Almost all of us have dealt with that moment: Looking at the person, now your ex, in the rearview mirror when you’re driving away, watching them walk out of your house and knowing you’ll never open the front door for them again, or in the worst situation, reading a breakup text that you never in your wildest dreams saw coming.
This letter’s to you, either the dumper or dumpee, because either way there comes pain and hurt and overwhelming questions, like “what was the point?” “was it my fault?” or “what if I had done this, or that would he have stayed then?” The question that’s always the most prevalent for me is this: “Is it because I am not good enough?”

Here’s some wisdom from a hopeless romantic who’s been through pretty much everything.

1. This pain is temporary.

There are various routes you can take post-breakup: Eating a tub of Ben & Jerry’s, going out to find a distraction, or creating random projects to take our mind off of how devastated we feel. While all of these ways are tried and true, when you get in bed at night all of the thoughts that you tried not to think about suddenly come at you all at once. It’s so tempting to compartmentalize the breakup and stuff it so deep back in our minds, pretending that it didn’t happen, but the fact of the matter is that a breakup is a loss. At some point, that person made you happy, and you reciprocated that happiness for them. For some reason, though, that season in your life is over. Do not allow this to make you bitter, or resentful, or regretful. One of my favorite quotes is “Never regret anything that once made you smile,” by Amber Deckers. Chances are that the other person is upset it didn’t work out, so respect both them and yourself enough to handle the grief. Afterwards, move on. This is the only healthy way to deal with a breakup—you have to deal with it in order to feel closure.

2. Take this time to become stronger.

By being alone, we are allowed a season to focus on ourselves. We can do whatever we want, whenever we want. Think of how seldom this happens: We are given the opportunity to reflect on us, and only us. For so long, you’ve had to take into account a significant other—how will what I do affect him? What is he thinking right now? Is he happy with how our relationship is going?— and now you’re free from all of these concerns. Though a breakup does cause us to feel weak, what happens afterwards is that we alone are tasked with picking up the pieces of our heart and putting them back together. Often, after not continuing to give our love to another person, we can give that same love to ourselves, and this causes us to come out stronger. Going through my first breakup, I never, ever, thought I would be the same and I was right. Now I am so glad that it happened because the person I am today is so much more independent and self-reliant than the person I was before.

3. Never, ever think that there is something you are missing, or something that you should have done.

Everyone has their own unique and wonderful qualities, and if whoever your ex is didn’t see them, or forgot to remember what they were, then that is their loss. In fact, be thankful you don’t have to continue giving your time to someone who doesn’t appreciate it. Forget whatever horrible line he told you, whether it’s “you’re so great for someone else,” or “whoever ends up with you is so lucky.” If he truly understood you, he wouldn’t be passing out on the chance to be with you, but since he did, someone else will benefit from his loss. Never forget: You are special and so wonderful.

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Do not allow one person’s decision to influence how you see yourself because so many other people value your worth and understand you better than you think.

4. One day it will all make sense, and someone even better will come around.

Whoever you end up with will love both your strengths and your weaknesses; they will take you, wholeheartedly and without complaint, for your best and your worst. I bet one day when you look back on the sadness that you feel right now, you will realize that it all makes sense because someone so much better for you came along. You’ll smile when you think about the breakup because by having it happen, you can compare that devastation to the joy that someone else brings you.

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