How to get over a break up
No matter how amicable the ending or the reason for the break up, severing ties with someone that you care about, or did care about, can be incredibly difficult. There are so many ways that people go about coping (or not) with the heartache, some healthy and some not so healthy, but if you’re looking for a little advice to get you going, the steps below should start you off on the right foot.
1- Stick to your/their decision
Whether the break up was your, their, or both of your decisions, assume that the outcome is fixed and act accordingly. The first, and hardest, step towards getting over a broken relationship is to accept that it is over. Even if you feel that the relationship should not have ended, it will most likely never be the same again now that an end has been suggested. If you’re struggling to let go, perhaps make a list of all the negative things about your relationship or her/him. Think through the situation but do not obsess over it, what can you learn from the experience? What advice would you give a friend if they were experiencing the same thing?
Writing you feelings down can help bridge the gaps between your feelings, logic, and your subconscious, and help cease the wresting of issues that so many people suffer with following a break up. Perhaps write a letter to your ex that you do not send. Explain your feelings on the relationship and the break up, explain why they were not right for you and how they hurt you. Refer back to this letter at times of weakness, but again, DO NOT SEND IT as this will only hurt the other person and encourage a destructive response.
2- Keep your distance
It’s too easy to agree to stay friends following a breakup. Even if you do plan on being friends again in the future, for the short term you have to appreciate that complete distance is necessary to move on. Avoid/ignore any correspondence with your ex until you’re once again comfortable to see them without harbouring any emotions, be them positive or negative, on a purely platonic level, without any ulterior motives of either causing pain to that person or trying to get back together with them.
3- Confront negative emotions
You will feel hurt, inadequate, angry, hateful, embarrassed, insecure, and vulnerable. Properly address these feelings and do not hide them away. Although these feelings need to be embraced in order to healthily move on, do not over indulge them.
There is a fine line between feeling love or hate, and so be weary of replacing your love for your ex with hatred, as the feeling could very easily switch back.
In order to bring your libido on board with the break up, refer back to your list of things that you didn’t like about that person and associate these issues as being a sexual ‘turn off’
One you have confronted your negative emotions, learn to let go of them. Letting go of your negative emotions, will, in turn, help you to let go of your ex.
4- Find a distraction
Staying active elevates your mood and alleviates depression. Even if it’s just something small, take steps towards doing something active. You most likely won’t feel up to it, but the first movement towards anything energetic is always the hardest, so force yourself into your running or gym clothes for example and see how you then feel. You have to be prepared to take the initiative and put in a little more effort than usual if you actually want to start feeling better about the situation.
As well as exercise, invest the time that you would have spent with your ex on something different. Take up a new, sociable hobby, spend more time with your friends, go visit your family, self educate or take a new class etc.
The people around, who love and care about you, will want to help, so let them. Share your issues and let them give you their advice. Relationships are much easier to understand if you’re not emotionally caught up inside of them. Your friends, providing they have all the information, will most likely have a better perspective on the situation than you will.
6- Re-organize and say goodbye
Once you feel that you’ve really made some ground towards letting go, it’s time to take the final step and sever any last remaining emotional ties.
If there are any items, pictures, or clothing that represents an emotional attachment to this person, place them in a box and have a friend take care of them. I suggest that you don’t burn or throw them away as some time in the future you may feel differently about the situation and wish you had kept the things that meant something to you at one point in your life.
Now that all past materials are out of the way, re-organise your belongings, spring clean, re-decorate or move everything around in your room. Cleaning and re-organizing your things is a symbol of a fresh start and the sub conscious attachments, which are much harder to break, will begin to let go. Do not do this too early in the ‘grieving process’ as otherwise you will associate this new layout or setup with negative feelings and then find it difficult to escape from this mentality. Only go through this stage as a final gesture to yourself that you’re ready to move on.
7- ‘Get back on the horse’
At some point you will need to give relationships, or even just sex, another try. Although someone new will distract you from your ex, jumping back on the horse too early following the breakup can be destructive in the long run as you would have not addressed the emotions that need dealing with properly. Although you may be hurting, it is not right to make others i.e. new lovers, suffer instead of yourself. Be careful of people’s feelings and only move on to another lover once you can do so confidently with a fresh perspective. Saying this however, being with somebody new is the final step in getting over your ex, so be prepared to push yourself towards this end should you be reluctant to give sexual relationships another shot after a significant time has passed.
Whilst trying to get over an ex lover, do not act impulsively! If there is something that you are sure needs to be done or said, sleep on the issue and see how you feel the next day. People do silly things when in turmoil and so acting emotively and impulsively to try and rectify a situation will usually result in more destruction.
If you’ve been out of ‘the game’ for a while and are suffering from a lack of confidence etc, try picking up the so mentioned book for some handy tips on re-addressing your love life!