Anxiety

When You’re Going Through a Break Up

Biiiiiiiiig breath. That’s me talking to myself right now. I’ve dreaded this post, and I’ve also thought about it pretty much every day since the day I broke up with my ex-boyfriend. But, to be totally upfront right now, this is not about him or the details of the breakup. It’s no one’s business, including my own at this point. I know this is a highly requested, and possibly even necessary, post. My poor digital consultant who puts together my analytics report every month has to put the top 30 search terms… for the past year there have been 25 iterations of “break up” and his name. During our monthly calls, we just skip right past the page at this point!

How to get over a breakup

I specifically titled this post “going through a break up” because it’s not something that happens in one day. It’s a process (leading up, the actual break up, and the recovery). And that’s a huge reason why it took me so long to buckle down and write this post. I’m probably not even going to edit it because I don’t want to re-read it; so expect a long-winded and probably winding post here.

Since the day I mentioned the breakup, I’ve been getting daily emails/DMs about how to get through a breakup. For the first few months, I barely could respond because every message served as a reminder. I may have gone two hours without thinking about it, and then I’d get a DM about it (nice or not) and I would sink again. When I say every day, I mean every day. Sometimes hourly. After a while, I just didn’t feel qualified to talk about it, and I wasn’t sure if I could say anything without just doing a typed-word-explosion-of-anger. But now, I’m in a place where it’s a closed chapter. There have been ups and downs, but overall, (and here’s the craziest part!), I’d say it was one of the best things to happen to me.

Did it suck? Yes. Was I so sick for weeks that I could barely eat? Unfortunately. Did I feel like I would ever recover? For a while, no.

Breaking up has to be one of the worst feelings. Even if you want to and even if it’s the right thing to do, it doesn’t feel good. Though it’s an emotional thing, it manifests in such a (literal) gutwrenching way. I understood why they call it a broken heart. You feel like you’re breaking. I wouldn’t wish it on the worst of my enemies. If you’ve been through a breakup, you know what I mean.

Before I go through my advice, I have to share a little disclaimer first. If you’re in the weeds of it (like you’re about to break up or you just broke up/were broken up with), it won’t matter what I say or what anyone else says. You just kind of have to experience it. No one else can do it for you; you have to buck up and get through it. I know that sounds kind of mean, but if there was some magic solution, I’m sure someone would have invented it already and retired to a private island. You just have to get through it. Even if I tell you it’ll get better (and it will), it won’t feel like it. But I’ll say it anyway😉, it gets better!

Remember how I said I’ve been getting messages and emails daily asking for advice on how to get through a breakup? Well, it means a lot of people experience breaking up at some point in their lives, maybe (probably) even multiple times. Anyone who has had or is in a second relationship has gone through a breakup. It might not have been an explosive breakup, but at some point, that first relationship ended. Even though I was frustrated at times by the constant reminder of my breakup from the emails, I eventually found solace in knowing how many people experienced it. EVERYONE experiences it. And if they haven’t experienced it yet, there’s a good chance they will. Be there for your friends when they go through a breakup and know that your friends will likely be a great shoulder to cry on too.

When I felt so physically ill from the breakup, I was able to envision (even if I couldn’t actually see) a light at the end of the tunnel knowing that my friends, my sister, my mom, had all gone through breakups and all came out alive on the other end. It was a good reminder and essentially even a mantra at times: “They survived, and I will too.”

I didn’t respond to the breakup emails at the beginning (my one exception to my otherwise strict “respond to everyone” rule). But when I eventually started responding, the only thing I’d write was to encourage the girl to take it one day at a time. Don’t think about tomorrow; don’t worry about next week; don’t look down the road to six months from now. Focus on the day, and getting through it. I kept myself busy, as opposed to wallowing in it, and would just get through every appointment, every meeting, every phone call knowing if I could just get to the night, I could go to sleep and wake up in a new day.

