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10 Things You Can Relate To When You Are Single After Ending A Long Relationship

Nkem Ndem

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Coming out of a long relationship and being single again can be really tough whether you are the one who instigated the breakup or the one who gave up on the relationship. All the time you spent on getting to know someone, opening yourself up to them, adjusting your routines to flow with theirs, trusting them and the effort put in… they all just go down the drain.

Usually, your system goes through the shock of having to function outside of a role it has become accustomed to. Not only are you faced with the prospect of having to rebuild your life, you have to tackle the challenge of being single after a long time of viewing yourself as part of a couple. Here are some of the struggles you can relate to when you find yourself single after ending a long relationship:

The enveloping loneliness
In the last days of your relationship with your ex, you probably fantasized about the freedom and independence you would get when it eventually ended. You figured you would be alone for a while, but you never imagined that, ‘excruciating loneliness’ would also be something you would have to deal with. Despite all the activities you throw yourself into, and the crowd of people you surround yourself with, it is not the same. With no one to text during your lunch break or cuddle up with while you sleep, you find yourself wallowing in a tough and lonely existence. You miss having someone to miss, but there is nothing you can do about it –  except feel sad and unsure of yourself. Boredom and frustration become a huge part of your life.

The awful social stigma
This usually comes up when the circumstances surrounding the break-up was not a very simple one. Perhaps you dumped your partner after they have been there for you for years. Perhaps you’re the left behind bride/groom at the altar, or you divorced a spouse over a reason that most people do not consider strong enough. People look at you with pity (when they consider you the victim), or they judge and criticize you for not trying harder to save your relationship. You feel resented and ostracised by family and friends who blame you for the breakup; it’s hard for you to blend back into old friendships and relationships. A few may make the effort to understand and support you, but generally, it sucks.

You don’t want your ex back, but you also don’t want anyone else
You are done with your ex; you don’t want to go back into that toxic relationship. Despite the pain, you are actually relieved. However, when you actually throw yourself out into the dating field and start to talk to possible mates, the excitement and relief start to ebb, because you realise you don’t connect the way you hoped you would. None of the people makes you feel like your ex did. They don’t seem to get you and it’s taking too long.

As a matter of fact, it starts to seem that the more you explore your options, the more you miss what you used to have. You start to prefer boring nights watching TV at home, than going out for first dates and first kisses over and over again.

You wonder about your ex and stalk them on social media
You are strong. You are done with your ex. You are moving on. But one moment you are calm and rational, and the next moment you are crying buckets and wondering what your ex is doing. You fill your head with imaginations of what their life is like without you. As you stuff your brain with imaginations of what your ex could be doing, you build up your curiosity; before you know it, you are stalking your ex’s social media, checking their Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. You even stalk the person they tag on pictures for clues. You wonder if your ex gets butterflies when they are with that person, or if they are the person that is going to replace you.

The thing is, a few minutes after doing that, you regret it. You feel like you have taken might steps backward and your healing process has regressed.

The heart attack when you run into your Ex
Running into your ex is basically the worst feeling in the world, especially if the breakup was nasty. You are constantly afraid of meeting them at the grocery store, or the restaurant you both loved and used to go to every Friday night. You try your best to avoid places you know that you could run into them, because you are not sure your heart can take the pain of seeing them again – especially if you have the nagging feeling they may have moved on without you.

When you are invited to events by mutual friends, the first question you ask is if your ex was invited as well. And if yes, you make up an excuse not to attend. In the case where you surprisingly do run into them, and you realise there is no escape because they have seen you, you pretend your heart is not enduring a mini seizure and smile bravely at them. Other times, you just decide you don’t give a f*ck and you snob them anyway.

People trying to set you up
You are single again and all your friends, in the bid to “make you happy again” test their matchmaking skills on you. It’s like they have single friends in other social circles or at work that are just waiting to be set up with you. They introduce you to all sorts of Dick, Tom, and Harry. They send you pictures of who they think you would like or who you just have to meet and start dating. Perhaps it is your constant sad demeanour or them having your best interest at heart that motivates them to do this. You appreciate their efforts, but deep down, you are not really that interested in all that. You just need more time and space.

Your Game Seems Off All the Time
You are a catch, but for some reason, your game is off. You try to flirt with someone you consider attractive, but it feels like you have forgotten how to interact with other human beings on dates. You wonder if it is because you are still in the couple mode; you realise that you need to brush up on your communication and flirting skills. Basically, you need to relearn how to be single again, because apparently giving off that “I’m available” vibe is longer instinctive  and you need to re-train our social muscles.

