Embrace Change: How To Survive A Breakup And Move On

Fall means back to school, cooler weather, beautiful autumn colours and, for me, a little sadness. Like most people, I can’t help but feel melancholy when summer is over—darkness comes faster and winter is coming. Oh, and there’s also this: my marriage of 15 years fell apart at the end of September 2015. And just like my favourite holiday—Halloween—that particular fall was filled with fear and horror.

Surviving the end of a relationship—and opening yourself to new ones

Fall is a verb

The reason I bring up this personal “fall” is because I know several other people who broke up during the pumpkin festival season—and I think I know why. It’s just before the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming. And if you really don’t want to be with your partner anymore, why suffer through another round of extended family gatherings? Now you know: watch the couples who “fall” outta love before Thanksgiving. I promise there’s a spike in numbers.

But this is a dating column, and I’m telling you about my breakup because you need to know there’s life on the other side. If you’re going through it and you feel like you won’t survive, or you have to sell your house (I had to) or you can’t do it alone, or you have to go back to work after 10 years of watching kids: I’m here to tell you that you can do it. You can and you will. You’ll have dark days, but you’ll handle things you never thought you could handle—like dating in your 40s.

You can do it

You won’t believe how friends will rally around you; celebrate you; help you anyway they can. You will inspire so many people with your strength (even though you’re crying in the gym change room).

It’s been two falls since the end of my marriage. I distinctly remember that first fall, walking home with my girls one evening, so worried about our future that I barfed on the street in front of our new home and new neighbours. My girls promptly started crying, which meant I couldn’t even have that moment of fear because I had to comfort my girls who were convinced their mother was possessed.

Endings or beginnings?

The second fall I had started to date, but found myself single again after ending a new relationship. I was sad, but I was also able to see that everything would be OK. Just because something ends, doesn’t mean you should be fearful.

Fall is now my favourite season. It’s the time of year when I’ve learned the most about myself—even when I didn’t want to. I will celebrate by walking along the boardwalk along the beach in the morning. I will go to TIFF and catch a premier of a movie at the Elgin theatre and my boyfriend (yes we’re still dating!) and I will go for dinner at STK in Yorkville, where at any given night you end up dancing on a table.

Fall is a metaphor for change. It teaches us to let go; that things should not always stay the same. New seasons can be scary or beautiful or frustrating. But don’t worry—they’ll never be that way for long.

Hike the Rouge

Take a day trip to hike the Rouge National Urban Park; or go one better and camp! You learn a lot about a person watching him (or her) put up a tent in the fading light or cook on a camp stove.

Get Drunk on Art     

From sunset to sunrise on September 30, Nuite Blanche turns Toronto’s core into one giant art party. It’s free, it’s crazy fun and simply suggesting it will make you seem very hip.

Go to a Halloween Dress-Up Party

Forget about sexy-nurse, sexy-vampire and sexy-witch; The Handmaid’s Tale Offred costume is the one to beat this year, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Bonus points if your date has actually heard of Margaret Atwood! Where to go? Check out the Gladstone, The Drake, and anywhere on King Street West.





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About the Author

Erin Keaney

Erin Keaney

  Erin Keaney is an actor, singer and comedian who has toured North America in hit shows including Crazy For You and the original US tour of Rent. She’s appeared on The Comedy Network, YTV, CTV and produces a live stand up show in Toronto called Time Out. Find her online at Comments

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