It was 6 in the morning and my alarm clock buzzed three times, telling me to get out of bed to go to work. But I couldn't move. Just being awake brought back all the pain from the night before. It had been just 12 hours since learning that my boyfriend was cheating on me, already in another relationship with a woman in another state. Just three days before I caught him, he and I were talking about our next vacation together, and planning for him to meet my kids.
I could still smell him on the pillow next to me, and although he seemed incredibly present, our relationship was over. The pain was so unbearable, I couldn't get out of bed for days. And then it lasted. It lasted for a long time: I mourned him for nearly a year, as if he had died.
More from YourTango: Three Reasons Why Your Lowest Moment is a Gift!
But guess what? This one man who tore me to pieces and prevented me from feeling any happiness for months is a man I am SO grateful for. If he didn't come into my life and break my heart, I wouldn't have found my current husband and the love of my life. I would never have been bold enough to start my own business, or bike across Yellowstone with my two children. Heartbreak is a gift. It forces you to be in the most uncomfortable place so that you become better, stronger, and more self-loving. After heartbreak comes healing, and healing brings you to the life you deserve.
So how do you start the healing process?
First, you need to start letting him go. Write down everything you loved about him in the beginning, in contrast to everything he turned out to be. He may have bought you flowers and made you a gourmet dinner, but how often did he do that? Once? Twice? Was it really as fulfilling as you pretended it to be? You will come to realize that you fell in love with the idea of him, and not who he turned out to actually be.
Letting someone go also means letting go of your pride and accepting defeat. Relationships are investments of your time and emotion — when that investment doesn't work out you're going to want your money back, right? Our ego gets bruised, and that's a hard thing to admit. But instead, think of that investment as your best teacher of what to do right and wrong in the next relationship.
And finally? Start thanking him. That's right; thank him when you go to sleep at night, thank him when you're doing the dishes, and thank him when you're driving to work. You can spend hours hating him, and saying horrible things about him in your head, but this will only bring you more heartbreak. Here's an example of how to do it right: "Thank you, John, for showing me that I am better on my own. Thank you for giving me this gift of clarity. Thank you for moving out of the way to allow my Mr. Right to come and meet me. Thank you for showing me that I have this immense power to love someone, even though it didn't work out."
Even if you don't truly feel this way (yet), and you cry for an hour after you say your Thank You mantras, slowly but surely, your heart will heal. And suddenly? Your heartbreak turns into a heartopener! Now that's really something to celebrate. Have you ever been thankful for a bad breakup? Share your story in the comments below.
More from YourTango: Fear = Change!
More breakup advice from YourTango: