How to survive a break up

It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted here. Being pretty busy with life and work made me almost forget about this blog.. almost..

I’ve seen heaps of pages which talk about how depression set on by break ups can be handled by extroverts, and to be honest I have tried to apply it in my life but it most of it didn’t really work. So, why is it so different for an introvert? As commonly well known, introverts prefer keeping to themselves or their closely knit friend groups. They tend to be uncomfortable around groups of unfamiliar people and due to this factor they usually find it harder to meet people they like or are comfortable with. And even if someone does catch their eye, it takes a lot of effort for them to approach them. Once they do approach someone and the feeling is mutual, they open themselves up. As introverts generally keep to themselves, having someone they love,  means considering them as a part of themselves and almost every activity revolves around their partner. Funny enough it’s also because of this that introverts and extroverts make the best pair.  The extrovert acts like their window to the world and the introvert is the loyal companion who is always ready to hear and listen.  It is probably due to this reason that sometimes break ups are the most harsh on an introvert. They feel like they are left with a part of themselves missing and cannot go out to a party or socialize with friends and recharge like extroverts normally would.

 

Anyway, lets get past the boring technicalities and talk about a few stories. I’ve added a video at the end, try playing it as you read this as I was listening to it while I was writing. I feel it will help you feel what I did when I wrote this.

My first day at university, I had no clue where to start. A fresh start was always hard. A new university, new people, new home and it didn’t help that I was a bit of an introvert. Thoughts rushed to my head, how do I make friends, what do I say? Walking directly to the last bench in class, I tried being as calm as I could. After a few awkward conversations, I looked at my watch wondering when the day would be done. After what seemed like ages, the day was done. The pain of the day was nothing compared to the agony I faced every morning of that week when I had to convince myself to get up and go to class. Why did I just mention a week? Did I make friends after a week which helped me? Not really, it was around a week when I met her. …Drumroll please… She was the odd one out in her class like I was. I guess that’s what helped us connect really well. We spoke for a while and went to get some coffee. I still remember that coffee. Partly because I don’t remember a word she said, all I did was smile and nod my head as she spoke, wondering to myself how someone so beautiful, so funny and so…perfect… could be interested in me. And partly because I was so nervous when she finally asked me something and I realized that I was still nodding, that I forgot I had the coffee cup in my hand when she asked me what the time was and I looked at my watch. Luckily girls find that sort of thing cute. We hit it off pretty easy. Things were so amazing, we were so in sync. We understood each other, made each other laugh, loved the company and spent as much time together as possible. I couldn’t believe it, I had finally found the person I would live the rest of my life with. I was crazy in love. I loved how she understood me, how she had all the qualities I lacked. Studies, now that was easy for me to deal with, dealing with people was what I considered hard.  I could be somewhat a bit of an ass at times, and she knew exactly how to make me a nicer person, how to interact with people and I didn’t seem to mind. Uni work wasn’t her strong point and I helped her through it. I loved making her laugh, she used to love my jokes, life couldn’t be more perfect could it? Fast forward two years, we were still together,  we had arguments (like any couple would), but I still couldn’t imagine life without her. I had rooted her to every activity I had. Everything I did, I would ask myself what she would think about it. Few days later, I found out that she had started dating someone else. I knew very well that I should not go back to her, that I should not message her and more importantly, that eventually the pain would pass. But all this was fine when in theory, but it didn’t really work that way in practical though. What I noticed was the pain and hurt came in episodes, mostly around the time when I had nothing to do. Since she was such a big part in my life and we spent so much time together, when we broke up, I did not know what to do with the time. During my free time, my thoughts revolved around, “alright, if I do this, will she be back?” or “Let me try doing this, then she will feel the love we shared again and we will be back together” or “I loved her so much, so many girls wish their guys would love them like I loved her, why me then?” or ” What did I do wrong? Maybe it’s something I did”, but I guess the biggest thing that bothered me was the question ” She was definitely out of my league. What if I don’t find someone better than her?”

What did I do wrong? Maybe it’s something I did

I finally got around to making a Tinder profile. Tinder was amazing in my opinion, its the perfect way for introverts to socialize. Yes, I realize Tinder has been generalized as a hook-up app. But this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. It’s easy to put exactly what you are looking for in your profile and then once you are matched with someone who understands and wants something similar to what you want, you can talk to them easily (which is not really easy face to face initially for an introvert). And once you both get close and decide to meet up, the awkwardness isn’t much or rather the awkwardness is already expected/accepted. So, getting back to this story, I met this girl on tinder. She didn’t really catch my eye in the start to be honest, but as we started talking, I started getting impressed by how cool she seemed. She was someone who had similar values as I did, she was really smart, and quite a looker too. She seemed to be someone I would really hit it off with. And when we spoke, we seemed to connect so well. We finally planned a day to meet up. Being really nervous, I remember calming myself down and preparing myself mentally. I remember even thinking about driving back, half way through as I was really nervous something would go wrong. So we met, talked a bit and I really enjoyed it. I was so excited about finding a new friend. When we texted later, she told me she didn’t really feel it and was not really attracted to me. Immediately the thoughts rushed to my head, “Yea, why am I surprised?”, “Surely, looks definitely matter the most for people”, “Am I not good enough?”, “She was someone I saw as such an amazing person and I thought we hit it off well and it still didn’t work, I wonder what’s wrong with me?” and yes the “Will I ever find someone better?”

