What nobody tells you when you have been dumped

(Link al post en español).
(Link zur deutschen Version).

They have left you. They no longer love you. It's not the same, there is another person involved... Regardless: it's over. You suddenly go from feeling great with your partner, sharing a passionate deep and absolute love to an indescribable pain now that they're not with you. They are perfect, you're not going to live with them anymore and it hurts you to think of a future without them (or even worse to think of them with someone else). It's painful for you to remember those shared moments you'll never have again.

What makes it worse is that everywhere you look there are things that bring back memories which remind you of your pain. You listen to a song and remember that they liked it, or interpret the lyrics in such a way, that they appear to be directed at you. You watch a film or read a book and every romantic scene breaks your heart. You go down the street and pass a romantic couple and you think: "What do they have that I don't? How can they be so happy?".

The future does not look bright because you either don't like anybody (except them) or they don't like you. Perhaps you even frighten them off – they sense your pain. Perhaps your own negativity spoils any chances that you may have. Even if you are successful with somebody else, it won't be the person you really want to be with. Perhaps the worst thing about being in this transitional situation is what your friends and family say. They watch you suffer and listen to you pouring your heart out and it's always the same feedback: "The world is full of wonderful people"; "You'll find someone better"; "It's their loss"; "They don't deserve you"; "The ideal person is just around the corner" and all of the other comments which sound great but are meaningless. You couldn't care less who is out there, you miss the person you have lost and you don't care how many fantastic people there might be, because the only one you really love won't be one of them. You couldn't care less that everyone says "you're great". You feel worthless if that special person doesn't want you. Nothing is worth it without the only person that gives your life meaning.

By trying to make you feel positive your close friends, who may have gone through the same thing, are trying to bolster your confidence and make you feel better. They mean well, and may not even be conscious that they are lying to you. They are “sugar coating” things in the hope that you will get over it. If you go along with this then perhaps you will get it together with time, however deep down you know that it will be no good because it isn't true. You need to go through the grieving process, now it's your turn. They have forgotten what it was like and create a fiction to mask reality, they know they are not solving your problems but repeat and repeat the same story over and over again.

You will overcome but you will have to go to hell and back first

The truth is that you're not the first person in the history of the world to go through something like this nor will you be the last. Not that it has to happen to everyone, but most of us have known what heartbreak is and some of us even spend a lot of time (days, weeks, months, maybe years) at our limit of suffering. I will never forget the first thing that used to come to mind every time I woke up. From immediately after the breakup and then on and on, until I finally saw the light, all I thought of every morning was: “it's amazing, another day and I'm still alive, I'm suffering so much that I won't be able to hold out until tomorrow”. It is not as though I really wished to die, it's just that it seemed to me that we humans just can't cope with that amount of stress. The next morning would arrive and I would be thinking the same, feeling surprise that I hadn't already admitted defeat.

The day before they dumped you they weren't as incredible, marvellous, irreplaceable or magic as you thought they were afterwards. Did they suddenly become superhuman overnight? Of course not. They were never like that. They are still as you saw them during the relationship and in fact you do not miss them as much as you really think. Part of all this is that you miss the feeling of being loved, you miss the feeling of having someone, the loss hurts (regardless who your partner was). Our natural instinct is to link the “emptiness” with “the person who has gone”.

Your mind plays tricks on you, but in fact you should follow your gut instincts. Do not be fooled, you don't love that person any more than you did yesterday “just like that”. You don't miss them and you don't mind having lost them. What hurts is that you have been dumped; the emptiness. It seems very hard that someone doesn't love you anymore, especially when they did before.

Speaking of that loving couple you passed in the street, it's probably not the first time that you've seen them. Perhaps they saw you some time ago when they were alone, feeling lonely and sad, and your partner and you were walking happily along as a couple and you didn't notice them. In that moment they thought about you exactly the same you think now about them... That's how the world works. All of us have our good and bad times and even those around you will have their ups and downs. Remember that next time.

What's going to happen next?

“Your perfect partner is just around the corner”. Maybe they are and maybe they're not. Someone else may turn up, they may be like your previous partner or completely different. What's important is that you get through this, mend the broken pieces, regain your self-esteem, control of your life, your happiness and integrity for today and the rest of your life. This does not depend on whether somebody else shows up or not. Right now you are suffering from a devastating heartbreak which engulfs you. Firstly you must get through this and you don't need anyone else to do that. When you have reached the point that you're not desperately seeking for someone else to dig you out of your mess, only then will you be in a position to meet someone who is capable of fulfilling your needs and vice versa.

Right now you have certain priorities, you are similar to someone who is physically sick and who has had to undergo an unpleasant operation. To overcome heartbreak requires a real effort which, in itself, can increase the chances of you making a complete recovery; and then you will remember the past but in a positive manner that will not affect your future. But in the meantime, many days you won't have energy to move, so you will have to find it and push yourself towards happiness even against your will.

