When you break up with someone you’ve been with for a long time, it can be really really difficult.
You’ve gone from sharing everything with your best friend, to having lost the person you expected to spend the rest of your life with.
Some people thrive when they become newly single after a large period of time in a relationship, but for many, it can be a real struggle to adapt.
Learning to be single after this is rarely talked about – no one talks about the loneliness, the reliance on friends, the newness of your independence. You rarely read about the rawness of this weird in-between time after the initial breakup, but before being okay again.
Obviously everyone copes with the end of a long-term relationship differently, but regardless of whether you choose to go out and drink away your feelings, or go on a fitness spree, or cry alone in your room, what are the first steps in learning to be single?
How do you cope with it all? How to you get to the stage of bossing being strong, confident and independent?
Firstly, well done for getting out of a relationship which clearly wasn’t right for you. Well done for being brave and choosing your long-term happiness over short-term comfort. Well done for putting you heart first.
What you mustn’t forget is that being single can be amazing. The freedom, the confidence, the friends it brings – you become happier, healthier and mentally stable! (Especially after the end of a long term relationship break-up).
The first step is putting yourself first
This is the time for selfishness, for me-time, for all about you!
Forget long-term for now, forget ‘what if I never meet anyone new’, forget ‘I’m scared of starting again’, because this is your time. Things will fall naturally into place – once you’ve figured yourself out.
Yes, it’s incredibly scary being suddenly single. You’re so used to sharing everything. You were used to having someone around.
But the reality is, you are your own person, and if you can’t enjoy being single, how can you enjoy being with someone else?
This is a time for reflection, acceptance and letting go of your insecurities. Confidence will come with time, and you will find that when you only have yourself to look after – you become much happier in the long run.
“Single is not a status. It is a word that describes a person who is strong enough to live and enjoy life without depending on others.”
Friends and family will be your rock
Not having that one person to talk to whenever something happens can be hard to adjust to.
This is a time where you will really see who your true friends are – those who will take you out and invite you over, a time for being proactive and arranging things!
Your friends will be your rock, without them to take you on nights out, or listen to you moan, or to stop you drunk texting, it can be a real struggle. Find a friend, or a group of friends who you can message, speak to, or see whenever you start to feel upset. They will be there for you!
Your family will also be there – having their support and seeing them will always help bring that comfort you need.
Get back into all your hobbies – or find new ones!
This blog was born out of the tumultuous end of my 4-year relationship – it wouldn’t have been created without my then-newfound single status. Now it is a key part of my life which I really love – I can’t imagine my life without it.
Find something new which you really love to do, or rekindle your relationship with a hobby which was neglected before.
Why not set up an Etsy business? Or do some painting? Or go on long bike rides? Or join a yoga class?
This is the perfect time to do all those things which you didn’t have time for when in your relationship.
Keeping yourself busy is a cliché, but it’s true – the more you do, the more people you see, the better you will feel. The less time you will spend thinking about your situation.
Focus on your health and career
Change is a really good thing. It means you’ve broken out of a stagnant cycle of routine and the same-old same-old.
Depending on how comfortable you were in your relationship, you may have found you became lazier – especially with regards to exercise. I ended my previous long-term relationship quite a few stone heavier than I started – I had neglected myself.
I had neglected my health, my body, my mind. I no longer stimulated my mind with things I loved outside the relationship, I never exercised and I ate too much out of comfort.
The only thing I actually did do, which I am thankful for, was focus on forging some form of career- by interning every holiday I could. This was also one of the factors which showed me that I needed to get out of the bad relationship, to regain my independence.
Being single and starting a career go hand in hand – you can work late without feeling bad for thinking about someone else, you can put your all into going to work drinks, making friends and working hard.
You also have time to exercise and eat healthily – you haven’t got anyone else to worry about! No relationship drama or issues, no problems – just you to keep happy and healthy!
Treat yourself – LOTS
That £50 you’d have spent on their birthday? Buy yourself a new outfit.
That £20 on dinner for two? Treat yourself to a new Charlotte Tilbury lipstick.
Have long baths reading books you always planned to read, but didn’t have time. Binge-watch Netflix shows which your other half didn’t want to watch. Go to the cinema and see films which you have been excited for. Treat yourself to a takeaway in front of the TV with friends and a bottle of wine.
Have a real full-blown-rom-com-montage style makeover. Get a hair cut, dye your hair, have a makeup session trying new looks, buy new clothes – anything to make you happy!
You will feel so happy and confident for looking after your mind and body.
Can you be friends? Or did it end badly?
Just as in Can men and women ever really just be friends? You can be friends with an ex – but ONLY if there is absolutely no romantic connection, from either side.
If there are any feelings still there, you’ll just hurt each other more.
To truly get over someone, you need to separate yourself from them as much as possible. Stalking on them on Facebook may become a reality – but it’s not healthy.
Reminiscing together over drunk messages about your relationship – not healthy.
In a way, it’s easier if it ended badly, because it’s easier to remove them from your life – knowing it’s the right thing to do. If it was an amicable split, you still need time apart. You just need to actively ensure you don’t fall back into old cycles.
Remember the reasons why this is for the best
Whether love just wasn’t enough, or if something bad happened, ultimately there were one or more very real reasons which split you up.
Remind yourself that sticking to your guns is for the best.
In the meantime, keep busy, keep your head held high and smile! Embrace the freedom and love you receive from your friends.
Learning to be single is not about learning to be without someone, it’s about finding yourself again, about learning that you don’t need someone else to be happy.
It’s about getting yourself back to you. Regaining the confidence, and happiness which was lost.
The greatest relationship you will ever have is with yourself. Put yourself first and your life will fall into place around it.