dating

"My boyfriend of 5 years left me overnight. Here are the 10 things I did to get over it."

It was the week before Christmas and I received a text message, followed by a feeling in my gut, followed by a phone call, and then I arrived home to my apartment being completely bare of anything he had ever purchased, right down to the milk in the fridge.

My five-year relationship had come to an end, and I was allowed a 10 minute face-to-face conversation with the man I had – until then – believed to be the love of my life. He told me he didn’t love me enough to make our impending long-distance relationship work, that he didn’t want to have to allow time for FaceTiming in his new life, and that I deserved better (spoiler: I do).

WATCH: The Mamamia team confess what’s brought them to tears. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

Naturally, I was distraught. For the first few days, I spent most of my time crying in the fetal position on my bed, screaming the words ‘THIS IS NOT MY LIFE’ at the top of my lungs. I didn’t eat a meal for a week, and I would watch him come online, and go offline and wonder who he was messaging every time his name popped up. What was he saying about us?

Every time I would walk into a room, I was waiting for him to be there to tell me that he had made a mistake. But he never called, and he never arrived, and there was no mistaking that none of this was a mistake.

I wanted to punch everyone in the face who said “only time will heal,” because there was absolutely nothing I could do about time. Time was my enemy and I was looking for anything that I could do to make me feel even a little bit normal again. So here’s what I did:

I read Zoë Foster Blake’s book, Break-Up Boss.

Books-1
Image: Supplied.
ADVERTISEMENT

Well, okay... first I went to the bookstore and asked if they had it, and then cried at the cashier when she said they didn’t, and so two kind friends dropped a copy over to my empty apartment and THEN I read it. Now, listen to me: THIS. BOOK. CHANGED. EVERYTHING.

*If you are currently heartbroken, and can’t see a light at the end of this tunnel, you need to get your hands on this book.

I cried.

A lot. I followed Zoë’s advice and set myself a 15-minute timer to cry in the morning, and after crying for 15 minutes I got on with my day (because crying is exhausting and 15 minutes is long enough).

I went to the gym every day.

Leaving-the-house-2
Image: Supplied.
Gym-1
Image: Supplied.
ADVERTISEMENT

This sounds ambitious, but I would just do about 7 squats, cry and then leave. But getting out of the house made me feel like I achieved something.

I had absolutely no contact with my ex.

My fingers were itching to message him, call him or show up at his house, but I knew this would only mean starting from scratch, and I really didn’t want to relive those first few awful days.

I leaned on and really cultivated my female friendships.

There is something really comforting about being with women, and it’s something that I didn’t do enough during the relationship. So I made plans, called, texted, and made myself available. I said yes to absolutely everything.

*I am still doing this, saying yes is very important.

I downloaded all the dating apps.

Of course, I was signing up with HUGE baggage and I may as well have a tattoo on my forehead that says ‘I am emotionally unavailable,' but just talking to men that I thought were kind/funny/handsome reminded me that there are other people on the planet other than my ex.

*It was also really good for my recently tarnished self-esteem to be the swipe-ee.

I had a really messy night.

The combination of no food for 7 days and 7(+10) margaritas was a chaotic mix, and really bad for my best friend's Uber rating (sorry, Taylor), but I went out and I had fun and I kissed someone (I think?), and I felt something other than devastated, even if it was just for a few hours.

I muted my ex on social media.

I don’t know if I’ll ever unfollow him, that seems harsh after 5 years of wonderful memories together, but I muted him so that his stories and posts don’t show up in my feed anymore. Obviously, I still checked his socials 143 times a day at first, but over time I stopped doing that so much.

I booked myself into a retreat.

Lucy-at-Gaia-1
Image: Supplied.
ADVERTISEMENT
Gaia-1
Image: Supplied.

I went over the New Year, mostly because I wanted to be away on New Year's Eve, but it was also a way to give myself a fresh start in 2020. I did yoga, meditated and had facials every day. I read books, turned off my phone and really tapped into what makes me happy.

I kissed someone else, sober.

I WANTED to, and I did it. God, it felt good (this time, I’m certain that this happened).

There’s this weird thing that happens when you get dumped; everyone wants to remind you that you should be heartbroken, and even when you say you’re feeling good, they don’t believe you.

I don’t miss him anymore. I’ll always be curious as to what my life would have been if he had never left me, but I feel relieved. I’ve had so many people comment on how I ‘don’t even seem sad’, and they’re right - I’m not.

In a relatively short period of time, I nailed my breakup.

Feature image: Supplied.

00:00 / ???