Moving On After A Bad Breakup

As soon as you read the headline you were probably already thinking about that time when you had your worst breakup. Or maybe you’re thinking of a horrible story your best friend told you about their ugly end to a long relationship. It’s taken me almost two years to write this and to be honest it feels strange digging it up again because it’s been so long but I would regret never writing this story. It’s a sad story, that happens to more people than I ever imagined. And you need to know that life gets better — because it does.

Let’s dive in.

(Heart) Breaking News

It was a Thursday afternoon at work and I was browsing through Facebook when I noticed the little red “2” bubble hovering over my “Other” Message Box.

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I opened it and quickly skimmed a message from a girl I’ve never heard of before. She asked me if I was still with my boyfriend at the time because she’d been seeing him all summer and some sketchy stuff was going on. The second message was from a different girl, whom I also did not know, asking a similar question. Wut.

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It doesn’t really matter how you found out, whether through your ex, catching them in the act, or from a message by the third party(ies). It just flat out sucks to discover the person you thought you knew all this time was capable of such a horrible series of actions. The pain I felt was unlike anything I ever felt before. I felt utterly betrayed, confused, exasperated, disappointed and mortified. It took a while for the shock to pass and I had a hard time deciding how to deal with it and where to go from there.

The Lurking / Mourning Stage

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Cheating is probably one of the worst causes for a breakup but how you deal with it is an opportunity to let the experience either ruin you or mold you. As with any break up during this social media era, it takes a lot of self-control not to check their profiles for updates, or hack into their emails to see what they’re up to. In fact, lurking their blogs or Twitter feeds does you more harm in the end. The truth is, you’re not going to get anything but bitterness when you find out your ex is either still fooling around, or depressed and remorseful. Nothing can change what he/she did to you, and honestly at this point, it’s not about them anymore — it’s about you.

Avoiding The Reckless Search for Temporary Fixes Stage

There are two ways you’ll handle the breakup. You’ll either run off and mess around, get wasted at parties, and binge-watch Netflix to make yourself forget, or you’ll find healthy ways to deal with it that, although slowly, will help you rebuild your self-esteem and rediscover your value. Although the first method might seem to work for a time, you’ll still have those nights when you wake up at 3:15 AM thinking about how it used to be, and what happened to make him/her do that. You’ll still have broken relationships because of unresolved trust issues. You’ll still doubt your worth because you’re not showing the world what you stand for. This is why this stage is best to avoid… so those things don’t happen. Instead, focus on how you can grow from this… which leads to my next point.

Be Like A Phoenix

I love the concept of a Phoenix (all my fellow Harry Potter fans, HOLLAAAA). The idea that the mystical bird must suffer intense burning from flames and ash just to be reborn and transformed is what happens to us after dealing with any crisis in life. We can either remain a pile of ash and never regain our hope and confidence again, or rise up, even though it hurts, and become something more. Romantic love might never seem the same again — your whole understanding of true love, trust and honesty was just crushed. But that doesn’t mean that perspective can’t be repaired. The future can get better. It doesn’t mean people are garbage. It doesn’t mean there is no hope for your future and it doesn’t mean you’re not worth better. Because now you’re stronger. You have a great story of healing and accomplishment to write and share. You’re going to inspire and encourage. You’re a Phoenix reborn.

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Rediscover Your Worth

I joined the gym a month after the breakup. It was a healthy and fun way to rebuild my self-confidence. I started a journal to get my feelings out on paper and read articles on positivity and healthy reflection. I reunited with old friends and went out more, and that’s a good thing! Don’t sit around in your room, get out there, catch a movie, go to the drive-in, walk around the community, get a gym membership, pick up a hobby, host a BBQ or potluck, reunite with old friends and embrace new ones, build relationships with people you can trust, spend time with your family, be with people who love you! There are so many other amazing relationships for human beings to experience and you owe it to yourself to discover or revive them. Plus, this is a chance for you to learn about who you are. A cheating ex has no power over your present or your future. Instead of looking back and dwelling on your pain, look forward at the freedom you’re about to experience! Appreciate who you are because you are a treasure and it’s going to get better. You’re full of beautiful qualities that you should discover, embrace and be proud of.

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Set Your Standards High

Seriously do this. Sit down and write down a list of things you expect from your future man/woman and a list of the things you won’t tolerate. (Be reasonable of course, no one is perfect!) Read it over a few times then put it away. Doing this will give you a picture of what you believe you deserve from someone and it also refreshes your mind when you are ready for a new relationship. Setting your standards high will help you find someone you can count on, and who is as much a treasure to you as you are to them.

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Embrace Peace (and Forgive!)

