Failure is unavoidable. It is an intrinsic part of life and as soon as we all come to terms with the fact that our expectations will be disappointed, there’s a good chance we’ll pull through any hardship. However, hope is intrinsic to human nature as well. This very conflict between two held beliefs may just be the ultimate cognitive dissonance that causes existential pain. Its destructive nature comes to the forefront when engagement is broken, and the process of initial surviving and subsequent healing is all about making peace with the dark shadow it had roused inside of you.
Embrace the Darkness
You will feel numb. You will feel regret, panic, anger, a burden of meaninglessness will weigh on your shoulders and the weight of pain will press on your chest. It may have been a dead-end relationship all along. Accept that these feelings are perfectly normal. Embrace them for what they are and do not keep them bottled up. Instead, express these feelings in full force as if your life depends on it – because in many ways it does, especially your mental health. It is okay to feel vulnerable.
Stand by Me, Friend
While we are on the topic of vulnerability, you shouldn’t feel ashamed to display the ugly side of your feelings in front of your closest friends. Of course, you cannot expect of someone to take your burdens upon their shoulders, but true friends will show their mettle by sticking by you. You may feel the instinct to push them away and scream by yourself between four walls, but you should actually refrain from sending them away. They wouldn’t have come if they didn’t want to be by your side.
There is also an addendum to this factor – while you should definitely rely on your closest friends, this is usually a good time to avoid family members. Now, this is not a rule – your brother or your sister may be the best friend you ever had – but family members also have a peculiar capability to express wrong things while trying to help you. It is okay if you want to keep away from them.
Forgive Yourself for the Regret
Just as you should forgive yourself for wanting to stay away from family members during this period, you should also forgive yourself for the regrets that are more materialistic in nature. If you were deep into the engagement, there is a strong possibility that certain non-refundable deposits have been made, some schedules have been arranged and certain items have been bought. You will almost certainly feel a pang of regret for investing time and money into this ordeal, and most individuals feel excruciating levels of guilt ‘because they regret superficial matters’. No, these kinds of ‘logistical’ and financial regrets do not make you a bad person! They only make you reasonable and considerate towards everyone who was involved.
Commence With the Process of Letting Go
After some time, the guilt will begin to subside, which signals the opportune time for the process of letting go. This is the period when you and your former fiancée begin to divide certain ‘residue’ items between you. It will almost certainly be painful to revisit some of these aspects of life – especially if you lived together in an apartment or shared ownership of certain stuff – but you need to rip it off like a Band-Aid. Don’t feel guilty about selling your engagement ring, unless it’s your fiancé’s family heirloom, and take each item that is rightfully yours. Be prepared for a lot of bitterness as this transpires.
Break Off All Contact
Then it is time for the final act of letting go – break off all contact, immediately and mercilessly. You will probably feel as if you are ripping off a part of your own body, but it’s the only way to properly heal because as long as there is some semblance of contact and connection, there is a glimmer of undeserved hope. This may also force your hand to tear your contact list asunder, but it comes with the territory, unfortunately. Throughout all these steps and phases, you will feel things that you regret and do things that you dislike, but always remember that you deserve to heal and embrace joie de vivre once again.