How to Really Get Over a Breakup

By Diana Vaden

Photo by Emily Fletke  @fletkefoto

Photo by Emily Fletke @fletkefoto

I never wanted to be that girl.

But the summer I moved to the city, I realized very quickly: “Darn it. I’m that girl — still bitter and whining about the ex-boyfriend who broke my heart five years ago.”

And I had tried everything to “get over it.”

I had a couple of rebound relationships, but those were just bad bandaids. I bashed his new love, but that only made me feel lousy. I tried avoiding him at all costs, but that meant I didn’t walk down a major street in midtown for a solid three months.

All that How to Get Over a Breakup advice I read in blogs and magazines let me down.

WHEN ALL OTHER COPING MECHANISMS FAIL

I was at my wits’ end. Bitterness ruled and turned me into an angry woman, and other people noticed. Then my bitterness turned into anxiety. The offer of a new job forced me to see my ex again. I almost had a panic attack. That was the final straw, and I realized I desperately needed help.  

I was over asking friends and Google, so I decided to give prayer a serious try. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace and the Bible claims those who call out to him are not ignored. Jesus could teach me how to get rid of bitterness and become an ambassador of reconciliation. And that’s what I urgently wanted: peace, no more bitterness, and reconciliation.

So, I took a walk and prayed out loud. I looked crazy, but I was too desperate to care.

God, I don’t want to be this girl. I don’t want to be ruled by bitterness anymore. I don’t want to keep letting my past hurt steal my present and potential joy. I want to forgive him and let it go. But I literally have no idea how to do that. It feels impossible, but I choose to believe that nothing is impossible with you. I can’t live with this anxiety and anger anymore! So help a girl out, please! Amen.

Miraculously, God answered right away.

It seemed more than coincidence that, at the end of my prayer and walk, I passed a familiar building: the dormitory where I had stayed for a summer intensive before my senior year of high school. I experienced heartbreak for the first time in my life following that summer.

I started to bawl right there on W 60th St in broad daylight.

Something shifted in my heart and mind.

The words “rewind” and “refresh” came to mind, as well as the following thoughts — so different than the ones I had been thinking:

“From this day on, you are free to live as if you’ve never been heartbroken. That is not who you are. You are not rejected. I pressed rewind. We are writing a new story. I am doing a new thing.

Whoa!

These words meant far more than the “just get over it” mantra I had been telling myself for years; they went deeper than my friends saying, “Oh, his loss, girl. He’s an idiot for breaking up with you;” and were more profound than well-meaning articles saying, “Just hope for the best and give it time.”

I received healing I didn’t even know I needed.  God was restoring my wounded identity. He removed the label “rejected” that was slapped on my heart after every breakup.

A HEART CHANGE LEADS TO LIFE CHANGE

So, you might be wondering if those “thoughts that weren’t my own” actually changed anything.

I chose to believe them and that something new had occurred in my heart. I decided to see myself differently.

I saw my ex the next week. This time, I felt like a completely different woman. The impossible happened: I had a pleasant conversation with him, with a genuine smile on my face. I made eye contact with him. I didn’t feel like a victim. I stopped avoiding that street in midtown. I even started saying nice things about his wife — and I meant them.

Radical transformation had taken place.

One desperate prayer healed more than five years of heartbreak. I now have a healthy friendship with a man who used to be the source of panic-inducing anxiety.

Nothing is impossible with God.

Is there something you desperately need help with? If you’ve tried everything, would you consider asking God for help?