I was 23 years old and I was crazy in love. We were living together for something like 5-6 months already. Everything was great: We didn’t have any major disagreements. We could spend hours talking. We had amazing sex. We were going out a lot, having fun with friends. Life was blissful and I was feeling on top of the world!
I remember how I was trying to be the “perfect woman” – to have our home clean, to have prepared a dinner, to have showered, shaven my legs, done my makeup and be ready for when he comes home, so I can dedicate all my time, attention, energy and love to him. It was a very innocent and pure love.
At the beginning of December we went to do shopping for Christmas decoration. I found this soo romantic! I love Christmas and for the first time in my life I was living with my boyfriend and we were decorating for Christmas!! It was just lovely.
The end of December was approaching. We were making plans on how we will celebrate Christmas and New Years’ Eve…everything was just like what you would expect it to be in a good relationship.
And then, few days before Christmas he came home. We had sex, we had dinner and then he said to me “Tomorrow I am leaving. I need to pack and go back to my ex, otherwise she won’t allow me to see my son anymore” (yes, it was a little bit of a complicated situation). This was something they have been planning for weeks behind my back and he let me believe that everything between us is perfect, that we are celebrating the holidays together….
I cried all night (while he was sleeping!!). In the morning I helped him pack and let him go.
He broke my heart and my trust like no one else. I was devastated. For days in a row I was just laying in bed, not having the will power to shower. I was eating only junk food, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. I didn’t want to see nor talk to anyone. I’ve spent Christmas by myself. I was hurt very badly.
The worst part – he didn’t leave for good. A week later, he was looking for contact with me and I was too desperate, too lonely, too needy and dependent to say “no”. For months after he moved out we were having some type of a relationship. This didn’t allow me to heal and to move on. I knew this was not good for me, but I couldn’t stop.
It feels like this was the darkest chapter of my life, but also a source of a great strength. I remember thinking “if this doesn’t kill me, I can face anything!”. One day I saw clearly how he was feeding on me, like a parasite, coming to me for love and warmth and keeping me in his power. I realized that he will not have the courage to come back and live with me, but that he is also too weak to stop seeing me. He was wasting my time. I would never have with him what I really wanted and I was done with compromising my needs and my desires for crumbles of his time and of his love. I’ve reached my point of no return: “No! This is enough! I don’t want you in my life! I don’t want to see you anymore!”
For a year after I said this, he was stalking me, not accepting that I am done with him, but then it was over and I was free!
I am grateful for this experience, because to escape from the pain in my heart, I started my personal development journey and my spiritual path. I had a choice to be the victim or to move on and to build the life and the relationship that I knew I can have.
But yes, I know how a broken heart feels and I know that at the end of the year, it is even more difficult to bear the pain – at times nagging on the background and at other times – sharp and consuming you.
How to help your heart heal?
Healing is a process and it takes time. The same when it comes to healing of your broken heart. If you are on this journey – adapt an attitude of curiosity, (self-)compassion and patience!
The healing process and the stages we are going through are unique for each of us, but there are things which maybe you recognize
Often the pain is so intense that you are not ready to feel it and you choose to distract or to numb yourself. This is a coping strategy and it works well, but only at the beginning, shortly after the breakup. Don’t fall in the trap of pushing down your feelings and keeping your heart closed for too long. The pain is there and from the background it will affect your choices, your future relationships and your life. As soon as you are ready, when you feel open to take responsibility for your part of the relationship, see what insights and lessons you can find in it. Try these self-inquiry questions:
- What expectations I had of love and relationships when I started the relationship?
- What did I want to change in my partner?
- What didn’t I want to give to my partner? What was I holding back?
- Where have I not been true to myself in the relationship? What did I pretend or lie about, or where did I cross my own boundaries?
Especially in long-term relationships, often you start to identify yourself with the relationship and when it ends your ego and self-image are in agony. You lose perspective and sense of who you are without your partner and without the relationship. If you are experiencing this, get my “E-book with powerful self-worth practices”.
After the end of the relationship, fear often kicks in. It could be:
- Uncertainty what is coming and which way to take now
- Financial insecurities
- To be on your own
- To be a single parent
- To meet new people and to date again
- To open your heart and to love again
You can use expressive writing/drawing to look into the fear and don’t allow it to consume you. I have a blog post about it. “How to work with your fears”, with detailed instructions about the practice.
Based on your personality and background, on how the relationship was and on why/how the separation happened, the range of emotions you are going through after the breakup can be really wide: denial, clinging, desperation, being a victim, fear, self-pity, jealousy, self-doubt, hatred, anger, understanding, acceptance, forgiveness, compassion, love… There is no right or wrong. Whatever you feel is valid and it deserves to be recognized! Give it space! Here self-soothing practices and inner child work (especially if you have an old abandonment trauma) are key! If you need guidance there, check my Bundle of 3 priceless healing practices.
Take your power back
In the midst of the pain from the separation, let go of the story and focus on the feeling. Don’t try to push it down nor to analyze it. Just stay with the feeling for a moment.
Then ask yourself a question: “What do I really miss about him”. Again, don’t create a story, stay with the question. Maybe an answer that comes to you is “the way he was looking at me as an extraordinary woman” or “his calm and loving presence”.
Once you have the answer, take your power back. What are you going to do to bring what you are missing in this space and in your life? How can you create this for yourself? Stop looking outside for what you are missing and cultivate what your heart is craving for.
Maybe for you, this could be the way you look at yourself, or the way you are treating yourself or how your inner dialog goes. And little by little, with attention, with care and with small actions bring into your life and into yourself what you are missing from him.
- Other practical ideas:
- Change as much as possible your environment. If you used to live together, ideally don’t stay in the same place, find a new home. If this is not possible – clean up the belongings of your ex-partner as fast as possible, repaint the walls, redecorate, remove your stuff that remind you of him
- Supportive social circle – surround yourself with friends and family who love you
- Change your hair, your dressing style, take time for self-care
- Listen to uplifting, happy, optimistic music
- Meditate, take care of your body and of your health
- Start something new, do something adventurous, experiment – learn a new language, go to dance classes, explore your femininity, join a club
- Set new goals for yourself – remove a bad habit, create a new healthier routine
All this work, but don’t use it as an escape mechanism. Give yourself time in silence every day, to check in on how you feel and where in your body you feel it.
Little by little your heart will stop bleeding and the longing of giving and receiving love will become stronger than your fear to be hurt again. Then you will gather a little bit of courage to be vulnerable and you will open yourself to the world again. Hope and enthusiasm will emerge and the potential for a new and a deeper relationship will unfold.