Sometimes you can feel like everything is falling apart after you break up with someone you loved. Look – there’s no getting past it, breakups suck. They suck hard. There’s not a lot in the realm of relationships that’s crappier than a bad breakup, especially after feeling him withdrawing from you and not knowing how to stop it.
Or feel the shocking, overwhelming pain of being cheated on especially when you never saw it coming.
All your emotions will be swirling in a tempest of pain and raging raw feeling, and it will seem like it’s going to go on forever.
It won’t though. Eventually you’ll be fine – and move on stronger than you were before.
Of course, it helps to have some guidance on how to get from “I can’t get out of bed in the morning” to “Oh, that guy? so over him.”
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So here’s exactly how to get over even the worst breakup and stay strong.
1. Deal With Your Grief
Look – when you have a break up, it’s going to suck. You’re going to be in pain. You’re going to feel real grief.
And that’s totally normal. The point is, even in the best of circumstances, breaking up is a hard thing to do. It flat out hurts, and carrying around that hurt inside you is a totally normal part of the breakup process (1).
Just remember you’re not alone – everyone’s gone through this at some point, and that the pain you’re feeling is totally normal.
And here’s the thing about grief – you can’t pretend it’s not there. You can’t pretend like everything’s fine, and you’re not feeling awful. You can’t deny the grief.
Truth is, you’ve gotta just let it out. If you’ve got grief and sadness inside you, it’s going to come out one way or the other, and you want to let it out in the most natural way possible (2).
So if you feel like crying, cry! If you feel like doing nothing besides sobbing in bed all day, that’s fine. You’ve gotta just let the grief run its course.
A great way to allow your body to process your grief is to express it creatively. If you’re sick of crying, you can try writing a poem, or a song, or painting something to express how you’re feeling.
One thing to avoid is letting your grief and anger out through rage, or through breaking things. That’s not going to make you feel better, it will probably only make you feel more angry.
Remember, it’s about expressing how you feel. The sooner you put a name on your feelings and express them, the sooner you can work through them and stop letting them make you feel so horrible.
A great way to express your feelings is to put them down in writing. Remember – you can be as honest as you want when you’re writing in a notebook, because you don’t have to show it to anybody(3).
Try writing for 15 minutes every day for 3 days, and see how you feel at the end of it. You want to get your deepest thoughts and feelings out in the open (for yourself) so that you can process them.
Remember – no one has to read this, so don’t worry about making it “good”, just focus on making it honest.
Did you finish the last step? Good. Now it’s time to re-examine your writing.
Look back at what you’ve written and take some time to examine how you were feeling – try to really figure out why you were feeling that way. When you think about your emotions – like where they come from and what they stem from – you can fully understand them and process them better.
Let me give you an example – after a breakup, a very common reaction from people is that they’re never going to find anyone else, and that no one will find them attractive or even loveable again.
This is a very common fear – and one that is proven wrong again and again when people find someone else after a breakup. Working through this means understanding it’s a natural reaction, while also realizing that it’s simply not true, and lots of people in this world love you, even though that one person doesn’t.
Try looking for phrases that are absolute and permanent, like “I’m never going to find someone as good as him,” or “I won’t ever get over him, ever.” Recognize that while you might feel that way, those statements simply aren’t true.
You can take those statements and rephrase them so that they’re not so extreme and devastating. For instance, change “I’ll never get over him,” to “I miss him a lot right now, but this is just one portion of my life.”
Remember – the only constant in life is change. Things are changing, always, for better and for worse. That means that as much as this hurts right now, eventually it will get better, no matter what. All it takes is time.
One great way to get yourself feeling better and counter all the negative energy swirling inside you is to repeat positive things to yourself during the day.
Chances are, you’re telling yourself some pretty negative stuff in your brain after a breakup. Balance it out with positives too.
You can tell yourself things like “I am a worthwhile and lovable person, and people love me,” “I may feel terrible right now but eventually I’ll feel better,” and “I’m hurting because of chemicals in my brain, which I can’t control and which won’t last forever.”
A bad breakup will take away your self-worth and your self esteem. This is going to sound hokey, but to push things back in the right direction, take some time to sit down and write out positives about yourself.
