Normally I don't do this but a friend just recently broke up with her boyfriend and she's having a pretty tough go of it.
Here is an excerpt of the advice I gave her that worked for me:
This is where I will follow up with some words of wisdom about break ups.
Breakups are fucking shit. Do you know what 'Graduation Goggles' are? It's where something you were a part of for a long time ends, and you suddenly look back on the time with heartfelt regret, maybe nostalgia, maybe you think you're making the wrong choice because things are changing, etc.
You can apply the Graduation Googles to literally any situation. This just happened to me when I left my last job. I was so upset, I thought I made the wrong choice, everyone was so supportive of me, I thought “how could I leave, I love everyone, I love my job, I can deal with all the less-good stuff I was just being dramatic. Why did I want to leave!?” and then a week after I start my new job I hear about some fuckin bull that went down and I’m like “oh right. That’s why.” And it’s like I tried to trick myself.
And this happens for relationships as well. Once you get back together or hear something or something happens and you think “oh shit that’s why we aren't dating.” And then it comes to you. Like a half ton of bricks to the temple swinging from the place called “I told you so”.
This feeling is like fucking Houdini doing some bullshit magic on your heart. It's not real, it feels real and it looks real but it. is. not. real. You're leaving the end of a situation and you are tricked into looking back on all the good times and not the bad, our brains literally make us want to forget the crap. So that's why once you break up with someone chances are a lot of other people will end up getting back together, because they think they made a mistake and they miss the other person. Which 99% of the time you are being trolled like you would not believe.
My ex of almost 4 years and I broke up at least 3-4 big times, each time I cried and thought I we made a mistake. Each time I thought “I can deal with this crappy stuff, things will get better” (at one point his mom actually called me ‘tenacious’ when I told her the last time we got back together). And then you hold on and you maybe move out together, change houses, adopt a dog, or get married or god forbid have a child because you think the change in the dynamic will revert you guys back to how you were. 99% of the time this makes things worse, and you realize “I can’t change this person, why did I even try, now I own a [object/living thing] and I feel trapped and like I can’t escape my life now.”
That last example was pretty dramatic but you can take from it what you will.
During breakups everyone feels like their whole fucking life has been ripped away from them. They no longer feel whole, they feel like a piece of their soul is gone and in the worst-case scenario, like they will never be loved or feel happy again. The thought of that person making someone else happy literally rips your heart out and crushes it, and you can’t breathe. You feel like you’re drowning or choking or both, you can’t take in oxygen and the crushing weight of sadness and devastation feels like it is just coated on you like a second skin you can’t take off.
Lucky for you this is not a new feeling. You may think “Amanda you asshole, this is different. What I feel is 500x more than anyone else will ever feel. You could not possibly know the pain I am in.”
Surprise, jerk, this is a universally-accepted state called ‘Post-Break-Up’ and happens to everyone. Event angsty 15 year olds have gone through this. Grown-ass adults have literally ended their lives because of it. It’s terrible, and it’s sad but it’s not forever. And it will get better and you just need to know that.
So my advice to you, dear reader, is know that when you break up with someone it’s for a reason. Whether you ended it, it was mutual (when does that ever even happen), or it was not by choice, the relationship wasn’t going to work. Your life terminated it like an unhealthy part of your body and you just need to know that if it was the person you were supposed to be with then you would still be together. And that’s just how it is. It’s a shitty factoid but a true one, “but maybe I can change them/their mind”, no you cannot.
You can never change anyone else. And if anyone ever changes for you it’s because they wanted to. But if they didn’t want to and begrudgingly do so, it won’t last. It’s like bubble-gum in a crack of the Hover. Eventually that gum will get tired of trying to fit into a mold you’ve crammed them into and will pop out. This is inevitable – this is life. And let me just tell you, if you have to ask someone to change their life/personality for you (and that person doesn’t recognize it’s an issue and fix it on their own) then you’re probably going to have a bad time in the future. Not the greatest cue to have.
But don’t give up. It looks bad now and you may feel terrible, but let me tell you, love is one of the most beautiful and pure things in the entire world. It’s pizza and beer on the couch on a Friday night, it’s getting surprise chocolate because the person knows it’s your favourite and they saw it at the checkout line and thought of you, it’s a nice text saying ‘I miss you’, or it’s a knowing smile or the best sex of your life. It’s all these things and you will have them again. And when you find the person you’re going to spend your life with, you will find it utterly incredible that you ever were willing to settle for one iota less than that, and with the right person, you will never have to again.