your partner for where you both fell short–you were doing the best you could with what you knew at that time. You've learned that two halves don't make a whole relationship; only two whole people can sustain a progressive long-term relationship.
The best part of it all is that you're finally seeing your whole worth! Your worth isn't defined by partnership; your worth is determined by how much you know and value yourself and hold others accountable for meeting those standards. You will be handing out a lot of rejection letters once you know your value because most people don't deserve access to you.
Healing is not a destination; it's a journey. So have grace with this process and get used to loving yourself more; no one can fill your love cup up like you!
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