Oops! How Do I Move On?

In the first installment of our advice column, "Dear Monster," Y Gwyllgi tackles heartbreak, grief, and whatever comes after.

Someone said...

I am sad about breaking up with my ex. I thought the sadness would be over by now but I have been sad for longer than we were together. I don’t know what to do. They are with someone else now and I am not, and I don’t feel like finding anyone but I also feel very alone. I have friends but we were best friends and very close. I tried to go different places and meet people but I am too shy and awkward and I don’t really know what to do anymore. Do you have any advice for me? Thank you for answering my question, if you do.
— Oops

The monster said...

I’m sorry to hear what you’re going through. The end of any relationship, romantic or not, is a kind of grieving process. It’s a loss. And, like any loss, it needs to be treated with delicacy and understanding. So be kind to yourself. That’s my first piece of advice, and perhaps one of the most important, most vital pieces of advice I can ever give anyone. Be kind to yourself. Be gentle. It’s probably going to take a while still before you start feeling better. That’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up about it.

I’ve never gone through precisely what you have and still are going through. My current boyfriend is my first; I’ve had no other partners before him. That said, I’ve had to come to terms with the breaking up of very meaningful friendships I’ve had in the past, and I for one think that platonic heartbreak can be just as harrowing as romantic heartbreak.

When I lost those friends, the grief was very real. Very present. I cried over them—fell to pieces over them. And, for a long time—for many, many months—, I felt the sadness, the grief and heartache, would never, ever go away.

I’m going to be honest with you: It hasn’t. That might not be what you expected me to say, and may not be what you wanted to hear. But it’s simply the truth.

The hurt hasn’t gone away. But it has become infinitely easier to bear. Before you know it, it’ll have been three hours and you won’t have thought of them once. Then it’ll have been three days. Three weeks. Three weeks, and they won’t have so much as crossed your mind. When you do think of them, it’ll hurt. But you’ll think of them less and less.

But I’m not going to advise that, until that day comes, you sit around and wait for it. No. In the meantime, you need to find ways to cope, ways to grow. Without growth, nothing ever happens. You’ll be stuck in the same rut.

You’re in a fortunate position: You have friends there. Friends who, I’m sure, will support you if you go to them and tell them how you’re feeling. Confide in them. Let them help you. Maybe go out with them every now and then. You don’t have to do anything special; you could just go for a walk, spend a couple of hours chatting. Trust me. As someone who has employed this particular coping mechanism too many times to count, this really does wonders. Good company, the opportunity to talk it all out, and exercise. All three wrapped nicely in a little bundle.

Some final bits of advice, which are a bit more general, I suppose, would be to exercise, to eat well, and to sleep well. I think that’s pretty sound advice for everyone, but it’s especially important to look after yourself when you’re going through a tough time. And don’t forget to treat yourself now and then. Maybe put together a little self-care box. Just get a box, and put a few treats inside: some comfy socks; an old teddy; a favourite film or album. Whatever you like. And when things are especially bad, when the ache is too present to ignore, just take that moment to be especially kind with yourself.

I hope this helps, my dear, and I hope you feel better soon.
— Y Gwyllgi