My Breakup Project: How I Survived a 6 Year-Relationship-Breakup in 1 Year

(If you want to read more, buy the book!)

Today meets the one-year anniversary that my boyfriend of almost six years, randomly called me up on the phone and dumped me.

Most of the time, when these kinds of traumatic dates come around, we feel a sense of anticipation, of dread, of nervousness. We may act strange, avoid people, suffer from insomnia, because we are remembering a painful event in our lives.

However, as this day came closer, felt none of that dread. For the last few weeks, I have been anxiously counting down the days until this one year anniversary hit, because I believe it is a milestone, a reason to celebrate: I officially survived my breakup.

I remember the day very vividly. Like today, it was the second Monday of the new school year and I was just learning my new students’ names. Like my usual routine, I just came back from my Monday night yoga class. He spent the previous weekend out of town, interviewing for jobs, and I was eager to hear how it went. When my phone rang, I excitedly picked it up, there was an awkward pause, and he mustered out, “I think it’s time we start seeing other people”. Not only did I not see that coming, but I was also a little taken aback that, after six years of dating, he was dumping me over the phone. So, I made him drive the ten minutes to my house, we sat in his car, I cried while he said some things like, “I know you think I cheated on you but that has nothing to do with it”, “I want my grandchildren to have a relationship with their grandparents and I just don’t see that happening with you”, “You are a great girl and all but I just don’t see myself marrying you”. And, that was that.

I walked back into my house, with a million things running through my head. I knew a lot about a lot of things. I know a lot about reading and writing, a lot about how to teach kids to read and write. I know a lot about dancing and coaching a dance team, a lot about chemistry and rhetoric and psychology and working out and Virginia Woolf. But, what I realized I did not know a lot about was how to survive a break up. So, I made it a project. I decided that, for the next year, I was going to figure out how one survives a break up. When I look back on the past year, there were a plethora of things I did to survive. When it first happened, knowing how fundamental a role he played in my development into an adult, my greatest fear was that I was never going to overcome the breakup and that I would be left scarred for some lengthy amount of time. Six years is a very long time to date someone—some marriages do not even last that long. And, being 23, which is young, but still getting up there, I knew that I did not exactly have that much time to waste healing from his improprieties; I had to grieve, heal, and move forward as soon as possible. I knew it was going to take a lot of mental work, a lot of cognitive shifting, but I did not think it would be fair to carry his baggage into any new relationship I might have.

So, after a year of reflecting, what you will find, following, is the conclusion to my project: here are the steps I took to officially survive my breakup:

Step One: Survive the Shock

I remember him driving away and walking into my house, feeling incredibly confused and shocked. I remember I spent the entire night, tossing and turning in my bed, trying to make sense of what just happened. Bits and pieces of the conversation kept replaying in my head. For the next few weeks, I definitely suffered from shock, which aligns with the first stage of grief. It took me a couple of days to even tell my dad, because I was so shocked and did not even know what to say.

In order to survive the shock, I knew that I needed to keep myself busy. Sometimes, we need to take some time away, to distract ourselves before we can come to terms with situations. The first step was to go to work the next day and pretend like nothing had changed. So many people suggested that I just take the day off, but I knew if I took the day off, I would sit and wallow in my room, by myself, because everyone else’s lives must still go on; mine must too. Even though everything was not alright, I needed to pretend that it was. I remember going to school the next day, breaking down in front of my department chair, warning him that I might be irrational and could potentially throw a chair at a child. Unfortunately, my teaching suffered; my students did a slew of busy work at this time, because I just needed to get through my day. At school, people sent me milkshakes, wrote me cards, gave me endless amounts of hugs, constantly checked in on me. My friends sent me thoughts of love in the mail and secretly planned social events and forced me to go. I had to do whatever it took to take it day by day.

Throughout the next few weeks, I made sure to over book my calendar. I made sure that I went to the gym or yoga every single day. On the weekends, I worked, went to the pool with a friend, made dinner plans. The weekend I was supposed to visit him, my roommates and I planned a mountain getaway and we went rafting and hiking. I spent the first three Friday nights at my grandma’s house, crying on her shoulder and listening to her expert counseling advice. The times that I knew I would be alone, I would try to call a friend or relative, just to keep my mind occupied. When I drove to school in the morning (and no one was awake enough to talk), I would blast my music and sing along; even though he was constantly running through the back of my mind, I tried to keep myself and my immediate consciousness busy, because it was too painful at that time to really divulge into it; I was still so confused.

