We've all been there. We've all done the "ugly cry" after a break up. Sitting around with girlfriends, getting sloppy drunk over cheap wine, asking some variation of "Why did this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this pain? Will I ever get over it? Will I ever feel strong enough to move on? Will I ever love someone like that again?"
The saying is true. Breaking up IS hard to do.
But the truth is, it's also one of the most freeing things you can do on your individual quest to self-discovery.
I went through my own difficult breakup almost 6 months ago, and while the pain I felt from the split didn't surprise me one bit, how I chose to cope with it did. Instead of taking time for myself, creating a Netflix account and investing in a few pints of Ben and Jerrys, I did something I've never done before. I jumped into another relationship.
Let me first offer the disclaimer - I have never been a serial dater. I mean ever. I went through high school and college single, in fear of "missing out." I went to college across the country, and studied abroad. I never wanted ties holding me down when I was younger. Fast forward to marrying my high school best friend at 23 and divorced at 27, I found myself single again and the thought of dating felt so overwhelming - I didn't know where to begin!
After a few years of casual dates, and a relationship that dragged on a bit longer than it ever should have (aren't we all guilty of getting complacent from time to time?) - I realized that I was ready for a real, adult relationship. I was ready to be part of a team, ready to fall in love, and ready for a best friend.
So I did exactly what you'd expect.
I joined Tinder.
And I fell in love.
Now, don't let me fool you. It wasn't as easy as "Boy sees girl, boy swipes right. Girl sees boy, girl swipes right."
It actually went something more like, "Girl gets hundreds of matches and messages in 24 hours, decides to try juggling boy A and boy B. Girl goes out with both, likes both, and continues dating both. One evening, girl tells boy A she's not going out (she's actually going out with boy B). Girl gets CAUGHT by A while on a date with B. I mean HOW small of a world is that?!
While the night I got "busted" was not my finest hour, it was the best thing that could have happened. While standing at a bar, on a date, I realized I was out with the wrong man. I ended that date immediately after seeing my other suitor and never looked back. The very next morning, we went out on a walk, shared a pizza, bought a couch (for him - come on, way too soon to buy furniture together!) and so began our story.
Over time, I'll share stories from the relationship that I thought would be my last, but the point I'm trying to make here is that breakups happen. And while we never have a crystal ball to tell us what will happen in the future, we need to view them as lessons. And the blessing in these lessons, is that we are forced to look in the mirror. The good, the bad and the ugly, that all resides within ourselves. While I didn't take the time to put in the "work" immediately after that relationship ended, I'm doing it now. And any time invested in ourselves is time well spent. Because even though we can't go back and change the past, we can put forth all our energy into creating a wonderful future!