As the song goes, breaking up is hard to do. Even if a few months or years down the line, you’re completely over it, it never feels like you will be at the time.
There are so many emotions involved, and it can knock you sideways, whether you expect it or not. You might not have dealt with a breakup before or never felt the effects as strongly. Maybe you want to avoid making the mistakes you made during previous breakups.
Whatever your reasons, this guide will help you to work through your feelings and come out on the other side. It might not feel like it now, but you’ll soon be moving on with your life.
How Not to Deal with It
Before you get into how you can deal with a breakup, you should make sure you’re not making any huge mistakes. There are plenty of things that you shouldn’t do, both for your sake, your ex’s and anyone around you. Firstly, don’t turn to drinking or drugs to forget about everything. You might spend a night drowning your sorrows, but you have to be careful not to use alcohol or drugs as a crutch. It’s the same with comfort eating. A tub of ice cream is a great temporary band aid as and when you first break up. But it’s not healthy to keep eating your feelings until you’re putting on weight.
It’s also important to think about how you act on your emotions. You might be angry, upset, confused, and more. Don’t block out these feelings. But do consider carefully how you’re going to channel them. For example, keying your ex’s car is not a healthy way to deal with anger. You don’t want to do anything that you’ll look back on and regret when your mind is clearer. In fact, it’s best to try and let go of anger and resentment altogether. Those aren’t the emotions you should be focusing on, and probably won’t do anyone any good.
The Initial Post-breakup Period
The first few days or even weeks after breaking up can feel strange. You can be in a funk that you’re not sure when you’ll come out of. You have a lot of questions, some of which you won’t ever get answers for, and the breakup might have come as a shock. All you want to do is wallow for a bit at first, which can involve a lot of crying. Or maybe you wish to get angry and have a rant. There’s no need to start working through your emotions and pushing to get over it right away. You’re allowed to take your time to feel anything you want to feel. And maybe you can have a night with your friends where you all badmouth your ex.
Be in Touch with Your Emotions
It’s important not to try and push your feelings away or pretend that you’re not having them. There’s no wrong way to feel so don’t feel guilty for any of your emotions. You do need to be in touch with your feelings so that you can examine why you’re having them. Even though you can feel whatever you like, you should still be able to look at your emotions logically. Think about why you feel a particular way and whether it’s a reasonable reaction. You might find that you start to unravel some of your thoughts and feelings so that you can let go of some of them.
Take Care of Yourself
The end of your relationship might make you want to curl up in bed and never come out, but you need to look after yourself. When you’re under a lot of stress, it’s important to make time for yourself. You should spend at least a little time every day doing something that helps you feel relaxed and happy. You could go for a walk, do some yoga, meet your friends for a coffee, or whatever you enjoy doing. Having a routine can help to and get you to continue with your life, even if you feel like shutting yourself indoors. In fact, it’s a great time to take a break from any big changes in your life. Take the time to learn to be single again, perhaps picking up a new hobby.
Making Sure You Have Someone to Talk To
Going through a breakup is even harder if you have to do it alone. You may have just broken up with the person who was your biggest confidant. So it’s even more important that you make sure you have people to talk to now. The first place you can turn to is the people you would usually ask for support. Your friends and family are sure to want to help you feel better and listen to your problems. Think about what each person can offer you regarding support. If you just want someone to listen, don’t talk to someone who always offers practical advice. You might also consider looking for outside help. Going for counseling can be useful to get another perspective from someone objective.
Avoiding Your Ex
In the first stages of your breakup, it’s probably best not to contact your ex. Even if you’ve agreed to stay friends, you should try to have some space to yourselves first. You might choose to get back in touch eventually, but give yourself some time first. With the age of social media, it can be difficult to avoid them. But you are really the primary barrier to not seeing their posts. If you don’t want to see them on Facebook, for example, you can get rid of them as a friend. If that’s too much, just unfollow their posts, so they don’t appear on your news feed. Back in the offline world, mutual friends can be difficult to deal with. Some might take sides naturally, but don’t encourage them to do so. It’s ok to take some time and avoid going to group outings for a while.
Being Friends with Your Ex
One question might be causing you some trouble after the breakup. Should I be friends with my ex boyfriend? A lot of people manage to stay friends with their ex, although it is easier when the breakup is mutual. There are a few things to consider if you think you might want to stay friends. Firstly, you have to think about why you want to be friends. Is it because they were a friend before they were a partner, and you think you can go back to that? Perhaps you’re hoping you’ll eventually get back together if you stay in touch. Of course, staying friends will only work if you both want to do it. Before you agree to it, think about how it will affect you, especially if you still have romantic feelings for them.
Should You Try to Get Them Back?
A lot of people also wonder whether they should attempt to get their ex back. Sometimes, going after them to try and mend the relationship is the right thing. But there are other times when it’s just painful for both of you. Before you make any moves to get back together, you should look for signs that they want it. There are lots of things you can look out for, like your ex asking your friends about you. They might reach out to you first in the hopes of reestablishing contact.
Reflecting on Lessons Learned
A breakup is a great time to learn about yourself and to reflect on what you did right and wrong. You might have made mistakes during the relationship and afterward, but it can help you avoid them in the future. Think about which of your behaviors, if any, led to the end of the relationship. However, it’s important to think about how your ex behaved too. Sometimes, one person is entirely faultless. And sometimes it’s not because of anything either of you did wrong. There aren’t always lessons to be learned; it could just be that you weren’t meant to be.
What to Do If You Can’t Get Over It
Some people find that they’re still struggling to cope months down the lines. While you don’t need to rush yourself, you also don’t want to feel miserable forever. If you can’t get over it, you should consider seeing a therapist. They can help you to examine your feelings more carefully and perhaps give you a reality check.
Getting Ready to Date Again
It can be difficult knowing when you’re ready to date again. Some people find a new relationship within a few months or even weeks. Others stay single for a year or more and aren’t interested in finding someone new. Just remember that there’s no time limit on when you start dating again. It can happen whenever you’re comfortable and ready to try again. Being single can be just as enjoyable for many people.
Every breakup is different, and you might deal with some better than others. However you cope, do it in your own time and not anyone else’s.
Photo Credit: Nicolas Raymond