Step Two: Clean Him Out of My Life

After I got over the shock of being dumped, the next thing I knew I had to do for myself was to take his presence out of my life; this does not mean to ‘delete’ him completely, but I knew in order to heal and move forward, I had to get rid of all the daily reminders. I boxed up every picture, every card, every gift that he ever gave me and put it in my mom’s basement (except the really nice yoga mat and pair of jeans he bought me—I could still use those). I ‘unfollowed’ him on social media and his friends (this sounds like such a juvenile thing to do, but is unfortunately such a part of our modern day society). I knew that I was about to embark upon a journey of healing from a six plus year relationship, and that if I continued to keep up with his whereabouts, I was going to add more onto the processing, which would inevitably take me longer. At 23, I did not necessarily have time for added-bonuses. I took down our pictures together from our office. I deleted his phone number from my phone so I was not tempted to call him and also deleted all of his text messages. Going through my Facebook and deleting all of our statuses, pictures, and chats together was a little too painful (that comes later) but I felt like this was a good start. I am a do-er and I was relieved to begin do-ing something about the break up.

Step Three: Go Through Catharsis

Grieving is really great and really important. As a society, we do not spend enough time grieving. We try really hard to cover it up, pretend like nothing is wrong, push it in the backs of our minds. But really, we need to deal with it. A couple weeks into the post-breakup stage, I was in yoga class and as we were laying in final savasana, “Find Yourself” by Brad Paisley came on. This song always makes me tear up (mostly because I think about the movie itself–Disney always has a way to make me emotional) and at this point in my life, it had special meaning. I could not control myself–my eyes just started welling up. Luckily, I had one of those fabulous lemon lavender washcloths on my face so no one could tell.

So, I cried. I cried by myself, I cried with my grandma and my mom and my sisters, I cried with my co-workers during my plan period. I created a sad song playlist for myself so when I got home and was feeling incredibly pent up, I would sit on my bed (or my bath tub, depending on how clean it was) and just let myself cry. And, soon, the need to cry stopped. I marked my progress by ‘days of not crying’. Soon, I went an entire week.

Step Four: Learn Mindfulness

I learned mindfulness in two settings: yoga and counseling. Mindfulness basically means that you are consciously paying attention to your state of mind. It is actually very difficult and requires introspection and a whole lot of patience. I knew that, in order to figure out what I needed to heal from the breakup, I needed to be in tune to my consciousness’ needs. If my mind wanted to go back to that scene at the local town fair, then I needed to allow myself to wander there. If my mind wanted me to be angry, then I needed to allow myself to be angry.

As I continued practicing these mindfulness techniques, a strange phenomenon started occurring: I began having vivid dreams about him and his mom. I remember dreaming that I literally beat his mom up. Another time, I dreamt that he was chasing me at some party and I kept rejecting him. After all of these dreams, I woke up the next day, feeling incredibly refreshed, relieved, and much happier. Each day, a little layer wore off, I felt a little lighter, and I could go longer without thinking about it.

Step Five: Abolish the Anger

What I have learned is anger is a nasty, nasty emotion. It is immature and often leads people towards very irrational, very savage behaviors.

Part of my mindfulness training was learning how to pay attention and regulate my emotions. So, I began making a list of all the things that made me very angry about him and the breakup, I spent some time actively rationalizing that anger, and thought about solutions to overcome. I knew that I would never be able to proceed to the other stages of healing if I could not get over my anger.

He hasn’t contacted me yet so he must not care about me: Although I did stick to Step Two and forbid myself from contacting him, a part of me still wanted him to call or text me. Everyday when I returned to my car from the school day, I would anxiously check my phone, hoping for some kind of correspondence from him. And, it never came.

I was disappointed that I never heard from him because, after processing the events, there were so many questions I stil had and so many things I wanted to tell him. I wanted to tell him I was concerned about his relationship with his mom, I wanted to ask him when he knew things were not going to work out, and I wanted to ask him why he continued to string me along.

