5 Annoying Break Up Clichés (and why they are actually totally true)…
If you have recently broken up with somebody, first of all I would like to say how truly sorry I am. Having gone through a very traumatic break-up last year I can sincerely say that I would never want to relive the pain that it brought me, and I wish that I could fast-forward this horrible time for you. That said, there are probably a lot of go-to post-break-up phrases that everyone and their granny are saying to you right now, to try and make you feel better. Chances are, every time you hear one of these clichés you probably you feel increasingly frustrated, right? While these statements can sound patronising and a little insincere at times, I’m here to tell you that even the most cliché of clichés from the big cliché handbook are, while undeniably annoying, actually completely loaded with truth. I now find myself saying them to friends who are going through break-ups and while I do kind of want to punch myself in the face for uttering them, I want to explain to you why, in my experience, these super annoying points of ‘advice’ hold true:
“Time is a healer”
I remember when people kept saying this to me (like, constantly) I knew in my heart of hearts it had to be true. Afterall, I have plenty of friends who have been in long-term relationships that have ended and they have recovered, dated other people and ultimately settled down and found happiness again with someone else. People get divorced all the time and go on to re-marry and start totally new lives. So yes, it is an undeniable fact that time is a healer. But, so what? What are you meant to do in the meantime while time works its powerful magic, as you are in the depths of your mourning period? Just wait it out? Pretend you’re fine? Wake up every day, go to work, put a smile on your face and act as though your heart isn’t shattered into one million pieces? Well, yes, unfortunately that’s exactly what you have to do. Sadly, while your world feels like it has ended, the bigger, wider world has to continue turning and you have to do your best to push through. No one can predict or pinpoint when you’ll feel ‘OK’ again. It took me ten months and believe me I felt every single minute of every day of those ten months. I went through periods of not being able to sleep, not being able to eat, eating far too much, talking to friends non-stop about my ex, texting my ex (terrible idea), considering reconciling with my ex (worse idea) and crying pretty much every single day. But over time things did get easier. The crying became less frequent. I talked about the break-up less. I cut off contact with my ex. And one day, without even realising things had been improving, I was back to being me. Even better still, you will emerge a better version of yourself, because you will have survived something really difficult and it will make you so, so much stronger. Just give yourself time. Cry when you need to, talk to friends and be kind to yourself.
“You don’t miss him, you just miss the idea of him/being in a relationship”
Ugh, when anyone said this to me I got so annoyed. Like, no, sorry, I can actually rhyme off about 64 specific actual things I miss about the specific, actual person I went out with, so your theory is not only cliché, it is just plain incorrect. I missed his hugs, our private jokes, his nicknames for me, his breakfasts in bed, his silly faces, how we used to hug while we brushed our teeth, etc, etc, etc. Now what about the things you don’t miss? Well, I don’t miss how we always argued about everything; I don’t miss how we had a completely different sense of humour, thus he never really made me laugh; I don’t miss the fact that he only liked eating at chain restaurants or somewhere that he had coupons or vouchers for; I don’t miss his friends and family with whom I had nothing in common. In fact yes, OK, there is a lot more about him that I don’t miss than I actually do miss. When I was with my ex and in the initial phase of our breakup all I could see was the rose-tinted, perfect image of him that I held in my heart, and even when I tried to be rational and think of all his bad points, my heart would overrule and I’d vehemently convince myself that I had lost the perfect guy. I was wrong. Look, being in a relationship is lovely. I am honestly very happy being single right now but can wholeheartedly admit that some nights I do long for someone to cuddle and kiss, watch silly movies and eat takeaway with, and to tell me how wonderful they think I am. But that will come again, in a new relationship and it will all be lovely again, with someone new and more suited to me. I realise and confess now that the idealised, perfect relationship I thought I had was merely a fantasy, but it’s a fantasy I won’t give up on making a reality, someday.