If you want to counter all the negative self-judgement, write down the things that are good and worth loving about yourself.
Think of things that you can do, things that you’re good at, things that you’re proud of. Think of the reasons why you like yourself, and the reasons that you feel good inside – like if you have a great sense of humor or an infectious laugh.
Remember compliments that other people have paid you that made you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Those sincere compliments are as true today as they were the day you got them, so remember that they were sincere and that you’re worth loving!
Don’t hesitate to reach out for support from the people who love you. People who love you and want to support you will be there for you after you’ve gone through something tough like a breakup, they’re just waiting for you to ask them for help.
You can talk to your parents, siblings and friends about how you’re feeling – and be honest with them. They’ll be able to listen to and accept your true feelings and give you the support and advice you’re looking for.
Don’t worry if you don’t agree with your friends or family’s advice – it’s enough just to listen and know that they’re making an effort to help you. If you don’t want to follow it that’s totally fine, but remember that they’re giving you advice because they want you to feel better.
2. Keeping Yourself Strong
The next step in a breakup is all about limiting the chances of making a mistake as much as possible, and staying strong in yourself.
If that means deleting your ex’s number out of your phone, so be it. If that means blocking his number, defriending him on facebook and social media, and cutting him out of your life – that’s totally fine.
If you really want to heal and move on, it means you have to cut off contact with your ex for the foreseeable future. Even if you’re feeling desperate to hear his voice, don’t do it! All you’ll do is make yourself feel worse.
Next, you want to get rid of the things that strongly remind you of him. If you’ve got gifts, stuffed animals, or photos around your room or home, now’s the time to box them up and put them in the closet.
Remember to get rid of photos of the two of you from your social media so you don’t see his face when you’re not expecting it and feel terrible all over again.
Try not to do the things you two did together for a little while. If you had a specific lunch spot, or a ritual you used to do together, it’s best to avoid that for a while.
Absolutely avoid trying to “take revenge” on your ex. Whatever he did, it’s not worth getting in trouble or arrested for slashing his tires or spraypainting the side of his car.
Don’t spread rumors, don’t attack him in any way, and don’t indulge that negativity. All it does is tie you to something you’d rather move on from, and keep the cycle of negativity spinning.
That means no stalking, no phone calls, no gossip. The best revenge for a bad ex is simply moving on and feeling better – and then dating someone better than him.
After a breakup, it might be tempting to make a big decision or a big change – like changing your whole look, hair color, or even deciding to move.
Whatever you do – don’t do it. Post breakup, you’re not really thinking clearly. Everything you’re thinking about is related to him and the breakup, and you might not be able to see that right now.
So it’s definitely not the time to make any big decisions in your life. Instead, write down the decision and promise that you’ll look at it a month or two from now. If you still want to do it – go for it.
One great way to keep yourself from making a mistake is simply by keeping yourself busy. If you’re sitting at home alone, thinking about him, you’ve got a much greater chance of slipping up.
But if you spend time doing something, anything, just whatever it takes to keep your mind busy and not thinking about him, it makes it much less likely that you mess up and contact him.
Try watching a new tv show, reading a new book, or picking up a new hobby, or even channeling your pain into the gym. Whatever it takes, if you’re keeping your brain busy thinking about what you’re doing rather than him, it’s a victory.
Speaking of the gym, exercise is a great way to start getting over a breakup. First of all, you’re going to have a ton of negative energy swirling inside you. What better place to put it than into your workout?
Second, working out is going to accomplish another goal other than taking your mind off things – and that’s getting you into better shape.
Think about it – what better way to rub it in your ex’s face that he made a mistake than getting yourself into the best shape of your life?
3. Finding Your Stride
If you’re working on hobbies and other things to keep your mind off him, and you’re dealing with your emotions, the next step is to start moving on.
And the best way to move on is simple – have fun! I know it might seem impossible in the position you’re in right now, but if you wait for a while and take the advice above, you’ll start feeling like fun might not be an impossible notion.
Try doing the things you love doing – like seeing your friends, going dancing, hiking, or whatever makes you happy. Whatever you do – remember, laughter will help more than anything else!
A great tactic for feeling better is to give yourself rewards for good behavior. Didn’t think about contacting your ex in a day? That’s a great opportunity to give yourself a treat, like your favorite desert.
