When you find yourself alone after a break-up, the majority of your prospective problems right after will come from the fact that you are now on unknown, potentially hostile territory.
Like you've been transported to another frightening reality.
You feel alone, scared, not knowing what the future holds for you. A whole new range of emotions keep pattering on you, making you not recognize yourself.
The first few weeks are confusing and disturbing.
So, the foremost purpose of this article is to give you strength and hope to make it through this undefined, and uncharted territory at the beginning of a break-up.
I will try to show you what is waiting for you, both the good and the ugly stuff – a map through that dark territory.
So please read carefully. Everything you will read is based on experience from so many who have made it through this, and who have come out as a better version of themselves.
It will help you to get some clarity during this confusing time, where nothing seems to make sense.
Please read on.
A Silver Lining
The No Contact Rule
A Silver Lining
Yesterday, I caught myself observing my wife while she was reading a book. She has this special, weird way that she holds the book in one hand, and rests her forehand on the other.
I suddenly started thinking about how incredibly lucky I am.
If I could have constructed a woman that would fit best with me and the person I am, it would be exactly someone like her.
In fact, she is even better than I could have constructed because she is NOT perfect.
Perfection doesn't exist, and if it did, I am convinced that we would bore ourselves to death with a perfect partner.
Instead, my wife is challenging, always testing my boundaries, spicing up my life with her colorful, emotional facets.
At that moment I thought – what would have happened if somebody were to give me this exact picture of her, and her description, back during the very beginning of MY break-up?
How would I have felt if I KNEW that one day in the future, I would have HER by my side, loving me, accepting me as I am, and standing beside me no matter what?
Would my pain have gone away instantly? Would I have been relieved? Would I somehow have changed my way?
The answer is most probably NOT… because break-up recovery is not about sudden epiphanies that have the power to change everything.
We must understand that there isn't a set of words, a magic pill, or a glance into the future that can heal us over-night.
It is about a process. A journey during which we change ourselves for the better.
Right after the split, you feel numbness, as if something strange has happened, and you are not really sure what.
Unfortunately, this doesn't last long. Soon you will enter a new phase, and experience sheer, archaic “I-can't-make-it-alone”, existential panic.
The kind of panic the stone age man experienced when he found himself abandoned and alone, surrounded by wild animals.
It's an irrational, deep-wired fight-or-flight fear, that makes us do all the stupid things we do… like pleading, calling or harassing our exes.
MORE: Have YOU Made These Mistakes After Your Relationship Break Up?
What you must do, is simply accept this, and understand that this panic is NOT you – it's just an automatic reaction to an existential threat.
After that comes the pain.
And for the time being, the pain IS there. You MUST accept this.
The pain is there simply because the relationship mattered to you. You felt an honest, passionate, authentic, deep-down LOVE for your partner.
And that is a GREAT thing. That's a beautiful thing.
That means that you CAN feel honest love, that you are capable of believing in someone, cherishing the people that you care most about.
And that is the foundation of every fulfilling, long-term relationship.
Whoever becomes your partner in the, (maybe not so distant), future WILL know how to appreciate that… they will be lucky to have found YOU!
My wife isn't like my ex at ALL. And back during my breakup, I really thought that it would be absolutely impossible ever to find someone again who was THAT compatible to me like I thought my Ex was.
Man, was I wrong.
I didn't even know what was possible. It's like I had read two pages of the big book of relationships, and thought I knew what I wanted and needed.
So far from the truth.
The No Contact Rule
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you just might find
You get what you need
– Rolling Stones
I know that you feel the urge to contact your ex, to talk to them, to ask them what the hell happened, to just see them one more time.
It's a normal, human reaction.
But, hold on here – trust me when I say this because I've been doing this since 2005 – the truth is, you WON'T find relief in talking to them. You WON'T find the answers. You WON'T find closure.
All you will find is pain and frustration.
I understand that you are hoping to get them back. I understand that you want to stay friends with them so they don't disappear completely out of your life.
I know all of that.
But you must trust me now, and believe in my expert knowledge, that this is a HUGE mistake. You have to start the 60 days of No-Contact, (join my free newsletter, and I walk you through it step-by-step).
If you think that you can't do that, or you just don't want to, then you do what you have to do … and see where it gets you.
I don't mean that in a bad way… some of us simply need to go through this experience before committing ourselves to the No Contact Rule.
Following this rule is THE essential factor IF you want to get OVER your Ex the fastest, and “cleanest,” way possible.
And IF there is the slightest, infinitesimal chance of getting back together again, you will make the best out of it if you manage to re-gain your true-self, and think with your head, instead of your bleeding heart.
That's the first active step you must take on your own.
I can't make you.
I can show you the way, but you have to stand up and go.
Believe me; I know how you feel. I know your pain. I've gone through every single phase of it, back and forth. I know how hard it is to do ANYTHING.
But IF you want to get better, you must be ACTIVE. Passiveness will kill you.
Stand up and fight for your life and happiness!
You've made mistakes? So what? Welcome to the club! Are you human, or are you a computer?
