What nobody tells you when you have been dumped

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

They have left you. They don't love you anymore, it's not the same, there's someone else.... Whatever: it's over. Suddenly you, who until that point were "fine" with your partner, go into a state of passionate, deep, absolute love, only comparable to the pain of not being able to have them with you anymore. That person becomes perfect, you cannot live without them, it hurts you to look forward and not see them with you (even worse, to imagine them with someone who is not you), it hurts you to look back remembering moments that will not be repeated or making others seem better that were not so good either.

It is also made worse by the fact that everywhere you look there are things that bring back memories or make you think of what hurts you the most. You hear a song they liked, or the lyrics tell you something you would like to tell them; you watch a movie, read a book, and there is no romantic scene that doesn't break your heart; you walk down the street and see a happy couple and think "what do they have that I can't have?".

And the prospects are not good either, because either you don't like anyone (no one other than that person) or they don't like you, maybe you scare them away -the pain is "smelled"-, maybe your own negativity makes you spoil the possibilities you could have. And in the case that you do succeed with someone else, it won't be the one you want to be with anyway. Perhaps worst of all is what other people tell you when you're pestering them with your woes: the "the world is full of wonderful people", "you'll find someone better", "it's their loss", " they don't deserve you", "the perfect person is waiting for you", and all the other well-meaning platitudes that sound great but that don't do you any good. You don't care who is out there, the one you miss is the one you have lost; you don't care how many fantastic people are waiting for you if the only one you want is no longer there; you don't care about "you are worth a lot", you feel you are worth nothing if that special one doesn't value you. Without that person nothing makes sense, nothing is worthwhile.

You know... Your loved ones, either by trying to convey positive feelings or by the empathy of someone who has gone through the same thing, tell you what they tell you with all their good faith but perhaps without even being aware that they are lying to you. The idea is to "soften things up" until you get over it, and if you enter into this delusion you may be able to hold on to your pieces until they weld back together again over time. But deep down you know that all that doesn't bring you relief. Burying the pain deep only makes it take longer to expel it, and if you don't vomit up the poison you may never get rid of it at all. So let's talk straight.

You'll get out of it, but you've got hell to pay.

First of all, you are not the first person on this planet to go through something like this, nor will you be the last. Not that it happens to everyone, but most of us have known what heartbreak is and some of us even spent a long time, days, weeks, months, some maybe years, at the limit of our capacity for suffering. In my particular case I have engraved in my mind the dates, counted the days when I woke up every morning surprised (seriously) for not having died and thinking that it was impossible for a human being to survive that one more day; and when the next morning I woke up again I said to myself "it is incredible, I have not died yet; but it is impossible for me to survive until tomorrow like that". I was convinced I couldn't get through it, but I did. And so will you. Because I have good news and bad news: you get out of this, and you can get out of it 100% -really-; but the road is hell. If you think you've suffered so far, get it through your head that what you have left is probably much, much worse. Right now you have your perceptions distorted by inner emptiness and grief, you cannot trust what your head tells you and much less your heart.

One day before you knew you were going to be abandoned that person was not as incredible, wonderful, unrepeatable, superhuman and magical as they seemed to you afterwards. Did they suddenly become "alien" like that? Of course not. In fact that's not what this person was, they were just as you knew them when you were with them and knew them perfectly well. What's more, you don't really miss them that much, even though you think you do. Partly what you also miss is the feeling of being loved: you miss the feeling of having someone, and the emptiness of the loss hurts (whoever occupied that space before). But of course, our instinctive impulse is to associate "emptiness" with "the person who was there until yesterday".

It is a trap of our mind, we remember where to look for the satisfaction of our needs and that is where our nature directs us first; but don't fool yourself, in reality you don't love that person more than you loved her yesterday when you were just "fine". You don't miss them, it doesn't hurt to lose them: it hurts the loss itself, to have been left, the emptiness. How hard it is when someone doesn't love you, especially if you think they could love you because they already did before.

Speaking of those two happy lovers that you pass by on the street, maybe it is not the first time you see them. Maybe when you were walking happily down the same street with your partner you passed them alone, without noticing their presence, and they thought exactly the same of you as you think of them today. This is how the world works, we all go through very good times and very bad times and those around you will be in a wonderful moment like yesterday or tomorrow they will have their little disasters. Remember that next time.

So, what's next?

"Your perfect match is waiting for you." Well look, maybe and maybe not. Maybe someone will come along in the future, maybe not, if they come along maybe they will look like what you have known so far, maybe they will be absolutely different. But that doesn't matter right now, because first you have to get out of this, glue your pieces together, regain your self-esteem and control of your life, your happiness, your integrity, your present and your future, regardless of who appears or doesn't. Right now you have a disease called heartbreak that is devastating, ravages the heart and affects the whole person; so first you have to heal and recover completely and then, once you do not need anyone to come to cover your lacks, we will see if you stumble upon someone good enough for your demands -and you for theirs- or not.

But right now there are more immediate things: just as when you have a physical illness you have to go through treatment that is sometimes not pleasant, heartbreak requires work that greatly shortens the recovery process and greatly increases the chances that you will come out of it all with only a clean scar that reminds you of what you've been through but doesn't affect your future life at all. But a million times you won't feel like it, so you'll have to force yourself.

