One girl's journey of getting over a breakup

Earlier this year, I broke up with my long-term boyfriend. Safe to say the split was suuuper difficult, but I'm sharing my real-life story and all that I learned about moving forward post-heartbreak. Because, trust: You, too, can survive (and maybe even learn to thrive!) at the end of a committed relationship. 

The Relationship 

When you're dating someone (esp. for a pretty lengthy amount of time), you think that you'll be together forever. You'll be each other's prom date, you'll always stop to talk in the hallways and you'll graduate and head off to college together. This definitely happened to me with my almost four-year-long relationship.

It's easy to get wrapped up in all those thoughts about the future—and start ignoring the red flags in your day to day.

I started to notice that I was really trying to make sure my life easily meshed with his: Instead of hanging out with my friends when I wanted, I did what he wanted to do. Instead of joining the organizations I wanted to join, I followed in his path. I started to feel like my own dreams weren't important if they didn't match his.

I know that I'm not the only girl to do this. So many of us were taught to be people-pleasers and feel more comfortable putting others first—even if it's at the cost of our happiness. But deep down, I knew catering my life and dreams to my S.O.'s (even though no one was necessarily asking me to) wasn't okay. 

I didn't know who to talk to or what to do, so I did nothing. Every day, I would have this inner battle in my head thinking about 1) how I was unhappy and then 2) getting mad at myself for even thinking that. But eventually, I knew sitting in my dissatisfaction wasn't enough. 

The Breakup

I finally reached out to my best friend and my therapist just to talk about what was happening. And before either of them responded, I knew what I had to do. I listened to myself, listened to my heart and broke up with him that night. 

The entire evening, I bawled my eyes out. I called my friends and my mom and talked through everything racing through my brain. I was thinking anything and everything: Had I made a mistake? Was I ever going to see him again? Was my life going to change for the worse? Did I need him? What if I am just being dramatic? He's a nice guy, and I should be grateful.  I was scared that I had made the wrong decision.

But here's the thing: Throughout my journey, from the very start until now, the most important thing for me has been my support system. My friends, family and therapist have been there to help me when I am feeling sad, frustrated and guilty.

The Healing (+ how you can heal, too!)


Outside of talking through my feelings with the people who care about me, I have been doing a few things to kickstart my healing process. Doing tiny acts of kindness for myself—especially enjoying the things I had given up because they weren't my ex's cup of tea, like watching my fave TV show or listening to my fave music—has made all the difference. 

Not going to lie, breakups are *so* painful. But there are a few key ways to help ease your heartbreak (at least as much as possible!)...

1. Live on your own schedule

I love that I get to live life totally on my own terms now. While we were together, for example, I forced myself to exercise when he wanted to. We would do strenuous workouts that I didn't actually enjoy.

Recently, I've returned to the hobbies I had stopped doing for him. Instead of running, I've started to grab my shoes and sunglasses, put on my favorite podcast and go on low-key walks around my neighborhood. I didn't realize how much I missed it until now.

2. Reconnect with your BFFs

If my ex was free, I would drop everything I had planned, because he had a busy schedule and I felt like I had to take advantage of his free time. Because I put him as my top priority, I stopped hanging out with my friends as much.

But these past few weeks, I have spent more time with my friends than I have in the past six months—laughing, catching up and just enjoying being together.


3. Remembering nice guy ≠ right relationship

Since we broke up, I realized the thing that *really* matters is that I deserve to be happy and feel free to do what I want, when I want. Just because my ex had some qualities that I loved and could be a great boyfriend sometimes didn't mean it was the right relationship for me.

This breakup taught me that, just like with friends, sometimes your personalities don't completely mesh, and you can't do anything about it. It's difficult but ultimately OK to let go of a relationship with a great person if they aren't *the great person* for you.

4. Prioritize yourself

I am still healing, but prioritizing myself and listening to my gut has helped me so much. I have been taking care of myself, asking for help when I need it and making sure that I keep forging on with my healing journey even when I'm feeling sad.

Relationships are so amazing, but they're no the only thing you have going for you. It's important to remember who you are and stay true to what you deserve. I am proud of myself for doing that—and I know you can do it, too! 

Looking for more relationship tips? We've got you covered:
❤️‍🩹 10 reasons to end your first relationship
What is love bombing and how can you spot it?
❤️‍🩹 What to do when you catch feelings for your ex...again

Top image: @noor.oostenveld


by Katherine Mahoney | 4/20/2024