Getting over someone is tough regardless of who ended the relationship.
I’d never used the word depressed to describe myself up until that point in my life. But, at this point in my life, I was depressed.
The rug had been pulled from underneath me.
I’d tell people that it was mutual, but she left me. I didn’t want to be in the relationship either and tried to get out several times, but she was the one who pulled the trigger.
Five years together, a sixth of my life wasted. I wondered how I could’ve put myself in such a bad position. I thought about all the red flags I ignored, all the times I was a coward who wouldn’t just leave, and how I’d set myself up for a massive blow by setting myself up to be truly lonely.
I had to get over the past and the person who was a huge part of it.
Here are some of the things I did.
When I moved to a new town after the breakup, I only had one friend — a buddy from college. If he didn’t have time to hang out, I’d be alone. Honestly, it just took some time to get my footing and want to be social again, so I spent a lot of time in isolation.
Loneliness is a crippling feeling. If you’re not careful, you can let it overwhelm you. One of the best ways to fight loneliness isn’t to fight it, but to channel it into something.
“An idle mind is the devil’s playground.”
Even if you are in a position where you have friends and family nearby, there will be those moments alone that you used to spend with that person in the past that you can’t fill with the help of anyone else.
Channeling periods of isolation into some sort of hobby or creative pursuit helps you keep your mind active so you’re not thinking about your loneliness as much.
Not only that, some of those hobbies and pursuits can be life-changing. I started my first YouTube channel shortly after the break-up. Both of my channels have a combined total of 10,000 subscribers. Not too shabby.
Out of the ashes came something useful and profitable. If you find yourself alone, use the idle time for good.
It didn’t take a ton of time for me to stop feeling awful. Pretty soon, I felt free and relieved. I wasn’t upset about losing the relationship itself. I was just upset because she beat me to the punch and I wasted time. Looking back, I saw the relationship for what it was, a toxic mess.
If you’re working on getting over someone, focus on taking the rose-colored glasses off and looking at the reality of the situation. Looking backward, you can see all of the red flags you ignored or the moments that showed you the relationship really wasn’t meant to be in the first place.
Rarely is anyone truly blindsided by a breakup. There are always signs. Moving forward, you can use those signs to make sure you’re looking out for them in the future so you don’t repeat the same mistakes.
If you’re working on getting over someone, be honest with yourself. What do you really miss? Do you miss the person or the comfort you felt from having a person? Do you miss the relationship itself, or the subconscious things being in a relationship said about you?
It’s an identity thing. You formed a co-mingled identity with this person, now it’s gone, so you have to rebuild it on your own. Being brutally honest about the relationship itself is the first step.
I did the whole ‘revenge body’ thing. I had let myself go during the relationship because it’s easy to do when you’re comfortable and complacent. After the breakup, I started working out like a mad man, mostly for superficial reasons.
But, as a consequence, I got into good shape and improved my health, which improved my disposition and gave me some mental clarity. There’s no malady on eath I can think of that doesn’t benefit from exercise. It doesn’t fix your problems, but it’s a useful outlet for dealing with them.
Try being upset about anything when you’re gasping for air because you can barely breathe. When you push yourself to your physical limits, there’s no room for excess mental chatter. So, no matter what you’re going through, at least you can find some solace in those fleeting moments.
Getting in better shape also helped me get more confidence when heading back out into the dating market. There’s nothing wrong with using superficial motivators. They work.
I didn’t rush to jump into another relationship. I didn’t look to fill the void with another person. Instead, I focused on learning how to be alone and put myself in a position to never have to be in a co-dependent relationship again.
This is easier said than done for some people, though. Some people fall into the anxious attached category when it comes to their relationships and they have a difficult time depending on themselves for happiness.
Often, people with anxious attachment styles feel a lack in their life that they want to fill through a partner. That need for validation could be because they lacked it from their parents, or they don’t believe in their worth. – Kirstie Taylor
Regardless of what type of person you are, it’s important to understand that you’re never going to have healthy relationships if you rely on relationships for validation.
The goal isn’t to seek out solitude, but to have the ability to be alone. You have to build a solid relationship with yourself first. I did that through some of the things I mentioned already.
I cleaned up my health, got even more in touch with my creative side, and also did something else that will help me moving forward in all of my relationships to come.
I watched an amazing video from Tai Lopez that talks about how to deal with life when everything seems to be crumbling around you. You go through a nasty divorce, lose a bunch of money, a friend betrays you, or something else catastrophic happens — something that erases what you’ve spent a long time building.
‘From the ashes, you will rise’
There are few times in your life where you can re-imagine everything and create new standards for yourself. Often, people won’t change unless they go through a painful or traumatic experience that forces them to re-writer their story.
I’m reminded of this quote from Fight Club:
“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”
I didn’t lose everything, but I had lost a piece of my life that was core to my identity. I’d leaned hard into being the married family man self-improvement writer. I had to re-write that entire story. I took it as a second chance to rebuild my life as I saw fit.
I literally took the time to write down things like the type of friends and romantic partners I wanted, the new standards and values I had for myself, what I would and wouldn’t tolerate in the future, the personal and professional goals I wanted to reach.
Don’t just focus on getting over someone. Focus on re-writing your entire narrative.
You’ve heard the cliche ‘The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.’
While you might not want to jump in the sack with the first person you run into post-breakup, it’s true that you’ll reach a point in your life where you’re dating new people and the memory of your past relationship will fade.
Don’t rush it, but yeah, get back into the market. It’s fun. I thought I’d be with this one person for life, but it didn’t pan out. I’ve had the opportunity to meet amazing women since and now I’m in a position where I know what I’m looking for.
That’s the important thing to remember when you’re trying to get over someone. That breakup is a second chance for you to live a life where you’re not repeating the same mistakes from past relationships.
Some people don’t learn from their mistakes and end up falling into the same relationship patterns over and over again. If you keep running into the same patterns and dating the same type of people you know are bad for you, understand that the common denominator is you.
Get back in the field, but do it with eyes wide open and more self-awareness.
I try to never regret the past. Instead, I look at the past as having something to teach me. I look at failed relationships as something to teach me. In fact, I don’t even look at them as failures, just a situation that ultimately didn’t work out.
If you’re working on getting over someone, getting bitter about the situation does nothing for you. Neither does wasting time dwelling on the situation. Focus on what actually happened and be as objective as you possibly can.
What can you take away from the situation that can help you have happier and healthier relationships in the future? Find a way to be inspired about the future instead of being jaded.
Far too many people become jaded and develop hardened hearts. Not enough take the time to truly be introspective and plan for a better future.
You can’t erase the past or get that time back, but you can re-frame what the past means to you and use it to your advantage instead of letting it keep you stuck and prone to fall into other misfortunate situations.
Relationships are an important, maybe the most important, part of life yet we spend so little time being conscious about developing them. If you want better relationships, be intentional about creating them.