A couple of months ago I broke up after 5 years of a relationship. For so long I thought he will be the one. I put so much into this relationship because I want to make it work. But after going nowhere for 5 years, I decide the one who says enough is enough.
I am 35 years young woman who chooses to be alone once again.
So many nights I stay awake with a head full of answers I don’t know the answer to. But after 6 months, I know I took the right call. It was a difficult decision but here I am feeling reborn stronger than before.
In this article, I want to share some thoughts on how I was dealing with a broken heart in my mid-30s.
Why deal with broken hearts in your 30s hard?
A broken heart in the 20s is easier because life is simpler back then. In the early 20s, we focus on ourselves. We want to live our best life and have fun. Broken heart in the 20s is about ourselves. It’s painful, but after a while, life goes on. Why?
Because we have one of the most important resources in life: time.
In the 30s, life is more complicated. Most of us already have a lot of responsibility in our 30s. We might have significant other, some have children, and our parents getting old.
When we are heartbroken, it’s not only about us. It affects all the responsibilities we have in our life.
In nutshell, ending a relationship in the 30s can look like this:
- Men/women in relationship
I think this is the easiest scenario if we compare it with the other 2 scenarios we’ll talk about after this. I am absolutely biased but as a woman, I think breaking up in the 30s is harder for women than men. The reason is the biological clock is ticking for women.
At age of 30s, in many cultures, women are expected to be married and most likely have a child. So becoming single again in the 30s is not only painful but also triggers worries for women.
Will I ever meet someone else? Do I have time to start a family and have a child?
This kind of question really makes the recovery process from a broken heart harder for women.
While for men, I would say they only need to take a step to heal their pain. They don’t need to worry about biological rhythm. Whether we like it or not, this is just a scenario that nature gives to our life and we need to accept it.
- Men/women married without a child
For a married couple, I think what makes a broken heart more difficult because the relationship is already so deep. Marriage unite two individuals to the deepest level. When it’s over, it can feel like we lost half of ourselves.
In a lot of cultures, marriage even involves two families. And when it’s broken, it becomes a family issue to some extent. Besides that, from a financial perspective, divorce can be so detrimental for both men and women.
Well, the situation is unique for each couple course. But I dare to say what the problem might look like: men can lose their paycheck because of their divorce. And women can end up financially struggling especially when the husband is the only breadwinner in the family.
- Men/women married with children
This is the most difficult situation: divorce with kids. Kids magnify the complexity of heartbreak. The more kids are involved, the more it becomes complicated.
When kids involve, from the parent’s point of view, the focus is divided. Parents need to heal their personal broken hearts while making sure the children are ok. But regardless kids are important and they need to be prioritized, taking care of oneself must be the top priority. Not because we ignore our responsibility as a parent, but because it’s impossible to be good parents if we are struggling individuals.
With that being said, let’s talk about tips on how to deal with a broken heart.
some Advice for Dealing with Broken Heart in Your 30s
1. Allow yourself to feel the pain
I think this is the most important part of any mindset work. Accept that we have a problem. In this case: we’re broken hearts.
Allowing ourselves to feel the pain. The worst part we can do to ourselves is to pretend that nothing is wrong. If we choose to ignore this feeling, probably somehow we can numb ourselves, but the problem will not be solved.
You will drag that pain all along the way. And that’s not fun.
A broken heart is an emotion and we better allow ourselves to feel it.
Really feel it. Cry if you need to. And yes, for my male fellow, you guys are allowed to cry.
Don’t want others to see you cry, find: lock yourself in a room and cry. A cry is processed to release the tension. It’s good for your health. Once you cry, you feel uplifted.
Another way to process your emotion is by talking to someone. For ladies, we’ve been doing it all the time, right?
While for men, just find your buddies and share your stories. If you don’t have someone to trust or they might don’t understand talking to a professional can be helpful.
Another way to express your emotion is by journaling. Or maybe painting if that’s your thing. Express how you feel with your hand to release the emotion. If you don’t know what to write use a prompt.