I know you’re angry, I sure was! Having your trust broken whether it’s from a relationship, friend, or family member, can really damage you and have a lasting scar that takes years to fade away. But one way you can get that wound on the road to recovery is to forgive. Yeah… I know, why should you? Sometimes forgiveness is more about your healing and peace, than their removal of guilt for what they did. When you forgive you prevent what they did from holding you underwater. You can move forward, let the past go, and slowly work to regain your trust in people, and your confidence in yourself.

I’ve made the mistake of rushing into a new relationship after being hurt, as if replacing the person would help me forget. But you need to give yourself time to deal with and accept what happened, find consolation in your friends, and spend time taking care of yourself and working on your healing. And who knows–maybe one of those friends will become someone you can grow into a meaningful relationship with! Once you hit rock bottom, there’s nowhere left to go but upward. 🙂

 

5 Practical Steps to Get Over a Cheater

A statistic published by eHarmony stated about 50% of men and 39% of women cheat in relationships. That’s a huge percentage! The continuous and fast-paced growth of human interaction with the digital world has made cheating more common and easier to do. Obsessing over Facebook photos, sending nude photos over data messaging, and private Instagram messaging are just a few ways that people can sneak around.

I want to share five tips that really helped me come to terms with my breakup to help you move on too and get your confidence back! Healing doesn’t happen overnight and even after you enter a new relationship you may still struggle with negative thoughts, doubts and trust issues, but that’s okay. It takes time and you need to be patient with yourself :).

1. Recognize What They Did Was Not Your Fault

You might find thoughts creeping into your mind about what you did wrong, or you might criticize yourself. These thoughts can keep you emotionally chained, which is really not what you want. If your boyfriend/girlfriend is continuously cheating on you, that’s a sign of their character. You must accept the first truth: everyone is responsible for their own actions. They did what they did because they chose to and that’s not your fault.

2. You’re in Control Now

It is not selfish to leave a cheating partner. You might feel like you owe them a second chance, but honey, you don’t! They’ve already broken the foundation of your relationship. Take some time to consider what the future might be like. Ask yourself: “Do I really want to be with someone who isn’t content? Don’t I want someone who is honest and true? Is this broken relationship worth more than a fresh start? How has this anxiety and grief affected my health? Do I want that in my life?” Trust your ability to make your own choices and do what’s right. You may not have control over what happens to you, but you do have control over how you choose to respond.

3. Say Goodbye to Second Chances

It might be really hard to let them go because you’ve invested time, emotions and various efforts into it. Your families might even be involved and that can get really confusing and upsetting. That being said, leftover feelings or not wanting them to be with anyone else, are not good reasons to keep the relationship going. Healthy relationships require mutual hard work and mutual commitment.

Consider what this second chance will mean to them — are they genuinely remorseful and willing to cut this out of their life? Or are they toying with your emotions and shedding tears for a “get out of jail free” card? Remember this decision isn’t up to them — you’ve got the power!

4. Download Healthy Thoughts, Delete Harmful Ones

Letting your negative thoughts run free is a slippery slope and we have all been there once or twice! Your thoughts become your perspective, which affects your actions. Think hopeless thoughts and life will appear dreary and depressing. Depression makes it so hard to get out of sinkholes like this breakup and that’s why you have to choose positive thoughts to meditate on daily. Tell those negative thoughts to SCRAM and throw a party for the nice ones. Make a list, post it on your wall, create an inspiration board, put up pictures of your friends, write a journal about something good you did each day, watch puppy videos, pray with a friend, ask your family members to share a funny story from your childhood… STAY POSITIVE!

5. CARPE DIEM!

After I found out what happened all I wanted to do was hide in my room and cry until my tear ducts dried up. But I knew there was nothing I could do to change what happened and sitting around moping for weeks wouldn’t help me move on or feel any better. When you’re at rock bottom, you have nowhere else to go except up. So get up. See your friends, try a new restaurant, watch a TV series with your family, enjoy a musical drive around your neighborhood, dream about the future, pamper yourself, pray every night, talk to people about it, do something kind for a stranger, find a new hobby, listen to different music, remove everything that reminds you of the past and replace it. There are a thousand things you can to do make every day count. Don’t let anyone steal your joy!

Prayer and reconnecting with my true friends helped me a lot. When I started to see my worth through Jesus’ eyes instead of my own, it got a lot easier to look in the mirror. It was invaluable to me to have the love, support, comfort, prayers and guidance of my friends and family. I still have moments where I wrestle with my thoughts but I’m learning that the hardest experiences in life are the ones that shape us the most. I started off as a pretty ball of clay, and after this happened I was mashed up and ugly, but once I accepted that I am a work in progress, I started to appreciate the awkward ridges and grooves. I’m letting go and letting life shape me.

Love Doesn’t Actually Hurt Though

People say love hurts and love is pain but I don’t believe that’s true. Love is the unshakable, unmovable, unstoppable force that drives people to do good, to make sacrifices for the betterment of others and to overcome the most earth-shaking tragedies.

