How to recover after a long-term relationship break up.

You know what really, really sucks? Going through a break-up. Whether you’ve broken up on great terms as best friends, or your heart has literally been shattered into a million pieces, they’re never easy.

After almost four years, my long term boyfriend and I decided it was time to part our separate ways. A lot of thought, consideration and conversations took place before the seemingly inevitable break up took happened, but it didn’t really make the process any easier.

The break up didn’t just affect me – it affected my whole family. We’d all grown so close together (on both sides), and on the day we decided we couldn’t work was the day I also lost my second family.

When you go through a break up, you not only lose your best friend & partner, but also what feels like a big chunk of your future. Whether we do it consciously or not, we all imagine a future with our partner. Kids, travel, buying a house – the list goes on forever.

You’ll have talked to countless friends and family, who promise that life does go on, though in that moment it feels like it mightn’t. Will you ever be happy again? Ever able to move on?

Six months down the track, and I’m here to let you know that life really does go on. Your world may seem fractured and cracked, but eventually like everything, time heals all. Remember, that no relationship is ever a waste of time. If it didn’t bring you what you needed, it taught you the things that didn’t work.

They may not be relevant to everyone (or anyone) for that matter, but here are a few things I’ve learnt after going through a break up.

1. It’s okay to not be okay.

Those people that tell you to focus on the future, and to forget? Ignore them. Cry, and cry lots. You’re in mourning, and that’s perfectly okay. You need to take the time to fully come to terms with the fact that it’s over. If you never get past the final closure, how are you meant to ever move on? Watch loads of soppy movies, listen to Ed Sheeran on repeat and eat all the chocolate ice cream your heart desires.

2. Surround yourself with friends and family.

I’m the biggest advocate for ‘me-time’ in life, but straight after a break up is not the time. You’re used to being with someone 24/7, and losing that constant companion can feel like you’ve lost yourself in a way. Pack your days with plans with friends & family. Let them distract you and fill that aching hole in your heart. After a while, you’ll realise you’re probably not missing your partner so much, but more the constant companionship that your friends and family can genuinely replace.

3. Plan a holiday.

You need something to look forward to, especially when it feels like there may be nothing at all. Plan and book a spontaneous holiday! Whether it’s going on a contiki tour in a foreign European town by yourself, or a cray Bali holiday with your closest friends, lock it in. You’ll have that to look forward to, and I found it really helped me to focus on other things.

4. Approach everything with an open mind.

When you break up with someone, everyone around you becomes a relationship expert and has an opinion. Whilst I’m not saying you shouldn’t listen to everyone, at the end of the day you’re the ultimate decision maker. Follow your heart (cliché!) and don’t make any silly rules for yourself. Forget trying to put a timeline on when you can’t date till, or declaring that you’ll never get in another relationship!

I want to leave you with a quote that a good friend of mine (who has gone through one of the toughest break ups I’ve ever witnessed) posted the other day, and it made me smile.

“One day, someone will stride into your heart. And in an instant you’ll understand, why it never worked out with anyone else who came before."