There are three people you need in your life to help you survive a break-up.
Adele, T-Swift, and Beyonce.
Oh, it also helps to have a den of vipers, an includer, and a wise soul that’s been married for a while.
I’ve been the breaker-upper and the break-upee. Both are awful.
It might be less awful if you are not addicted to being liked, but I have the misfortune of wanting everyone to find me adorable, so even when I knew I was doing a right thing, it still made me beat around the bush, cry A LOT, do things the WORST, HARDEST WAY POSSIBLE, and nearly vomit.
In every break up, I’ve leaned so heavily on these 3 categories of people that if I hadn’t had them, I’d be lyin’ on the cold hard ground. Oh! Oh! Trouble, trouble, trouble.
The Den of Vipers: These are the people that love and accept your significant other with open arms. They rejoice and party and double date with you! And they are so fiercely loyal that after the (non-amicable) break up, they become downright venomous towards the offender. They are full of love and poison and righteous anger. They cannot believe his immaturity, his short-sightedness, his selfishness. If he starts coming around, they strike. If he tries to be all friendly-friendly, they strike. Do not call this immature. It’s a very important part of the process. One time in college, an offender that shattered my heart into a million tiny pieces came by my room all friendly-friendly asking to borrow a book. Three of my loyal viper friends were with me at the time. After I handed the book over, he tried to start a conversation. He asked, “So, how are you?” In my head I thought, “REALLY? We’re doing this? I don’t even know how to answer that question towards you.” And while I was thinking, my amazing viper-friend looked at him, then back at me, then back at him and said, “Are we done here? I think we’re DONE.” STRIKE. I still feel a huge surge of love for her when I think about it.
The Includer: One of the most difficult things about a break up is the time. What the heck are you supposed to do with all that TIME? There’s a lull in your day, who do you text? It’s Friday night, what do you do? There’s a festival downtown, who do you call? You can have legions of friends, but after a major break up, all of them still feel a little too far away to call. You need an includer. An includer invites you EVERYWHERE. If you say no seven times, she invites eight. The includer invites you along to every little mundane piece of the day, so that you always know there’s a place for you. My friend, Megan, is an includer. After my break-ups Megan was always saying, “We’re going to the gym, want to come?” ”We’re walking to the intramural fields, wanna come?” ”Hey, lets go get Mexican food!” ”Been wanting to see this movie, when are you free?” Megan made sure I never had to ask, and she made sure that I never felt left-out. The minute I began to feel an empty space in my day, I could turn to her and have a friend.
A Wise Soul: I’ve had the privilege of having quite a few wise souls in my life. My mom alone has carried me through IT ALL. 50% of this blog is just me taking credit for all her words and hard-learned lessons. Here is a small sampling of the things my wise souls have told me during a break up that actually helped me.
1. (When I was the breaker-upper) “If you sincerely believe that you are not supposed to be together, you have to cut ties completely. You’re not breaking up because you don’t like him. You’re not breaking up because you’re not attracted to him. That means that YOU LIKE EACH OTHER, YOU’RE ATTRACTED TO EACH OTHER, and you have a huge bank of memories and history together. Nobody, no matter how wonderful or perfect for you will ever be able to compete with that as long as he is still in your life. They don’t have the history to fall back on because they haven’t had the opportunity to build it. You don’t know how to be around this boy and not love him. So you either stay together, or you break up. But if you really think it’s best to break up, you’re going to have to cut ties. Neither of you will ever be able to move on if you don’t.”
2. (When I was the break-upee) “I am praying 2 things, mostly. I am praying for peace, and that you both come to believe the same thing about it. That you’ll both have peace with breaking up, or that you’ll both have peace in staying together. Either way, no matter what happens, I am praying that your hearts agree, so that you can have peace.” (Before this wise comment, the idea of me being OKAY with getting broken up with was nowhere on my radar. It was stay together or suffer. The idea that I could have peace, and actually personally agree in my heart with a break up so filled me with hope that I’ve never forgotten it.)
3. (For both) “Try to love him like Jesus loves him.” When I first heard this, I wanted to punch everyone and everything in the face. I know that Jesus loves everyone the most, forever, perfectly, unto death. So when I wanted to break up with someone, the idea of loving him MORE sounded dumb. Like, “No you don’t understand, I’m b-r-e-a-k-i-n-g uuuuuup.” And if I was getting broken up with, I wanted to STOP LOVING HIM ASAP so that my heart could SURVIVE. But I learned in time what the wise souls knew all along: When you love him like Jesus loves him, you stop loving him like you love him. The Jesus love takes over. You stop seeing him as your future, or your ex (or the guy that saved you or broke you or turned your life upside down). You just see him as a person. No more, no less. And you love him the way that you love everyone – the way Jesus loves everyone. You want good things for him, not because you want to tie your life to his, but because you’re nice and you wish that for everyone. And when that happens, what do you know, you’re free.
If you’re surviving a break up right now, I’m so sorry. It’s the pits. The worst. I promise that one night in the future, you’ll lay your head on the pillow and realize that you went an entire day without thinking about it. One day, someone is going to ask how you’re doing and you’ll say “Great!” and there will be no asterisk in your brain that means “Great* *considering I just got dumped.” You’ll be just plain, old, regular great. Lean on your vipers, includers, and wise souls. Laugh as much as you can, and I’M TELLING YOU:
Dance like nobody’s watching,
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*and eat them myself because you live too far away.