With that said, it gets easier over time. As I mentioned, it won’t feel like it, but it does. I guess this kind of goes back to that first point. But it starts to get easier over time. Because you’re taking things a day at a time, you won’t notice the change until a few weeks in; you’ll realize you went through a full day without crying, or without venting to a friend, or without being overcome with anger. It’s like losing weight in that sense. You don’t notice the small ounces shrinking away, but one day, those pants you have sitting in the special spot in your closet fit perfectly. It doesn’t happen overnight. You will notice it when you least expect it, too. For me, I noticed it when I eventually did feel sad. I’d think, “Well I’m sad now, but I definitely wasn’t feeling sad for the past week, and I didn’t even realize it!”

This is something that I don’t think I would have necessarily done had I not been living a (somewhat) public life. And that is, I didn’t sink into the temptation of airing dirty laundry on social media. Social media can be TOXIC during a breakup. Whether you’re stalking photos or using your Instagram captions as a substitute for therapy. Keep your head above the water and don’t succumb. First of all, it’s not a good look for anyone. (I think we all have one friend who used Facebook to drag someone through the mud and it’s kind of like watching a train wreck.) Beyond that though, it’s downright unhealthy. It won’t allow you to truly rise above it and get through the breakup. Instead of moving forward, you’ll spiral downward. Think of Dory’s famous words: “just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” If you see something that enrages you (been there!), stick to the high road. Doing anything else won’t help you move on. And that’s the end goal: moving on.

While you’re keeping your head above the water and not getting stuck in the quicksand of negativity, focus on the positive. The biggest realization for me was that you have to know what doesn’t work to know what does. For me, I knew what didn’t work. It didn’t mean that everything didn’t work; I wouldn’t have been in the relationship in the first place if somethings weren’t great. But the breakup happened for a reason; something isn’t working. It might not be evident right from the start though, especially if you weren’t the one to initiate the breakup. You’ll have to be honest with yourself to dissect what wasn’t working. I didn’t even realize some of the problems until I was with someone where there wasn’t an issue where there once was one!

No relationship is going to be perfect (because we’re perfectly imperfect), but you’ll have certain priorities that are dealbreakers. I think we like to think of dealbreakers in the superficial sense (not tall enough! teeth aren’t straight enough! doesn’t wear the style I like!). In reality, I think the dealbreakers are those things that end relationships– and you won’t know those until you’re shoulder-deep into one. Maybe it’s a different stance on family values. Maybe it’s how you’re spoken to. Maybe it’s the person’s (un)willingness to compromise. There are endless options here, and it’ll be different for everyone (and frankly every relationship).

For every relationship that doesn’t work out, you’re one step closer to finding one that does work. Don’t let the fear of breaking up or getting hurt stop you from opening your heart to someone new. There’s so much pressure to find THE ONE, and I actually believe there should be more emphasis on being okay with finding NOT THE ONEs. When you know what doesn’t work, it makes the good ones that much better.

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73 Comments

Gaby

Carly!!! You go, girl!! This post is so refreshing and inspiring. You are doing great, and I thank you for sharing this with us!

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Erin Lucy

Thanks for being so honest and for sharing! I admire you so much for being even able to write this post because I am not sure I could… at least not for several years. Seriously thank you and I am so glad you are in a better place now and learned a lot from it.

