“I f*cked up two of my first major relationships. I tried to fix things as much as I could, but both gave me false hope (having a future, wanting to still fix things, building things from ground up etc), and then both have gotten into relationships very shortly after. I’m not sure what to do. I’m going back to mental health help again, but what else do you recommend for getting over a really quite brutal breakup?”
It’s great to hear that you’re seeking out help for your mental health! Keep in mind that the last year and a half has been stressful and damaging for all of us, and even without the pain of a breakup, many people have been turning to therapy or counselling for support. You’re taking charge of your wellbeing, and that is always something to be celebrated.
First of all, let’s take a second to think about the language you’re using. Obviously, I don’t know the specifics of how each relationship ended, but I’m sensing a lot of guilt and self-blame. No matter what you may have done, the important thing is that you’ve clearly assessed your own behaviour and seen your mistakes, so I think there is no need to say that you ‘f*cked’ anything up. After all, you’re 23! No one has relationships figured out by this point, and anyone our age who says they do is bluffing. You’ll learn from this, and grow from it, and the lessons you take from these relationships will mean your future ones are healthier and happier. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re only human.
Breakups are tough for a ton of reasons, but one of the main ones is that they take us out of the comfort zone we’ve gotten used to. We’re creatures of routine, and when you’re in a relationship, your partner inevitably ends up being weaved into lots of facets of your life. Your friends, interests, and even your home can all become heavily associated with someone, which makes it a huge shock when that person is suddenly cut out. It can be utterly paralysing, but it doesn’t have to be. Take this shock at your routine being interrupted as an opportunity to restructure things completely, and re-prioritise.
This next part is going to sound incredibly clichéd, but stick with me. You have to forgive yourself and your exes. So many people never truly move on from their past relationships because they can’t let go of jealousy, guilt, anger, sadness, and regret. Your exes were important to your journey at one time, and it’s okay that they’re not part of it anymore. People aren’t meant to be in our lives forever, and it’s destructive to our happiness to try and force friendships or relationships to continue past their time. Don’t check your exes’ social media, don’t call them at 3am, don’t spend hours thinking about how you could have done things differently. Focus on yourself, on your wellbeing, and on letting go of the past. You’ve gotten through every other phase of your life that, at the time, you thought you would never be able to get through. Given enough time, you’ll get through this too.