"We had been together for so long and I thought we'd end up married, so I really didn't see it coming," shares Sherylie, 30, of her boyfriend's sudden decision to end their eight-year relationship. "Imagine how bad I felt when less than two months later, I heard he was engaged to his new girlfriend."
Yeng, 26, feels the same way as Sherylie. "This guy and I were medyo MU na, but I was sure we were on the road to being a couple," she says. "We called it quits after he said he wasn't ready to be in a relationship. Although masakit, I accepted it. Kaso, a month later, he got together with someone else. Akala ko ba ‘not ready'?!"
Much like Sherylie and Yeng, those who end up in similar situations are shocked to the core when sudden substitutes take our place. Just when you started thinking "this is it," you're kicked off cloud nine and forced to plummet down to heartbreak hell. The one you thought was The One seemed to have been scouting for other options, just as you were practicing your future Mrs. So and So signature. And as if the sudden breakup bomb isn't bad enough, you find out soon after that Mr. Heartbreaker is already in the arms of someone else. That's when it hits you: After your three months/one year/eight years of assumed bliss, you were actually his meantime girl. Aray! Sakit.
We've been there and have felt each #@$%^! sting. We also know how tempting it is to rant like a lunatic and settle into old-maid-ako-forever mode. Remember, however, that when that dude dubbed you meantime material, you were placed in relationship purgatory. It'll be tough getting out, but you'll live--and surprisingly, be even better. Each time you feel yourself ready to give up this meantime misery, repeat these mantras to yourself:
Meantime Mantra No.1: "It's not you, it's him."
It's so easy for women to take the blame when a relationship turns sour. And with an immediate pamalit in the picture, it becomes even more tempting to do so. So often, you hear women compare themselves to their exes' current beaus saying, "'Di kasi ako sexy," "He left me for a younger chick," or "Nagpabaya kasi ako" in an attempt to shoulder the loss of a love. But to make the bounce-back period a little more bearable, women must first stop blaming themselves. Remember: He left. It's his loss.
Meantime Move: To live out and ultimately convince yourself that your suddenly-single status isn't your fault, "assume that you're perfect," suggests Georgia Witkin, author of It's Not You, It's Him: The Zero-Tolerance Approach to Dating. Accepting that there's nothing wrong with you will change how you feel and what you do. Instead of trying to nitpick yourself to death and changing who you are when a relationship fails, "you'll stop blaming yourself for being single. It's never about you. It's always about him. If he didn't follow up, it's his problem. If he didn't appreciate you, it's his problem. If he didn't commit to you, it's his problem." Once you stand firm on this thought, "you'll react with zero tolerance when you receive zero. And you'll choose to fall in love only with someone who's madly in love with you."
Meantime Mantra No.2: "I never really loved him anyway."
It's as bitter-sounding and self-preserving as the Corrs song, but it might just be true. Examine your decisions and figure out how you got to this present state of solitude. It's good to consider that even though the breakup shards are still nicking your heart, you might have fooled yourself into believing you were so into him in the first place, when in reality, you actually weren't. Ian Kerner, PhD, author of Be Honest--You're Not That Into Him Either: Raise Your Standards and Reach for the Love You Deserve, forces you to bite the bitter pill and think: "You were not that into him but, somewhere along the line, your ego got involved and then you needed him to be into you. But if he's everything you ever thought he wasn't and less, you're bound to feel worse for the time and energy you've spent pretending you were into him in the first place."
Break this down even further and think about how you ended up loving someone who wasn't all that lovable to begin with. "A lot of women end up dating men who they know they're not into (or who are otherwise inappropriate for them) because there is less risk if it doesn't work out," explains Kerner. When the decision turns out to be a bad one and they end up with broken hearts, "they can say, ‘Well, he wasn't right for me in the first place anyway,' and then climb right back into the [dating] treadmill."
Meantime Move: Before repeating this tiring cycle of falling for the antitypes of your Prince Charming, practice some practical self-preservation. Kerner suggests that you stop playing the game of being into him just because he's into you. "Use enough sportsmanship and have enough confidence to bow out and send him on his way." If let's say you're convinced you're really into him but the feelings aren't being reciprocated, "remind yourself of what you didn't see in him in the first place and get the hell out."
