I had a friend in high school who jumped from relationship to relationship, meaning that as soon as one relationship ended, she couldn’t wait to start another one with someone else. Although immediately beginning a new relationship with a new guy may have helped ease, and possibly diminish, her pain from her previous relationship(s), over time I realized how more and more insecure she became. I think this is because she never really took the time after her breakups to process what happened.
Every relationship and every breakup is different, so it’s hard to speak on behalf of everyone. But after my first breakup from a serious boyfriend, I dealt with it in three stages: processing the relationship/breakup, loving myself single, and assessing the ended relationship in order to start a new one.
First, I emotionally came to grips with the breakup. There were days where I sat in my bedroom smearing my white pillowcase with mascara as I cried for hours. But those days were also the days I became closer and closer to figuring out why the relationship wasn’t healthy, why it ended the way it did, and what I wanted to do from there. There were also days when I would spend hours at the gym, trying every exercise and workout routine I could to release the anger I had for him and our breakup. And again, those days were also the days I became less and less angry, sad, and confused about everything, because I was actually dealing with my emotions. Based on my personal experience, it dawned on me that by immediately jumping into another relationship, my friend never dealt with the emotions caused by her previous relationship and breakup.
After I emotionally dealt with the breakup, I began to feel confident about myself without a boyfriend. I’m only a teenager; I have the rest of my life to be with someone ... so why not enjoy the time I have single? I found that loving my single status instilled closer and stronger friendships with my girl and guy friends, because I had a lot more time to spend with them. As I spent more and more time with them, I realized how important strong friendships are. Strong friendships not only create laughter and everlasting memories, they also create stability and a sense of security in life. It was so easy to feel comfortable with myself without a boyfriend because I had such great friends who I knew had my back. I feel that this post-breakup stage is crucial, because if you can’t find stability within yourself, how do you expect to find stability in a relationship shared with someone else?
After feeling confident with myself and taking time for myself and my friends, I finally felt ready to think about a future relationship. The more time I took off from a relationship, the more time I had to understand what qualities I wanted out of someone and what kind of relationship I wanted. I believe that understanding these things is what creates better, healthier relationships in the future. A friend of mine said after her breakup, “He was my biggest mistake but my biggest lesson.” The only reason she learned anything was because she took the time to discover the mistakes that were made.
If you don’t take any time to deal with and process your past relationships and breakups, how can you create better relationships? Think about it.