Why It's Okay Not to Be Heartbroken After a Breakup

Imagine the stereotype of a girl after a breakup. She hasn't left her room in days, and she comforts herself with ice cream as tear-streaked makeup runs down her face.

So when you've just gone through a breakup and you feel like dancing instead of sobbing, you might start to think there's something wrong with you. We reached out to relationship and breakup expert Annabel Acton, author of Never Liked It Anyway: A Fun and Feisty Guide to Beating the Breakup Blues, to find out exactly why that's not the case—and why you should actually embrace those feelings.

Sweety High: Why is there an expectation that a breakup always equals heartbreak?

Annabel Acton: I think it's the expectation because it's often the reality. Breakups are pure rejection, and there are not many other times in life that we are rejected. Most of the time, we can avoid pain, or if things don't work out between us and other family members, friends or employers, it's a gradual decoupling. For example, if you have a falling out with a friend, you'll just gradually drift apart.

Breakups are very sudden and dramatic. You go from being everything to nothing, and we're not very used to dealing with that kind of pain. There's a lot of ego involved, too, which makes it often feel worse than it is. It can feel like someone has looked into our truest soul and rejected it, rather than it just being a mismatch of timing, circumstances and desires.


SH: What other, more positive feelings, can a breakup sometimes inspire instead?

AA: Often, if people are really honest with themselves, they know the breakup is for the best and the relationship dynamics weren't quite right. Yet when you don't get the choice in a matter, it can feel cruel and overwhelming, and push you into a state of desperation to get things back on track.

If you can, try to focus less on the unfairness of the situation and the hurt that comes with rejection and instead focus on all the other positives and new opportunities that will now open up to you. Think about who you'll now be open to meeting, and what new experiences you'll say yes to, and what opportunities might suddenly appear. You have to trust that in a few years' time you'll see the breakup as an amazing catalyst for growth and the best thing that ever happened to you. There is a saying that people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. That really stuck with me and helped me make sense of some indecipherable situations.


(via Unsplash)


SH: Why shouldn't we feel guilty if we actually feel good after a breakup?

AA: If you're feeling good about a breakup, it's a pretty clear sign that something wasn't right and was taking you down a path that didn't quite fit. Sometimes we also get a sense of relief about a breakup when we know it's coming, or if an unhealthy pattern of fighting has been brewing.

No matter the situation, focusing on feelings of shame or guilt won't do you any favors. It's a hard, sensitive time, so tuning in and listening to what you truly need in that moment should be the priority. Sometimes people think that if they (or their ex) are happy straight away that it somehow means the relationship meant nothing to them. We all process things in different ways and in different timeframes, so try not to think about the progress your partner is making and just focus on your own bounce back. And if it happens that you are feeling fantastic post-breakup, enjoy it! Channel all that energy into something that will really fire up your sparkle.


SH: Any other tips for embracing positive post-breakup emotions?  

AA: The most common positive feelings to come out of a breakup are freedom, adventure, creativity and an openness to change. Try to think about each of these and how this breakup has allowed you to reclaim a certain sense of self, in these dimensions. There's a huge rush of productivity, positivity and change that happens post-breakup, so try to set yourself some goals and make the most of it.


(via Unsplash)


If you relate to the above, click HERE to discover the breakup advice you need to hear, based on your zodiac sign.