Another great way to start feeling better is to go shopping after a breakup – which can help you boost your confidence and buy some clothes that don’t remind you of your ex.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to get out and be with people after a breakup. When you stay home alone, you can get caught going in circles in your brain thinking about him and feeling worse and worse.
Instead, find any reason to get out of the house and mingle with other people. Try volunteering somewhere close to you, picking up a hobby that you do with a group of people.
Volunteering especially is a great idea – because it will help others around you while also making yourself feel better – because you’re helping people.
This phase of a breakup is all about positivity, positivity, positivity. We talked a lot about remembering positive things about yourself earlier, and now it’s time to put that into action.
If you’re feeling negative, recognize it and counter it with something positive. Your goal when you wake up in the morning is to feel good, and to try to feel good for the rest of the day.
One great way to keep yourself positive is to surround yourself with positive people. Emotions bleed between people a lot, more than you’d think, and if you hang out with negative people, you’re going to find yourself feeling negative. The same is true if you hang out with positive people, so do that and you’ll start feeling better quickly.
4. Putting Him Behind You And Moving On
The first step in putting the breakup behind you is simple – you’ve got to forgive him.
That might seem impossible now, but after you follow the other advice in this list, you’ll move closer and closer to being able to do it.
As soon as you’re able to forgive your ex for how the relationship ended and why, you’ll be farther down the path of moving on from your breakup.
Remember – forgiving him isn’t about letting him off the hook or saying that what he did was “ ok “. It’s about saying that you’re not going to let it make you angry anymore – that it has no power over you anymore, and that you’ve moved past it and forgiven him.
Once you forgive him, you’ll be able to start moving on and forgetting the intensity of the relationship. This is normal – it happens to every single person, and it’s a consequence of the passage of time. Think about what you can learn from the relationship, allow yourself to forgive him, and then allow yourself to start forgetting about him.
You can take some time to think about the relationship, but eventually you’ll have to start thinking about the present and the future, rather than the past. If you spend all your time in the past, you’ll never move on from it.
That’s why this is a good time to think about what went on in the relationship and if there’s any way you can learn from it before you move on. Are there lessons you can take from this? Is there anything you would have done differently?
Try to see if you can find patterns in your relationships, and similarities between this past relationship and others you’ve had. Did the same mistakes crop up again? Is he similar to your other exes? This is all good information to be cognizant of and remember for the future.
Remember – everything that happens to you is something you can learn from. Even though breakups are terrible and feel awful, it doesn’t mean you can’t use them as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and your life.
Take the time to explore your individuality and allow yourself to be your own person. In every relationship, two people come together closely and give up part of their individuality to be with each other.
Now that you’re on your own again, you can rediscover your individuality, one step at a time.
Remember what makes you you, what you like about yourself, and all the quirks and amazing things that make you unique.
All relationships take compromise, and yours was no exception. What did you compromise with him about? Think about that – and decide not to make any compromises in your life right now. After all, you’ve got no one you need to compromise for – it’s time to get what you want, how you want it.
As time passes, you might fall into a “comfortable” rut where you still feel bad, but not bad enough anymore to do anything about it. It’s easy to get complacent and stop working towards getting better and moving forward.
That’s why it’s so important to push yourself and get out of your comfort zone after a breakup. You’re probably not feeling amazing about yourself, so give yourself some reasons to feel good and confident by getting out there and doing things you’re afraid to do.
Start with something small that challenges you and grow it from there. Don’t take any huge leaps – but definitely push yourself to get outside your comfort zone and try new things. That’s the only way to grow.
The last and most important piece of advice is this – you’ve got to give yourself time.
The only thing that will truly and completely heal a broken heart is the passage of time. Every piece of advice above is a way to speed this process up – but no matter what, it’s going to take time.
And that’s totally natural. As time passes, you’ll gain more experience, feel a little bit better each day, and gain perspective on the breakup.
And when you’re finally over the breakup, you won’t even realize it. You’ll just wake up one morning and your first thought won’t be of him. Or you’ll go all day without thinking of him and not even realize you did it. That’s when you know you’re truly past it and over him, and you’ve moved on with your life.
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