Unfortunately, I would never get the answer to those questions. I felt very hurt that I had devoted six years to taking care of this guy, and one day, he never wanted to talk to me again. But, what I had to remember was that he was going through the same breakup that I was going through. Whether he checked out of the relationship two months before or not, he was still going to have to adjust to life without me, which meant no nightly phone calls, no text during the middle of the day, no Friday night plans. And, in fact, perhaps he was not contacting me because he did in fact care about me, and knew how hard the breakup would be for me, and wanted to respect my needs. Regardless of if that was the true reason, or he was just a selfish jerk, is irrelevant, because rationalizing it in that way made me feel better.

I made so many sacrifices for him and now I feel like those went for nothing: When he dumped me so suddenly and so heartlessly, I felt very unappreciated, as if all of those sacrifices I made for him went for nothing; I made those sacrifices to keep our relationship together and as it turns out, it was going to fall apart anyways.

I had to remind myself why I did those things in the first place: because I cared about him. And, I had to remind myself that I cannot take credit for doing nice things for people if I want some kind of reward or affirmation in return; then it becomes an entirely selfish act. If I gave him a foot massage because I wanted him to take me to dinner, then that was not an act of kindness, but rather a business transaction. If I bought him a really nice birthday present because I wanted him to buy me a nicer one in return, then I cannot consider myself a generous person. And, doing nice things for other people reminded me about the joy I got from doing them for him in the first place, and I suddenly let go of that anger.

What if there is another girl?: This was perhaps the hardest line of anger for me to get over. For a long time, I refused to believe that there was another girl involved; how could he have been dating me that whole time, perhaps started feeling something for another girl, and I was completely clueless? Whenever anyone brought this up as a possibility, I brushed it off. No, that could not be true. He would never do that to me.

But, as it turns out, there probably was another girl. (As my friends told me much later on), within a few short weeks, there were pictures of him on Facebook with another girl.

There were a few things I had to remind myself.

First of all, I was back on the dating market as well. So, when the time comes for me to get another boyfriend, he can get angry too (revenge is so, so sweet sometimes).

At times like these, we tend to blame ourselves; “I must not be pretty enough”, “I must not be smart enough”, “I must not have blonde enough hair”. But, the truth of the matter is, something in him changed that did not fit me anymore. It was his change; not mine. And I certainly would not want to be with anyone who was pretending to date me. If he decided one morning a small, skinny, June Cleaver type who cooked and baked everyday would work better for him, then so be it.

Yes, it is painful to know that he probably moved on very quickly, but I also reminded myself of the kind of boyfriend she was getting. I refused to know anything about her. If he was talking to her while we were together, I did not want to know. Where they met each other and if I potentially knew her, I did not want to know. When they started officially dating, I did not want to know. I did not even want to know what she looked like in the event I saw her in public somewhere. This was a very difficult urge for me to stifle, but I knew that if I stalked her Facebook, I would probably find out something that would hurt me, and I was on the road to recovery. It did not matter anyways.

Step Six: Finding Forgiveness

The next step in this ‘healing’ process was to find forgiveness: to forgive him, to forgive his mom, and to forgive myself. We had this weird love triangle going between him, his mom, and I, which was a huge reason for the breakup. . I blamed her for driving a wedge in between our relationship, for feeding him thoughts about how I would not be a good wife or a good mother, I was angry for her not willing to meet me and to ask her to see my side of the story, and I was hurt that she would think of me as an inefficient person.

In September after ‘the dreaded phone call’, I sat in church and the passage was from Mark 11:25, which says, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that Your Father in heaven may forgive your sins”. Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, Your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins”.  I believe what the Bible instructs in these passages is that forgiveness cannot be sought; although there are things people can do to repent and express their guilt, forgiveness cannot be sought; it cannot be forced. Forgiveness comes from the person within. There is really nothing anyone else can do to make you forgive them. Yes, they can show you ways they are sorry. They can do something nice for you. They can compliment you. But, much like sorrow and anger, forgiveness is an internal state that we must overcome ourselves.

We are all sinners; we all act in impulsive, self-assuring, immature ways. So, how can we hold someone else accountable for standards we ourselves do not follow? It sounds a little hypocritical. It would be like me calling out my co-worker for complaining about the same person that I do. None of us are perfect people, so we must learn to forgive others for their shortcomings as well.

