20 Lessons We Wish We’ve Known Before Experiencing A Break-Up


Every break-up chips off a tiny piece of us, they say. Moving past a long- term relationship can be the worst of times, and you might sometimes even feel like the most unlovable person on the planet.

But that’s far from the truth! No matter what your age or situation in life, you are still worthy of love, and Cosmopolitan’s Anna Breslaw shares the lessons she learned about breaking up and moving on:


Yes, you will love/date/have sex again. While it may seem damn well near impossible at the moment, someone will come along who you will find attractive, and who will feel that way about you too. You’ll pretty soon forget you pinned your physical attractions and standards on the ex.

Lean on your friends, but not forever. It’s unfair to them if your breakup is what still comes out of your mouth a year later and you expect the same coddling and empathy. Anna shares that if you feel you need more time and communication than what your friends can offer (it’s not their fault either, we all lives to live), then it might be time to look into therapy.


There is no time limit in which you “have to” be over someone. Hey we get it, you can’t get over someone you spent years with in like, a week or two. Sometimes, people insist on setting deadlines on somebody who had their heart broken because it’s easier to deal with if an end is in sight, writes Anna.

Also, that’s not wallowing. It’s healthy. Anyone who calls that “wallowing” has forgotten what breaking up with someone is like, Anna says. Too true! Feel your sadness and indulge in it for as long as it takes to heal.

It’s totally fine to hate your ex for a minute. But try not to hold onto that anger forever. Denying how they hurt you —cheating or whatnot—- is pointless, as it will inevitably elicit an emotional response because we’re only human. But that anger should never be cause for you to become petty and scheme about ways to make their life hell (Slashing tires? Keying cars? Sending anonymous packages with prosthetic dead limbs to their door? Please don’t.) Try and let go of those thoughts once the pain stops being so raw. Remember, we can’t undo the actions we made when we were mad.

It is incredibly easy to lie to yourself repeatedly about being over them, but if you keep saying it to yourself over and over, you probably aren’t. Anna writes that this is also known as the “I’M SO CHILL, WE’RE JUST FRIENDS NOW, TELL ME ALL ABOUT YOUR NEW GIRLFRIEND, I’M SO CHILL, SO SHE’S AN AMERICAN APPAREL MODEL, WOW, THAT’S GREAT, I CAN’T FEEL MY HANDS” dance.

Sometimes you need to sever all social and social media ties with the person (at least for a while) in order to fully move on. Why make things harder for yourself by trying to find out every little thing they’re up to? Hitting the Unfriend or Unfollow button might make you seem like you “care too much” or whatever, but hey, it’s your online space and peace of mind, do what you will.

Speaking of which: Keeping tabs on them, even occasionally, is highly likely to rip off your emotional scab.  Do we need to say more?

It’s not your fault. It wasn’t that you weren’t good enough for him in any way. If he cheated or up and ghosted, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you could have done more or shown more, whatever that may be.

Sometimes it’s not their fault, either. It’s difficult and it will suck painfully, but it takes an incredibly mature and insightful person to admit that they were the one who had been toxic in a relationship.

No drunk communication — no texting, no GChatting, no nothing. If you’ve memorized his number, you might want to give your phone to your friend when it’s boozing time.

Most of the time, closure is a myth. It is highly unlikely you will get that picture-perfect bittersweet ‘let’s hug it out’ scenario that will signal the formal end of a relationship. Quit waiting for the time that you two will Finally Be Done for Good, instead, be Done for Good, Anna writes.

Don’t take your wrath out on his new girlfriend, who is a complete stranger to you. As with concocting violent and horrible schemes, becoming that petty mess is sure fire bad karma, more so to a person who isn’t involved in the mess between you and your ex.

If you spent most of your time upset, nervous, or concerned about this person while you were dating, it’s much, much better that it’s over. Look, being the ‘ride or die’ looks good in photos or whatever, but if behind closed doors you are being abused, mistreated, and generally treated like crap, then it’s time to get the hell out. You should give yourself a pat on the back really for getting out of relationships like that.

The horrible gut-wrenching process of getting over the first person you ever really dated and/or had a horrible on-and-off relationship with will make you #wiser. You will realize what you want and don’t want for your next relationship, said Anna, and trust, it is true.

Your worth is not tied to another person. No matter who they are, you are not defined by them. You are not just This Person’s Girlfriend, you are your own person with your own exceptional beauty and talent, although it might be hard to realize that sometimes.

And he’s not as amazing and unforgettable as you think he is. No man is God’s gift to womankind.

Sometimes you can’t stay friends, and that’s OK. Hey, if you can manage, then good on you. But wanting to never have anything to do anymore with your ex is perfectly fine too. Nobody can assert that they didn’t hurt you that bad to warrant a lifetime ban in your life because honey, they’re not you.

Turning the breakup emotions into a positive drive (e.g., working out, excelling at work, cleaning your home) rather than a negative drive (e.g., drinking too much, smoking too much, wallowing, having sex with a guy with a soul patch) is so much better in the long run. In the long run, the defense mechanism of the “I’ll Show You (By Making Bad Decisions)!” response is self-destructive punishment, and will only make you feel worse.

It didn’t work because it wasn’t right. Anna concludes the list with the most poignant thought, and if you take that to heart, it will help lead you to a partner who is right for you.



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