There are typically two types of people who emerge after a breakup – those who win their breakups and those who lie about it.

Yes, it’s important to stress that relationships aren’t “games” that you should be winning or losing. And breakups aren’t extra periods where you get to fight until the bitter end. You can only ever really be happy when you stop comparing yourself to the people you have left behind in the past. You can’t go on to have a happy future if you are still holding on to the things of the past.

Now that that is out of the way, let’s talk about what it really means to win and lose a breakup.

The typical mark of a person who has won a breakup is the one who gets into a new relationship first – and those who don’t get into relationships before the other are typically branded as the losers. Of course, you would never want to be the one who is stuck in your house on a Friday night just sitting on your couch and thinking about how terribly you have it in life at the moment.

You don’t want to be the one who is crying at home as you stalk your ex’s newfound love-life and you desperately wish that the same would be happening for you as well. We all want to feel loved and desired most especially when we’re feeling vulnerable after a breakup. We want so desperately to capture that feeling of having someone love us once more. And we take that as a measuring stick as to whether or not we’ve completely moved on from our failed relationships. And while it can be easy and convenient to adopt that kind of mindset, it’s also incredibly unhealthy. It’s very toxic.

You have to know that the truth about moving on isn’t that you jump right into the next available relationship. It’s not about racing to see how fast you can get back into the dating game. It’s not about who gets to fall in love with someone new first. It’s not about any of that.

What moving on really is made of is someone who is taking control of their own individual life after being in a relationship for so long. When you are defined as a couple for quite a while, you may have a tendency to lose your sense of identity. And when that happens, the breakup becomes so much more difficult to tolerate. And that’s when you have to slowly start building up your sense of identity once more. And you can’t be taking ownership of your life by defining it on whether you’re in a new relationship or not. That’s not how you “win” a breakup. That’s not how you get better in life.

You should never ever measure how okay you are with whether you’ve invested yourself in a new relationship or not. You should be measuring your life on how much you are investing in yourself. You should be looking internally for a sense of validation, meaning, fulfillment, and purpose. You can’t find these things from other people once you break up. You are only fighting a losing battle if you do so. You ALWAYS have to generate meaning for yourself. And once you’re okay with the fact that you’re on your own for now, that’s when you become okay. THAT is when you know that you have truly moved on from your failed relationship.

After a breakup, it might be difficult to find the courage to face the world on your own. But you’re just going to have to find a way to do so if you’re ever going to be okay again. You need to be making your own choices and decisions. You need to be spending more time on your hobbies and interests. You need to be pursuing your goals and dreams. You need to be fueling all of your passions. And most importantly, you need to find comfort in knowing that you are doing all of these things by yourself. That’s not necessarily easy; but hey, who says that the path to being okay was going to be easy anyway? Moving on from a failed relationship is never easy, but it’s necessary. And you need to understand that upfront if you’re ever going to get around to doing so.

At the end of the day, if your thoughts are still fixated on your ex, then you know that you haven’t completely moved on. You might say that you’re in a new relationship; but if you’re only doing so to prove something to your ex, then obviously, you haven’t gotten over them just yet. Only fall in love when you know that you’re ready to do so; only when you know that you’ve completely moved on.

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