Dear Lee — Heartbreak
A couple of weeks ago, one of our number received the following request for advice on relationship heartbreak. As heartbreak is a many-headed beast, we decided it would be best for a few of the Eight, not just our own advice columnist Lee Clark, to offer tips for dealing with heartbreak. _____
I've been going through a really tough break-up these past seven months, and I was wondering if you girls from The Attic have any advice on how to handle this situation, like seeing him in class? (Should I delete him from my social media? How should I handle my feelings when I see him flirting with someone else or doing well in life? How can I move on?) I just saw how you girls covered gas lighting, and I identified so much with that article, so I thought maybe you could have some insight on this too.
An Attic on Eighth Reader
Our Politics Editor, Lauren's advice —
In the dark of night, break ups are absolutely one of the worst things to go through. Feelings of worthlessness, loneliness, and abandonment are difficult in any situation but exponentially worse when the feelings are brought on by someone you love(d). Because I am an eternal optimist, my advice on how to handle such a situation begins with this: you have every right to be upset and sad, but this is a growing experience for you. You have been released from a relationship that no longer served you, whether it feels that way right now or not. There is no use in being with someone who does not love you wholly or unconditionally, and remember: this is a reflection of the other person, not of you. This is a time for you to get to know yourself better, to take time out to do the things maybe you didn’t have the time to do whilst you were in the relationship, and to really focus on healing yourself by any means necessary. I am of the opinion that there is no point in maintaining social media friendships if they are not necessary - in the post-break-up world, ignorance truly is bliss. Out of sight, out of mind - nothing works better than that (except maybe wine).
But most of all I hope you remember that just because this relationship didn’t work out doesn’t mean you will never have another fulfilling relationship. Treat yourself well, smile at yourself in the mirror, and remember that you are worthy of love and respect, and you will no doubt find it someday!
An Attic Editor's Advice —
I won't relay much, but from experience I'd advise you not to let the bad things ruin what was good in the relationship, but don’t let the good cloud your judgment either. Be objective; it’s okay to be momentarily nostalgic for a person or point in time, so long as you’re realistic and accept that things are over. And if you miss all of those things you did or places you went to together, don’t let it haunt you! Take yourself, take your friends, redefine what they mean to you and eventually it’ll be easier to let go.
Our Home & Family Editor, Lee Clark's Advice —
Thank you so much for writing to us. I’m so sorry to hear about your tough break-up, those are never easy. First, know that this will pass. Relationships end, we've all been there. It may not be pleasant now but know you’ll not always feel like this. As far as seeing him in class, I suggest ignoring him, or acting like nothing at all is wrong. Don’t let him know that he can affect you, even though you know he can. Sometimes I think fake it until you make it works. When I’m not feeling my most confident, I’ll fake confidence and then in the end feel confident. Feeling heartbreak is hard, and you should feel your feelings (feelings are good!) but my advice, in public life, is to put on a bit of a mask and act as though nothing happened. Try not to let your life be about him and his life. We live in frustrating times of social media and it’s easy to check on everyone’s happiness and progress when maybe we aren’t focusing enough time on our own happiness and progress. If you find yourself checking his social media accounts for updates then I’d say delete him, this is going to free up some of your time and brain for better things.
Spend some time on caring for yourself and cultivating happiness where you can. What are the positives in your life? What do you enjoy doing with your time? What are you good at? My mother-in-law once said to me, “If you only focus on the weeds in your garden, you’re going to forget about your flowers.” I cannot tell you how often I remind myself of this. Maybe you’ll find it useful too. You sound like such a lovely person, going through something difficult (with a pesky weed) but remember to tend to your flowers too for I am sure they are numerous.