Am I not good enough?

We were really good friends. She was a really open person and her honest opinion about things in life always helped me. She seemed to have solutions for every problem I had. Talking to her just always cheered me up and I loved all the support she gave me. I liked her a lot… A LOT.. We knew things wouldn’t work for us as she had some issues at home to deal with along with some of her personal problems, and I was not in a stage to ask for her hand in marriage. So unwillingly I came to terms with not acting on it as I always thought it would just bring more pain for all involved. We did talk about it though, but we decided that doing nothing was best. It’s easy to summarize my heart break in a paragraph but words cannot explain what I felt. It was really hard. The first day was surprisingly easier than the following days. I guess it was then that realization actually sunk in. I was so attached to her,  it felt so strange to have that ripped out. I always felt that void no matter how much I tried keeping myself busy. I knew it was my fault. I wondered to myself if I will ever find someone who will make me as happy as she made me. I guess it goes on to show that you can experience a heart break even if you haven’t actually dated someone or get rejected, and the pain isn’t any less.

I knew it was my fault. I wondered to myself if I will ever find someone who will make me as happy as she made me.

I was just getting done with my studies. Most of my flatmates were moving away and I had to find a new apartment. I logged on to facebook and found an ad which looked promising. Few days later, I went to view the house, my potential flatmates were a couple and a single girl. The rent seemed low enough and the house looked decent, so I decided to go for it. Little did I know that the move would play a bigger part in my life than I knew. A few months into moving into the new flat, I started talking to her. She seemed perfect, her curly locks, her smile, her giggle. I loved how she listened to me, how she was so genuine, so truly nice from deep within. And best of all, she loved the gym as much as I did. I hated going to the gym alone and loved to have some good company too. I asked myself a lot, was I ready for a relationship, was I ready for the awkward conversations with my flatmate if this didn’t work. Finally when I was sure, I told her while we were watching a movie and soon enough we were dating. Things between us were amazing, we literally did everything together. We could spend hours together doing our own stuff and still not be bored. I was the quiet one and she was the social one. When we went for parties, she used to be the one to drag me and make me socialize. I was the responsible one, she used to lose every single thing she had, from her keys to her driving license. She even lost her car once. We fit in perfectly like two pieces of a puzzle. Fast forward seven months. We watched a movie together, things were not as smooth as it was few months ago. We argued about stuff but I always felt that it was no biggie. After the movie, she said she wants to talk. She told me she does not see things working as we were too different to coexist peacefully, that she fell out of love and doesn’t love me enough to want to try again, and left. I was heartbroken and did not know what to do. I went through packets of cigarettes faster than a child goes through a box of candy. I spoke to my flatmates about it, they told me that she didn’t deserve me. That I should move on, and not take her back if she does come back. They told me I should probably have a few casual flings, some one night stands, to just blow off some steam.  I silently listened as all my thoughts revolved around one question ” What if I never find someone better? I should try to get her back! ”

What if I never find someone better? I should try to get her back.

These are not all of my stories, some of them are stories I’ve gathered from a few friends. You may have also noticed that some of them wouldn’t necessarily be what we would term as a “heart break” or a break up. The pain of rejection does not have to always come from a failed relationship, it can come from missed opportunities, missed friends, anything that can leave you with regret of a missed human connection.  None of these pains are less or more than the other.  They bring about the same thoughts of bitterness, grief, shame and question our self worth.  Why is it that we harbor these kind of thoughts? And more importantly, what is the solution – how can someone get over depression after a break up or any kind of missed connection?

 

  • Stop telling yourself that you should not feel bad. Realize that it WILL hurt. It will always get worse before it gets better. People might tell you that its better for you in the long run, or that she wasn’t right for you, or even that she doesn’t deserve you and that you should stop moping over her. You should not skip your grieving period. Let yourself be upset, be sad, be angry, be bitter, cry. We seem to conditioned into thinking that crying is for the weak. Crying is the natural way to get over a loss. The end of anything in your life is a loss, even if it was for the greater good. The grieving period can be anywhere from a week to a month to a year or more. But do not skip it as you will leave a lot of emotions deep within that can break out at some point. Let it take its course naturally.
  • “No one understands what I am going through” This is a common feeling that we go through. Remember, as humans, we all love relationships and almost every single person has been in a relationship at least once in their lifetime or has had their heart broken and have managed to get over it. People got over it, you will too.
  • “Keep yourself busy.”. Keeping yourself busy may provide short term relief but will definitely backfire soon. Pushing something to the back of your mind makes it build up larger and larger till one day you will not be able to push it away anymore. Rather let the thoughts come normally, yes it will make you sad, upset and bring about some tears. After some time, this helps you be emotionally clean. Or it will lead to-
  • Letting our fears drive us. We should remember that when we broke up, everything that we went through was purely subjective to that relationship only. And letting our fears drive us will only prevent us from going further. Yes, you may have been let down, but realize that just because one person treated you in that way, does not mean others will. If you don’t get over your demons before getting into another breakup, it will affect your future relationships. The whole world will look red if you look through a red-stained glass.
  • “Get out more, go socialize”. This works well for extroverts, but for introverts, its easier said than done. If you are an introvert, make sure you get enough alone time to recharge. But remember,  introverts also need some social interaction to stay balanced and healthy. Your fear of being let down will try using the excuse of introversion to prevent you from socializing and getting hurt. You don’t need to go to a party or a pub, talk to a few close friends. Spend some quality time. There are also other alternatives to socializing, go for a run, join a gym. I’ve found out that joining church groups are really effective as people are really welcoming and help you feel accepted. Getting back into your hobbies is also useful. Did you have a project you never got around to finishing? A sketch? A blog post maybe? 🙂 channel this time into doing something you enjoyed doing.
  • The fear that you will not find someone else who could make you as happy, or find someone better. There was once a test done where they compared the level of happiness felt by the winner of a million dollar lottery twelve months later and a paraplegic. Surprisingly their levels of happiness were the same. Human beings always consider happiness to be subjective. We tend to compare it with something else, but in reality the level of happiness we feel is independent in the long run to what we have/had/lost. We can always find a way to be happy with what we have. Human beings are resilient, we will eventually always get over everything and adapt to new things. And that level of happiness we feel then will be the same. Just let go.  Don’t let the fear  of not finding something better drive you. Stop trying to guilt trip your ex into coming back.  This is a recipe for disaster.  Even if they do return back due to the guilt trip,  they will almost always leave again. The cold hard truth is that you cannot force someone to be with you.
  • Forgive. Even if you were wronged, forgive. Forgive not just for them, but for your sake too. The best way to let go of a relationship is to let go of all the emotions that come with it which also includes the anger, hate and bitterness. Prayer helps a lot with this. Channel only the positive energy, leave out everything else.
  • STOP telling yourself that it is your fault. STOP blaming yourself. This is the most important step. The feeling of guilt, brings about thoughts about trying to get your ex back. Accept that it is done and that it is always a two way stream. Just like you want to get back with your ex, your ex is also capable of feeling the same but does not. Why would you want to get back with someone who doesn’t want to try the same?  Also remember that feeling/thinking differently from your ex, does not make you wrong, so there is no reason to think that it is your fault to think differently. Why would you want to pretend to be something you are not for the rest of your life?
  • Don’t take things too personally. Falling out of love or not having your feels reciprocated is part of life. Taking it personally is when it starts being toxic.  The reason someone does not like you does not have to reflect on your shortcomings. Rejection does not mean that you are not good enough, but rather, just that the other person doesn’t think that you are apt for them. You are not what others think of you.
  • “Go blow off some steam”. Ah, an advice I have heard so often.  Superficial ways to blow off some steam like casual flirting, hookups or one night stand are what some see as methods to blow off some steam,  but these just confuse you into redirecting your feeling of missed connection with this person, which ends up making you feel worse.
  • Feel free to reach out for help.  I’ve always noticed that people don’t always treat mental injuries as urgently as they treat physical injuries. Remember that it is completely alright to seek help. Talk to a friend, a counselor or someone at church.  Asking for help does not mean you are weak, it means you are strong enough to admit that you need help and act on it.

These are some of the things that helped me, It’s not a one shoe fits all situation but I’m sure you can use some of this to find ways to find your peace. Remember, when you hit rock bottom, the only way left to go is up. Hang in there buddy, it will get better!

 

2 Comments

  1. When in love, the heart takes over the brain. Post breakup, there is no heart nor head. At least for a while. Our emotions are drawn up like the child who didn’t get the toy his friend got. Everybody goes through that tunnel which walls you in. That’s part of what you sign up for. It’s hard to bring your self to channel your energy away from the ex lover. You have to accept that it will take a while. Like you said, one will come out of it. You may try to gym, blog or find other fish in the sea but it will take a while to see everything in a new light. Not saying you shouldn’t take an initiative. Just that it will take time.
    Well written

    Reply

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