The end of a relationship is a challenging experience, and it’s one many will go through at least once in their lives. Coping with the loss of companionship and romantic affection can be painful, especially if it was a long relationship or one where you shared many things. If you cope with a breakup unhealthily, that can make things worse, leaving you stuck in the past.
So how can you handle these painful circumstances? Here are five positive ways to deal with a breakup so you can move on guilt-free.
1. Express Your Feelings
The first step to anyone’s recovery is the point where they begin to express and state clearly how they feel. Many people are inclined to repress or suppress their emotions when it comes to breakups, as there’s a lot of pressure to be “okay” and be better off than your ex-partner. But repression of your feelings can heighten them and make them worse, ruining your positive thinking.
There are many different feelings that you might experience in a breakup. You may be in shock or denial or cry and grieve. Perhaps you may feel betrayal, pain, and humiliation. You might become frightened, angry, or indifferent. You may even experience acceptance, relief, and hope. Whatever you feel, acknowledge it, state it, and express it. Grief and loss are complex things with many stages, and it’s not unusual to experience them in stages that may seem confusing to you.
It’s natural to want to suppress the worst of your emotions, but confronting them will allow you to better manage and deal with the breakup. Don’t judge yourself for how you feel. Observe your feelings, acknowledge them, accept them, and work on yourself as you move on. It’s okay to feel bad, it’s okay to grieve, and it’s okay to be very much not okay for a while. Let it happen.
When a breakup is fresh, everything around you will remind you of the person you left behind. That’s why you need to disengage from those memories as well as you can to move on. Here’s how:
· Get Rid Of Things That Trigger Memories
If you were dating your ex for a long time, you likely own many items that could trigger memories of them. Some of them may even be positive memories. But when you’re recovering from the pain and emotions of a breakup, all of those memories can cause heartache. If some of these items make you want to contact your ex or cause emotional distress, remove them from your home. You can package items they left behind to send to them later and put away or throw out old gifts they gave you that tug at your heartstrings. You don’t have to get rid of these items permanently if you don’t want to – just put them out of sight, out of mind.
· Stay Off Social Media
Don’t stalk your ex or look at posts of people in love. Do not re-read your old messages. Don’t scroll through the pages of people your ex interacts with. It’s not healthy and nets you nothing. You’ll need a few days of social media distance, at least before it’s safe for you to ease back into an online presence. If all else fails, block or mute your ex on social media.
· Go “No Contact.”
Even the most amicable breakups require a little alone time. You need to collect your thoughts, recover, and let the stronger emotions lose some intensity before you are ready to reach out again. If you’re still on good terms with them, set boundaries and communicate your need for space to your ex. If the breakup was nasty, you can also block them and cut them off.
· Stop Talking About Them
It’s okay and even healthy to rant about the breakup and process it by talking to supportive friends and family. But what’s not okay is continually inserting your ex’s name or any inkling of your previous relationship into everyday discussion. It can be tempting to bring them up when it’s not relevant. Don’t.
3. Make Things About You
Relationships are about doing things together, and now that you’re on your own, your life can return to being focused on you. The world is your oyster! Making things all about you can remind you of the wonders of independence, allowing you to embrace singlehood with positive thinking as you move on. Here are some ways to do this:
· Do Things That You Love
Even healthy relationships take up time and energy. As such, it’s likely that while you were with your ex, there were some things you weren’t able to do. You may not have had enough time for your hobbies. Maybe you dropped book club meetings for date nights. You might have stopped watching horror flicks because they hated them. Perhaps you avoided eating a type of food because your partner is allergic. Regardless, now you’re not dating them anymore – you can do whatever you want! So go ahead and busy yourself with all those things you love that you may not have been able to do while in the relationship.
· Do Things You’ve Wanted To Do
There may be things you’ve always wanted to do that you haven’t been able to yet. What better time than now? Trying new things, having new experiences, and filling out your bucket list is a great way to distract yourself while enriching your mind and body. It’s a healthy outlet and helps your self-improvement, which is always a positive way to deal with breakups!
· Take Care Of Yourself
People often think of going on a diet or hitting the gym extra hard after a breakup, but that’s not truly “taking care of yourself.” The goal of taking care of yourself after a split isn’t to look hot for the sake of your ex. It’s to feel good about yourself and nourish your body, so you feel better and more confident. So do things that make your body feel good. A little bit of exercise, healthier food choices, and better self-care are all ways to do this.
If you were the person who got broken up with, you might feel bad about yourself. Your self-esteem may have taken a hit from the breakup. So focus on rebuilding it. Find the things about yourself that you love. Consider your strengths and lift them for yourself. Being broken up with has nothing to do with your self-worth and everything to do with the overall health of the relationship and the other individual’s changing. So hype yourself up!
4. Seek Support During the Breakup
Social support is crucial in the improvement of positive thinking, especially during times of stress. Isolating yourself and trying to go it alone after a breakup will only harm you. Plus, external perspectives can grant you crucial insight and perspectives you’ve missed. Here are some ways to seek support:
· Talk To Loved Ones
Ask to vent to family and friends and request advice if desired. Seek out people you love who have been through breakups and recovered wonderfully. Have regular face-to-face contact with your trusted support system, and have fun with the people who care about you most!
· Make New Friends
It’s tempting to hop onto the next rebound relationship after a breakup. Instead of seeking new intimate partners, seek new friends. Take yourself off the relationship market and find clubs, groups, and even online communities to make new friends in. Join groups for people with your hobbies and interests, take a new class, and even volunteer at organizations to meet new people!
· Get Professional Help If Necessary
If your breakup affects you significantly, there is no shame in getting outside support from a therapist, counselor, or similar professional in this field. Opening up to someone who won’t judge you and is trained to help you can give you the necessary tools to overcome your breakup.
5. Remind Yourself Of Why the Breakup Happened
At some point, you’ll find yourself wishing the breakup never occurred. When this inevitably happens to you, remind yourself of why it was necessary. Change is a part of life and is crucial for growth, so if your relationship wasn’t meant to be, that was for a reason. Here are some ways to remind yourself of the reason for the breakup:
· Remember The Relationship’s Struggles
Relationships don’t end because they’re “too good.” They end because there were troubles and difficulties that ultimately one or both parties decided were too much to continue with. The struggles that you faced are ones you do not want to go back to, so you can help yourself move on by remembering how they made you feel and how good it is to be free of those struggles. If you specifically were wronged in the relationship – such as if your ex cheated on you, abused you, or lied to you repeatedly – then remind yourself of all those toxic traits and behaviors you are now free from.
· Revisit Memories Realistically
Studies have found that positive feelings regarding experiences typically remain for longer than negative ones. This means a lot of your memories with your ex may have a rose-tinted hue over them. Think back on your memories and be realistic about them. Was that summer vacation you spent with them perfectly, or did you realize that traveling together was more stressful than it should have been? Were they always super helpful when you were going through a tough time, or did you have to fight for their support and struggle to make them understand why you needed it? Don’t color your memories with falsehood – remember reality and see your past with clear eyes.
· Stand By The Choice
If you decided to break up with your ex, then stand by the decision. You made it for a reason, and right now, emotions may be clouding your judgment and making you forget those reasons. And if you were broken up with, stand by that too, even if they come running back to you eventually. You have the right to move on in peace, and you can’t do that if your ex plays with your emotions. Stop second-guessing and start working on recovery.
Breakups are a universal experience, and yet they’re painful to overcome. Learning to deal with the end of a relationship positively can help you move on without regrets or guilt.