Ending a relationship is hard, whether it was your decision or the other person’s decision. You may be dealing with painful emotions and want to deal with those feelings as quickly as possible. There are several ways that you can work through your painful emotions and start to move on, such as writing about your feelings, allowing yourself to grieve, and being cautious about rebound relationships. Keep in mind that getting over a breakup takes time and patience. If things don’t seem to get better with time, remember that you can always turn to friends, family, or even a mental health professional for support.
Keep your distance. Even if you and your ex have decided to stay friends, break away completely from each other right after the breakup. This means not seeing each other, not being around his/her family members, no phone calls, no e-mails, no text messages, no Facebook, You don’t have to have stop talking forever, but you do need to cut all communication for as long as it takes to get completely over your ex.
- If he/she tries to convince you to see him/her, ask yourself honestly what the point would be. If you’re reliving the past by seeing him/her, it’s not hard to get caught up in the moment and it will be harder to let go again.
- You may have to have some contact in order to deal with the practical aspects of things like moving out, signing papers, etc., but try to limit this to what’s absolutely necessary, and then keep such calls/meetings short and civil.
Organize your space. A breakup can signify a new beginning. Therefore, cleaning and organizing your personal space will leave you feeling refreshed and prepared for the new things to come. A mess can be overwhelming and depressing, and will just add to your stress level.Keeping busy with tidying your space doesn’t require a lot of brain power, but it does require just enough focus to keep you from recycling pain.
- Clean your room, get some new posters, clean up the icons on your PC desktop. As insignificant as cleaning up sounds, it’ll make you feel better.
Remove painful memory triggers. There are all kinds of things that remind you of your ex––a song, a smell, a sound, a place. Having these items around can make it harder for you to recover from a breakup. Remove all of the things that make your heart ache or your stomach turn. It can work wonders to clear your space of all these triggers.
- If you have a keepsake, such as a watch or piece of jewelry that was given to you by your ex, there’s nothing wrong with keeping it. But for the time being, try putting it away until you have gotten over the relationship.
Get out and do things. After a relationship ends, it is okay to have some time to yourself at home. Just make sure that you get back out in the world aft you have processed your feelings. Make plans, go out with your friends, and have fun! It might seem awkward at first, but it will get easier and it will help you to feel better. Getting out and doing things is also important because you need to grow and maintain your social network after a breakup. Doing so will help you to move on with your life.
- Don’t feel like you need to go out with other people all of the time. Take yourself out to do things and enjoy the freedom to do what you want. Go to your favorite coffee shop, go shopping, or take yourself on a mini-vacation.
Beware of rebound relationships. Often people will quickly enter a new relationship following a breakup; this type of relationship is called a rebound relationship. Rebounding may be common, but it is not always a good idea. When you enter into a relationship too soon after breaking up with someone, you may be masking your negative emotions with the excitement of a new relationship. If that new relationship does not work out, you may have to deal with the pain of two breakups at once. Consider remaining single until you have fully processed your emotions and gotten over the breakup.
Continue to take care of yourself. It is common for people to put less effort into self-care after a breakup, but doing so will not help you to feel better. Make sure that you are seeing to your basic needs for mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. If you were not taking good care of yourself before the relationship ended, now is a good time to start. Make sure that you are eating well, sleeping enough, making time for relaxation, and getting regular exercise to feel your best.
- Eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Avoid junk food, excess sugar, and excess fat
- Get between 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Keep in mind that some people may be okay with less than 7 hours per night or require more than 8 hours of sleep per night.
- Exercise for 30 minutes five times a week. Go for a 30-minute walk, ride your bike around town, or hit the pool and go swimming.
- Relax for at least 15 minutes per day. Try meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga to help you relax
Dealing with Emotional Pain
Know that the pain you are feeling is normal. After a breakup, it is normal to feel sad, angry, frightened, and other emotions as well. You might be worried that you will end up alone or that you won’t be happy again. Just remind yourself that it is normal to feel this way after a breakup and that you need to feel these emotions in order to move on.
Take a break from your normal routine. It may be necessary for you to take a short break from your normal routine after a relationship ends. Having this time may help you to process your feelings and function better in the long run. Just make sure that you do not do anything that will threaten your other relationships or your livelihood.
- For example, you may be able to skip your normal exercise class for a week without consequence, but you can’t skip work for a week. Use good judgment and explain your situation to your friends if you need to cancel any plans while you recover.
Allow yourself to grieve the loss of the relationship. The end of a relationship can leave a big hole in your heart, which may require a significant grieving period. Make sure that you give yourself permission to grieve this loss and experience the pain that it causes. Otherwise, it may take longer for you to feel better and move on. Let yourself cry, scream, yell, or whatever you need to do to get your negative emotions out.
- Try setting a daily time limit for grieving the loss of your relationship. Having a set amount of time to deal with these emotions will provide you with an outlet to vent while preventing you from dwelling on your emotions
Surround yourself with supportive people. You want people around you who love you and who will help you feel good about yourself. Surrounding yourself with compassionate, supportive friends and family will help you see yourself as a worthwhile person, and you’ll find it easier to get steady on your feet again with your loved ones around you.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family for support if you need someone to talk to or a shoulder to cry on.
Find healthy ways to soothe your emotional pain. It may be your first instinct to want to ignore or dull your pain by turning to alcohol, drugs, or food, but these will not provide long-term solutions. Steer clear of these unhealthy methods of dealing with your emotional pain. Instead, try to find ways of dealing with your emotions that will lead to growth and recovery.
- Try taking up a new hobby to keep yourself occupied while you recover from a breakup. Take a class, join a club, or teach yourself how to do something. Engaging in a hobby will help you to feel better about yourself, distract you from your pain for a little while, and build up your self-esteem by helping you to develop a new skill.
Consider talking to a therapist if the pain becomes too great. Many people are able to recover from a breakup on their own, but this is not possible for everyone. If you are having trouble coping with your emotional pain or if you think you might be depressed as a result of the breakup, get help from a mental health professional as soon as possible
Working Through Your Feelings
Reflect on your relationship. Consider all of the reasons that you and your ex broke up. Try to keep in mind that even if that you enjoyed being together for a while, something was not working. Thinking about the reasons why the relationship ended can help you understand why you need to move on. You may also be able to avoid making the same mistakes in the future if you can identify areas where you contributed to the demise of the relationship. Ask yourself some of the following questions:
- Did I contribute to the end of the relationship? If so, what did I do?
- Do I tend to choose the same sort of people to date? If so, what are they like? Are they good for me? Why or why not?
- Have I had similar problems in other relationships? If so, what is causing me to have these problems? What can I do differently in future relationships?
Write about your feelings. Write in a journal or try writing poems. The most important thing is to be honest and don’t edit yourself as you go. One of the best results of writing it all down is that sometimes you will be amazed by a sudden insight that comes to you as you are pouring it all out onto paper. Patterns may become clearer, and as your grieving begins to lessen, you will find it so much easier to understand valuable life lessons from the whole experience.
- Try writing down your feelings every day after your breakup until you feel better. For example, you could start each of your journal entries with “It has been __ days since we broke up and I feel _____” Then go into more detail about how you are feeling. Using this prompt will help you to see the progress of your emotions over time and process some of those emotions as well.
- Try writing a letter to your ex, but do not send it. Sometimes it just helps to get all of your feelings out. However, sending it is not a good idea. This letter is just for you, so write out everything you wish you could have said and be done with it. It doesn’t do any good to rehash the breakup over and over again, so just pretend you are telling them how you feel for the last time.
- Try writing a story. Think back to when your relationship with this person began, and document it from beginning to end. This may be very painful, but it will give you a broader perspective. When you get to the final chapter, finish off on a positive note and write “The End”.
Deal with your anger. Feelings of anger occur when we feel we have been wronged or there has been unfair treatment. In a situation where you will not contact your ex-partner, the best way to deal with anger alone is to relaxTake deep breaths and focus on allowing your muscles to voluntarily relax Soft music can often help.
Stand by your decision. If the breakup was your decision, keep in mind that focusing on the good times you had with your partner may cause you to forget the reasons why you broke it off. By the same token, try not to second-guess the situation if the decision to end things was not yours. It’s very common to romanticize the good parts of the relationship and convince yourself that the bad parts weren’t so bad after all. Don’t play this game with yourself. Accept the situation and work on moving forward.Remind yourself of your ex’s negative traits. Focusing on all of the things that you don’t like about your ex can help you to get over the breakup faster. Try making a list of all of the things your ex did that you did not like. For example, maybe your ex often burped loudly after dinner, or made plans without you, or forgot your birthday. List every little thing that bothered you about your ex.
Consider the reasons why you are better off without your ex. In addition to reminding yourself of everything that bothered you about your ex, you can also benefit from thinking about the positives to your breakup. Make another list of all of the reasons why you are better off without your ex.
- For example, maybe your ex discouraged your efforts to eat healthy, so now you feel more empowered to follow a healthy diet and take better care of yourself. Or maybe your ex never wanted to do any of the things that you wanted to do, so now you have the freedom to do all of those things. List all of the reasons why you are better off without your ex.