I think not recognizing these two very important pieces about forgiveness cause us crutches in our lives. We find ourselves saying, “I will only forgive her if she apologizes to me”, or, “I will never get over it until he shows he has changed”. But, the truth of the matter is, we cannot control other people. We get ourselves hung up on things we think other people should do. We assert our beliefs and perceptions on them when, in reality, their beliefs and perceptions could be completely different. You can’t wait for someone to say they are sorry; you have to learn to forgive on your own.

Yes, there will be times in our lives that people do not apologize, even though they surely should. There will be times in our lives that people disappoint us, betray us, use us. They will say malicious things about us, talk about us behind our backs, start untrue rumors. But we must forgive them on our own and move on. If we wait for people to reach our expectations, we may be wasting our time because there is a good possibility they will never accomplish what WE think is appropriate.

Forgiveness must occur within ourselves. I began to go back and re-think the situation withhis mom to begin forgiving her. What I realized was that I could not expect her to apologize for driving us apart. I could not expect his mom to call me and tell me how wrong those hurtful things she said about me were. Instead, I tried to put myself in her shoes and try to understand why she might have said those things to me.

Forgiving myself was perhaps the hardest, and I still struggle with it sometimes today. At the end of a breakup, at the end of the grieving process, at the end of recognizing what an absolutely terrible match you would have been and how miserable you would have been had you stayed together, it is natural to realize, “What was I EVER thinking?” And, after this happens, you resent yourself and feel embarrassed that you would ever put yourself in that position in the first place. This literally came out of my mouth a few times when I would run into people who knew him: “Yes we dated, but please don’t judge me”.

I told myself two things: first of all, I did not know any better at the time, so I couldn’t beat myself up, and two, all I could do was learn from my mistakes and make sure I didn’t do that again. And, I had to keep ruminating that thought in my head until I believed it.

Step Seven: Understand Why It Wouldn’t Work

In the beginning stages of a breakup, there is always this kind of gray area about whether you will get back together or not. There are so many stories of people who date for some period of time, break up, run into each other ten years later, and end up rekindling their love for each other (such as The Notebook). Noah and Ally’s love story is great and I am so glad they ended up together, but I personally think it is kind of pathetic that Noah lived in some rural, beat up farmhouse, waiting for her return. What if she never returned? Then he kind of wasted a big chunk of his life. These are really cute love stories and all, I did not want to be the girl that just remained stuck. In order for me to move on, I had to realize we were never getting back together. And, in order to do that, I had to realize why it would have never worked out in the first place.

First, I thought about what my life would have been like had I moved out of state with him like I originally planned. No offense to you who live where he lives, but I am from Colorado, which is the best place in the world to live. I can’t help but feel so fortunate to call this state home. I feel so fortunate every day on my drive to school. The road I take sits above a hill and as I get into town, it releases into a valley. In August and September, I get to watch the sun rise from the horizon and admire the pinks, oranges, and light blues. In the winter, I get to admire the crisp snowfall that folds across the mountain ranges in the distance. Some mornings, I see the valley enveloped in fog. It is an excellent way to start my day (I often think about taking a picture to capture this majesty, but then I remember that picturing and driving is probably more dangerous than texting and driving…) No thank you, I would have been absolutely miserable.

I accepted that what had happened was in the past, and that those moments can never be taken away, but that it was time for something different in the present and future. Part of my turmoil and uneasiness was trying to figure out if I thought he would come back and, if he did, would I want to take him back. We broke up a couple times before (mostly out of immaturity, emotions and exhaustion) so I was not completely set that he would never come back. And, if he did come back and realize he made a mistake, I wanted to make sure I was prepared with an answer.

I remember the distinct moment that I realized we would never be together again. As I was sitting on the bike at the gym, trying to tune these thoughts out, I got a pit in my stomach. The thought suddenly sprang into my mind that he was NOT the one for me, which was an odd thought—something that had never even occurred to me in our six years of dating. But, this thought was so vivid, so clear, so lucid. It felt so accurate and I knew that we would never, ever be back together again. I distinctly remember waking up that next morning, and then making it to lunch, and then to dance practice before I realized that he had not even crossed my mind. Realizing that we were absolutely, positively never getting back together and that we were terrible, horrible matches for each other alleviated some anxiety, because I knew he would never stand as an option again; I would never go back to him and I actually hoped to never even talk to him again. It was quite liberating to know that I would not be tied down to him any longer and that something better would be waiting for me.

