The first time I had my heart broken, I lay in bed for days, feeling absolutely dreadful as I pined for the “one who got away.” I also felt like absolute trash, like I wasn’t good enough, and that I would never be loved.
We’ve all been there, right?
When love fails us, we are devastated, and it can wreck you if you don’t find a way to get back on your feet and carry on running the race of life. Part of getting over a love disappointment is to dose up on some self-validation and rediscover who you are and what you want.
Not sure how? Luckily, I’ve got the best tips and advice on how to rediscover yourself after a love-life disappointment.
What Is a Love-Life Disappointment?
A love-life disappointment is a breakup with your romantic partner. It’s when you have to end the relationship because you realize you can’t be together. When your partner leaves you (often without warning), it’s known as being “dumped.”
The end of a relationship can be painful and cause severe disappointment. There are psychological implications such as not feeling good enough, losing faith in people and in yourself, and suffering depression.
Types of Love-Life Disappointments
There are a few reasons why a relationship may end in a love-life disappointment. Here are a few examples:
- Your partner cheated on you.
- You and your partner discover you no longer love each other.
- When you cheat on your partner.
- Your partner leaves you because you don’t meet their needs (for children, better sex, adventure, or money).
- Your partner suddenly dies or leaves (such as when they choose their career over you).
Rediscovery and Recovery—Why You’re Worth It
You got dumped. It hurts.
The results of having a love-life disappointment is usually that you end up feeling utterly broken and found wanting. The person you loved and trusted betrayed you, then abandoned you, and they probably blamed you for it.
We often build our sense of self around the people who matter most to us, and when that special person abandons you or judges you, it shakes your idea of who you are to the core. Suddenly, you have to start again, discover yourself again, and rebuild yourself from scratch.
It’s rare that you can go through a relationship breakup and not be damaged and hurt in some way. While you may consciously realize that it’s not your fault (or at least not only your fault), it’s a different matter to realize that in your subconscious and your inner self.
However, let me take this moment to tell you that you are absolutely worth more than you think. No matter how low you feel or how worthless you imagine yourself being, you are worthy, you are enough, and you are destined for love.
Past the bitterness and broken pieces (the leftover pizza and bed sheets covered in crumbs and used up Kleenex from hours of crying), lies a new and improved you. No matter how painful it is, you can and will get through this and love again. It starts with loving yourself.
6 Ways to Rediscover Yourself After a Love-Life Disappointment
When you know yourself, you can love yourself completely. Self-love is the path to being loved by others. Someone who doesn’t love themselves is not able to love others too. This is why rediscovering yourself is so important to overcoming a love-life disappointment.
1. Embrace Grief
The relationship you valued ended. It’s very much like a death, even if the person you broke up with has merely left you (and didn’t die—though you may wish they did if you are feeling bitter). What has died is the relationship itself.
Acknowledging that what you had with that special person has died and can’t continue is the first step toward healing and rediscovery. Instead of trying to convince yourself that it really wasn’t such a great relationship or that you didn’t feel anything for the one who left, accept the pain, own it, and let yourself feel it.
Some newly “singled clients” I’ve worked with choose to write a letter to the relationship (as if it’s a person), saying farewell. This is a good opportunity to recall the good days, accept the bad ones, and bid farewell to what was so you can open yourself to what may come your way.
2. Move on Completely
I can never understand why, when you’ve gone through a messy breakup, you would want to keep your ex’s details on your phone or stalk them on social media. Unless you have kids together, there’s no reason to interact with that person. Hanging around them is a surefire way to start hoping you can have them back.
But when the breakup is a love-life disappointment, there’s little chance of successfully getting back together without resentment and further breakups. So don’t dwell on the past. Move on in a big way.
Delete their number, unfriend them, block them, and if necessary, change the locks on your apartment or move to a new place entirely. Don’t go to the same places you used to hang out with them as running into them will merely break you again in the places you’ve just begun to heal.
3. Keep a Journal
Journaling offers many benefits. When you write about what you are feeling, it can boost your ability to process the events (which may be quite muddled if it was an emotional breakup) that are confusing you or bringing you down.
Usually in an breakup, there are accusations that are slung between the partners, and it can be so easy to simply believe all the bad things your partner said about you. With journaling, you can externalize your fears and doubts, perhaps even drawing them as a little monster that you can fold away each day when you write.
When you use journaling prompts, it can help you focus on who you are, your worth, and your contributions to the world around you. Your ex may not have valued you, but there are always others who do value you. Journaling can help you see that.
4. Lean on Friends
I know that I didn’t want to see anyone for weeks after my heartbreak. But the truth is that you need people around you when you’ve just been through disappointment with your partner. Your friends and people you value can help you see things in a different perspective, and they can cheer you up when things get too dark.
If you have a friend you can confide in, all the better. However, take care to choose your confidants only once you know you can trust and rely on them. You’ve just had a bitter disappointment; there’s no need to have a betrayal by a loose-lipped friend too.
5. Engage in Formative Activities
When you are in a relationship, you often deny yourself things that your partner didn’t like or didn’t want you to engage in. My first partner didn’t like me hiking in nature, so when we broke up (and once I got myself out of that pizza covered bed), I began hiking and enjoying the outdoors.
Find out what you’ve been denying yourself:
- Making music
- Gourmet cooking
- Attending shows
- Having pets
- And more
Next, choose a few things you’ve missed out on and engage in them to your heart’s content. There is nothing and nobody holding you back now.
6. Take a Self-Discovery Course
You can also take a self-discovery course at a local college or meditation center. Use the time after a breakup to work on who you are. Build yourself and you will attract the people into your life who belong and lift you up.
When you know who you are after the breakup, you will be able to move forward into a new relationship, if that’s your choice. You may also choose to remain self-partnered or enter a platonic relationship. The most important thing is that you love yourself.
The Last Discovery
Rediscovering yourself can be a real challenge, especially if the relationship that broke apart was a long-term one.
I advise my clients to keep a few things in mind while they undergo the rediscovery process before I assist them with online dating and dating counseling:
- Be kind to yourself—you’re only human and make mistakes.
- Forgive but don’t forget your partner—don’t let them convince you they made a mistake and just sweep the painful breakup under the rug. Your feelings are valid.
- Break ties with the one who hurt you. There’s nothing to gain from stalking them (other than a prison sentence), and you should be busy living your life now.
- Do things you enjoy doing. When you do the things you’ve been putting off, you reward and nourish yourself.
- Learn who you are without that partner, and love yourself all the more.