Break-up after 30
May 13, 2022 7:12 PM   Subscribe

What are some helpful tips, inspirational stories that I could read to deal with a break-up?

My girlfriend is ending our four year relationship. I moved out across the country (NJ to CA) to be with her and I feel completely unprepared on how to deal with it. We built a great fun life here, no marriage or kids but one cat, and I felt we could have spent our lives together. Sadly, years of childhood trauma have blocked our way. We've both let our relationship turn toxic and I don't think we could seek help for ourselves together.
It makes me so sad that I've failed That I couldn't try harder or be more patient - or find a way to help and bring out the best in both of us. I know I'm being vague but it's a long story..

I feel there's a glooming sadness that's going to engulf me (right now, I feel like it hasn't hit me yet) - and I want to be inspired to deal with in a productive way. If I was in my 20's, I could easily use alcohol, drugs or sex to deal with this heartache but - I don't want to set myself back. I haven't made too many friends here, something I should have worked on earlier - and my family has their own toxicity that I feel won't help me.

How do I get through this? I need help accepting the fact that I need to move on.

Thank you.
posted by morning_television to Human Relations (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You're very right: alcohol, sex etc just mask the grief, they don't actually deal with it.

It sucks! It's allowed to suck. You can survive the grief, though. It's an ask me trope but therapy can help with grief. It's normal that you're going to feel sad about this.

For right now, you can throw yourself into logistics. Do you want to stay or move? Job hunt. Apartment hunt.

But ultimately you'll need to move through the stages of grief- not as a check list or necessarily in that order, but useful to know as you notice your emotions.
posted by freethefeet at 7:52 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]

Zone out with familiar TV (Ted Lasso, The Office, Brooklyn 99, etc). Sometimes when i feel sad, I actually like to watch or read a depressing or violent show (Mad Men or Game of Thrones ) because their problems are so much worse than mine. Or a breakup movie like High Fidelity.

Go for a walk around trees or water every day

Get a pulpy bestseller novel and dive into it for a few days

Make an effort to expand your social circle: sit outside at the coffeeshop and chat with people, join a sports league or game club, meet up with the people you know in that area

Make a point of framing your emotions as a temporary feeling: for instance, not "I am sad" but "I feel sad right now". Not "I am lonely," but "I feel lonely today."

Remind yourself it's ok to feel sad right now. Feelings are important information nudging you that you have something to learn, and eventually the feelings will pass. They will pass even sooner if you figure out what the thing(s) are that they're reminding you to learn.

Make a list of what you learned from the relationship and what you'd like to try doing differently next time.

And this old chestnut: talk to a therapist. Hope you feel better soon!
posted by nouvelle-personne at 9:42 PM on May 13 [6 favorites]

It's tough, I'm sorry. The only way out is through, and it often feels hopeless or impossible.

Stick to your plan, grow your career and finances, make time for your friends and do things with them. Then when you're ready, you can get back on the dating sites or wherever you prefer to be.

Your advantage is that you're still very young, and it gets easier. Dating in your 30s and 40s and 50s gets way way easier because there are fewer games and everyone knows what's going on. I was in your shoes at 45 and again at 52, but life goes on and gets better than ever
posted by tillsbury at 10:49 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]

Building some emotional intelligence and skills is harder than just burying those feelings under distractions - good job identifying that you want that! Coping is hard and definitely involves processing your feelings. It’s super helpful to have someone to talk to. If you don’t have any friends you can call and talk to about your feelings around the breakup, it’s worthwhile getting yourself some short term therapy (even through one of those apps always being advertised on podcasts) so you have someone to listen attentively to you say and process your feelings instead of shoving them down with booze etc.

I think that’s really the biggest maturity change is in being willing to process your feelings instead of hiding them. I’m sorry you are going through this sucky thing. Talking about it will also suck, but it will also help. And put on a few breakup songs and have a good cry whenever you can. You won’t get stuck in the bad feelings by feeling them, just by refusing them.
posted by Bottlecap at 12:01 AM on May 14

I’ve had some tough times lately. Something that’s helped me has been music. Especially music that reminds me of earlier, happier times. Something that reminds me fondly of the person I was and the life I had back then. What music (or other art?) reminds you of happier times from before your relationship? Perhaps you can find some refuge in that.
posted by Ted Maul at 1:32 AM on May 14

When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron

This book saw me through a similar hard breakup. I met up with a friend a few days after and she offered to lend me her “divorce book” but another divorced friend had beat her to it. It’s very much about not shutting down your own grief, and I think it might be both soothing and inspiring for you.

Be kind and gentle with yourself.
posted by rabbitbookworm at 8:22 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]

Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey by Florence Williams might be a consolation.
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:08 AM on May 14

My recent relationship upheaval has lead me to creating a more planned schedule to make sure I'm taking care of myself. My priorities are showering at least once a day, wearing comfortable clothes, prioritizing exercise especially outdoors, and socializing two times per week (even when I absolutely do not feel like it) with people who know what I'm going through and are supportive. This has all been really helpful. I also have shows (Parks and Rec, Brooklyn 99) that make me happy/laugh, and podcasts (Conan Needs A Friend) that make me laugh out loud. I try very hard to stay in the moment and focus on feelings in my body instead of situations/scenarios (my break up was without any conversation/closure so this may be more specific to my situation). As much as it doesn't feel like it, you will get through this, and it won't be this painful forever.
posted by retrofitted at 9:06 AM on May 16

« Older Looking for Stellar Dictation Software For MacBook...   |   Best options for replacing doors? Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments