You’re confused, lost and a little bewildered? Physically sound yet sick to your stomach? Taken aback because you’ve been oblivious to the signs but, suddenly conscious, struck with clarity? It feels like your heart has been ripped out of your ribcage?
The last thing you want to hear is that it gets better because you’re consumed with an overwhelming pain that clouds any prospect of change or progress. You’re hurt. It’s as simple as that and, whether you received the blatant reasons or the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech, you’ll have been thrown off guard and made to feel insecure; a little voice inside of you is probably whispering: “you weren’t good enough.”
Whether you like it or not, a part of your life has been revolving around this person. You’ll spend the next few days, weeks, walking around like a zombie, neither here nor there, still trying to figure things out. There’s no fighting this, it’s a part of the grieving process.
You’ll fluctuate between moments of lucidity when things make sense and you feel more understanding of the situation, slightly at peace, and moments of panic when you can’t come to terms with the reality. You may be able to distract yourself momentarily, you’ll laugh and engage in discussions, but at the end of the day, you’re left with a void. This void may tempt you to do something reckless in order to fill it.
The problem is the decisions we make while at our most vulnerable are a manifestation of our pain, rather than logical, calculated decisions, resulting in more damage in the long run.
After a break up, a lot of women feel the need to compensate their bruised ego – getting a makeover, going on holiday etc. Another side effect of this void is the “rebound factor” – you’ll experience a yearning for affection that you were expecting to receive in your future married life. The echo of your planned life together will be loud and resonating.
Then, once you’ve mustered up enough energy to resume your everyday life and head back to work and function properly, you might have a strangely uplifting day when you feel fine and barely ponder over what’s happened, but then the bubble bursts because the grief that coincides with a breakup is a difficult process that you have to endure.
No matter how hard people try to sugarcoat or trivialise it, the pain is inevitable and you’ll wonder “what was the point of all this? Why did this person invade my life if only to leave?”
There’s no easy answer to this question except that sometimes you have to lose your balance in love to gain balance in life. Everyone will tell you not to let it affect your self-esteem. The truth is that it will, but it’s also true that we need a humbling experience every once in a while to keep us grounded as human beings. In the long run, you’ll look back and see that in the grand scheme of things, it made sense. This life experience will have an impact on you and it’s up to you to determine whether it’s favourable or not. You’ll be remoulded and for a while you’ll not feel like yourself, but if you have enough faith in God, you’ll know that this was for a reason.
Having faith in the Almighty and His providence is what will get you through this; every hardship holds great mercy within. But meanwhile, how do you sustain yourself in this difficult period? Firstly, through supplication. Umm Salamah (RA) reported: If any servant (of Allah) who suffers a calamity says: “We belong to Allah and to Him shall we return; O Allah, reward me for my affliction and give me something better than it in exchange for it,” Allah will give him reward for affliction and will give him something better than it in exchange. (Muslim)
Secondly, know that you are not alone – everyone has their sad stories. Avoid comparing yourself to others in a seemingly better position – comparison leads to envy; maybe now things are peaches and cream for everyone else but this won’t always be the case.
Not only would it be unwise to risk your relationship with Allah (SWT) by being ungrateful for what you do have, but you’ll be transforming yourself from a victim (worthy of compensation from the Almighty) to a disgruntled sinner, whose heart is dark and compassion tainted.
Thirdly, change your perspective. See this as an opportunity to focus on other aspects of your life which you may have been neglecting; you have no idea how strong a boost this breakup may give your career, for example, simply because you’ll have more focus and energy to give to it. Also, by cultivating support from the other people in your life, you’ll in fact be strengthening your relationship with them.
Fourthly, keep yourself busy with a lot of dhikr, charity work and reading: the distraction you’ll need will depend on your type of personality. If you’re an energetic extrovert then you need the physical and social aspect of giving back to the community. When you find yourself absolutely incapable of finding happiness, try to provide it to others who may need it – you’ll find comfort in calming their pain and solace in drawing peace to their hearts, even if momentarily.
In the end, He (SWT) who has lead you to this storm will lead you through it; do not place too much reliance on His creation when you have the Creator by your side. Let Him be your beacon of light and wisdom and be certain that He (SWT) will not let you down.
Reham Omar is an Egyptian-NZ freelance writer and teacher, hoping to promote human rights and spread the message of Islam. She’s currently working with SISTERS as well as a range of other magazines to refute misconceptions regarding Islam and help Muslims achieve a balance between this world and the next.