Step Eight: Living and Learning

So, once that was over, I decided I would devote my energies towards dissecting what happened in our relationship and learning from it so I do not let it happen again. As humans, it is also natural for us to default back to “what’s comfortable”, which is why we have the saying, “you turned out just like your mom”. I see it over and over again—people date the same kind of person, and wonder why they always get treated the same ways. I had a fear that, because of this comfort ability, I would regress back to a that-type relationship, which I absolutely and positively did not want; once was enough for me. So, I began to go back to pinpoint those dysfunctional tendencies that I had not noticed before.

Here is kind of how the process works: first, you have to let yourself grieve. For some people, this looks like getting really, really drunk and making out with a bunch of random people. For others, it means having a cry fest and watching chick flicks at your best friend’s house (probably also drunk). For me, I take trips, re-evaluate my goals, start projects, write more on my blog. Next, you have to take a step away from the situation and not think about it for a while. Distance allows you to filter out the emotions and prepares you to use that objective lens; you meet some new people, gain some more life experience, learn new things about yourself. And, when the time is right, something will trigger you back to those memories. You will re-visit them in your mind, you will use your new life experiences, you will begin to understand situations in different ways, and you will realize why things happened the way they happened.

Although experiencing these inconsistencies, revelations of how selfish people are, and unforeseen heartbreaks will never not suck, understanding the process makes it easier. I am able to recognize that, there are ultimately three stages I will go through (the grief, the distance, the re-visitations), and by the time I have completed the last stage–when I can look back on the time we spent together, the deep conversations we had without getting butterflies in my stomach and without feeling a longingness, when I can share stories and talk about him without any feelings attached–I am ready to move on. Sometimes moving on means meeting someone else, sometimes it means getting a promotion and setting new goals for yourself; in each case, it depends.

As painful as it was, I forced myself to go back through our relationship and to re-visit the good, the bad, and the ugly memories together. Actually, my entire relationship, everyone always asked me why I was dating him and I always responded, “I just haven’t found anyone I liked more”. So, I started replaying events in my head to try to see them from everyone else’s perspective. I remembered this one time we were listening to the radio. “My Best Friend” by Tim McGraw came on, and the old-fashioned sap that I am, I started thinking about what our first dance song would be. I asked him and his response was, “Crazy Bitch” by Buckcherry. Now, at the time, I thought he was just being playful and sarcastic, but looking back on it, that was actually his perception of me (which no one should think that about their girlfriend, no one). I thought about the time he ‘forgot’ to get me a birthday present or got too busy to call me or would violently poke me at parties. I excused all of these behaviors, but now just realize how dysfunctional and disrespectful they really were.

And then, I forced myself to go back through the ‘dreaded phone call’ and breakup talk in his car. At first, it was extremely painful. Emotionally, I could only get myself through the first line of “It’s time we start seeing other people” before I started welling up. But, each time I re-visited the memory, the previous part became easier to handle, I could get myself a little further, and I cried a little less. A few weeks later, I was on my way out of town and had to pass by his house. I was a little jittery, a little anxious as I approached the driveway. And then, I whizzed past. I realized I felt nothing: no sense of dread, no sadness, no pit in my stomach.

Lee Brice came on my Pandora station this week, which I thought was incredibly fitting for this day. He sings, “When you can look at her picture and not wanna kiss her no more/that’s when you know it’s over”. That has become my theme song this week. I know that every time I am stopped at a stoplight and there is a black Ford Escape next to me, I will glance over to see if there is that big boy sitting in the driver’s seat. And I also know that, if it someday does turn out to be him, I will be able to give a friendly wave, turn back to wait for the green light, and go on with my day. No emotions attached.

A six-year relationship is significant: we experienced a lot of the fundamentals of growing up together and I really would not be who I am today without him. While breakups are incredibly taxing, I would not change this past year for the world; I have met some incredible people, done some phenomenal things, and most importantly, learned so much about myself while in the process. What I have proven to myself is that I can survive a breakup. When thinking about going into another relationship, of which I someday will, I feel a sense of liberation and fearlessness, because I have proven to myself that my life will go on and no matter what happens, I will thrive.

And that, my friend, is powerful.

(A quick shout out to all of those who helped me with this project, especially to my friend Brittny, who had her bags packed and was on her way to my house before I even broke the official news, my sister/room mate, Christiane, who brought me home flowers and wrote me sticky-note love notes, my hallmate, Jen, who sacrificed many of her plan periods to counsel me, and all the other patrons–Kayla, Anika, Steph, Michelle, Sarah, Anna, Dana, Kate, Lauren, Dani, Ashley, Nicole, Cassandra, Lisa and Aimee, Rachel, Rhonda, Hilary, my grandma, my mom, my Aunt’s Susan and Kellie–who have helped me develop this project. You are my lifesavers).

(And, if you decided that you REALLY need to read more, buy the book!)

***If you are interested in where I am now, read this update***

46 Responses

  1. I have been going through a break up and this post was helpful to read! It’s so hard to just let go of a person that has been in my life for so long- but I am trying to look for the positives in the situation. Thanks for writing this post!

  2. You are a strong woman and I really admire you for writing this. Your breakup reminds me of one I experienced a number of years ago, when a very similar thing happened with a boyfriend I’d had for almost five years. It felt completely out of the blue–the phone rang and I expected him to ask where I wanted to have dinner that night, but instead, he said he didn’t want to go out any more. It took a long time for me to process the whole thing, but as you say, this kind of breakup really wakes a person up to what they want in a future relationship. Very best of luck to you. You’ve found so many positives and have a wonderful attitude. I absolutely believe you’ll find the right person eventually, and when you do, you’ll know!

    1. Aelita

      After a 7 year long relationship, my ex started changing. Within a month before our break up, he started being very cold. He changed his life plans. And whenever I tried to talk to him he was really abusive. It took me over a month to gather the courage to break up with him. But I miss him so much, and it hurts so bad. I don’t understand what’s wrong with me. I know that an abusive relationship is bad. I should hate him for it. But I don’t. I’m scared and I miss him. I feel like an idiot for feeling this way. What do I do

  3. “Each day, a little layer wore off, I felt a little lighter, and I could go longer without thinking about it.” ~Thank you. I don’t think I’ve ever heard recovery from a bad breakup expressed so eloquently. Thank you.

  4. Kate

    Amazing article! Been there, done that. But you really are strong woman and definitely will meet the man who is worth you! all the best 🙂

  5. Ann

    I as well… After six years and some months for me. I thought he was my soulmate. My best friend. I grew up with him. But he cheated….lies and over all does not respect me anymore.

  6. No one

    I’ve been going through a painful breakup we have a son 2years old but we argue a lot and then one day she breakup to first I thought I can fix our relationship but she doesn’t want to go back to me. I think that’s how she hates me. Now I don’t know what to do to move on she’s been part of my life for so many years and I never thought that this will happen to us. night after night I can’t sleep. I always blame my self for what happened to us. So I search the internet for how can I move on. And I think this might help..thanks for writing this. I’ll do my best to do this..

  7. Miss A

    Hi Britany,

    This is absolutely wonderful and inspiring, thank you for sharing your story. Congrats for making it through!
    My situation is a complicated one, my boyfriend of 6 years broke up with me after a heated argument which left me in complete shock. I went on the same journey as you did afterwards, up until stage 5. I was just beginning to move on properly but then all of a sudden, he came back. I immediately had to ask myself ‘would I take him back?’ but before I knew it my emotions started flooding back and i started thinking irrationally again, with my heart. So i agreed to get back with him. 2 years later, were together and are okay but a huge part of me still hates him for what he did and i have found myself in a parallel state where I am trying to get over the man who broke my heart and be with the man he is today. A part of me wonders what would have happened if I continued to move on……….


  8. Hi Brittany,

    My partner of 6 years has just left me, and like you it was a little out of the blue. I’m really struggling to delete him from my life. I spent a lot of time with him, and he knows everything about me (and more!) and I really will miss him as a friend. How did you manage to take the plunge and delete him off of social media and things? Do you think you could have stayed talking? I would never want to get into a relationship with my partner again but I really don’t want to delete him from my life completely. We enjoyed our 6 years together, and I want to treasure our memories together rather than try and irradicate them!

