So many of us have been there — you come to college with your high school sweetheart thinking you’ll be together forever and then all of the sudden you end up…single. After being with someone for multiple months or maybe even years, this can be a shock to your system, especially with so many other life changes happening at the same time. Don’t fret, VALLEY is here to guide you as you begin your new life as the fabulous independent man or woman we know you can be. It’s time for a fresh start!
Remember: You won’t feel like this forever.
Everyone reacts to a breakup differently, but it’s likely that you’re feeling a lot of sadness if you’re coming out of a long relationship–whether it was your choice to break up or not. You may be experiencing both physical and emotional pain, and that’s totally normal. Let yourself feel everything. If you suppress your emotions, it will just stall the recovery process.
You’re probably thinking that the pit in your stomach or the pain in your chest will never go away. Don’t worry — it will! Even though it’s a total cliche, time is EVERYTHING. There will be a day you don’t ache anymore and a day you won’t cry anymore. It’s likely that you won’t notice when it happens, but it will soon enough.
Realize that what you’re feeling now is helping you grow and become so much stronger. Break-ups are never fun, but now you know that you can survive, and it’s not the end of the world.
Spend time with friends — and make some new ones!
This is a time when your friends are more important than ever. So many people have experienced being newly single, so there’s no doubt that you have friends who understand exactly what you’re going through. Your friends are going to be there to comfort you when you need them, but also try to have some fun with them!
When you’re in a relationship, you typically dedicate a lot of time to your SO. Now that you’re no longer spending time with that person, dedicate more time to your friends! Have a girls night in with all of your besties or get dressed up and have a fun night out.
Even though people are able to maintain close friendships while they’re in a relationship, this is a great time to evolve existing friendships and develop deeper bonds with other people in your life. Reach out to old friends and spend more time with your family and closest friends.
It’s also a great idea to make some new friends, especially at Penn State where there are so many different people to meet and get to know. You were probably known to be the other half of whoever you were dating while you were in that long relationship, so you want to find people who don’t know you as someone’s significant other. Breaking out of that identity you once had and spending time with people who know you simply as an individual makes it much easier to embrace the single life.
Work on YOU.
Everyone always says to work on yourself, so you may be rolling your eyes at this tip, but seriously — it helps! Working on yourself can mean anything from setting new academic goals to improving your mental health. When you come out of a long relationship, it’s a great time to evaluate yourself and your priorities.
Even if you’re a naturally independent person, you’re always thinking and worrying about your significant other while you’re dating them. Now, you are your only concern, and you should embrace it! Go to that club or org that you’ve been wanting to join. Start a side hustle. Spend more time applying for internships and jobs. Do something spontaneous.
Right now is all about you. Don’t spend time worrying about what other people think. You were in a partnership for so long, and now that you’re no longer part of that, it’s time to make decisions solely for yourself. Since you spent months or years keeping someone else in mind at all times, you deserve this time to do exactly what you want to do. While you’re working on yourself, you’ll probably realize more about what you want from future relationships and how you want to change your own behavior.
It’s okay to be alone!
Even if you’re ultimately better off without your ex-significant other, it doesn’t mean that it’s not a huge adjustment to be by yourself. You were probably so comfortable in your relationship that you never really thought about what it would be like to be by yourself again.
Yes, there will be moments that you crave having that one person you can always go to for anything, but it’s important to know how to be that person for yourself. Learn how to calm yourself down. Learn to have fun by yourself. Enjoy the growth that comes with being on your own.
Don’t jump right back into talking to someone else. Of course it feels good to be validated by another person and you may desperately want to fill the void that opened when you lost your SO, but give it some time. Know what you want and what you deserve before you enter another relationship. After a while, you’ll find that you can be perfectly content on your own. The right person will come around sooner or later, but let yourself have the necessary time to heal, grow and find your own happiness.