You have to make a significant effort to be happy

Try to do the things that you like, enjoyable activities, do the things that you couldn't find time for previously or which you didn't fancy before. Although it sounds stupid, you have got to be disciplined to be happy, especially when you feel like sinking deeper: go to the cinema, the beach, the park, sign-up for a class, learn something new, read the book you have left to one side, or do some sport, something fun... Make a personal list and follow it to the letter. Don't give yourself a moment to become demoralised. Circumstances may have pulled you down but you can now do everything within your power to become more positive. When you feel bad its natural to regress, as far as possible, make sure that everything you do helps you to move on.

It's the same with “negative thoughts”. Get it into your head that it's over. We are only human and we can't avoid having invasive thoughts and memories, but you cannot give-up and sink. You should try to avoid thinking about the past (what they might be thinking, what they might be doing, what they might be saying and what you might have heard about your ex), concentrate totally on rebuilding your life, start now. This is particularly difficult if you are still in contact with or have friends in common with them. I'm not saying that your should become a robot or that you won't make mistakes, simply try your best, and when you are faced with negative external influences, replace them with positive thinking. Do everything that you can and if one day nothing seems to be working, try again. Do whatever you need to do and be patient.

It's an ongoing battle and even pleasurable things may be difficult for you to do. Even when you feel you have made some progress you'll have lows, making you think that you have achieved nothing. One day you will wake up full of energy, something will make you laugh, you will begin to believe that you can get over this after-all – then at any time, a song, a comment, seeing them or a mutual friend, whatever, will knock you down again. Don't worry, continue on, get better and slowly, little by little, it will get easier, you will have fewer and fewer setbacks and you'll bounce back quicker. What do you want? You are getting better, there is no quick fix. During your recovery process two very important things may happen; you will want to show your ex that you have got over them, your ex will want to come back to you.

In the first case: forget it. The temptation is to show your ex (or your mutual friends) that you are fine, that we're getting over it and we don't need them. That is looking back. Even though it might be to show your ex how well you are doing, in reality, what you are really doing is pondering “what does she think of me?”. Get it into your head that this is not constructive. You don't have to prove anything to anyone and certainly not to someone who has dumped you. Are you no longer together? In that case your feelings and private life are none of their business. It's a big temptation and at the time we may get a feel good factor, but in reality if we pay any attention to the person who deserted us it will have the opposite effect. We might not be able to avoid thinking about it, but fight the temptation as much as you can. If you speculate about what someone else thinks of you, then they have an influence on your mood – on your life. Look ahead.

In the second case: think twice before you decide. Sometimes when the person who's dumped you realizes you are doing alright, the roles are reversed and they begin to miss you. If fact they do not really love you any more than they did before. They haven't magically fallen in love with you again because they see that you are different to the day before the split. It's simply that they feel an emptiness and they feel, as you do, an instinct to “look for affection” from the person who was closest to them. You learn to love someone by getting to know them and through regular contact, what you feel when that person is no longer there is an emptiness. This is even greater when that person has decided to cut you out of their life, for something, or somebody. If they want to re-initiate the relationship, it's your decision but remember, you need to get your life back without depending on anybody else. Heal yourself, get your life back and if your ex gives you what you need to progress, then go ahead. Don't forget that your ex is not a remedy for your pain; that's your job and yours alone.

It's been a long struggle with lots of ups and downs (it doesn't look so hard now, but it will be) the moment will come when you will be completely free. One day you will realise “I haven't felt bad for a long time”. But will there be any consequences? Will you be able to start a new relationship as though nothing had happened? Will you have any doubts or distrust? Will you make a complete recovery?

It all depends on you

You are able to recover from this, but it all depends on you. It's similar to when you've had a medical problem and physiotherapy is key to your recovery. It's easier to stay at home and not complete your exercise regime, but if you do you will get back to be 100%, just like now. Feeling sorry for yourself, denying reality or fantasising about that ideal partner who is going to save you, are things that may affect you. With positive thinking and by applying yourself and by removing the negativity from your life, you will find you only have a small scar to remind you of the past.

This experience may affect us in many ways: not accepting reality, beating yourself up or imagining that a new partner will come and rescue you. However facing up to things, accepting we are human and that we will have to go through a period of mourning are necessary evils. We need to give it our all and beat all obstacles which pull us down. At the end of the day we will have only a small scar to remind us of everything that we have gone through. By the way, having got through this doesn't mean that the same thing can't happen again; noone can read the future. You will have gained a lot more inner-strength and much more self-confidence. Finally what you will be sure of is your own ability to overcome any other hurdles that you may face.

If you've been dumped and you are in the dark about what to do next, do something. Nobody is telling you it'll be an easy experience to get over. Just when you think you are progressing you will regress a hundred and one times but there is light at the end of the tunnel. You have got what it takes to get there. That phase of your life is over and the next is waiting for you : decide how you want it to be and make it happen.

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After I published the post (in spanish) I got literally thousands of messages and comments, several webs and forums threads were open to talk about it and I got an amazing feedback from everyone; so a few years later I decided to publish the book going deeper into this and answering many common questions. Since then many of my readers have written to me asking for versions in other languages... Well, it has taken a long time (thanks so much to all the people helping translating) but now the book is in english too:

Here is the ebook version.
And here is the paperback version.

(Note: Amazon has local pages in different countries which have a shorter delivery time. That can be your option if you don't want to wait)

Thank you all, I hope this knowledge will help others as much as it helped me.