I've made lots of mistakes. But with every mistake I've made, I have also made a step forward in my personal development.
Have I blamed myself for the break-up?
You bet I have. The mere thought that I had been the one who messed it up was absolutely unbearable.
But you know what? Ultimately it didn't matter.
Because with time, I've made two major realizations:
1. I couldn't possibly be responsible for the breakup all alone
There are always two people in a relationship who contribute to its well-being, or not. Everyone has needs, and the partner did not meet some of them – this is nobody's fault.
2. The person I WAS made mistakes
The breakup changed me. I am another person now. I couldn't have reacted differently because that's who I was back then. I learned from these mistakes, and I will never do them again.
Let me tell you one thing, and please read carefully:
There is nothing wrong with you!
Let that sink in.
There is nothing wrong with you!
Stop playing out all those “what-ifs”, and “if-onlys” in your head. They are sucking the energy out of you … energy you need right know.
It's a game you can't win.
You should be open to the notion – even if your pain clouds your judgment right now – that this is an incredible opportunity.
I really mean that.
You have been presented an opportunity to identify, and investigate, what needs changing in your life, and the chance to CHANGE it.
The reason why you have such difficulties with this breakup, is that there is an issue to resolve. An issue that is most probably standing in your way throughout your whole life, whether you realize it or not.
NOW is the best time to put your finger on this issue, and actively work on it.
The reason why people go through this relationship-breakup cycle again and again, is because they rebound quickly, (or even worse – overlap), and don't take the time to work on themselves.
MORE: The Relationship-Breakup Cycle
A breakup works quite like a reset in a way, where you CAN choose who you want to become after that. You can re-build yourself from the ground up.
You can be incredibly selfish, do what you want to do, when you want to do it. You can choose to appreciate and enjoy this given freedom.
You can acknowledge that YOU are unique.
No other person in this world has your particular combination of abilities, talents, appearance, personality, beliefs, aspirations and creativity.
So treat yourself good, treat yourself with respect. Don't engage in activities that dishonor that like trying to numb the pain with alcohol, drugs, or casual sex just to “get over them.”
Because it doesn't help.
It helps temporarily, but it will backfire terribly. And you will hate yourself for it …
You ARE unique.
You will learn to love yourself for that.
At first, you will have no clue about what happened. Absolutely no idea why they suddenly decided, for you both, that this relationship didn't have a snowball's chance in hell.
To you, it's like an alien took them over, and made them do things they would never, ever do.
You will rack your brain trying to figure it out.
I know that you think it is of vital importance that you learn the reasons for your breakup. You think this knowledge has the power to turn things around.
But it won't.
I know from experience, that at the very beginning it is quite impossible to fully grasp the dimensions of all the reasons that ultimately led to the split.
You are simply blocked through the pain and don't have the needed emotional detachment yet. You are seeing the relationship through rose-colored glasses that don't permit any critical reasoning.
You've put your Ex on a pedestal.
There are two major insights that a break-up recovery process can give you, (if you let it):
1. Deep level knowledge about yourself – who you are and what makes you tick
2. Realizations about your relationship – how it really was and why it failed
You will learn what went wrong, you will find out how good or bad your relationship really was, you will learn what you can do better in your next relationship, and most of all, you will learn what you want and need in a relationship.
And when you do, you will suddenly understand what I mean by saying that this break-up is an opportunity.
A very old friend of mine, who was homeless for a few years, said to me the following:
“Since I had this terrible experience, and survived, I knew that whatever life throws at me I can handle. I became fearless.”
And this is what I want for you.
After this experience – this break-up or divorce – after you have fought and survived, after you have cried and bled, after this excruciating time, there will be nothing left to fear.
Because you've made it.
You won't be clingy anymore, you won't be attached and attracted to a partner who is so wrong for you. You won't ever live a life in silent despair because of an unhappy relationship.
Because you've made it.
And you will go out there again and don't rest or stop until you've found the ONE who is waiting for you.
And it will be right …
I look at my wife and think how glad I am that my ex left me back then. I look at the kids who wouldn't exist, think of the hundreds of clients that I've helped…
All made possible by this one night in September so long ago, when she said she didn't love me anymore … and my world crumbled.
And look at it now!
Thank you , very much needed . Touched my spirit
wow thank you so very much. this has helped enormously. especially the part about if you made the mistakes, so what you’re only human. it couldn’t have just been of it takes two to break up a relationship
everything is much easier when it comes to a relationship between a guy and a girl that lasted 1 or 2 years and even 5 years.
but when it comes to a double-digit marriage, there are children …
at least it would be much easier for me if they weren’t there because I could, just like you, watch children who wouldn’t exist if my ex hadn’t left me. and now I look at the children who exist and their father left me!
I have always wanted love and a relationship with the father of my children and not with someone else.
I just want to say thank you for writing this. My little sister is going through a bad breakup and is convinced she will never find the same love. I know she will but in the meantime this helps 🙂
Thank you for writing this! I look forward to learning more.
