They’re uncomfortable, painful, and affect us immensely — even if we’re the party walking away. Ending a connection is never an easy experience. Without a doubt the most difficult part is coping after the breakup.
How do we deal with our immediate feelings of insecurity, jealousy, loneliness, and self-loathing? How do we stop ourselves from spiraling into depression? And how do we ensure that we come out stronger? Because…
Breakups can screw people up for a long time. We carry around old emotional baggage from relationship to relationship. They prevent many of us from ever being happy or having a healthy relationship with ourselves and new partners. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
- Cut all contact. You need time to heal and so do they. Maintaining a channel of communication will never allow those wounds to fully close.Delete them from Facebook. Don’t hang out with them in group settings. Don’t show up unexpectedly to their house or work. Don’t randomly call just to “see how they’re doing.” No drunk texting, either.Most importantly, don’t try to be friends while you still have romantic feelings. You won’t actually be a friend, you’ll be keeping tabs and attempting to win them back through spending “friendly” time together.
You can initiate communication only when you’ve completely moved on and want to be friends with no ulterior motives.
Don’t bother begging for them to take you back either, it’s desperate and unattractive. Take a lesson from Swingers, “You can’t do anything to make her want to come back. In fact, you can only do stuff to make her not want to come back.”
- Accept that it’s over. Even if you believe there’s some chance you could get back together, assume that you won’t. If you’re always hoping they’ll come back, you’ll never actually move on. And you’ll only be setting yourself up for a crushing defeat if it never happens.Stop looking at old pictures, letters, e-mails, and other sentimental reminders. Don’t stalk their social media or check their e-mail (if you know their password). Don’t try to convince their friends or family to change their mind — that’s manipulative.
If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen in the future, but you can’t count on it.
- Allow yourself time to grieve. It’s normal, especially if it was a serious relationship. Chill out with The Last of Us or Netflix on a Friday night and ignore the world for a little while. The key idea being, for a little while. Don’t shut yourself in and wallow in sadness for months on end.
- Be with people closest to you. Spend quality time with your family and friends. Try to laugh together. Share your feelings with them. If they truly care about you, they’ll want to listen and support you any way they can. Getting those emotions out is an important step in the healing process.
- Exercise. Start exercising if you aren’t already. It releases endorphins that boost your mood and help to overcome depression. Plus, improving your health and looking your best always makes you feel more confident.
- Get productive and do fulfilling things. Invest in yourself. Commit to working on that project you’ve put on hold. Take up a new hobby. Do some home repairs or improvements. Take the much needed vacation and travel somewhere new. Go see some old friends. Set goals and accomplish them one by one.By doing this, you will regain trust in your abilities. You will feel proud for challenging yourself. You will reframe your mind from focusing on the negative to the positive. And you will learn to enjoy being independent.
- Don’t go back to them out of loneliness or guilt. This applies to those who broke it off. Going back to a relationship out of fear of being alone is unhealthy and unfair to the other person. Also, don’t guilt yourself or let someone guilt you into coming back. You’re not a bad person for leaving a relationship that you’re unsatisfied with.
- Take them off the pedestal. When someone rejects us, we tend to overlook many of their negative qualities. We idealize them. In truth, they were not perfect. They were human and had flaws. Until you accept that you will be unable to…
- Stop comparing every new romance to them. Understand that you won’t find someone like them and that’s okay. Different is not worse, just different. Searching for an identical partner will always leave you frustrated. It prevents you from discovering all the other qualities you never knew you cared about. Don’t try to fit everyone into a predefined box but instead appreciate their individuality.
- Understand you are not worthless. You are not less of a human being because they left you. Your value is not based on whether or not one person wants to be with you. Your value is based on how you perceive yourself. Some connections are temporary but they pave the way for the ones that last.
- Let go of the anger and resentment towards them. As hurtful as it may be, your ex is not a bitch or asshole for seeing someone else. And if they were a “jerk” for other reasons, aren’t you better off without them? Either way, they are not obligated to be with you. Don’t try to make them feel bad for leaving you. Don’t trash talk them to other people. Holding onto that rage only damages you and your growth.
- Don’t generalize or project their faults onto future partners. Maybe your ex lied to you, cheated on you, or treated you poorly. That doesn’t mean everyone else will, too. I know you’re just trying to protect yourself. I know you hold yourself back because you’re terrified of being hurt again. But if you enter a relationship with that mentality, you’ll never give someone a chance to get close to you.The best you can do is set boundaries and standards for yourself. Speak up when you’re disrespected. Walk away from partners who mistreat or abuse you. Open your heart from the beginning and only shut it to those who make you unhappy.
- Stop analyzing everything you did wrong. We’ve all screwed up in a relationship. You cannot fix what has passed and beating yourself up will do nothing beneficial. Instead, accept those mistakes and commit to being a better partner in the future.
- Start meeting people but not “rebounding”. You can’t obsess over a past relationship forever. Eventually, you need to start meeting other people. But you can’t fall into a pattern of seeking out new partners for the wrong reasons.You shouldn’t be trying to fill a void left by your old relationship. You shouldn’t rush into a new relationship thinking it’ll make you happy again. You shouldn’t try to drown out your sadness or forget about your ex through sex. And you shouldn’t seek another person’s attention to feel validated or worthy. Doing these things will perpetuate your feelings of misery and emptiness.
Be genuinely excited to connect with new people, learn who they are, and enjoy their company.
- Give it time. This is the simplest advice here and perhaps the most useful. When you lose someone meaningful to you, you won’t feel great overnight. Be patient and follow the above advice of investing in yourself, spending time with good company, and meeting new people. If you can do that, I promise it will get better.
All these points were written to help you get over a breakup in the healthiest way possible. But they only work if you’re doing it to improve yourself, for yourself. The advice is irrelevant if you fall into the trap of doing it for your ex.
You don’t need to impress them. You don’t need to better yourself to spite them. And you shouldn’t be thinking, “I’ll prove to her how awesome I am!” You just need to see it for yourself.
Ready to jump back into the dating scene? Have a free consultation with me.