A rough breakup can actually disrupt your sense of self, according a 2010 paper in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. When you have committed yourself to one person for a long period of a time, a breakup1 can feel like a shot in the heart, leaving you broken, confused, and like you’ve lost your identity.
If you and your partner have been together for some time, your identities begin to mesh together, and you start saying “we” instead of “I” more often. You begin thinking of yourselves as one unit rather than two, in other words.
Once the ties have been severed, it feels sort of like losing a part of yourself, and this takes time to heal from. You need a chance to find yourself again and reclaim your identity.
Today, we bring you a few tips on how to get over a breakup so you can move on with your life and find happiness again.
5 ways to heal from a breakup
The Ultimate Guide on Healing A Broken Heart
Take time to process your emotions after the breakup
As you might already know, breakups take quite a toll on the body and mind. You’re going from sharing your life with someone to not even speaking to them anymore (in many cases). This will take some time to get used to, so make sure you honor your emotions and don’t bottle them up.
In order to handle your emotions following the end of a relationship, use these tips:
- Count on your friends and family. Most people have at least one person they can turn to after a breakup, so don’t hesitate to call on your loved ones for assistance. They will act as your support system during this tough time in your life.
- Write in a journal. One of the best free therapies in the world is releasing all of the thoughts inside your head on a piece of paper. In fact, according to Psychology Today, one experiment involving 100 people who had been through a breakup in the last three months showed that journaling helped the participants gain perspective on the relationship’s end. However, only those who focused on the positive aspects of the breakup felt increased positive emotions about the breakup.
- Cry it out. Bottling up your emotions will only lead to more heartache in the future. In order to fully move on, you have to release those emotions and face them head-on. It might feel uncomfortable, but allowing yourself to process the relationship ending will ultimately help you let go.
- Don’t make any rash decisions. Avoid trying to contact your ex and sending emotionally charged messages. All you will do is reopen the wound you’re trying to heal in the first place.
Don’t think about what could’ve happened differently
You will only hold onto pain if you go over different scenarios in your head about how things could’ve gone. For example, if you broke up due to incompatibility, you might start thinking about how you could’ve changed in order to make yourself more compatible with your ex. Do you see how destructive this thinking pattern is?
It only leads you to doubt yourself and your decision and leaves the door open for things to possibly work out in the future. Maybe you’ll convince yourself to get back with your ex by replaying what happened. It will only do you harm to think of how your relationship could’ve played out differently, because you’ll start fixating on it.
This fixation will lead to infatuation with him or her, and pretty soon, you’ll find yourself right back in their arms. Instead of ruminating on all of the failures in the relationship, make it your mission to think of the positive things that have happened in your life since the breakup. Think of how your life has improved or how the future looks brighter without a negative relationship dragging you down.
Leave the relationship behind and focus on the wonderful connections you can make with other people in the future. Don’t keep the possibility open of getting back with your ex, because this bit of hope will leave you desperately clinging to him or her instead of moving on.
Think of what you enjoyed before the breakup
Usually, when two people break up, they probably have long forgotten the things they used to enjoy before becoming a couple. People in relationships tend to mesh their identities together, as we discussed before, and rarely take time to enjoy their own hobbies.
So, take this time to redefine and rediscover yourself. Find out what you enjoy by trying new things and getting back into activities you used to enjoy before your relationship. If you did certain things with your partner and found happiness in those activities, don’t write them off just because you partook in them with your partner. Simply take time to get over the relationship before you get back into hobbies you did together.
Also, in regard to new activities, check your local Meetup and Facebook groups for ideas on things to do with others so you’ll have some support.
Seek therapy to get over a broken heart
While this may not work for everyone, it’s a viable option for those who are really struggling to adjust to life without their ex. Especially if you’d been with your ex for a long period, therapy can help you move on and get acclimated to life as a single man or woman again.
Therapists can provide support and help you gain perspective on your relationship. They can help you figure out why it didn’t work out and why the relationship may not have been the best for you. The therapist may even prevent you from getting back with your ex out of loneliness by showing you the negative side of the relationship from their point of view.
After a breakup, it can help to get an outside perspective, and a therapist can offer you tools and strategies to help manage your emotions and move on with your life.