    Any help would be appreciated.

  9. T.Lordy

    It is very inspiring and motivational story for me because I went through the same process after breaking up with my girl friend. It was April 10th, 2016 when I saw her before the break up happened. I helped her out to pick up her friend that came from U.S to Canada for vacation. Then the after couple of days later she started to ignore my calls and text for no reason. However i didnt bother her for almost two weeks becsuse she was having an exam so I thought that she must be busy with exam or stress out. Then after her exam she didn’t even call me or text me so I had to physically go to see her at her place to talk personally. So the next morning I went to see her at her place with a beautiful tulip flower. As she was refusing to see me in the first place but after telling her that I’m just outside her apartment she let me in finally. As soon as I walked into her place she told me that she is not happy with me and she doesn’t want to be with me anymore. I was really surprised with what she was saying and stayed quite for few minutes. She told me to leave from her apt because she said she doesn’t have time for me since she has to help her sister with exam and also to work on with job application. I apologized her so many times if I have hurt her feelings or made any mistake but she was forcing me to leave her apt. I eventually left from her apt that day without having any clue how and why she made the decision to break up now after spending 6 years with me. Today I feel better after reading your Story and it helped me to see the bigger picture of life and to move on happily. I think break up is not easy but everyone is able to move on and start a new life. The only thing I don’t understand is some people do not deserve to be treated with respect and love. Love you self and stay happy because life is beautiful and also challenging at the same time. The main thing is how you learn from the experience.

  10. Laura reyes

    I am 25 and just got broken up with h out of no where too after 6 years also. I have my hood and my bad days, today has been a bad day. It’s only been 1 month but It’s been hard. I hope I can move on soon because I hate feeling this pain inside.

  11. Brittany

    Hi. Brittany here.
    Me and my boyfriend were going to celebrate our 6 year anniversary in less than a month. And then, late one night, we talked. And realized how bad our relationship is. First off, I’m about to turn 21 in a couple days. And he is only 20. We were high school sweethearts. And we had been living together for about 1 year. It’s only been a couple days, and this is some of the hardest things I have gone through. I understand why he ended it. I still support him. And he supports me. He told me he needed space to find out what he really wants in life. And I agree. We both weren’t happy, just comfortable. We will always love each other. I kind of hope we get back together because I believe he is my soul mate, but we are so young.
    I am that kind of person that wears her heart on her sleeve. I give my all and more.
    Ive been having these really bad pannick attacks, and I called him yesterday. And he had to calm me down. He’s being really supportive. But I’m trying to not contact him anymore. In hopes that he will realize that I am the one for him. I feel it in my soul that he’s the one. And I’m not sure if this feeling is right, or if it is just from the shock. I also am afraid to be alone. Although I have wonderful support from my family, friends and my boyfriends mother. I just feel so alone. And so scared.

  12. J


    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am 27 having just gotten out of a 6 year relationship and blindsided by his change of heart (along with some secrets, lies, and a whole slew of drama he was keeping from me). It has only been 4 months since D-Day but I have been trying my best to cope. This blog post is now bookmarked in my browser to use as continued guidance as I navigate this new chapter I never thought I would have to face.

    It’s terrible that anyone has to go through heartache but man does it feel better when you realize you aren’t the only one that has faced this and that if other people can move on so can you.

  13. Jen

    Thank you for this post. My bf of 6 years blindsided me two days ago and called it off. I am in shock. It’s encouraging to see someone further down the journey. But man does it hurt now.

  14. Rebecca Price

    I’m in a similar situation, 6 years, we got engaged about 6 months ago (although he said he only proposed hoping it’d change our relationship) but he broke up with me over text, and eventually talked on the phone but wouldn’t see me. Like you said near the end of the post I’ve been looking back and realising i think we were just together because it’s all we knew.
    This honestly is an amazing article, I’m sure the book is just as good, I finished feeling a little more relieved and levitated than before i read it. Mostly because of how relateable it is, it’s hard because only being 21 i just felt no one really understood how hard it was because i invested 6 years in this guy! that’s more than a quarter of my life. But hearing about people in similar situations, it reminds me I’m not alone.
    Anyway, thank you for this 🙂

