There’s one thing you can always rely on with break-ups, and that’s that they’re going to suck. It doesn’t matter if you were only dating for a couple of weeks, or if you’ve wanted to break up for a while; break-ups are universally and equivocally sucky. Because when a relationship ends, there’s always that immediate feeling of ‘what now?’. I mean, you’ve spent a lot of time with this one person, moulded yourself and your schedule around them, then suddenly they’re gone. So, what now?
The temptation to dive right into a new relationship to fill that empty space is so real, and sometimes it works! But I think your time and effort may be better spent looking after the most important person in your life. This is the person who has been with you through every relationship and break-up — through your whole life actually, — and is the one who should always be your top priority. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the person I’m talking about is you.
Losing yourself to a relationship
In the best, most perfect relationships, you’ll find that you can be your true and unfiltered self all the time and the other person will still adore you. For anyone not in such a relationship, hiding certain parts of yourself may have become second nature. It’s okay; it happens to the best of us. But the good news is, now that that relationship is over, you get to be your real self again! So get back into your weird hobbies, cook the food that you love but they didn’t like, and just embrace the freedom you now have to be who you want to be!
The longer you were in that relationship, the more difficult this may be. You may have heard that couples who are together for a long time can eventually start to look alike, and while that’s not entirely true, long-term couples do develop similarities. So when that relationship ends, how do you know which parts of you are you and which parts are them? You may have to come to terms with the fact that you’ll never be the same person you were before the relationship. But this doesn’t have to be a bad thing!
Adjusting to the new you
Relationships are like any life experience; they can change you, sometimes in ways you didn’t expect or even want. So when you come out of a long relationship, don’t expect to be the same as you were before you were in it. While you’re allowed to mourn the loss of the you that was untouched by your now ex, try to find the good that has come from your experience.
You probably learned a lot from your relationship, and just because that relationship is now over, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still use those lessons. Maybe you became more patient, or you learned how to better listen to what others are saying. Or, maybe you now know yourself better and what you want from your next relationship. All of these things make you a better person than you were before this relationship, and you should be proud of your growth. Because even if it happened while you were involved with another person, you are the one responsible for all of your self-improvement.
So what now?
The thing to remember is, a break-up doesn’t have to be an end; it can be a beginning. It can be the beginning of your own journey to self-discovery and a deeper understanding of who you are and what you want from life. And when (or if) you’re ever ready for another relationship, you’ll be better equipped to say ‘yes’ to what you want, ‘no’ to what you don’t want, and present your whole self fully and without reserve. You deserve someone who loves all of you, not just the pieces of you that can be deemed the most acceptable.
Written by Adena Dewar
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