The awkwardness of not knowing when someone is interested
Because you were in a relationship for too long, your “someone is hitting on you” radar gets covered in rust. You realise you can’t even tell when someone is actually flirting with you. You wonder why someone is staring at you so intensely from the across the room, and you wonder if something is wrong with what you’re wearing. When they even come to talk you, you are self-conscious and wonder if they are just being polite. Someone could literally ask you out and you would not get it.

The weirdness of being your own “Plus One”
You have been a couple for years, and so you are used to going almost everywhere with your significant other or partner. Now that you are broken up, you still have to go for important functions and events, but the thing is, you have to go alone. While you realise it is not the end of the world and you will survive, it feels really weird…like you are missing an important accessory or something. It is worse if you are an introvert and you don’t know anyone at the event. Since you are alone, you are forced to make small talk with strangers.

The nagging suspicion that you will be alone forever
You have tried dating and putting yourself out there, but it just does not seem like life wants you to move on. After months of being celibate, you wonder if you’ll ever meet someone, or worse, if the pain will ever subside. You obsess and philosophize about being single, so you talk about it about it to anyone who will listen. Yes, you hope and have faith for love in the future, but it seems like it’s one of those things that will probably never happen… so, you find yourself breaking down in the shower or crying yourself to sleep. You even get a dog but no matter how you try, there’s the nagging suspicion that you are old, alone and done for.

Photo Credit: Mimagephotography | Dreamstime.com

Nkem Ndem is a dynamic freelance writer and editor who can be reached for copywriting, editing and proofreading. She is also a content creator (web, T.V, radio) who has had stints with Jumia and SpiceTV Africa e.t.c. Now she works at Glam Africa as Online editor and BellaNaija as Features writer. E-mail: [email protected]; IG: @kem_dem; Twitter: @ndemv

24 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    May 22, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    The pain is real. So true. In the process of breaking up even though I know it’s the right thing to do , I’ve already pictured the pain I will feel . Having to go through all you said sucks. I haven’t even broken up yet and it’s like I’m already living that nightmare. The nagging thought that ” what if I made a mistake?”, “Will I ever find someone else?” , one moment I’m sure I’m done with him the next moment I feel like I’m making the biggest mistake of my life and I can’t live without him. This article just proves that it’s something everyone faces when going through a break up you are not alone

    • b

      May 23, 2017 at 9:47 am

      Take heart girl and do what you have to do. what will be will be even if it appears you made a mistake initially you will be alright later.

      Plus some people will never be good with/to you but the moment you leave them they become their best. Now what is their worth to you if they will never be good so never feel bad if he becomes a better person with someone else. You guys would never have made it to that point so its all good.

      Move on most of us have been there done that and we are still happy. i never regretted leaving any Ex though. Even when it hurt like a knife in my flesh, I knew we were never meant to be and just kept my focus and last last I am always very alright.

      Cheers

    • Alterego

      May 23, 2017 at 4:09 pm

      You will find someone else. You said it yourself that the breakup is the right thing to do. It means you know deep down that it has to be done. For a while, you might feel like a fish out of water. You might be tempted to even go back to the person you left. Eventually, life will fall into place. But meanwhile, leave your comfort zone. Travel. Do not wallow in pity or regret. Celebrate being single. Do something fun. Find a new hobby.
      Did I mention travel? Not the type you go and hole yourself in somewhere, feeling all forlone. See the sights, visit restaurants, go to the beach. Life will fall into place.

  2. Bleeeh

    May 22, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    All you write about is relationship, man and woman matter… Please write about something else for a change ma’am.

    • Abk

      May 22, 2017 at 11:31 pm

      You didn’t have to open it.

    • Cocolette

      May 23, 2017 at 1:46 am

      You can also help us to write, Ma/Sir.

    • exceptionalstar

      May 23, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      She should race her path not what you think path.

  3. Mi

    May 23, 2017 at 12:37 am

    This is so me. *sadface*

  4. scorpiolass

    May 23, 2017 at 2:17 am

    This is me……..including the 2wks relationships i try to have that never work out…..im always standing in my own way, doubting every word i hear from any guy. It sucks..and i hate myself for even letting them know i like them but wont relax enough for me to just have fun.

    • b

      May 23, 2017 at 10:04 am

      Stop showing guys you like them until you are established in a relationship. Even when you have to make the first move make it smartly. Drop the hints and leave it there. If he comes after you fine if he never does, keep it moving.

      Best way to find a new relationship is keep busy. whatever keeps you busy.
      i. religion,
      ii. ICAN (i personally feel too many ICAN students marry themselves and luckily you dont have to be an accountant to start writing ICAN),
      iii. partying (not sure about clubbing, i feel our society is not matured enough to consider girls excessive clubbing habit as okay),
      iv. volunteering (I had a friend who did that and somehow met her hubby along the way). this could be on a job or motherless home, estate resident association etc.

