There are two ways to react in this situation: you can begin to cry, fight and beg for him to stay or you can accept the fact that he has made up his mind--because if you have to fight for ways to convince someone to stay, then maybe that's reason enough they should no longer have a significant meaning in your life.
"Electing a more civilized route—reflecting on the lessons learned throughout the relationship as a whole and arrive at a place of gratitude, instead. For no matter the length or nature of the relationship, that guy was placed in your life for a reason and his presence sought to teach you something as a result. Whether he schooled you about love and its nuances, or more importantly, served to grow you as a woman overall, he deserves a thank you for the part he played in making you a more self-aware version of you."
Still feeling the sting post break-up, you might not be so quick to jump at the opportunity to begin writing thank you letters to the ghosts of boyfriends past. However, it may help to do my favorite thing (make lists) and send a little gratitude their way. Here is my list of ways to appreciate the last relationship for the lessons learned and the self-worth gained, all while having faith on the next person to come.
Take a day (or a whole week) to experience every emotion.
What you're feeling is completely normal. Don't push down the feelings because in the long run they will scar you. Let all the feelings and emotions out. Whether they are feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, depression or loneliness--let them out. Scream, cry, talk to your friends, listen to Taylor Swift at full blast and eat a bunch of chocolate. Take this time to get it all out and make a promise to never let yourself feel this way again. Don't continually feel sorry for yourself. Take these moments. Get it all out. Move on.
Once you have collected yourself, make a list of all the positive things from the lost relationship.
Did he treat you to really fancy restaurants? Did he make school more enjoyable? Did he show you off to all his friends? Did he teach you how to parallel park? Think about all the good memories, all the times he made you smile.
Now write a list of why it didn't work out.
Don't bag on the guy, but take a moment to realize the mistakes that were made from both parties. Chances are it wasn't a one sided street. The two reasons why I think this is a good thing to do is because (1) it helps you come to the realization that the relationship wasn't meant to last and (2) you learn and don't repeat the same mistakes when you fall into your next relationship.
Checklist of negotiables vs. non-negotioables.
Some people say it's crazy to have a checklist, but I see nothing wrong in knowing what you want in a partner and reassuring it to yourself. My absolute number one rule when making these lists is not to expect something from a guy that you can't provide yourself. I'm not ashamed to admit it--I have a checklist, and it's a checklist of values. This list may or may not be a little long but there is nothing on that list that I can't offer to the other person myself.
This list should have two sides: negotiables vs. non-negotioables.
It’s essential to make clear in your mind the qualities you will and will not budge on when it comes to choosing your partner. If you absolutely will not date a guy who does not have the same belief system as you, be sure to hold steady on these ideals. While height preference and bone structure can be negotiated, the non-superficial attributes should hold more weight. No man is worth negotiating your principles or even your dreams for. Not a single one.
Get back to being awesome.
Make (another) list of all the positive things about you. (Chances are this list is going to be the longest, because you know, you're pretty awesome.) This is a really fun exercise because it makes you realize all the great stuff you have going for yourself. You have a lot to bring to the table and after making this list your thought process of the break-up literally go from "What did I do wrong?" and "There's something wrong with me, I'm not enough" to going to "What is wrong with him for not seeing what was right in front of him...I'm awesome!" If you have a hard time with this list ask your friends what they truly think about you! You might be surprised how much love is surrounding you!
Get back on track with your awesomeness whether it's doing great at school or being amazing at your job or starting a new project with your friend and put all of your energy into these positive things.
Don’t let this particular heartbreak allow you to become hardened to the possibility of love in the future. You're a Disney princess who is just currently in the sad part of her feature film! It's going to end well. And remember: when a relationship is over, leave. Don’t continue watering a dead flower.
Photograph by Amanda Tipton