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Ah, breakups! Each one is unique, and they commonly cause a person to feel a lot of different things at once. It’s normal to feel sadness, loneliness, or regret, but it’s also OK to feel angry, confused, exhausted, or maybe a little relieved. The circumstances for the actual breakup can be complicated, and some breakups can be a relief after weeks or months of relationship struggles. A breakup can affect your mood and sleep patterns. Your appetite may change, and your general energy level may vary from one day to the next.
Unfortunately, there is no handbook on how to get over a bad breakup. There is no universal measure of how much time it will take for these feelings to subside. But there is a lot you can do to help yourself move on in a healthy way and leave the past behind.
Here are 8 tips for getting over a bad breakup:
This is an obvious and necessary phase after any sort of loss. But what does grieving actually mean? Grieving involves letting yourself feel any and all emotions associated with your loss without judging yourself or your feelings.
Often breakups occur without closure, which makes it especially important to process your feelings and reach a place of internal acceptance and understanding. You may feel denial, anger, sadness, and other emotions along the way, so remember grief is not linear and takes time.
Give yourself permission to write an uncensored letter to your ex to help get your feelings out. The key is to let yourself write, release emotions, and give yourself closure without the involvement of your ex.
Writing can be cathartic and therapeutic, and especially useful in identifying how you feel following emotionally unresolved situations, like breakups.
You may have unintentionally neglected some personal interests or priorities while in your relationship. You may have found you had less time for hobbies or personal interests during your relationship, so reinvesting in anything that brings you joy is an important step in moving on. Rediscover your interests or challenge yourself by taking on something new.
Whether it’s joining a club or having a movie night with the girls, it will feel empowering to give back to yourself and create a meaningful life after your breakup. This is helpful in focusing on the present and future instead of remaining stuck in the past.
Regardless of your future goals with your ex (for example, remaining friends or parting ways for good), it’s best to have no contact while the breakup is fresh. You need to focus your energy on healing and mourning the loss of the relationship without your ex close by.
If you’re still communicating with your ex, it is nearly impossible to fully move on. Getting closure from a breakup means breaking communication with your ex, not attempting to be friends right away, and resisting any temptation to hook up or get together casually.
Give yourself time to get over the urges to contact each other and then decide what you’d like for the future once adequate time has passed and you’ve moved on emotionally.
Social media stalking or continued social media contact post-breakup can be dangerous territory. It can keep you stuck thinking about your ex, wondering if they are dating or sitting at home missing you.
It’s natural to feel upset over your ex’s social media content or misinterpret what you see, especially right after a bad breakup. So do yourself a big favor and don’t look. Set boundaries for yourself and consider ending social media connections with your ex if temptation is getting the best of you.
Your friends, family, and loved ones are there to support you, so don’t feel guilty about allowing them to help you through hard times. Be honest about your feelings, allow yourself to be vulnerable, and stay connected to others, especially if you are feeling depressed, lonely or isolated.
You may have the urge to retreat and isolate during emotionally charged times, but it is important to maintain healthy relationships with others and let yourself lean on your friends. If you are worried about burdening them, find a licensed mental health professional who can help.
Give yourself the gift of time – while remaining open and hopeful about your future. It’s natural to need a break while you grieve and make peace with your breakup. There is no standard amount of time it takes to mourn a relationship, so go at your own pace. But do your best to keep the hope alive and be open to things working out for you.
Sometimes breakups can lead to negative projections and flawed thoughts about the future, so watch out for these mind tricks. They may appear as thoughts, such as “I always get broken up with so nothing will ever work out for me” or “I am bad at relationships and therefore, no one will want to date me.” Avoid this train of thought and don’t view these temporary setbacks as absolutes; label them as thoughts and let them go.
Once you have more emotional distance and have allowed yourself to grieve, it can be insightful to reflect on what happened. This can help keep your past in the past and prevent it from spilling over into a new relationship. When enough time has passed, examine how your relationship felt overall. What worked well? What led to the breakup? How did you handle it? Is there anything you would have done differently? Reviewing your behavior patterns will help you see yourself objectively. All of this information will help you identify the role you played in the relationship and breakup and guide you to a healthier and more self-aware version of yourself. And it can help you leave any baggage in the past.
As you can see, it’s best to be intentional while you grieve and let go of your relationship. You will go through a variety of feelings over time, so give yourself grace, while remaining hopeful about the prospect of a new happy relationship when you are ready.
Breakups can be very difficult and can take a long time to get over. But if you find healthy tools, make decisions with your well-being in mind, and surround yourself with support, you will get through it. Just keep moving forward!