      I was very active in church and estate residence association so I did not even have time to be liking people that are not deserving of my attention.

      Just keep busy, it helps take you mind off thinking and depreciating in looks and value and rejuvenates your body, soul and spirit. Remember that guys can sense it when you are desperate this helps you not to be.

      I could go on and on but I will stop here.

  5. Aries!

    May 23, 2017 at 5:31 am

    Here am I staring into the night as sleep has decided to take a stroll… I open BN and see this article and I am like dayuuuuuuumm! This is sooooo me right now. All I feel is just resentment. I feel like a failure… I wonder if it will ever be okay… if this pain will ever go away. Having to feign that “everything is fine” face and fake smile… Dear Lord, please take this pain away *sigh*

    • b

      May 23, 2017 at 10:05 am

      Best way to find a new relationship is keep busy. whatever keeps you busy.
      i. religion,
      ii. ICAN (i personally feel too many ICAN students marry themselves and luckily you dont have to be an accountant to start writing ICAN),
      iii. partying (not sure about clubbing, i feel our society is not matured enough to consider girls excessive clubbing habit as okay),
      iv. volunteering (I had a friend who did that and somehow met her hubby along the way). this could be on a job or motherless home, estate resident association etc.

      I was very active in church and estate residence association so I did not even have time to be liking people that are not deserving of my attention.

      Just keep busy, it helps take you mind off thinking and depreciating in looks and value and rejuvenates your body, soul and spirit. Remember that guys can sense it when you are desperate this helps you not to be.

      I could go on and on but I will stop here.

  6. bodunade

    May 23, 2017 at 7:15 am

    Nkem you can do better. I know you can.

  7. Fabulous

    May 23, 2017 at 8:16 am

    This is presently my situation. It sucks.

  8. Meestyk

    May 23, 2017 at 8:27 am

    NKEM has been low-key announcing that she is single 2ith her articles oh. Brothers, what are you waiting for?!

  9. Eminent Emeka Agbo

    May 23, 2017 at 8:34 am

    This is quite true. I’ve a friend who called off his relationship with his babe. And he became very lonely, never happy. The worst is that he tries to woo ladies but he doesn’t seem to play the game well, it’s more like he has forgotten how best to flirt. I love this.

    But what do we actually do to avoid such breakups after a long relationship that is clocking towards marriage? I made a deep enumeration of the reasons why relationships or marriage fail after the union via this link emekagbo.blogspot.com.ng/2017/05/12-reasons-why-21st-century-marriages.html

  10. Ngozi

    May 23, 2017 at 8:58 am

    This is me. Everything here is me at the moment

    …i guess it’s better I focus on making this money!

  11. GeniusG

    May 23, 2017 at 9:56 am

    Nice write up. It sheds light on alot of stuff

  12. Reem

    May 23, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Everyone needs love, you me your ex. Deep compassion and understanding of people will get you through. However deserves your love will come to you. Much Love X 🙂

  13. Eri

    May 25, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    This is me right now. I feel completely worthless and like a huge failure. I am 22 but I have absolutely nothing working for me. I don’t think happiness will ever find me. I don’t think anything good will ever happen to me.

    • Annie

      May 26, 2017 at 11:53 am

      You are too young to be saying/thinking that… your thoughts about you being a failure might be affecting you as you have no confidence in yourself.. think positive and see things take a good turn..All the best!!

    • B

      May 26, 2017 at 2:30 pm

      Wao. wish I could be your friend and indeed i am a good thing by the way. Babe I know how this feels but its not worth giving up. everyone will walk this path at one point or the other in a lifetime what do you think will happen if we all give. Just keep it moving even when it appears like nothing is working. keep working at it, one day you will look back and smile.

      The easiest place to start for me is the church or mosque and dont go there to make friends just go there to find God, every other thing will find you. then again keep busy by engaging in less demanding activities, attend parties either alone or in company of others, go for free seminars if you wish, any talk show you find fascinating attend and deliberately keep away from people who draw negative energy out of you. Love YOU BABE……. and remember to keep it moving.

      Drop your progress report here too, that will also keep you busy in the meantime. Cheers love

  14. Abena

    May 26, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    this is absolutely true. I thought for once LOVE is done with me. i cry myself to sleep every night for me i dont even look forward to finding someone else. love just sucks

  15. Siri

    June 5, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    it rily hurts no doubt, but we need to move on. i am single and need a great guy to be my friend. add me up lets talk. zeroeightzerothreefouronetwoseventwoeightseven.

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