“You deserve better”
Everyone is telling you this, right? You may not believe it, but whether you’re the one who did the breaking up or the one who was let go by your partner, you do deserve better. Relationships don’t just end for no reason. While your split may have seemed out of the blue, come as a total shock or been over something totally stupid and ridiculous that just got blown out of proportion, it still ended because there was some flaw in the relationship, no matter how perfect you protest that your ex-partner was or how great you guys were together. If you were constantly arguing, you deserve better – someone who makes you feel at ease, not someone who adds stress to your life. If you had nothing in common and everything constantly felt like a major effort, you deserve better. Fancying someone and the excitement of the honeymoon period fizzles out, you deserve someone you can have a deep, long term connection with. If he shouted at you, called you names or had an explosive temper, you deserve better – someone who is kind and gentle and cherishes you, not belittles you. If he cheated on you, either physically or through texts/social media, you deserve better – someone who wants you, and you alone. If he ended things with you because he simply fell out of love, you deserve better – someone who will love every single part of you: flaws, weird quirks and all. If you simply fell out of love with him, you deserve better – someone you can get excited about spending the rest of your life with. If one silly little fight has totally blown up and led to your breakup you deserve better – someone who doesn’t create drama out of a situation that could have been easily resolved. Whatever the reason for the breakup, you deserve better. Even if your ex was a lovely, lovely person and you can’t accept that there is anyone better than them, try to be objective and accept that there is at least a chance that there is someone out there better suited to you.
“Everything happens for a reason”
I felt like forcing anyone who said this to me to get out a notepad and pen and list me ten reasons as to why this dreadful event had happened to me. Why did I waste so long in a relationship that ultimately failed? Why had I wasted thousands (THOUSANDS) of pounds and all my weekends flying back and forth to see my boyfriend? (I was in a long distance relationship). Why did I quit my job, leave my home and my friends to move to another country for it all to blow up in my face a matter of weeks later? Why does my heart feel like it is physically torn in half? Why? Why?! Can you tell me what the reason behind all this is, please? Well, you probably (almost certainly) won’t see any reasons for your breakup – or perhaps your entire relationship – initially or in fact, for a very long time. But I can honestly say that with hindsight I can see dozens, if not a hundred reasons why our breakup had to happen; why we weren’t compatible; why it was never going to work. Furthermore, and better still, I can see many reasons for the relationship itself, not just for its ultimate demise. I have learned so much, not only about myself but about what I want from a relationship, and what I definitely do not want from a relationship. I’ve learned how I will approach things differently in my next relationship and things that I simply will not tolerate or stand for. I have learned self-worth, self-respect and self-love… and, (bonus) I have progressed in my career, lost a pile of weight and generally improved my own life since ‘the big split’. These are all pretty darn valid reasons to me.
“Just enjoy being single for a while”
It’s easy to equate this cliché with another popular, overused break-up saying: “the best way to get over someone is to get under someone new” (ew, gross) i.e. ‘enjoy engaging in single behaviour for a while’, but I now take it to mean something different. While typical ‘single behaviour’ is associated with swiping through Tinder, casual dating, one-night stands, random snogs in clubs and general promiscuity, I would now say this to a friend to encourage them to enjoy being a single person. When you come out of a relationship, you go from being half of a couple to once again just being a ‘you’: you on your own, instead of half of a ‘we’. This may seem pretty daunting and kind of sad, but it is actually a wonderful gift and a beautiful opportunity to get to know ‘you’ again; who you are when you are standing on your own two feet independently. You have no one to answer to, no one to take into consideration when you want to make big plans (or little ones, like deciding what food you want to eat or what to watch on Netflix) and no one ‘completing’ you or partially forming a bit of your character. Enjoy making grand plans for your career, or following a new path all together. Enjoy traveling somewhere you’ve always wanted to see. Enjoy eating and watching things you didn’t before because your partner hated them. Hit the gym and work on your bod to look smokin’ hot for no one but you. Maybe it’s age or maybe it was the fresh start after my break-up, but I have never felt more authentically ‘myself’ than I do right now at this phase of my life and I am so grateful for the relationship I now have with the real, genuine me, and I strongly encourage you to be alone for a while and make yourself happy.
I doubt that you made it through reading this without rolling your eyes or thinking that I have no idea what you are going through, but believe me, I do. And while this article will probably be of no help to you right now, maybe one day you will look back on it and realise that there is some truth to these clichés, and they aren’t just cookie cutter remarks people are thoughtlessly regurgitating to you right now. I truly wish you the best as you heal, and I humbly reassure you things will get better. I promise they will.