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The reason for this hurt and pain is not love, it’s reality. Life, unfortunately, is not a fairy tale. You don’t always win the heart of your first crush, one mistake can ruin years of friendship, a university degree does not always guarantee a job, buying lottery tickets every week does not guarantee you’ll ever be a millionaire. We’re faced with hurt and pain because evil exists and it’s everywhere. Love is the force that sustains us, keeps us, guards our hearts and gives us hope. Love keeps us believing things can get better, love encourages us when negativity starts to wear us down, love restores, repairs and revives. Love gives new meaning to life when previous ways have failed us.

Don’t allow bitterness from the disappointments of this world to grow inside your heart and don’t let a bad attitude and negative thinking prevent you from experiencing love and joy in your life. Take control of your thoughts, make active choices about who and what you invest yourself into. Remember love is not the criminal; love is the hero. When life gets tough, and it will, remember this: Love is the only thing that will get you through to the end of the road!

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“Get Off Your Phone!”

What is it about mobile technology that has us so hypnotized? Friends meet up at restaurants and spend more time with their eyes on the screens, than each other. We may not be interested in what is happening around us, but it doesn’t send a good message. A friend caught me doing this exact same thing, and called me out for it, so now I’m going to break down why I think being on your phone while hanging out with your friends isn’t cool. (Also to help me stay accountable!)

Selfishness?

Out of boredom we might start going through our phones, not considering that it might be disrespectful to the people around us. Most of us don’t realize how often we do this until someone points it out, but it’s not a good habit to have especially when we’re in the presence of another person. In my own experience, I’ve been annoyed with seeing groups of friends or couples at a restaurant or coffee shop on their phones, totally disengaged from each other yet all seated together. It doesn’t make sense to venture out of our homes into our social circles only to consume ourselves in tiny, lonely, palm-sized, digital worlds that allow limited room for face-to-face communication. We’ve developed a terrible habit substituting real interaction with digital convenience. We all experience this distaste for how technology steals away the attention of the people we interact with, yet we all fall victim to the contagiousness of mobile technology.

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Communication Issues

Our obsession with mobile devices prevent us from building proper communication skills. While we spend the majority of our days occupied with the fascinations of a little device, we’re unable to interact with people the way we used to before the rise of technology. We even miss out on powerful real life experiences like music concerts and performances because we’re looking at them through our phones! I do it too and I think it’s insane!

We’ve also developed shorter attention spans and impatience. When a stranger sits beside us on the bus and says “good afternoon” we’re more annoyed they’ve distracted us from achieving a high score on Candy Crush, than interested in making friendly conversation. We’re so addicted to entertainment from mobile games and social media that we don’t get enough human interaction and intimacy. We’ve created a self-involved, self-modified digital life where we are in total control of what we choose to see and what we don’t. As a result, we forget how to show respect, listen, understand, relate, empathize and use our words wisely when interacting.

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Insecurity and Intimacy

I mentioned how our obsession with our phones prevent us from engaging in human interaction and intimacy. This is a serious and common problem. One thing I’ve observed is the secrecy the online world provides. When you have a password-protected mobile device or laptop, you can keep a lot of secrets. I’ve experienced this and my obliviousness to someone’s secret life, hidden under the veils of the Internet, cost me a lot of time and caused me a lot of hurt. Life online is not on open display. It’s so easy to delete a shameful conversation or revisit a coworker’s photographs on Facebook without getting found out. Secrecy is one of the leading causes of trust issues in relationships. And as if the threat of secrecy wasn’t enough, our constant use of our phones can build a wall between us and the people we love.

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When we’re at home watching a movie with our families and we’re browsing through our phones, our body language sends signals that we’re not interested in sharing the experience with our families. Similarly, when we’re on a date, the last thing we should do is whip out our phones to start a texting conversation with our friends. It’s disrespectful and it shows the person we’re with we’re not content with their company. Nothing is wrong with checking our phones, but constantly being glued to it really holds us back from experiencing intimate and special moments. In the end, we’re the ones missing out on life.

The Solution is Simple

Okay so we admit we’re a little too hooked on our phones, so what do we do about it? I say, let’s be deliberate about not allowing it to consume all our time. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are a few suggestions:

  • Delete the apps you’re obsessed with and take a break
  • Keep your phone in your purse or pocket when you’re out on a date
  • Turn your phone on silent and keep it away from your bed when you go to sleep
  • Leave your phone in another room during family time, especially at dinner
  • Make time each week to sit together and talk, instead of just being in the same space doing different things
  •  Once a month go on a “retreat” by abandoning your phone and spending the day in nature

Becoming aware of how often and why we idle away on our phones will keep us from getting too dependent on having it as an appendage.

After all, what’s more valuable? Quality time together is much more valuable than trying to escape a moment by diving into our phones.

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