Meantime Mantra No.3: "This is the best time of my life."
Now that you've taken steps to understand your present sitch and have examined how you got there, the next panic-laden period is the "what now?" phase. The only way to survive this limbo is to accept it for what it is. Iyanla Vanzant, author of In the Meantime: Finding Yourself and The Love You Want defines this phase quite inspiringly: "It's life's opportunity to get clear, get real, and heal yourself in preparation for giving and receiving the one thing we all want--pure, honest, unconditional love." In fact, it's the best time because it is "protective as well as preparatory." It protects you from potentially ending up with someone who doesn't think you're The One and prepares you for a love that will assuredly be better than the one you lost.
Meantime Move: While believing that this time alone is as good as it gets, you'll be able to use it to great advantage by loving yourself a bit more. Use this time to court, woo, and pamper yourself. "Without time spent this way, the thing we search and hope for in relationships will continue to elude us. But when we have self-love, we are more than willing to do the work required to establish, build, and maintain a relationship," says Vanzant. Self-love helps you zero in on what to look for to feel loved, because practicing it makes you aware of how it looks and feels like. Vanzant adds that it helps you know what to look for in relationships before you even start looking. Ultimately, this makes you avoid lowered standards, heartache, and ultimately, meantime men.
Meantime Mantra No.4: "Someday has arrived."
Women often have high hopes about their lovers: wishing that someday he'll be more of a gentleman, be more considerate, be perfect, or be convinced she's The One. Wake up, sister! Someday is today and he doesn't think you're It. Your beau had the nerve to leave and couple up with Ms. Next--and it's time for you to follow suit. Famous author of He's Just Not That Into You, Greg Berhendt, puts it bluntly: "He's not The One if he broke up with you. The One would never break your heart and make you feel as inadequate as you do now." Witkin agrees, "If he's not ready to be with you, then he's not perfect for you." So stop dreaming about that distant "someday" and proactively start your search for your own Mr. Next. That "someday" to find that considerate, worthy, and perfect gentleman who thinks you're The One is now--and trust us, he's not the guy who left you.
Meantime Move: "Realize that you've lowered your standards and settled into a pattern of diminished expectations," says Kerner. Aminin: You couldn't have honestly enjoyed his penchant for being late, his knack for making you feel constantly insecure, his inability to commit, and finally, his gall to give you up. Hate what you've just subjected yourself to and vow to do something about it.
Start by "going where you love to go, wearing what you love to wear, doing all you love to do," suggests Witkin. "When we go on with our life, we find life partners." From now on, "live every moment as if it were your last," Kerner adds. If you had only a few moments to live, would you spend it with a mediocre meantime lover, or enjoy a fun, fabulous single life--but free to meet the real love of your life?
Meantime Mantra No.5: "I'm so excited!"
This final mantra might be quite difficult to proclaim especially if you're still hurting, but it's very necessary. Convincing yourself of the possibilities after a heartbreak is ultimately what will propel you forward and help you move on. Rev yourself up for the impending arrival of a better love and get energized. It will be a tough ride, but this is exactly why "you have cause to celebrate because this [is] no small feat," explains Vanzant. When you can finally declare that you're thrilled to start over, you open yourself up to developing "a clear vision of what you want and the experience you are after. You are open to new experiences and are willing to assume the responsibility for creating them. Now, you are set to make better choices with a clear intent."
Meantime move: Get rid of the baggage you're lugging around--all the heartbreak hurt and boyfriend bitterness. Begin by forgiving yourself for falling for Mr. Wrong, then muster enough strength to forgive Mr. Wrong as well. Instead of feeling that you wasted your time by being with him, see it as the time where you learned more about what you wanted, what you shouldn't put up with, and what you should be looking out for. Sans the hurt and pain, you'll be able to make the most of this ending and be ever so ready for the start of a brighter and more love-filled future.