Words by Sierra Pedro

Ah, yes. The dreaded parting of ways. We always imagine that breaking up will be easier than it really is. Why wouldn’t we? In a relationship, you always imagine that there is no way that this person could move on and not care about you. But things get messy when people suddenly leave. Here are my 10 pieces of advice on things to remember if you’re going through a bad break up:

1. Your friends will likely be angrier than you.

That’s okay. These are your people. They see the best parts of you that you don’t see yourself, and they are rooting for you. Your relationship may have been a huge example in their lives, and they might be grieving that at some level, too. Plus, they don’t have the same sense of attachment in the other person that you do. Let them be angry, but don’t go down a rabbit hole of anger yourself, even if it seems like the easiest thing to do.

2. Cling to your 2 a.m. friends.

You’ll be fine during most days, but the nights will be harder when you aren’t keeping yourself busy and your mind can easily wander to unhealthy places. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends who will drop everything to sit with you, cry with and comfort you (and if you aren’t going through a break up, and you don’t have these types of friends, find them ASAP and keep them. You’ll need them one day). 

3. Little things might not be enjoyable for some time.

You’re used to sharing every moment with another person. Some of the most difficult moments in a break up can simply be going through your basic daily routine because you feel empty doing it alone. I promise that after a few days (or weeks or months), you’ll be able to enjoy that cup of coffee again and find pleasure in doing the things you did before. Try to celebrate the little victories. Sometimes, just getting out of bed is a victory in itself. Other times, you might hit school, workout or job goals that you’ve had for awhile. It’s okay (and healthy) to celebrate these in the midst of grieving.

4. You might want to change your body.

It’s not just a coincidence that many people cut their hair after going through a huge hurtful moment like this. You want to feel like you’ve reclaimed your body and are starting fresh. Go ahead, get that tattoo you’ve always wanted, dye your hair, kill it at the gym — Just make sure that at the end of the day, you’re doing it for you.  

5. Put down the phone.

Depending on your break up, you might want to hear their voice again, or maybe you are checking up on them to make sure your life is going better than theirs. Regardless, it’s probably healthier to focus on you. (This one is really, really hard. Don’t hate yourself if you reach out. You’re just doing what you can to cope).

6. People might not say the right things.

If you’re coming out of a long-term relationship, you probably don’t want to hear bad things about the other person because you still genuinely care about them. Just remember that they might not understand the gravity of your situation, and they’re just trying to help you through in a way they know how. Plus, is there really a good thing to hear when you’re grieving and confused? Right now in this moment, you’ll feel like you’re grieving a death. People on the outside won’t understand that, and that’s okay.

7. Get out of town.

Once you are stable enough to travel alone, take a trip to see your friends out of state or go on your own road trip. As silly as it seems, you might need a few days of the grid to do some soul searching or just make some memories of your own. Pro-tip: escape the dreary Oregon weather and go somewhere that allows you to soak up a little sun.

8. Don’t go out, rebound or use people.

Whether it’s alcohol or someone to flirt with, you might think that finding someone/something else to fill that void will make you feel better. It won’t. It’s good to have friends, but this is the time to learn how to be comfortable with being alone. This brings me to my next point. Don’t let your brokenness break other people. NEVER use another person to escape from your own grief or identity crisis. You’ll only hurt more people and make more of a mess to clean up for yourself. And don’t forget about those friends who are truly supportive and here for you right now. Chances are, someday you’re going to have to pick up the pieces for them, too.

9. People are watching you.

The people who look up to you (and yes, there are people who do) are watching your actions and reactions. It’s okay to grieve or even be angry, but know that your actions in your darkest days are showing people who you truly are, and you should show them your light, even when it seems impossible to find.

10. Remind yourself that you are freaking brilliant.

It’s easy to beat yourself down after a break up, especially if you’re on the receiving end. Trust your friends when they say good things about you. They’re not just telling you these things out of pity. They truly believe you’re a warrior. And as Grey’s Anatomy’s Christina Yang would say, “He may be dreamy, but he’s not the sun. You are.”