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Anne

Dear Carly,
First, I have to say that you and your posts have a way of giving me goosebumps. This one is right up there with the “getting involved” one you wrote right after the election. By the way, I’m in law school right now, and I truly think you could hold your own there and still fulfill that potential of becoming a judge 😉 I think your voice is so relevant and I’m proud to say that if someone is looking back at this 100 years from now to identify what a millennial woman thought and stood for, you are an accurate representation that does the rest of us proud. Thank you for your honesty and your eloquence. Secondly, I wanted to say sorry. I on occasion probably contributed to the “searching” statistics on your blog and until this post I didn’t realize what that must have felt like for you. I think a new component of breaking up in these times is that it is 10x more public for anyone because of social media… so I can’t imagine what that was like for you. I want you to know that, at least coming from my perspective and I think I can confidently speak for most of the people here, the searching and the questions that came from the readers was because we all see you as a close friend. You are one of the only bloggers who is truly honest, who speaks to her readers as friends and equals, and who admits to her quirks and faults. I think most of us were inclined to step in like a close friend would, because we too felt betrayed that someone had caused you pain. I think all of us, from time to time, forget that you are still just the same as us, going through struggles, full of feelings, still growing. I know there is a whole part of this break up we didn’t see but I really have to say, I am so proud of you! Even through the lens of social media, it is so easy to see how much you have grown as a person and how happy you look. Thank you for being you, Carly!

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Aoife

Without being anywhere near as eloquent as Anne, I completely agree. I totally think of you as a friend (I jokingly refer to you as “my best friend Carly” to my boyfriend…cringe haha). Thank you so much for sharing this; I’m so glad to see you so happy and confident lately.

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hrplo

Way to hang in there Carly. And you’re right; one day at a time and sometimes one minute at a time. I commend you for sharing your experiences and encouraging others!

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Rieke

Coming to the end of this post, all I want to do is give you a big big hug! Thank you for your honesty, courage and trust in your readers.

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Emily

You are a survivor and strong, don’t forget that! I loved this post because of the strength and courage it took to write it and the strength and courage it will give to the readers. I think you’re in need of a mantraband! Check them out, I have a couple myself. “One day at a time” and “nevertheless she persisted.”

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Emily

Carly,
Wow! It is obviously that a lot of thought, heart, and reflection went into this piece. You said everything that I have felt, been told, an will someday advise my own daughters! I think my favorite part is that you, once again, found a way to use your life to inspire others! Thank you for selflessly sharing!

Emily

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Kristina

THANK YOU for this post. Your thoughts and so eloquently written without even trying, meaning it’s obvious this post truly came straight from your heart. Thank you for offering your authenticity and genuine advice!!!

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Ellie

I think breakups are a universal life experience and most everyone goes through a few big ones in their life. No matter how right the breakup is or how needed, it definitely isn’t easy. I agree with you that reflecting (when you’re ready) on what wasn’t right is key. That helps with the healing and most definitely helps you figure out what’s important to you for next time. Just like Patti on the Millionaire Matchmaker says (stay with me), you have to have your non-negotiables and learning through previous relationships definitely helps focus in on what those are!

Thanks for an awesome post!

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Liz

Thank you for this post! I think my biggest thing is deciding what works for me and what doesn’t/what my dealbreakers are. I may even write a blog post on finding that out 🙂

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aislinn santoyo

This was amazing! This should be on a mandatory email list to every twenty something out there because its so freaking true!!!!
Its insane that once you bave moved on and you look back to when you felt like death and you realize its the best damn thing that can happen to you, not only because it allows you to become better yourself but because you learn so many thins from it. And just like you said when you are in tht new relationship with all those lessons under your arm and it the relationship is SOO MUCH better, you are just like wooah. I am so so incredibly happy for you, because you are the proof of how handling the break up with class is always the best answer. And if I could offer you any advice is to keep your new man private for a little longer, dont get me wrong after you said how cute he is I wanna see him, but at the same time you gotta cherish those momenta of privacy even more. I dont have a blog but I kepr my husand private for while, specially from social media (we never went fb official) because we have always felt it opens the door to people criticizing or just watching what happens with your relationship waiting for something to go wrong, its just how people are, and honestly we loved to
keep everyone guessing. Anyway, sorry for the long rant, I am just so happy for you and this post!

