Is there a worse phrase in the English language than “I got dumped”? The word “dump” itself is ugly. And when it happens to you it’s so personal. So hurtful. So hard to get over.
Maybe the first thing you do is grab a spoon and a carton of Double Chocolate Rocky Road and salt it with your tears. After all, you deserve a sweet treat. And a good cry. How could he do this to you? You were a great girlfriend. You sat through his stupid baseball games pretending to be interested. You picked up the wet towels he dropped on the bathroom floor. You learned how to make lasagna the way his mother made it. How could he dump you?
You may be tearing your hair wondering what you could have done to make him love you. If you were sexier, or more thoughtful, or more hip, or more whatever, would you still be in your relationship? Would he have loved you more if you were somehow better?
The trouble with that line of thinking is it gets you nowhere. You may need to wallow a bit—go right ahead. But sooner or later you’ll have to come to grips with the fact that you’re a different person now. You’re not a partner or spouse—your identity’s changed. You’re a new and independent person now. And you need to accept your new status. But how do you do that? Here are some thoughts.
Don’t put a time limit on grief. Some people move on more quickly than others. Grieving is a personal process. It’s essential to undergo it before you can accept the change that’s taking place in your life. Understand that you may take three steps forward and two steps back. But you will heal and you will be stronger. Don’t put added pressure on yourself to recover faster than you’re comfortable with.
Cherish the good. Let go of the bad. Remember the good times when you felt really good in your relationship. Keep those happy memories in a special place in your heart. Honor them. They will always be with you. At the same time, acknowledge the hurt that you feel and honor that too. You are suffering for a reason. Own it. When you do, you will be able to let the bad times go.
Find what helps you heal. Writing in your journal can be cathartic. So can hiking in the woods. So can volunteering at the soup kitchen. You know what your happy place is—whether it’s a physical activity or a mental one—go back to what you know will comfort you. Take some time out to do something without expecting anything in return. Let yourself be absorbed until you can sort out your emotions. You’re feeling anger, anguish, guilt, sorrow. Let them wash over you. And then let them wash away.
Craft your explanation speech. When it’s time to go out in the real world, you’ll need talking points. People will ask you what happened. It’s easier to be prepared. Have a statement ready, like, “Yes, we broke up and I’m really bummed. But I’m getting used to the idea of being independent and I think I’m going to like it.”
Muster your energy to focus on positive things. When you are deliberately upbeat, you may actually put yourself in a better frame of mind. “Fake it until you make it” is the old saying. Make the effort to do fun things and find your happy place. Pretty soon it will take less and less effort to get there.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact