Breakups — no matter who’s initiating them — can cause a lot of emotional strife and pain. So, yes, you are allowed to sit on the sofa for a few days with your Ben & Jerry’s and feel sad. But after a few days, it’s time to start moving forward and get back to your life.
Here are some strategies to help you move through the healing process without it totally sucking:
1. Realize that healing is a process.
The end of a relationship is a major change and along with this comes a grieving process. You will not wake up in 3 days and be OK as if nothing ever happened. There is no definite timing. You should start to feel a little bit better with every passing day.
2. You’re going to feel angry, but don’t become all dark and broody.
You’re better than that! You might want to type out a rant on Facebook or start a Snapchat about things that will purposefully hurt your ex, but this is really one time you should rise above that and act gracefully. Once the anger passes, you won’t be left with any regrets.
3. Remember that your friends mean well, but this is not their journey.
They really do come from a place of good intention when they start to rip your ex to shreds and say, “I knew he wasn’t right for you.” They just don’t understand that it’s not helping. Don’t get annoyed with them, because it won’t help. Just ignore them.
4. Leave the past where it belongs — in the past.
Don’t listen to “your song” on an instant loop. It’s not going to help — trust me, I have tried it — and it only brings you down to a really sad place. Pick a new song. Make it a personal anthem just for you.
5. Stop thinking you “should,” “would,” or “could” have done anything different.
You can’t go back in time and change things you said or did, so don’t torture yourself by thinking through details of conversations and analyzing potential outcomes if you had said something different or behaved in a different way. You can only change from this day forward — focus on that.
6. Consider your past relationship a gift.
Every relationship we engage in teaches us something about ourselves and makes us better for our next one. Think about what you learned, how you have been changed, and feel gratitude for the experience. It moved you closer to the love you truly deserve. This is much more productive than planning a bonfire!
7. Get up and get moving.
Walk, work out, dance … do whatever kind of movement feels good to you. By moving your body, it will help release some of the emotion that could otherwise become toxic in your body. Free the toxicity!
8. Avoid jumping into a rebound relationship.
He’s cute and he’s flirting with me? NO! Rebound relationships never end well. While you grieve a loss, you aren’t in a position to meet someone new — you’re likely feeling the need to replace what is missing. Filling a void is not a good relationship strategy in any situation. Take the time you need before you start another relationship.
9. Focus on loving yourself more.
Give yourself what you need to feel loved and happy. Hang with your friends, go for a walk, write in your journal, dance it out, watch a comedy, see a coach or counselor, if you practice a religion, go to a service, create a vision board for your future … or whatever else makes you feel good.
10. Trust enough to let go.
This is seriously the hardest thing to do — but it’s also the best. It may sound trite but, if you love someone, set them free. If they come back they are yours. It is true and often break ups are only temporary. But it only works if you let go.
Take this time to focus on yourself and be the best YOU possible. Then, when the perfect opportunity for a new romance or a rekindling of a former relationship comes along, you will be ready to create something magical.