I went through a breakup last summer.
We had been dating for two and a half years, and had been best friends for eight. We traveled the world together and had finally settled in California. He was a very significant part of my life, and I loved him deeply.
We broke up in the beginning of June … and by the end of the month I had integrated the emotions from it completely.
I know that sounds like an exaggeration or even just an outright lie – but it’s not.
I was as surprised by it as anyone else.
The difference between this breakup and past breakups was that I had an abundance of tools at my disposal to help me process it, and process it I did, magnificently.
Largely as a result of the healing I did around it, in July – July! – I called in a partner who could fully meet me on all levels. We’ve been living together since then, and I’ve never felt so certain or at home in a relationship.
People who watched me go through that breakup have been asking me to write about this for a while, but I wanted to make sure I had enough space from it first so that I could speak clearly to what I did and how I felt.
These are not steps; they are pieces.
How I got over my breakup in 3 weeks:
1. I sat in the muck of the breakup process itself.
My past relationship patterns had been to cut and run when things got difficult, and I was determined not to do that this time. Once I realized things were really wrong, we spent a couple weeks talking about it fully. I was absolutely, completely honest with him. I didn’t know I wanted to break up immediately, but I did know that I was feeling confused and questioning the relationship. I shared every single thought about this with him. He shared his fears with me. We cried about it together, holding one another.
There were many moments when we thought maybe it could work (which I go into more here), and we talked about all of those pieces. The entire time, though, my body was telling me it was over. I told him that throughout it. I cried constantly. I felt my body start grieving the end of the relationship ahead of time. I reached out to friends and family and talked about it.
I left with the feeling that I had done the relationship itself justice in every way I could, without crossing my own boundaries. I thanked him for what he helped me work through in myself. We didn’t yell at each other or say nasty things. We just… parted.
2. When I ended it, I trusted myself.
I did not *want* to end the relationship. I remember telling someone, “Everything else in my life is going so well, I don’t want to have to go through a breakup.” I did not feel like going through the process of grieving. I remembered past relationships that had taken me years to fully get over. I did not know how I would afford an apartment in LA on my own, or what I would do with the things we bought together, or what I would do without his friendship.
But once I realized my body was telling me the answer, I listened. I did not waver or try to comfort him any longer, because I knew that wouldn’t be fair to him. I understood that no decision ever feels 100% clear, and I trusted my ability to sit with the feelings of “what if this is the wrong move,” alone. I respected the fact that once I had made the decision, we were broken up. It was incredibly painful to feel us detach, and I allowed myself to feel that anyway. I trusted that I could feel the feelings and be okay.
3. I took space immediately.
Even though we were still living together and he couldn’t leave the apartment for another couple weeks, I knew it would not be good for either of us to be there together. I sat humbly in front of my altar, I looked at the moon, I said I’m trusting life and I believe this is working out for me. I considered going camping in the desert alone to escape, but it didn’t feel right, and I sat with that, too. Two days later, at a dance class with a friend, she sat with me while I grieved… and then told me she was actually leaving the country with her partner for the next two weeks and I could stay at her house if I wanted. It was a wild coincidence, and it felt like the universe showing me I was supported. I accepted this.
4. I felt every. single. feeling that came through.
I spent two weeks in that house, mostly alone. I blasted music – upbeat songs if I was feeling happy and free, and slow, sad songs if I was feeling like my entire body was breaking apart. When I noticed a new wave of emotion, I tuned into it and asked what it wanted. I danced and shook and screamed and moved everything through my body as it arose. I did breathwork practices (you can learn these in my online course, here). I did not numb out, ever. I took baths and read books and went for a couple runs and I spent most of my time listening to music and staring into space and wondering about life. I let other people see me cry, no matter where I was – walking down the street, in a self-defense class, in the grocery store. I let myself be seen.
5. I trusted everything was working out for me.
I believed it deeply. I did not feel sorry for myself. I trusted what my body was telling me, and I knew there must be a good reason all of this was happening even if I hadn’t figured it out yet. I rooted in a profound sense of self-love. I continually looked for evidence that everything was going well. It wasn’t bypassy – when I felt sad I felt really, fully sad. But deeper than my emotions, I trusted.
6. I channeled my emotion into art.
I wrote a lot. I wrote in my journal, I came up with new business ideas, I posted very publicly about my emotions on social media. I took pretty photos and I cooked myself meals. Because of this, I had the best month financially in my business I had ever had, at that point – and I collected that as more evidence that things were going right.
7. I looked for the lessons my relationship had taught me.
I gave myself room to realize the ways in which my relationship had been keeping me small, and I owned the ways that I had contributed to it. We had originally broken up because I wanted to be dating someone who inspired me, and who had motivation and purpose in his own life. But I realized so many more things after our breakup that hadn’t been as obvious to me when I was in it – the main one being that he was incredibly critical of me. I looked at these things thoroughly: why had I wanted to be dating someone who was critical of me? What happened when I was younger that made me critical of myself? Why had I wanted to be dating someone who couldn’t meet me on all levels?
I realized many things: my family was often critical of me, so as a child I became critical of myself. When my partner was critical of me, this registered as love to me. If I dated someone who didn’t inspire me, I was able to get away with a lot more in the relationship. I didn’t have to own many of my patterns or stories, because he wasn’t aware enough to call me out on them. I was able to stay smaller in my business and not show up as fully.
All of those things felt great to my ego, which is the part of us that looooves when things stay the same. They even felt safe to my inner child, since they were familiar.
So instead, I needed to develop an inner adult who was like: What do I actually want for myself?
I made a list, and I decided that I either wanted absolutely everything possible in my next relationship, or I didn’t want another relationship at all.
8. I expressed myself more fully than I ever had before.
I became very curious about myself. I slowed everything way down. I went for walks and held hands with plants and took minutes at a time to look at each flower. I wondered at my pubic hair glistening in the sunlight and I wrote a post about it. I spent many nights staying up past midnight, drinking tea and staring out the window. I self-pleasured and reminded myself how my pleasure had always been mine. I redecorated my apartment and bought all the beautiful girly things my ex had never wanted. I bought a full-price, blue velvet couch, and I danced around with scissors in my hand to Beyoncé while I unwrapped it, and then I posted that too.
Three weeks went by….. and I felt absolutely fine.
More than that, I felt more like myself than I ever had.
All of these things were conscious decisions that I made.
I could have chosen to feel sorry for myself, to numb out by watching endless tv, to get drunk and sleep with new people, or to shove my pain away and try to move on with my life. Instead, I purposely gave myself space to process and integrate.
Experiences traumatize us when we don’t have the resources to handle them and process them fully. Animals in the wild don’t stay traumatized – they process their experiences, often by shaking their bodies. Though this was a smaller experience than full-blown trauma, the concept is the same.
I would have been happy to not enter into another relationship for years – that was truly what I wanted after my breakup. I felt so solid in myself. I was surprised to realize quite quickly that I actually felt great, and I did not miss my ex at all. I came to a very grounded and realistic understanding of what the good and bad parts of the relationship had been.
And when life presented me with my current partner, I didn’t lie to myself by pretending that I needed more time in between relationships than I actually did. I continued the process of trusting my body, trusting myself.
Our bodies always know.
We just have to learn to listen to them.
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