In my process of healing from a broken heart, I write a lot of journals. Sometimes I write the same words again and again until I can’t write anymore.
Bonus crying while I’m writing my journal. And yes, you bet, I lock myself in a room. I even sometimes go fancy: stay in a hotel alone to cry properly.
Expressing your emotion will take some time. The deeper the pain, the more time you need to heal.
So don’t be surprised if you cry, again and again, write the same story in your journal, or tell the same story to someone. It’s normal. It’s part of the process to heal. Take your time.
2. Take care of your body
While you are processing your emotion, you need to take care of your body. This is not a joke.
We tend to carry away with our feeling and ignore our physical condition. And only realize it when we are so sick or end up in the hospital. Don’t let it happen to you!
Taking care of your body is not a science rocket. It’s just a simple combination: eat healthily, move your body, and have a positive mindset.
At this point, your mind might not be the best because you’re heartbroken. That’s why you need to make your physical well-being your top priority. Seriously: put it into your to-do list.
On the days I can’t even think, I make walking in the park my only to-do list. If I successfully drag myself to walk in the park for 5 minutes, I made my day. Well, I always end up walking in the park for one hour or so and get nice sweat. And I feel like a million dollars.
Well, after that I allow myself to snuggle on my bed again and cry if I want to.
Last tip to maintain your physical health: laugh! Yes! I’m dead serious here.
I watch a lot of the Steve Harvey Show on Youtube on those dark days. And have good laugh. Then I can sleep well at night. Thanks, Steve!
3. Heal your mind
While you feeling your pain and taking care of your body, you need to start healing your mind.
This is not a step-by-step you need to take it in order. This is more on tools you need to have in your pocket and use when you need them. These are 3 mindset works I suggest you do to heal your soul. All of them sound silly at first I will not gonna lie. But you already cry or laugh watching Youtube alone in your room, so adding a little more silliness will not harm you, right?
4. Practice grateful
Grateful people don’t feel depressed. Every morning when you wake up before you touch your phone, answer this simple question:
“What are 3 things I am grateful for today?”
Cheesy, I know. But hear me out.
If you ask this question when you wake up, you train your brain to focus on a positive thing. And because this is the first thing you do after you wake up, it sets your mood for the whole day.
Even if that day becomes a bad day for whatever reason, at least you already have a good thing happen to you today. Don’t give mundane things to be grateful for such as my family, my kids, and my parents.
What makes this practice work well is the specificity.
- I am grateful for my warm bed. It allows me to sleep well at night.
- I am grateful for my son. His smile light my day every day.
- I am grateful for waking up in the morning and having another day to live in.
Do you see what a difference it makes?
So, tell me, what are 3 things you’re grateful for today?
5. Practicing forgiveness
This is a ritual where you forgive yourself for whatever things happen in your life. Let me explain.
When we broke up, one thing that make it so difficult to let go is a bitter question we have in our minds:
What’s wrong with me? Why won’t my partner stay with me?
Nobody wants to admit we have such a question. Our ego will not let it happen. But when we lay down alone at night, that question echoes in our minds.
That’s why doing forgiveness practice gives us peace of mind. And funnily enough, the one you need to forgive is yourself.
One of the most famous forgiveness practices is Ho’oponopono.
This is an ancient Hawaiian practice that combines self-love, forgiveness, and gratitude. Ho’oponopono practice has 4 simple phrases to heal our soul which are:
- I’m sorry.
- Please forgive me.
- Thank you.
- I love you.
For me, if you want to feel so deep in your heart, add some specific situations such as:
- I’m so sorry this relationship needs to end here.
- Please forgive me for being not good enough for you.
- Thank you for the memory we shared together.
- I love you, [Your Name], for being so strong. We got this!
There is no harsh rule on how to use this ritual.
Personally, I don’t really care about the history of ancient Hawaiian behind it. But I like how the mantra gives a pattern to us to say a positive thing about ourselves.
