Hi! My name is Alex and I was just broken up with.
Being broken up with sucks. You go between feeling sad, angry, apathetic, and hopeful and then repeat that cycle while you wait to heal. If you’re the most impatient person like myself, that’s a really tough thing to do.
A glimpse of what I looked like hours after he broke up with me.
This last relationship I was in was only 4 months. I’ve been in longer, but I invested my time and emotions into him and when he decided to end it, that f***ing hurt. You go into a relationship knowing it will go one of two ways, so you start to peel back layers of the other person while peeling back your own to let them in little by little. That’s the risk of relationships. When it ends, you’ve managed to peel back all these layers and end up feeling vulnerable. Like, you’ve finally opened up to someone and they’ve come to the conclusion that you’re not a fit for them. That’s hard.
In the past, I’ve had a tendency to blame myself. My outlook on life is “if there’s a will, there’s a way” and I’ve applied this to my relationships as well. I would rather try everything than give up. (Let me tell you, sometimes that is NOT the way to go.) However, I didn’t this time. Not because my ex did something wrong, but because I’ve grown a lot.
So let me focus on that for a bit and share with you what I’ve learned.
The night after my first date with my ex. I remember being really excited about it.
For the most part, I’ve only known dysfunction when it comes to relationships. Romance became toxic and I would still hold on even though I knew better. A lot of us have been there. This last relationship was anything but toxic. I broke some really bad habits and I’m proud of myself. Let’s talk about it.
There's going to be a few Carrie Bradshaw gifs. Deal with it.
Lesson #1: Push past the discomfort and lean in.
When I say “discomfort” I’m not talking about the discomfort that is brought on by someone making you feel unsafe. I’m talking about the discomfort I felt that was ultimately me try to reject something that was foreign to me- a man that wasn’t my “type” pursuing me. It sounds so bizarre to say, but when you become used to something shitty, something good can be a little anxiety inducing. Basically, I freaked a few times. Unfamiliarity can be scary. Thankfully, through years of working on myself in therapy, I managed it in a healthy way without projecting it onto my potential partner (to the best of my ability.) I processed it and had honest friends talk me off a ledge and push me forward. “Lean in” was the phrase I kept telling myself in moments of anxiety. Any time I did, the anxiety subsided because when you date good people that are pursuing you, they’ll be leaning in too.
That brings me to my next point…
It was this weekend where I realized I needed to stop being resistant and just let him pursue me and for me to enjoy it.
Lesson #2: If your “types” aren’t working, start doing some self-reflecting. Maybe even see a therapist.
Sometimes I have a hard time taking my own advice. Let me give you an example. Last year, I was on a hike with one of my friends and she was telling me about this guy she was hooking up with. They had chemistry, a few great hook ups, and he had made it known that he really liked her.
“So what’s the issue?” I asked.
Maybe Nick should have stopped getting hung up on a fleeting "feeling"?
She said something to the effect of it not being there for her and how he wasn’t her type.
I kind of thought for a second and responded with “Well from what you’ve told me, your type isn’t that great… so maybe you should try something else. He seems like an awesome guy that is pursuing you and you have chemistry, so maybe give it a try?”
Long story short, they’ve been together ever since.
He met my friends this night. They loved him. Friend approval is so important!
Lesson #3: Healthy habits are hard to make when you’ve only been used to unhealthy habits.
It took me almost a year to follow that advice myself. My latest boyfriend took me by surprised. He wasn’t my normal type and what I was comfortable with, but I was comfortable with accepting trash and that had to change.
I remember telling my therapist that I went to his house one night and I didn’t “feel” anything. She asked me “Okay, did you feel peaceful?”
And then it dawned on me. My normal baseline was so low that any time a guy I was with made me feel special, it would spike and I would get these butterflies. By the way, the “special moments” I constantly longed for is like a healthy relationship's normal baseline. It was almost like I had to constant humming of dysfunction that I was used to and the humming wasn’t there. I mistook that for not having feelings because I didn’t get these crazy butterflies. I was just experiencing peace and something normal. The butterflies came after that, but I had to rest in that epiphany first.
You do, Carrie. Do better.
Lesson #4A: Stop striving for perfection.
You’re only going to disappoint yourself.
One of the things that I love about myself is my ability to at least strive to love people well. I saw this play out in this relationship and that was so encouraging.
Something I wish I could have done better was put myself first a little more. Sometimes I get caught up in wanting to be there for others that I’m not fully there for myself. I don’t have to get it right all the time and be perfect. The right person will love me flaws and all and see that ultimately I try my best to do right by them. I saw my ex become disengaged and, for the most part, fought against holding on tighter (super proud of myself for that.) I started doing more things for myself and focusing on that for a bit while he figured it out. That was REALLY anxiety inducing, by the way. Once again, I made sure that I processed that with my therapist, honest friends, and eventually him in a healthy way.
This was the weekend where I felt like I finally was opening up more. I felt comfortable. I kept tackling my anxieties and that was a great feeling. I worked on myself for years and saw the fruits of that.
Lesson #4B: Don’t look for 10/10, look for the best fit.
Let me tell you something. 4 months ago, my ex checked most of the boxes, but not all of them. I realized that was okay. Instead of focusing on what he didn’t bring to the table, I started focusing on what he did bring to the table. I’m not telling you to settle. Don’t do that. Just maybe take a good hard look at your priorities (hi, self-awareness) before you pull the plug on something that could potentially be better than what you originally wanted for yourself. I found myself being pleasantly surprised and watched my boxes shift. I got to see in real time that maybe there were some qualities I overlooked before that work really well with my personality. That was encouraging to see!
Okay, but make sure you're not just being a sh***y version of yourself and just expect your partner to put up with that.
Lesson #5: You’re enough.
If you couldn’t tell, I didn’t want this relationship to end- but it did and I’ll be okay. Instead of feeling like this was on me, I walked away knowing that I did everything I could and I was true to myself. At the end of the day, him not wanting to be with me didn’t mean I wasn’t enough. He might not have thought I was his perfect fit, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a great fit for someone.
I think that’s a bit unreasonable, by the way. I’m not looking for someone who checks all of my boxes, I’m looking for someone who is the best fit for me. At the end of the day, I could have looked at my ex and been like “you’re missing these 3 things, so BYEEEEE” and I’ll more than likely continue to roam the earth constantly feeling disappointed by people due to my unrealistic expectations. Look for the best fit. Look for those qualities in a person that will come into play when things get really hard. Look for good character. If someone doesn’t think you’re the best fit for them, don’t take it personally. Continue to work on yourself and wait for the person who does think you’re the best fit for them. Hopefully they’ll be the best fit for you too.
I booked a random trip to The Bay for the weekend when I felt a shift in our relationship. I decided to take a step back and focus on me. I also got to catch up with some awesome ladies.
So where do I go from here? I'm gonna keep doing what I've been doing- working on myself. I do that through therapy, working out, eating right, traveling, and surrounding myself with good friends. The care and work I put into myself will not only pay off for me now, but when I'm ready for my next relationship. If you're in a similar boat, I would encourage you to do the same. Never stop self-reflecting and working on yourself.
Oh, and listen to some Drake... and maybe a little Cardi B too.
A week after the breakup. As you can see, I'll be okay.
Well thanks for sitting in on my therapy session and letting my process a lot with you. Feel free to message me or leave a comment with your thoughts. I look forward to reading them!
Oh, and this is me still doing fine (in the midst of some sadness) and living my best life.
Here I am getting some solid encouragement and advice from Ryan and Tanya: