I wish I could tell you how to get over a breakup in four easy steps. Instead, I’ll tell you how to get over a breakup in four good steps. They’re not easy, but they’re good. Here’s my breakup story. And here’s how I’m (I swear) doing okay again. Like, really okay.
I found him. My intelligent, bearded fellow I’d journaled about years ago. I wrote and dreamed about how we’d have “one adorable kid” and he came with one! Love came into my life and it was incredible. It takes so much courage to love. Giving your heart to someone is vulnerable and liberating all at the same time.
There’s a scene in The Office where Jim & Pam are in the parking lot, and he finally gets up the nerve to tell her how he feels. He’s been crazy about her for years and can’t hold it in any longer. Pam, even though she loved him, was scared to take a leap and turned Jim down.
That’s literally what happened to me! Okay, not literally. I was the one in love; he wanted out. Meaning he never quite got around to proposing at a truck stop in the rain. Other than us never getting married, it’s totally the same.
Cue All By Myself by Celine Dion.
When I watch that scene, my heart understands Jim. He felt he knew everything about Pam—good and bad—and loved her. But she walked away.
Having this amazing guy in my life was awesome. We spent hours talking about getting married, where we’d work, where we’d live, what holidays we’d spend with different sides of the family—all the fun stuff that felt so dreamy & exciting because he’d be with me.
The holidays feel different this year. I think it’s because I was 110% sure I’d have a family soon—my very own family. We’d planned on spending Thanksgiving with my crew and Christmas with his. I didn’t think I’d be spending the last few months contemplating how to get over a breakup.
The dates for our plans keep coming, but he’s gone. Our plan to wear matching jogging suits in our 70s is gone. Vacations we dreamed about are gone. My best friend is gone. I was left not with the life I had been promised, but with loads of devastation instead.
It’s weird dating as an adult. It was awkward in my 20s too, but it’s different now. Time’s the unspoken third wheel. I continuously hear the clock ticking: less time for kids, more time for wrinkles. It’s just heavier, I guess.
I’m sharing my story with you because as the Church, we have the opportunity to help and encourage each other. That’s the power of the Holy Spirit at work.
Okay, I promised I’d show you “how to get over a breakup” in four good steps. Here goes.
1. Allow God to help you forgive. The Holy Spirit prompted me to forgive him way earlier than I expected. We both made mistakes, and God helped me see that. He reminded me again and again that Jesus looked on my sin, my imperfections, and still chose the cross. This was a chance for me to model the love and mercy Jesus shows me every day.
Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32 MSG
2. Share selectively. Posting a snarky meme or a page-long rant on Facebook might feel good in the moment, but it’s an empty jab. It’s fuel for bitterness, not healing.
I didn’t share about my relationship on social media. It was private. I shared the news with my family and close friends. I also didn’t share when we broke up. I cried over coffee, made the late-night phone calls to my bestie, and grieved in front of God. Your heart is precious. Guard it against opinions that won’t help or comments that will only make you mad.
3. Embrace the pain. What I wanted to know most after the elusive “why” was when I’d feel better. Christine Caine says, “You grow when you embrace the pain of recovery to truly become free.” I absolutely agree with her perspective. It took 12 weeks before I had a day when I didn’t cry. Heck, I still cry about it. But I don’t carry the weight of guilt or shame. I’m learning to let go.
4. Let go. I wanted to do anything I could to keep my guy around. I couldn’t imagine life without him. Holding on doesn’t do any good. Do I still love him? Sure. Do I miss him? Of course. And that’s okay! I don’t know what’s next for my life, but God does.
I had three very specific prayer requests after we broke up: a remote writing job, a house on my favorite street, and being able to serve at church with my sister. God answered every one of them. When things kept falling into place, my sister said, “Jess, do you see how God’s lavishing His love on you? He sees you and delights in you!” I know He didn’t have to give me all that, but He did because He loves me. His love is unending and never-changing. Let go. Trust Him with your whole heart—He’s always faithful.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 NLT