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Lauren

Hey girl! After reading this, now I feel guilty for DMing you on instagram right afterward! I, too, told you that it will get better over time, and guess what…you survived and lived through it! I felt so empowered after my break up, because FINALLY I felt IN CONTROL of my life and my future, and I finally put myself first and knew what was best for me instead of worrying so much about his feelings if we broke up. I am so glad to know you are in an AMAZING place with a new AMAZING guy, and I shared the same reliefs! When at first I was looking for superficial things, the demise of my preious relationship were those real-life stresses that only time reveals. Now that I am with someone who is the complete opposite, I no longer carry that stress and anxiety and it is so refreshing. I wish you so much daily happiness!

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Lizzy

🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼 You’re a brave and badass woman Carly!

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Hayley

So glad you’ve made it out the other side – you seem so happy in your YouTube videos and I love it – keep your head up, girl!!

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Hannah D Olson

Carly, you are the best!! I just went through a break up and am currently cycling through the “it’s ok this week” and “I hate everything today” emotions, and it is the worst. But it does mean something to hear someone say, “I’ve been there, too, and it gets better.” Thanks!

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Caylie

Great post, Carly. The way you handle yourself and understand that airing your dirty laundry on Social Media doesn’t make you look or truly feel any better is a lesson we all would do well to remember in the days of putting life on full display. You lived that truth well before your break up as well as through it and post. What a breath of fresh air and a great role model. Truly, thank you.

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Allison

Loved this post, Carly! You’re always so insightful, so thank you for sharing this with your readers! We appreciate all your hard work.

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Katy

Well written Carly! You’re right, everyone goes through this so I appreciate you posting this because you are probably helping a lot of readers out there. It’s so important to stay busy and focus on yourself during tough times, and I totally agree, there’s always a lesson to be learned! I now know more about myself and what I want in a relationship .:)

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Sam

Thank you so much for this post, I can’t imagine how much it took to write this. I recently went through a rough breakup and it’s just comforting to know you’re not alone in all the feelings. Breakups suck and you’re so right in saying you just have to experience it to move on! Thanks Carly!!

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Devon

Thank you so much, I really needed this, and every other girl going through a breakup did too <3 Always such an inspiration!

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Taylor

As a follower for several years, I am so proud of you for writing this. Breakups are hard as hell and especially when you shared that part of your life with us all. Keep your heart open and your chin up, you got this girl!

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Darrian Duckworth

Carly,
As always, your thoughts are so eloquently put. I think people often forget, especially with those who live public lives, that break ups are so personal. Every break up is different just like every relationship. But I think this post really highlights ways that anyone can deal with a breakup in the most graceful of ways.

Darrian
http://www.darrianmichelle.com

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Nessa

“Social media can be TOXIC during a breakup. Whether you’re stalking photos or using your Instagram captions as a substitute for therapy. Keep your head above the water and don’t succumb.”- so true.
Great post. Thank you for writing it!

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Chloe

Carly – I’ve been a follower of your blog since my freshman year of college, which was in 2014, and can only imagine the pain you felt after your breakup, especially being a public figure. My heart really broke for you last December.

I wanted to let you know that I really appreciate you being so brave by opening up about this touchy topic. In my eyes, you’ve definitely become a stronger and more independent person and I am happy to see you’re in a better place. Thanks for being so honest and positive – it’s very refreshing! You are such a great role model, especially to younger women, and this post truly reflects that.

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Chels

You couldn’t be more spot on! I always said to my friends that one day you just wake up and you realize…”woah, I didn’t cry today. I’m healing. I don’t feel sad.” It just happens with time. But you’re right, it does get better. There’s no doubt they suck. They’re horrible but it gets better, it will. Thanks for sharing.

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Hannah

I’ve been reading your blog for the past 4 years, and you truly inspire me! I have always thought that we are so similar, and all of your posts about anxiety have always helped me through, as I also struggle with an anxiety and panic disorder. I also went through a terrible break up about a month ago. And everything you said is spot on. Sometimes it seriously feels like I can’t breathe, but getting through another day is the best satisfaction. Keep doing you, you’re doing so amazing and I’m so happy that you are with someone who makes you so happy!

