My life took a sharp turn in those last 8 months, but it has got nothing to do with what you may expect. I did not win a lottery. I did not move to a new country. I did not change my job. I did something I did not expect to have to do: I ended a 5 year old relationship to start my life in Paris from scratch. And then I sat down and penned down everything that life has taught me since February, because good lessons deserve to be shared.
The theory: stop the mourning and the self-pity.
It does not matter which one of you ended the relation.
You will need to accept the fact that it is over, even if you lived through a head-over-heels love story. No one says it will be easy, but the quicker you turn a new page, the better it will be. Do not waste your time dreaming up scenarios of how you will get back together. If you can, ban yourself from thinking of your ex. Just let go and trust us when we say that everything happens for a reason.
I made it sound easy, but I lived through hell. Couple habits are tricky to get rid off, especially if you were together for a long time. It is even harder if you have lived together. In the first 2 months following my breakup, I lost 12 kilograms. I would wake up, cry, go to work, open my computer, and scroll through our old photos. And then cry again. I ate salad for lunch (I could not get myself to eat anything else), did more work, and then cried myself to sleep when I got home. I honestly do not really remember how I lived through that period, but what I do know is that no one deserves that kind of emotional turmoil.
I honestly do not really remember how I lived through that period, but what I do know is that no one deserves that kind of emotional turmoil.
The theory: do a bit of analysis and cut out the blind blaming.
Each party had a part to play in the end of a relationship. Try to understand what you did wrong from your side, so you can avoid making the same mistakes next time you are getting close with someone.
I honestly did this exercise, and even more than once. I took a white sheet of paper and noted everything I would like to change in my personal behaviour in the context of a relationship; however, at one point I got fed up of soul searching. Self-analysis is a great thing, but it should be done in moderation.
Self-analysis is a great thing, but it should be done in moderation.
Only time will tell if I will become a better version of myself, but at least I will know that I have tried.
The theory: just do your thing.
You are out of a relationship and you are single. Guess what? You will never have as much free time to yourself as now! Take advantage. Sign up to that new yoga class. Take up knitting (yes, DIY is sexy). Learn a new language. And do not wait: do it now. Doing something you’re passionate about is a sure way to heal a heartbreak and also helps to keep your mind of your ex. The extra plus: you never know what your new hobby can lead to!
I was lucky, Apéro à Paris emerged just as my relationship entered its final stage of a painful breakup. And instead of trying to patch a sunken ship, I decided to get on board of a brand new vessel. In a couple of months we went from zero to a fully functional website, with published content we are proud of. Apéro is not just a personal project, it is also a saver in its own right and a much loved child, in whose success I believe.
Apéro is not just a personal project, it is also a saver in its own right and a much loved child, in whose success I believe.
The theory: bring yourself back to you.
There is one quote from Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” that I keep thinking of. It is when the main heroine says: “If I love you, you can have everything. You can have my time, my devotion, my ass, my money, my family, my dog, my dog’s money, my dog’s time—everything,”. And often, we as women, really do forget our own needs by dissolving completely in our partner. But that is the catch: you risk disappearing as an identity. The takeaway: no matter how much you love someone, never forget yourself. Your interests. Do what makes you happy. There is nothing more attractive than a fulfilled person, whose personality shines through. A loving partner by your side should be the outcome – and not the source – of your happiness.
I kept an online diary on one popular Russian website between the age of 17 to 22. In the space of those 5 years I published a big number of funny stories, motivational articles, and even some serious musings on a variety of topics. My writing earned me a stable and interested audience, but with my relocation to France, I gave up on writing. I also gave up on dancing. At that time I did not need anything else apart from my man. And that was my mistake, because by giving up on myself, I lost track of what I needed as a person.
And that was my mistake, because by giving up on myself, I lost track of what I needed as a person.
Apéro is what I needed to get back on track. It brought me back to writing, it got me dancing again.
The theory: don’t be afraid to be alone.
When, if not now, would you get to enjoy the freedom that only solitude can give? Imagine yourself in 5 years from now: a career, a husband, children? And so little time for yourself. Take this moment now to do something you have always dreamed of. A trip to the other end of the world? Pack your bag and go. Alone. It is precisely in those moments when you are to yourself that you get some of your best ideas and you have the time to dream – and dream big.
I never experienced panic attacks before, but after my breakup I suddenly became anxious in the most mundane of situations. When I found myself alone, I did not feel comfortable taking the metro. Taking a flight. Taking the slightest step out of my comfort zone. These attacks were unpredictable and I tried to win back control by reading a lot of literature on the subject. I even watched Youtube videos to help myself cope with this weakness. I learnt one simple truth: it takes time to learn to be on your own, to listen to your own desires, to love yourself.
I learnt one simple truth: it takes time to learn to be on your own, to listen to your own desires, to love yourself.
But it’s worth it.
The theory: learn to enjoy life.
Yes, it is over, but no one died. You have got hands, legs, a head on your shoulders. That in itself is a good enough reason to love living! Look around more often: you have friends, a family. Dare to try living each day in the most magical way: jump with a parachute, attend a music festival, go on a hike. Allow yourself to be a little bit crazy. Open yourself to the world to see new opportunities like never before!
I kept saying to myself that I need to enjoy life, and once I started, I could not (and still cannot) keep still. I went to Coldplay’s concert, I attended a camp-out musical festival for the first time, I took my girlfriends on a road trip, I moved into a shared flat! The best part is the new people I am constantly meeting. All it took from me was to open myself up to the world.
The theory: fall in love again.
My story: I will keep it short – this story is to be continued.