You have to force yourself to be happy

It is about doing things that you like, looking for pleasurable activities, doing what you always left because of lack of time or desire but that attracted you. It seems silly, but you need discipline to be happy, especially when what you want is to sink more. Go to the movies, to the beach, to the park, sign up for classes, learn something, read what you had pending, do sports or play something fun... Whatever, make your personal list and follow it without giving yourself a moment to let your spirits down. If circumstances have pulled you down, at least do everything you do to go up; if you feel bad and the pain makes you go backwards, whatever depends on you, on your will, let them be only things that help you move forward.

It is the same with the "invasive thoughts". Get used to the idea that what you had is over: you will not be able to avoid the memories or thoughts that suddenly appear, we are human and these things happen, but you can still not give up and let it sink in. Try again and again to put out of your mind everything that is looking back (what that person would think or thinks of you, what they do, what they said, what they tell you about them) and try your best to focus on building the new stage of your life that is starting now. This is especially difficult when you still have contact with them, or with common people, but whatever: I am not telling you to become a robot and never fail, just do your best and if you get bad things from outside at least you should put the good things from inside. Do everything you can, and if one day everything goes wrong, start over and try again. Do what you have to do and be patient.

You can see that it is a constant struggle, even the good things will be difficult.... And on top of that, when you think you have made some progress, you will have slumps that will make you think that you have not achieved anything. One day you will wake up with energy, something will make you laugh, you will start to think that after all you will be able to overcome it... And at any moment any detail, a song, a comment, crossing paths with that person or someone common, whatever, will knock you down again. Don't worry: keep doing your job of recovering and slowly, very little by little, it will be more and more difficult and less frequent to get knocked down and you will get up faster and faster. What do you want? You are healing, that's the way it is.

In that process you may have two particularly important circumstances: you want to give that person the image that you are getting over it, and they want to come back.

In the first case: just forget about it. We are tempted to "show" the other (or the common acquaintance) that we are fine, that we are getting over it, that we don't need them.... That is looking back. Even if it's to tell them how well you're doing, you're thinking about "what they think of me"; get it through your head, you don't need to be interested in that anymore. You don't have to prove anything to anyone, but much less to someone who voluntarily decided to leave your life: are you no longer a couple? Ok then, your private life and your feelings are no longer of interest to them. It is a very big temptation and for a moment we think it makes us feel good, but in reality in our recovery process everything that is giving importance to someone we want to stop having it is an obstacle. Okay, you can't avoid thinking about it, but as much as you can fight against it: if you care, much or little, about something, what someone thinks, is that it has an influence on your state of mind -that is, on your life-. Look ahead.

In the second case: think twice before deciding. It sometimes happens that if the one who is leaving sees that the other one goes ahead without them, the roles are reversed and they start -they think- to miss you; in reality they do not love you more than before, they have not magically loved you again because they have discovered that you are different from the day before breaking up. It is simply that now they are feeling the emptiness and it happens to them just like you, their instinct makes them look for that "affective food" where they had found it until now. You learn to love someone by getting to know them through contact, what you feel when that someone is not there is something else: emptiness. And even more so when from that contact that person already decided that they wanted to continue their without you: it would be for something -or someone-. So if they say they want to come back, the decision is yours; but think that you have to recover your life without depending on anyone. Heal yourself, remake yourself, and if from being someone "healthy" it turns out that this person you know well has what you demand to be your partner again and you want to go ahead, then go ahead. Don't forget that your ex is not a remedy for your pain; that's your job and yours alone.

After that long, hard road, with some ups and many downs (maybe now it seems less difficult, but believe me it will be), there will come a time when you will finally be free. You will hardly notice it, maybe a little later when you have been fully recovered for some time and you say "I have not felt bad for a while"; but it will come. Now, will you be left with after-effects? Will you be able to start a new relationship as if nothing had happened? Will you have doubts or distrust? Will you really get out of it, completely?

It all depends on you

Yes, you can heal and really get over it, but it depends a lot on you. This is like when you have a medical problem and rehabilitation is key to full recovery: it is easier to stay at home or not do the exercises well, but if you do them right - and they hurt - in the end you can get back to 100% and in some cases even more thanks to physical work. Self-flagellating, feeling sorry for ourselves, denying reality, fantasizing about the ideal partner who will come to get us out of the hole, there is a much greater chance that we will be "marked". But accepting things as they are, accepting that we are human and we have to go through a period of "mourning" that no one will take away from us, putting everything on our part to get up overcoming the weights that pull us down, we earn the almost total certainty that from all this we will only have a good scar that will remind us of what we went through, maybe even bother us when time changes, and experience for the future. And by the way, with recovery you will not get a "vaccine" that will prevent you from being dumped again; no one can guarantee the future. But you will have much greater inner strength, more self-confidence and courage, and the assurance that you will have a better chance of overcoming any other disaster that comes your way.

So, if you've been left in the dark, start moving. No one says it's easy to get to the exit, you'll get lost a thousand times when you think you're doing well, but the end of the tunnel is there and you have what it takes to reach it. One stage of your life is over and the next one is waiting for you: decide how you want it to be and start working to build it.


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.