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Heather

Your last line about how there should be an emphasis on “finding not the ones” is so spot on! I was just discussing this with a friend – it’s nearly impossible to know who’s right if you don’t experience a few wrong ones first!

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PJ Douglas

Wise, thoughtful words, Carly. So glad you’re healing. And your comments about keeping your head above the fray are spot-on. People choosing to air their personal grievances online are the downside of social media. It’s refreshing to see someone who gets that and doesn’t play to the lowest common denominator. Good thoughts as you continue on your journey.

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Shannon Mahaney

Thank you for this post, Carly! It’s never easy dealing with breakups and especially being a public figure and being asked for advice on the matter. I have always found that those past breakups strengthened my heart for more of what life threw my way.

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Jennifer

Thank you for this post! I recently went through a break up and looking forward to your blog posts was something that really helped me to take things day-by-day. You mentioned the breakup right around the time I went through mine, and I adopted a similar mentality to yours. If you were still able post every day, then I would survive, too. Three months out from the breakup, this post was a great reminder for me to reflect and realize that it was a good thing to happen, no matter how painful, and that I have come a long way in terms of moving on and accepting it. Thank you, Carly!

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Kristin

I could not agree with your advice more and the most important part that you have to know what doesn’t work to know what does. The ying and the yang. 5 years ago around Thanksgiving, my ex & I ended an 8 year relationship. That relationship was a life we began building together having bought a house together, raising his children, a ton of mutual friends, largely couples (that we even vacationed with). That breakup proved who the true friends were and who were more acquaintances. But as hard as going through the breakup was, it wasn’t a surprise to me. Sometimes you just know deep down it’s not right but there is so much at stake that you think you can weather the storm. That breakup paved the way for me to meet my now husband (just married Oct 21!!) but most importantly, it gave me the opportunity to look inward, find myself not the person I was with so-and-so. I could not be happier than I have been for the last 5 years. Kudos to you how you handled yours- you live a very public life and we are happy to see how happy you are today.

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Caitlyn

This is my favorite post you have ever written! I’m not even going through a break up but the message still resinated with me

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Ingrid

Carly – I’ve been reading your blog for many years and have always been impressed by your thoughtfulness. You’ve handled a difficult situation with grace, and proven yourself to be stronger because of it. You’re an inspiration!

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Hillary

Started reading this one as I sat in my car and “Can’t Hurry Love” came on the radio! If you were looking for a sound track to this post- 100% this is it!

Coxies for life! 😘

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Mackenzie

This is unrelated but you are so grammatically correct, and it’s refreshing in the blogging world.

Related: This is a great post. I love how honest you were. And relatable too. I have been through a few gut wrenching break ups, and they’re the absolute worst, but I totally agree that they’re pretty much a necessary reality of life.

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Sarah

Carly,

I have been where you have been and you are absolutely right, it does get better, it just takes time. At the end of the day all you can do is keep moving and hold your head high. Learn from the relationship, be grateful for the lessons, and move forward.

Thank you for sharing!

Sarah Jessica |www.thelawsofmysoul.com

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Kristina Rhodes

Mad props, Carly for your courageous post. You’re one brave boss lady and I admire the hell out of you for it.

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Caitlin

Carly-thank you SO much for sharing this. Definitely a dose of encouragement for many. Thank you for your honesty-you go girl!!

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Brenna

Thank you for sharing & I love you.

That is all. 😂

PS a broken heart is actually the devil.

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Amanda Burrows

Carly, thank you so much for opening up and sharing your break up experience. I’m so glad you have had the time necessary to reflect on the past and come to a healthy new part of life. Of course, you live and you learn, which is a motto I tend to lean on during difficult situations.
Wishing you all the best with your blog transformation, and I hope to meet you at the Tampa meet and greet you plan on hosting with Danielle! That is such a great idea 🙂
XO Amanda from Affordable by Amanda

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Chloe

YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH I NEEDED THIS. Thank you for being so honest. Thank you for these reminders.

