If you’ve recently come out of a relationship and are unsure what your next step is, here’s my personal account of how to get over a long distance break up.
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It was a Wednesday evening when I received a photo on my photo. Excited to see that it was from my boyfriend who I was waiting to complete the girlfriend permit so I could go and see him in Norway, I was shocked to see a photo of him and a girl in his apartment drinking wine together.
With my heart racing, I rang him straight away to ask what he meant by the photo. By the time he hung up, my dreams of being with this man had come crashing down. He was seeing someone else even though only days before he had told me he was missing me and looking forward to seeing me soon.
I was distraught. For months, the only thing that had kept me going through the pandemic and my recovery from my jaw surgery was knowing that I would soon be back in Oslo, with the man that I had fallen in love with.
To say I was lost was an understatement. I was shocked at the way he had done it, confused as to how someone could tell me he was missing me just days before and then end it with no compassion. What about my plans to return to Norway? My life! My future! In those moments, my vision of my future looked so bleak.
I struggled. I cried. I felt despair then anger then sadness as I went through the grieving process. This wasn’t the first time that we had split up. I had naively given him another chance after walking away twice. I needed closure and wrote an email explaining how I was feeling and then signed off with what I truly thought of him. It was when I received one back that it all fell into place. There was no responsibility for his actions. No apology. Just blame on his new girlfriend who apparently had sent the photo.
I saw everything so clearly then. I had fallen for a narcissist. And it wasn’t the first time either. This was the second man! And even with him, I had experienced a long-distance relationship break up before.
I knew that I needed to change things to break the pattern, otherwise, I would attract another one. I doubted my own judgement, not understanding why I kept falling for these men. I was determined that this time would be the last.
I knew I had to go away to get my head around it all so I booked a flight to Barcelona and signed up for counselling whilst I was away.
During my first session with my BetterHelp counsellor, I heard the words “I’m here to support you Lisa. We’ll find a way through this together,” and I cried. I knew then that everything was going to be okay even if I didn’t yet know the answers.
I was at a point when I felt so lost in my life. I had projected my future life onto my relationship. It was tied up to where I wanted to live, who I wanted to be with, and a man that I wanted to start a family with. He also had a son who I had met several times and I had allowed myself to dream and envision myself being part of his son’s life. There was so much wrapped up in it. It wasn’t just a relationship to me. It fulfilled so many areas of my life that I hadn’t filled myself. Edward, my counsellor made me see this and helped guide me out of the virtual woods that I was lost in to get me to a clearing when I could then see which path I wanted to take.
Four weeks later and I’m stronger. I look back on the relationship as a learning curve. There’s no more regret, no more sadness and no more allowing someone else to have so much power over me.
I’m back in control of my own life thanks to the counselling. I feel worthy and I have direction. I may not have all areas of my life in place yet but I know where I’m heading. I feel lighter and I’m determined that next time I fall in love, it will be with someone who truly deserves me.
7 Tips For How To Get Over a Long Distance Break Up
1. Book a solo trip and spend time by yourself. Barcelona for me is my healing place. It reminded me of how empowering solo travel is and although I had friends in the city I still spent half of my time there alone. Just being somewhere different will give you your confidence back. It’s also made me realise that there are other people out there.
2. Get help. Having counselling was the best decision I could have made. From previous breakups (even with him) it had taken me months to get over it. Being able to talk about what I was feeling without any judgement was the most amazing support I could have asked for. Knowing that at least once a week I had the space and permission to just be me helped my progress immensely. * Find out more about BetterHelp services
3. Reach out to friends. Meeting friends in person was part of my healing process. There were moments when I couldn’t hold back the tears knowing that it was okay to break down in front of them, and other times when we just did an activity to help me take my mind of what I was feeling.
4. Consider what you learnt from the relationship. I had allowed him back into my life because I had a lack of self-worth. With Edward, I made steps as to how to move forward with this to prevent it from happening again.
5. Be kind to yourself and remind yourself of what an amazing person you are. I listened to what I needed when I was in Barcelona. When I wanted to go to the beach, I went to the beach. When I wanted to have a coffee in the poshest hotel in the city, I had a coffee. I gave myself permission to nurture my soul in each moment and enjoy my time there.
6. Get back in touch with ‘you'. Edward, my counsellor helped me realise that I needed to be true to myself. What were my wants and desires and did I really need a partner to achieve these?
7. Give yourself time and know that someone amazing is just around the corner. Let go of the old and make space for the new as you never know who is waiting for you.
Why I Recommend BetterHelp
My long distance break up advice is to get professional help. Don’t feel that just because it wasn’t a conventional relationship that it’s going to be any easier because you don’t live in the same city or country. The process that you go through after a long-distance relationship break up hurts just as much as if you were living in the same town.
Choosing a counsellor is such a personal decision. I had tried counselling before but I didn’t feel as though the lady I was pouring my heart out to really cared about what I had to say. With Edward, I felt as though he really cared about moving me forward and out of the space that I was in. Within the first hour of speaking with him, I knew that I had made the right decision.
Edward was in the USA and I was in Europe but we found the ideal time for both of us. I had weekly calls from a terrace in a hostel, a private room in an Airbnb and then on the streets of Barcelona as I connected with Edward both my audio and then video call. Being on the road didn’t affect having counselling. You can always find a place to talk privately.
He helped me see it as not a failed long distance relationship, but as a stepping stone to the relationship that I really wanted. I now knew what aspects of a relationship I wanted to keep and what I wanted to discard, and how I behaved in one.
What I really loved was that I knew he was there for me to reach out to in-between calls. All I had to do was message him on the app and he would respond. I also attended the groupinars (like webinars) when you could be interactive, to listen to a discussion on depression and on the journey through healing. Just knowing that I was online with a group of people also going through a low point in their lives, made me feel supported. For anyone considering counselling, I can’t recommend them enough.
I feel like a different person and I’m really looking forward to my future. Will I have another long distance relationship? I honestly don’t know but what I do know is that I’m fine by myself and I don’t need a man to define me. If he comes along, amazing but if he doesn’t, I am whole enough to continue my life as I have been living it, solo.
Has travelling solo helped you get over a break-up too?
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