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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Post-Breakup Helps

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Author Topic: Post-Breakup Helps
Executive Director & Founder
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Since it's been apropos for me lately, I thought I'd go ahead and share this here with all of you.

My situation right now -- well, over the last six months or so -- has been about, in a poly situation, shifting a secondary partnership to a primary one (which a gazillion years ago was a primary relationship of its own), and my previous primary relationship of four and a half years moving to a platonic friendship. Not exactly the standard breakup, but all the same, one of my relationships, as a sexual/romantic relationship, and also as one where I have been cohabitating for the last three years, has ended.

Since I've been in the thick of transitioning out of that initial primary relationship, and dealing with it's breakup, I've been engaging in some of the small rituals I tend to do for myself after a split. Not only do I enjoy them, they're things that help me process my feelings and reestablish myself in whatever my new framework is.

One of the things I'll make a point of doing post-breakup is making myself a list of some of the hobbies or interests I haven't had as much space to pursue when in relationship, either because those weren't interests we shared, and/or I just didn't have as much time for them then as I will now. So, for instance, I realized I haven't been sewing in an age, even though I have liked to do it since I was a child. So, as a post-breakup gift for myself, I just bought myself a new sewing machine rather than struggling with the broken one I've had since my teens. I'm pretty stoked about it (especially since that means I can now start working on constructing the safer sex kit prototypes for Scarleteen I've wanted to craft for a while).

I also realized I'd been cutting short my afternoon walks with my dog because I was often trying to super-concentrate my workday while we were living together, something I don't need to do anymore. So, over the last few weeks, I've had some great long walks with my dog where I've no need to look at the time.

I, personally, tend to do some extra nesting post-breakup. I know a lot of people tend to see their friends less when in relationship, so amp up their social life with friends, but that's rarely an issue with me: for me, it's having less time for myself that's the issue, and that's also something I personally tend to need a lot of, especially if I've been hurting. Having my living space be a good place to be by myself is a biggie, and reclaiming it as mine post-cohabitation (even when I wasn't cohabitating) has always been a good way for me to process a breakup and move into a different life. Sometimes I'll paint something anew, other times just rearrange things. I often clean like the dickens post-breakup. I've also had a ritual for many years I like where I buy something new for my bed after a split.

Another thing I'll usually do is enjoy doing things that would otherwise have been problematic when living with someone: for instance, playing piano at 3 AM would have disrupted my exes sleep, but I can do it now if I want. [Smile]

One last thing I'd share is making lists -- either just in my head or on paper -- of positive changes the breakup created. For example, I'm vegan, and really prefer a vegetarian household, but I was living with a carnivore and we'd struck a compromise. Being able to have a veg household again makes me feel very good. I really don't dig folks wearing shoes in the house because it makes for so much dust and dirt, so I'm looking forward to sweeping and mopping less. I cannot stand having a television in my house, especially in the sitting room, so I've been looking quite gladly at the corner of my living room that is now sans giant Big Brother box.

Those are a few of my own processes, helps and tips: want to share yours?

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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When I broke up with my ex of 2 1/2 years, I also took time for myself and developed interests that I'd let fall to the wayside while we were together.
I had lived with my ex for 3 months, so when we broke up, I also reclaimed my space and bought something new for my bed: a new bed frame! I also bought some book shelves and pictures for my bedroom. It made my room feel more personal and like my very own space.
I hadn't listened to music that I liked in a really long time either, since he listened to rap/hip hop most of the time and that was just what we ended up listening to when we were together. So, I started listening to metal again! It was just another way to get back in touch with myself, and it's formed into a great interest of mine. [Razz] I tend to get really nerdy about everything I do.
Right after we broke up was when I started getting interested in feminism as well, another facet of my personality that developed after breaking up.
I also have relished taking public transit again (we drove everywhere, which I disliked and thought was unnecessary) and I've focused more on drawing, a hobby I hadn't had much time for. I also started volunteering in my community as a support services provider for DeafBlind people and I found that to be very fulfilling, and something I really enjoy.

I think it's important to develop new interests and revisit forgotten hobbies after a breakup, because I find those to be really important parts of ourselves and often how we define or describe ourselves to others.

"The truth of all predictions is always in your hands."

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