Looking forward to reading more. This has been so very helpful.
I’ve been separated 6 months now. It’s been tough.
Thank you so much for putting this online. Your words hold my torn heart in your hands. I feel like I’m not so off, and that there is a light. The pain is bad right now and I’ve racked my brain like you say, and I’ve had the rose colored glasses and not wanted to let him go, but he is with another woman and I can’t allow my thoughts to disrespect me. I have to let it go and get my brain to stop thinking of him. Sigh, I still love him, and there she is…. I am numb. I need to move forward. Wish I could afford your program.
This spoke to my SOUL
Everytime I’m down or struggling I will read it.
Thank you so much x
Thank you for this article, I want to become a better person after my break up and your advice helps.
I can’t cope with the pain of my break up. Can’t eat or sleep, I feel depressed. Can’t sleep without the sleeping pills. And to make things worse I think I’m getting addicted to them. How can I make myself feel better and sleep better?
And know with absolute certainty that you will survive this loss, and know yourself better for having survived it.
Eventually you will come to the realization that you were a great partner, where your partner was not so great.
You deserve to be happy, and you will you will you will!
My relationship of 25 years ended 2 years ago. I’ve seen some statistics of a month of grief for every year of the partnership.
Eddie knows his stuff – read read read. Once you can stop medicating yourself, push through the pain. Recognize the anger and hurt in your heart as a healthy reaction to a tragic circumstance. Watch as those emotions fill your body, and then let them move right through you and drift off. They’ll come back again – no avoiding that, but see them as the chemical events they are and they’ll lose their power over your mind.
Get busy doing things you love. Gather your love network of friends pets and family (and Eddie) around you. Have a green tea, take a yoga class, read some Buzzfeed threads to laugh, You are going to be way okay. I promise.
Wow thank you thank you and thank you again Eddie! I had a breakup over 2 yrs ago and then a rebound breakup last month. I’ve read article after article, posted on multiple online forums, beating myself up over responses and from going through what led to each breakup over and over again. This nailed everything and gave me the closure I didn’t even know I needed. Thank you!
This article is very healing.
What I have learned:
I have had to leave a relationship and I have been left. It is hard to “reject and be rejected”.
As we get older we fear we will be less attractive and desirable, time is running out.
The bottom line for others feeling this way is to let go of that negative thought and take care of yourself. Love yourself where you are, so that special person on the other end can love you too, and you can love again.
If you are not healthy in self love, then it will be that much harder to find the person you are meant to be with.
That self love is excepting yourself for who you are, caring about yourself with exercise, nutrition, positive talk and definitely connecting with God; (your higher power)
A healthy state of mind is so important for you. It flows through your face, your smile and your body.
It is also very important to forgive…Sometimes it is yourself you forgive and sometimes it is the other person. It is freeing , healing and leaves you in a state of peace.
Im 27 and not the best of keeping a relationship, always tends to be the girl, finds someone else or thinks of themselves. This article has helped in reading it. Mean my ex decided to break up with me on day she joined the forces. By simply blocking me on all media and contact. Which killed me, no reason or word. After a 2 year relationship kinda made me feel worthless. Fact i was set thinking she is the one. Been 3 weeks and i am still battling on. Its hard but in a way this has helped the no contact rule which i am glad of. Do miss her but i know i have my own time waiting to get in the forces. I may feel used leading up to the break up. But i am trying to be strong.
Honestly for quite a few months no sex and constant refusal of her wanting to do stuff caused my anxiety and close to depression. Only time she really spent time with me if it benefitted her. Do see that now. However now facebook is a curse. Im at a point i dont want to erase 2 years of my life so wanting to make all new social media so mermories dont contactly bombard me.
Thank you so much for adding your articles here. I’m hurt but when I read through I feel much stronger. I’m 34 years old single mom of a 12-year-old boy. I was in a 2-year relationship with my boyfriend which slowly ended after he told me that he was not sure how he felt about me and later on that he was not in love with me anymore. I loved him so much, I felt he was the love of my life and then my life was ruined. I felt miserable. He kept saying how busy he was at his job and had no time for me anymore to ,make me happy,,. I could see he was confused and therefore moody. Even we ended up in this situation he acted like nothing has happened and continued to pretend that we were in a healthy relationship. I tried everything to make a relationship work, even convinced myself that it was my fault and I wasn’t good enough for him..later on, I could feel how this permanent rejection lowered my self-esteem and self-confidence. Finally, we agreed and ended up a relationship with no drama, I had no energy left and also knew that I could not push him into something he didn’t want to. I moved out a from his flat like a week ago, determined to sustain no contact with him at all. He called me a couple of times to check on if everything is fine asked if he could help me with something and said how much he liked me. Yesterday we met he kept saying all these compliments and asked if I could keep the key from his apartment. I denied…. I loved him so much. We planned a life together, family…he was the one enthusiastic about it. I love him and find it very difficult now to move on. He meant the whole life to me, he was my soulmate, we were soulmates and now it’s all gone.