Repeat that out loud, as many times as necessary.
Maybe it came out of nowhere. Maybe you expected it, were waiting for it, knew it was a matter of time. But however it came, it hurt. He mouthed all the trite words: It’s not you, it’s me; You’ll meet someone else; I just can’t do this anymore; I love you but I’m not in love with you.
You listened. Maybe you were quiet. Maybe you screamed. Maybe you heard him out, agreed with him, and slunk off to cry with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and Gilmore Girls. But however it happened, you felt changed. Devastated. Broken. Either because you didn't know how to deal with heartbreak or because it hurt too much to try.
But a breakup doesn’t mean you’re broken. Repeat that out loud, as many times as necessary: A breakup doesn’t mean you’re broken. It means your relationship is broken, but you are not your relationship. If you were, that’s another problem entirely and you shouldn’t have based your entire identity on a relationship with a man.
And if you did, now’s the time to build yourself back up again into the person you were meant to be. Find out who you are. Find out what you like and don’t like. Learn to love sleeping alone. Decorate your apartment the way you want it, without someone else’s input. Stock a liquor cabinet with your favorite girlie drinks and, speaking of girlie, touch base with all those girlfriends you ditched while you were dating that guy.
If you’ve built your whole identity on a relationship, it’ll be harder. But you can do it. And you are not broken.
But even if your relationship wasn’t the sum of your life, you might feel as if you’re broken by the loss of it. It might feel as if no one will ever love you again, as if there’s something deeply wrong with you (in fact, he may have insinuated that).
It’s something everyone feels after a breakup, especially if said breakup was part of a long relationship. And it’s not true. You will find love again. Someone will love you, and you will love someone else. Just because this relationship didn’t work out doesn’t mean that all other chances at one are doomed.
It also doesn’t mean that every other relationship you have is doomed. Your ex may have said some things that led you to feel that you’re not only unlovable, but you’re unbearably flawed. And that at some point in the relationship, a man will discover your flaws, and once he does, everything will be over.
That’s not true. You are capable of having a real, fruitful relationship in which you and your boyfriend know each other inside and out, flaws and all, and he won’t leave you for it. This is what real love means. And if that is what real love means, you are deserving of it.
You are not broken. You are not somehow undeserving or unlovable. You are a person who is deserving of love, who is capable of being loved, who is loveable.
One person doesn’t make the decisions for the whole world. You can’t allow one person’s decision to make the rules for you forever. He doesn’t deserve that right, especially since he just broke up with you. He failed to see what’s wonderful in you or failed to balance it against whatever hardships your relationship was enduring and that’s a terrible thing.
You were broken up with. It hurt. It always hurts to be on the losing end of the relationship. But it doesn’t mean that you yourself are broken. You are a woman. You are a creature who deserves to be loved.