6. Choose your affirmation
I will be totally honest with you. If you are talking about affirmation before this year, I will just give you an empty smile. Because I don’t trust it.
For me it’s a very silly saying, “I am wealthy. I am beautiful. I am worthy.” will make difference in my life.
I even listen to affirmation videos when I sleep and don’t know what people are hyping it about. It’s useless. Until I choose my own word of affirmation. So here’s the thing.
Affirmation is like food you eat when you are hungry. This is food for your soul. It will work effectively if you choose your own words. Because each of us has different needs. An example:
Let’s say you broke up and feel that you’re not worth being loved. This negative thought sits behind your head. Therefore, your affirmation word might be:[Your name], you’re worthy to be loved.
Do you see the logic here?
Affirmation is like a specific vitamin for your soul. Something that you lack. You say it to yourself until you trust it. That’s why everyone will have different affirmation words. And it will change from time to time.
I say this affirmation ritual before I go to sleep every night for 3 months. And after a while, I can sense the way I see myself and my problem change.
The pain is there. I still broken heart and wonder if I will end up dying alone. But I start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know I’m walking in the right direction.
7. Tune your perspective
Have you ever read this quote:
“Life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent how I react to it. “Charles R. Swindoll
The way we give meaning to a problem will determine the way we react to it. That’s why perspective does matter.
In dealing with heartbreak, the way we give meaning to this ‘heartbroken event’ is more important than the fact of the separation itself.
To change your perspective, you can challenge yourself to see this matter from a different point of view. Some questions we can ask ourselves are:
- What do you learn from this event?
- In the next 10 years, will this even matter? if yes, how bad is the effect of this matter? What can you do to anticipate the worst outcome?
- What’s the worst thing that can happen? And how do you deal with it?
Those are not magical questions.
You can keep challenging yourself to switch your perspective in this heartbroken business. Challenge yourself with questions and change your focus from your problem to your solution.
Nine of ten, you’ll see this matter is bad but not that bad.
Even if you’re dealing with divorce with children. You’ll start to see the way out and what you can do to make things better.
8. Allow yourself to receive help
I got this!
How many times did we say that to ourselves? Even if we know we do need help?
I’ve been there. Like all the time. If you are like me, you might find it so difficult to say to others,” I need help.”
Asking for support sounds like a shameful weakness. We glorify fighting alone to deal with our problems as a badge of honor. While in fact in life: nobody thrives working on their own.
Business thrives because it has good teamwork.
What makes you think your life will thrive because you fight alone without any support? So allow yourself to ask for support from others. It is ok to ask for help from family and friends.
Ask your best friend to hang out with your child while maybe you need 1-2 hours of private time to have an ugly cry.
Allow yourself to receive help. Build your support system. You’re not bothering them. You’re allowing them to show you how much they love you. Because they know you’ll do the same for them.
What a perspective, right?
How long does it take to heal a broken heart?
The simple answer: you know it when you know it. There is no timeline. Everybody’s process is different.
From personal experience, the scar is still there. It was never gone. I personally don’t want that scar to vanish completely. Because the scar from every broken heart I have taught me a huge lesson about life and that lesson only makes me a better person.
Recovering from a broken heart doesn’t mean you have all the answers. You practically find yourself calmer and get yourself together in dealing with the situation.
Remember: you can cut someone from your life and forgive them at the same time. You don’t need to hang around with people who broke your heart if you don’t want to.
What didn’t kill you will make you stronger. I think this is a line from a famous song, but I believe it’s true.
When you are heartbroken you need to focus to survive only one more day. In your lowest moment, thinking about how you can rebuild your life can be so overwhelming.
Sometimes, it’s just impossible to even get out of your bed, but you will get out of your bed to get through one more day. Just one more day.
Give yourself some grace to heal your pain. It takes time. But you will find yourself on the other side stronger than before.
I have a faith in you.
As you should.