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Mary

And you’re getting through it with such poise and class! You are a rockstar, girl! You’re such a role model to so many of us. After my college bf and I broke up, I thought my life was over. 4 years of dating through college, and then a breakup. I thought he was the one, and I was destined to be alone. Fast forward a few years, and I met the real ONE (via Match.com! even though he attended school across the street from me, and our paths would have crossed one year of college), and we are married and expecting our first baby in April! It all works out in the end. But, you’re right: you do need to experience it yourself. There was a lot of heartache and sadness, but thank God I ended up where I am now.
xxoo
Mary
http://www.BelleOnTrend.com

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Rachel

Thank you for your vulnerability! You are so right that part of it is that you kind of just have to go through it if you are in the midst of it. And I love the positive spin that you have to know what doesn’t work so you can know what does. It’s all about growth.

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Kourtney

I just ended a long term relationship earlier this week, and I needed to hear some of the important points you made here. It’s difficult to have outside perspective that you will be okay and survive when your heart is broken. I just wanted to let you know how much this helped. Not looking at things long term, but rather focusing on the day to day is what I know will help me most. Thank you for your thoughtful words.

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Jess

Hi Carly!

I’ve been a reader of your blog for years. This summer, I was one of those girls that you told to “take it one day at a time”. I had just gotten out of a looooong relationship of my own accord, and I didn’t know anyone else who had been through something like it – so I emailed you. Looking back, “taking it one day at a time” is probably the best advice I could get. It made my heart happy to read this post and so many of the pieces of advice resonated deeply. Your grace and courage during that period of your life (which I know isn’t easy) inspired me to keep my head and standards high. Your happiness has given me hope, and reminded me that in the long run, a moment with the right person is more than worth the years with the wrong one.

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Catherine

I needed to read this. I went through a break up of my own about a year ago, and all the feelings resurfaced from some recent events. I haven’t looked on your blog in years, but I decided to log on yesterday for some reason. After some preliminary blog-post surfing, I came across this post. I read it once, then went to sleep, and then searched for it again tonight to read it again. I needed this. Thank you.

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Melina

This was a post that I definitely needed to hear. Going through a breakup right now, I could relate a lot to what you have been saying. I’ve been at the point where I have a whole week of in a pretty good mood, and that’s an amazing first step for me. I have other things that have been going on in the background, but I am so happy to be moving forward with my life, and back to my kick-ass self. Thank you for putting words to what I’ve been going through. This is by far one of my favorite posts in 2017 xxx

Melina | http://www.ivefoundwaldo.com

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Katherine

Thank you for writing this Carly! I broke up with my boyfriend of a year and a half two days ago and it is the worst, even though I knew it needed to happen. Everyone has been telling me similar things to what your post says, but for some reason it made me a lot more confident about how I really will survive. It’s really hard and I was contemplating skipping class today…but after reading this maybe I won’t because it gives me the confidence to push through!

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Emma-Hope

I think we can all understand this post and whilst break ups suck, like you said sometimes it is a great thing to happen. It enables you to focus on yourself, be surrounded by friends and just do the things you enjoy. This post was what a girl going through the same thing needs, I hope they find this gorgeous post.

Emmie
http://www.carpediememmie.co.uk

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Lena Dee

This was such a fab post! It was so empowering and I love that you highlighted that it’s a journey because it really is…it can be such a hard journey. I totally agree that the only thing you can do is try to be positive and take one day at a time. Beautiful post, thank you! 🙂

xx Lena | https://lenadeexo.com

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Liz Pratt

Carly is it weird for me to say I’m so proud of you and that I love you?! I’ve been following for years and I was hoping/waiting for a post like this and you’ve nailed it. Break ups are the worst but living through them to find love again is so special.

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