Ahhh. A beautiful tropical destination with the person you love. Who doesn’t want that? Or maybe it’s a lovely trip to Iceland where both of you will see the Aurora Borealis. Either way, you’ve checked the packing lists, booked the flights, and written out your itinerary. The research is done.You are ready to go.
Then- the unthinkable happens. Your boyfriend breaks it off when you are planning this trip. You are literally leaving the next day. Now you must make a choice: will you go on the trip alone, cancel the trip, or bring a friend with you? This article investigates the potential solutions to this dilemma and the science behind break ups: everyone hates them, and from a neurological perspective, you are wired to feel this way.
It’s okay to Feel Sad
From a neurological perspective, your brain has been conditioned to release neuropeptides and chemicals that contribute to an overall sense of happiness. Oxytocin is one such neuropeptide, and this usually is released along with the endorphin chemicals. This matters, because your brain gradually learns to associate visions, scents and sounds associated with your significant other with joy because of the endorphins, oxytocin and dopamine release. Now that he Is unavailable, your brain which has been conditioned to releasing and operating with these chemicals will actually stop releasing these chemicals, causing feelings of sadness and pain. These chemicals also contribute to the feeling of positive attachment that you shared with him- and now that he’s gone, your brain is essentially missing the hormones and chemicals it’s been conditioned to release.
For example, those ‘Good Morning,’ texts released a surge of dopamine into the pleasure center of your brain. You now do not get those texts. This means that the surge of dopamine is no longer being released, creating feelings of emptiness and sadness. Crying over this isn’t stupid, and neurologically, it’s going to happen.
But- there’s hope. Removing evidence of the relationship will help your brain to dissociate yourself from the person. This creates less opportunity for the brain to associate your old good memories of your boyfriend with the current situation. This is where a trip can actually help you.
Where This Trip Comes In: Going Solo
So you’ve planned the trip for both of you and your now ex-boyfriend is out of the picture.
Think of this as a blessing in disguise.
Hopefully, you wanted to go to this destination because whether you’ve booked a stay at a resort in the honeymoon suite, an adventure trip, or a beach side Airbnb, now is the time to treat yourself like the absolute Goddess you are. You now have an opportunity to explore an entirely new destination, without compromise. No more arguing over dinner, or the accommodation temperature. You have an opportunity to do you!
Best of all, you are in a situation where you have no commitment or ties. You want to go to a pub and vent? Do it! I bet there are loads of other women at the bar who also want to tell you about their negative experiences. You want to go to the beach and read a book? Do it! You want to learn how to salsa with a sexy Latino man after drinking wine watching a sunset from the pier? Go for it!
Now is the time to do you- and an advantage of going on a trip right after a tragic and unforeseeable break up is that the physical environment has changed, meaning that your brain now has an opportunity to rewire itself in a neutral environment.
For maximum effect, I recommend blocking your ex-boyfriend on every form of social media. This way even the visual reminders of what you had have no pull over you. I would also recommend you try going to a hostel or hostel bar- there will be loads of other single travelers who want to get to know you and have different perspectives you can learn from. When I went through an awful break up, I loved hearing about the crazy stories from other people: I promise you most people have them, and sometimes they are even crazier than yours!
Perhaps Bringing A Friend
Another option is to go on facebook and see which of your friends is down for a last minute trip. I have been lucky enough to travel both solo and with friends. When I go with friends, it is an entirely different experience- and, they can help ground you if you are prone to anxiety, or worst-case scenario thoughts. There is also compromise, and an opportunity to be pushed way out of your comfort zone! This is still super beneficial to you, you recently single Queen.
For example, when I was in South America, I kept worrying about highway robberies. Going with a friend made this much more bearable because she could talk me down. Or, if she was worried, I was able to talk her down. And, we had loads of deep conversations about past, and current relationships, which are super helpful in the context of a break up.
Plus, if you really want to have a night with wine and movies in a fabulous resort, I’m sure your travel buddy will help with that.
If a female travel friend is unavailable, hit up your sassy gay bestie, or one of your guy friends. I’m lucky enough to have fabulously encouraging guys in my life who I am not romantically involved with, but who help to remind me that I deserve someone who’ll treat me like gold- and pull me on the dance floor even when I feel like eating pounds of chocolate ice cream is a great idea.
Ultimately, taking this trip with a platonic girl or guy friend will also be beneficial. You will get over the man that broke your heart: and, your travel bestie is there to experience your newfound singledom with you in an adventurous new place.
Cancelling The Trip
This is my least favorite option. If you are completely heartbroken and think you may just need to stay back at home, you could do this.
Maybe you have a comprehensive insurance plan that can reimburse you the cost (travel insurance is a must!) Or, maybe you have another way to get over an ex-boyfriend.
Or, maybe you use the money to book a special trip geared completely toward your interests.
But, in The End
In the end you need to do what’s right for you…. And whether that means going on a trip solo, with a friend or cancelling, you will make the right choice, and it will work out.
But, from one girl to another, I do hope you decided to go. 😊