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31st May 2024

‘Rebuilding my life after a big breakup’

Niamh Ryan

After her relationship of three years ended in an abrupt breakup over the phone, E-J Roodt felt lost. 

It was the night before a big marketing campaign for her women’s safety app Epowar, but she felt blindsided by the breakup.

“I was just absolutely devastated and in shock and I had no idea what to do,” the 23-year-old told Her. 

The campaign was a night walk, which meant she was forced to stay up and sit with the heartbreak. 

However, a short video of her in tears while eating advent calendar chocolate quickly went viral, prompting her to start a daily TikTok series about her breakup.

‘Healing from a breakup: Day 1’

“I wasn’t sure how long I was going to do it for. I definitely would not have envisioned having done it for nearly 160 days.”

Since December, E-J has made daily videos sharing her life post-breakup. She’s inspired a whole community online to use heartbreak as an opportunity to pick up hobbies, try new things, and reconnect with friends. 

At one point, however, she considered ending the series. The first few episodes focused on healing and moving on, but when her busy week came to a close, E-J said she felt consumed again by the heartbreak. 

“I was talking to my mum and she said well, this is the reality of what a breakup is, you should share it. Show other girls that it’s okay.”

Source: @ejroodt on Instagram

E-J gained approximately 20,000 followers from that first video, and people felt seen for her realistic depiction of what it means to go through such a major life change. 

From then on, the 23-year-old decided to completely cut contact with her ex.

“My social media became about me and not trying to prove to someone else that I was doing well, but actually being real and using it to help me heal.”

Getting ‘over’ a breakup

Having an online presence has also been difficult at times with people being critical about her healing process.

At every stage of the breakup, she said she’s felt embarrassed about “taking too long” to get past it.

“I think you have this sort of pressure to move on and I think everyone’s very understanding in the beginning. Suddenly it’s like ‘oh, are we still talking about this?’”

However, with a community of almost 40,000 followers on TikTok, she’s found girls and women going on the same journey.

Source: TikTok

Not only does she share her own daily thoughts and struggles, but she shares advice for healing and coping after a big breakup.

The pain button

E-J shares her daily thoughts and struggles, but gives advice to others on how to cope with the pain.

“The pain that you feel is like a ball inside of a box and inside that box there’s also a pain button. When you first get broken up with the ball is really, really big.

“It’s sort of rolling around the box all the time and constantly hitting the pain button. Over time, the ball shrinks, but every time it hits the pain button, it hurts just as much as day one.

“It’s the same amount of pain but you just have bigger breaks in between it until eventually, I guess the breaks are so long that you don’t really notice it.”

E-J thinks of this analogy when she feels frustrated for not being ‘over’ her ex.

“I’m still not healed… I didn’t just lose that person, I lost a whole sort of routine.”

Her advice to anyone going through the same thing is to have a proper conversation about the relationship, if possible. That way, you can focus on your own healing and growth without wondering for ages what went wrong. 

“…Not understanding why it happened has definitely created a lot of confusion for me. That’s added an extra barrier to moving on.”

The importance of female friendship

Above all else, E-J credits her female friends for helping her heal and continue living her life. 

Source: @ejroodt on Instagram

Whether it’s going for cocktails or having a girly movie night, surrounding herself with positivity has been hugely helpful.

“I’m super grateful to the community that I’ve built and the girls that have been supporting me online. Female friendships are definitely, I think, the most important part of healing.”