break up

Taking Care of Yourself After a Break Up

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Nicole Clayton

I am a language lover, a coffee consumer, a gadget geek, a sushi snob, and an alliteration admirer.

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My biggest fear came true the other day. My relationship of 12 years came to end. Why? Well I am sure he will give you reasons, if he would talk. See, that is the problem. Talking. He doesn’t do it. He never, ever told me his feelings. Everything was “meh” or “hmm” or “yeah” or “eh”. Yes, he is monosyllabic man. He never talked to me. I still don’t think I know exactly who he is and that is sad.

But I have to pick myself up, brush myself off and continue to live. And I will do it. Why? Because I am strong — I am fearless. How do I know that I am these things? Because I believe I am. It is important that we understand that we are intelligent, strong, courageous, worthy and beautiful.

Looking back over my 12 years I can say that I haven’t always felt these things. Nurturing was not his strong point. His excuse? “I tell the truth. Do you want me to lie to you?” Well, no, but tact is a wonderful thing.

So how do we deal with a break up while taking care of ourselves in the process (especially when you aren’t exactly a young pup — I am 45, by the way)?

break upFriends — I hate to sound like a diva but Bette is right, “you got to have friends”. This is so very important to the healing process. You will want to run away, scream, holler, cry, rock back and forth while sitting in the shower (not that I know this or anything, ahem) but you need to talk and you need to have friends who will listen to you rattle the same broken, snotty, blubbering sentences over and over again.


meditation_sunExamine yourself — A breakup can be enlightening, as I am finding out. At first I was sad. Then came anger and sadness again, then total hatred (this is the stage I am at as of this writing. I mean I want his selfish head on a platter. But I know that this is all stemming from the fact that for the last part of our relationship I felt unwanted, unworthy, and unloved.). Question everything: Why did I let myself feel this way? Why did I let her/him make me feel this way? Will I ever be able to stop loving her/him? What is the best thing for me now? What have I been putting on the back burner since being with her/him?


break up

Don’t blame yourself — Chances are this break up was not one sided. Even if one party is to blame more than the other, it is important to look at what you did to contribute to the breakup. Take ownership of your mistakes; learn from them and remember them so you do not repeat them in the future.



break upTake a bubble bath — This may seem insignificant but who doesn’t loooooooove a bubble bath!? I mean, it is so relaxing. Just fill the tub, use a bath bomb or some bubble bath, put on some relaxing classical music, light some candles, get a glass of wine (or in my case, make a margarita — I love tequila!), get a book and just chill.



break upGo shopping — I don’t mean spend until creditors chase you down. Go to the mall and buy some underwear or electronics or notebooks, something. Treat yourself, but set a realistic budget.



break upGo to the gym — You know that gym card that has been sitting in your wallet, the one you spent $300 on and haven’t really used it? USE IT! Make a plan and stick to it. Work up a sweat! The endorphins will make you happy and you will feel good! The best thing is that you will look good for yourself and the fact that you might run into your ex while looking happy and fabulous is just a bonus.


635987514612650426-1152375542_fall%20in%20loveEnjoy things you never got to enjoy with your ex — Did you ex not want to travel to a certain place? Go there. Did your ex not want to go to an exhibition? Go. Did you have slightly different tastes in music? Go to a concert they wouldn’t have attended. Enjoy what you like.


ice-cream-cryDon’t become a cliché — Don’t eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Don’t drink until you black out and wake up in a dumpster in another state or country. Don’t sleep with the first person you see. Don’t drunk text your ex. Don’t cyber-stalk them (it’s best to block them on social media). Don’t sit in your own filth for days on end, crying into a bucket of KFC. Don’t be THAT person. Just don’t. It isn’t good for you and it isn’t healthy.


break up

Write — Even if you don’t show it to anyone, write. Get your feelings out. Channel that anger, sadness, hate, whatever you are feeling.



break upEnjoy time with your friends and family — This is really a no brainer. Spend time with them. If anyone is going to help you through this, it is them.



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Don’t go out on dates immediately — This is very important. Find out who you are alone. Learn about you. Learn all about you. Learn to be alone. Learn to enjoy your own company because if you can’t stand to be with yourself, who is going to want to be with you?


Break ups can be detrimental to your health, both physically and mentally. It is important to stay grounded and love yourself. The less you love yourself, the more damage a break up will do to your mental state as well as your psychological state. The less you love yourself the more damage it will do.

I can tell you that writing this article has helped me see my path and why it ended up here. Granted, I am not the breaker of the relationship I was in. I am the heartbroken one, but I am learning to go on. Slowly. It is a process and at 45 years young, I have a lot of learning to do. For now, my heart is blocked, but it will slowly be able to love again. I mean, it was a 12 year relationship that I moved continents for and to a country where I didn’t (and still really don’t) speak the language. A place where I was completely dependent on him. A place where I finally found some independence and when I did, my relationship came crashing down around me. I won’t let this destroy me and if you are in the same boat, don’t let it destroy you. Pick yourself up. Know that it is okay to cry. Know that it is okay to grieve. Know that it is okay to question why it is happening.

I may never know the reason for what happened since mine is a (lack of) communication issue, but if you can sit down with your ex and find out exactly what went wrong, do it. You never know, it may end up being the best thing you both can do.