I'm just coming out of a long-term relationship. How do I move on?
- 17 year old male
Argh, the reason this question is so tough is because the answer is always the last thing anyone wants to hear: you need to give it time.
I know that feels unhelpful. I know it sounds like a cliché. But honestly, time is the one thing that will help here. The heartbreak will go away, I promise, you just need to let yourself grieve.
That word might feel out of place, but that’s essentially what you’re doing, grieving the loss of someone who was important to you. They’re not dead, but they’re also no longer in your life the way they used to be. That’s why this is so hard; you have to re-learn how to exist without them by your side. And that’s not an easy thing to do.
So allow yourself to feel sad. The sadness is normal. It’s not a weakness or a flaw. Well-meaning friends might tell you to just get over it already, but the truth is, we all deal with breakups on our own schedule, so don’t beat yourself up if it takes longer than the people around you would like.
In the meantime, try and limit your exposure to your ex (as much as you can). Social media is particularly vicious after a breakup, so if you can bear it, mute or unfollow their accounts for a little while. There’s nothing worse than feeling down only to see pictures of them having a great time crop up online.
And if you’re feeling up to it, push yourself to socialise or try new things. It’s hard to escape the sadness when you’re sat at home, alone, replaying the memories. Keeping busy will help take your mind off it, not entirely, but even a few minutes here and there is better than nothing. Then as the days go on you’ll find your mind takes less and less distracting.
Above all, remember you are not alone in this. Very few of us are lucky enough to go a lifetime without facing a breakup of some kind, but we survive it because it is survivable. Even if it might not feel that way at first.
Kate grew up in a sleepy English town where there was little to do but read, watch movies, and bake. After graduating university, she turned her love for storytelling and the visual arts into a full time job, embarking on a career as a video editor. But it wasn’t long before she realised that telling other people’s stories wasn’t quite enough; she wanted to tell her own.
Her passion for writing YA novels is (unofficially) sponsored by Smarties and Nespresso, and supported by her long-suffering boyfriend and their two cats.
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A final note: We are strong believers in the power of therapy. We know that this isn't a realistic option for every teenager, since some of you might not have the parental support or extra income necessary to make this happen. But, if possible, please consider therapy. Many of the adults you respect most have benefited from therapy, and it's likely that you will too. There's no shame in getting support. You deserve it.