Before you start the hunt, don’t forget to gather for yourself.
I remember wanting to strip away the hurt and the pain that had calcified in my body. I am sure you’re getting pummeled by your own tidal waves of grief, but please don’t rush into someone else’s arms for shelter.
Before you try to find someone to fill your void, do this:
Sit on the beach (or anywhere by water) alone.
Feel the sand between your toes; feel the heartbeat of our planet. Watch as the water reaches out with foamy fingers and tries to kiss you. Let the vastness of it all remind you how much opportunity awaits you.
Reconnect with old friends.
It’s so easy, especially in toxic relationships, to lose touch with friends and loved ones. We become so woven into our partner and the bullsh*t that we almost forget there is a whole big world out there. Take this time to remind yourself of your roots; remind yourself that there is a whole tribe who stands behind you and loves you.
Make bad decisions.
Obviously, I don’t want you to go off and put yourself in a dangerous position. I’m talking about the kind of stuff you’ve been dreaming about doing or trying and never had the opportunity to. Or rather, never allowed yourself to do because you were blinded by love.
And hey, I love love; I am not judging you.
I think it’s important to make sacrifices for the ones who matter. But I also know that there are different times in our lives for different reasons.
This is your time to explore! This is the time to learn about yourself—what you like, what you don’t like, and what sets you on fire. My “bad decision” was going to Burning Man. I didn’t really have the money for something like that at the time, and I was on thin ice at work. So, yes, it was not my finest adult hour, but I also learned about my strength, creativity, friendships, and curiosities, not to mention that it was an epic f*cking adventure!
Before my last breakup, when I left my first boyfriend, I bought a flight to London to go on a solo trip—”Eat Pray Love” kind of vibe. Again, I probably didn’t have the money, but I needed that trip. And this brings me to my next point:
Yes! It’s really that simple. I know you’re hurting, and the world feels like it’s closing in on you, but it’s not! It’s quite literally opening up for you. Take this time to see what lies beyond the heartache.
Exiting a toxic relationship often feels like that game where someone spins you in a chair as fast as they can and then asks you to walk a straight line—you feel sick, disoriented, and unsure of your footing. Right now, it might seem easier to cover up the wounds with another warm body, but I can honestly tell you it won’t. (There will be times for that, don’t worry!)
Right now, you’re recovering from the trauma of what I like to call the “velvet jackhammer.” It’s the same concept as falling for the deception of a narcissist. You need to take yourself out of the romantic ring and rediscover your inner strength.
Cry when you need to. Take yourself on a swanky solo-date. Go backpacking with friends. Look at condos in Australia. Master your masturbation skills (wink). Make a vegan pizza from scratch. Cry again. Get your hair “did.” Hell, you can even meet new men or women after a while, just make sure you’re keeping it harmless (this one can be a slippery slope).
But trust me, the time will come when you’ve patched all the holes, seen and done all your wild debauchery, and you will feel it in your bones—you don’t need to have a lover. And this, my friend, is when you are truly ready for another round in the ring.