  15. Chris

    Great post, it was very helpful to read. I was recently blindsided by my fiancé when she told me she was unhappy, and had been for a while, and wanted to move on. We got engaged a little over a year ago and were just about to start planning the wedding. Also had been living together for the last two years. I am 25 and she is 28, and we were each others first boyfriend and girlfriend. We did break up for a few months after the first year and dated a couple different people, but that was it. She said she has changed so much since she got a new job and moved to the city and she doesn’t want what she used to anymore, not right now at least. This has been the hardest thing I’ve had to go through and it is hard to accept this, especially when you still love the person so much. Every day that passes, it gets a little bit easier, then there are days I will see something or remember something, and all the emotions come flowing back. Time will heal and I will eventually be able to move on.

  16. Shelley

    I & my boyfriend was planning to get married last month, just last week we had some argument that made him get angry on me just because of the argument, he said we will not marry me again and the next day he left me and we broke up. I still loved him and I wanted him to marry me, for me to get him back i had no choice than to contacted dr_mack@ yahoo. com to help me and he helped me to bring my lover back to me so we can continue our plan to be married. he came back after 3 days, we are happily married now.

  17. Margaret

    Hey Britany,
    I just wanted to let you know how much this article impacted me and helped me come to terms with the end of my own long term relationship. We broke up after 3 years and it was rough because when it ended he blamed me for his own personal failings and short comings. This shook my self esteem to the core, and brought up all of the “What’s wrong with me/ Am I not good enough” feelings that you so eloquently described. I am glad to say that 4 months post break up I am feeling much healthier and more secure than I ever did while in that relationship. Your article really resonated with me and helped me overcome certain obstacles in my healing process, particularly relating to forgiveness . Overall, thank you for sharing your story.

  18. Akash

    My scenario is very different. But the girl I loved and dated for 6 years broke up with me. I was in love with her and wanted to give her everything I could, make her life better. She wasn’t a bad person like the guy you mention here, in fact she’s still perfect in many ways. She just stopped feeling for me. A few of the methods you stated to overcome the sense of loss and anxiety developed thinking about her moving on have or are really helpful. I’m getting better by the day. You’ve helped me step out of depression and have made me start building my lost character and self belief again. Really, thank you for this.

  19. Thank you for sharing, thank you! I’m 23 and have just had my first break up experience from a 6 years relationship. I can totally relate with your stories, and it really gives me new hope and courage to let go and move on with my life. Thank you!

  20. J.

    I realize this post is a little older, but I was just broken up with after almost 6 years together. We lived together for 5 of those almost 6, and had moved several times in that time span. (I’m also from Colorado, so cheers to the best state in the country!) It’s been a little over a month now, and I’ve finally been able to go a day without crying. I truly do have to take my days an hour at a time. One hour, I’m great. The next, I’m crying. It’s ridiculous. We were supposed to spend our lives together – he was my person. It’s really hard to reconcile the fact that all of that is just over when a breakup occurs.

    All of that to say thank you for this post. It’s really encouraging to see someone who has survived and made it through and has gotten their happy back. My happy is still out there somewhere, but it’s great to know that it will come back eventually.

  21. Fox

    I’m just now going through a 6 year relationship break up myself. He contacted me out of the blue saying we needed to talk, he visited me for 90 days before returning to his home country, to announce that he caught feelings for another girl who he only knew for 30 days. For me that was a turning point, I realized that I loved him more than he loved me. That I always respected him more than he has with me. That when he asked to be my friend later on down the road, I just realized I couldn’t. 4 weeks down the line and I realize that I don’t want to talk to him anymore. We haven’t spoken at all during that time, but for me for him to have disrespected our 6 year relationship to flirt and be with a girl he knew for 30 days or less well, that said enough to me. I’m at that point now, we broke up almost 4 weeks ago, that I’m dissecting the relationship. I realize that I will be better off without him and that I will find someone who will properly love, respect, and care for me- better than he could have. It hurts of course, and I have a lot more empty days. See, he left me at my lowest point as well. I just lost my job and my father may be going off to jail. So for him to have done that as well was another huge sign that I don’t want him back EVER. He couldn’t handle me at my worse, he doesn’t deserve me at my best, even as a friend.

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