Whatever the situation leading to it, a breakup is one of the hardest experiences to live through. The end of a relationship, and a cherished one at that, often leaves one hurt, bruised and feeling that there is nothing else worth living for. If it has happened to you, hold on and remember that sooner or later, the feeling of misery will subside. Here are some tips that will help you heal your heart after a painful breakup.
TIP: Read the guide to prevent a break up or get back with your ex.
Don’t fight it
Impossible as it may seem, you can heal only when you accept the reality of what has happened. It is necessary to be realistic about your breakup and face the fact that your partner is not coming back. If you keep fantasizing about your ex realizing his/her mistake and coming back or you both getting together for the sake of kids, pets and what-not, you will be only delaying the process of healing your heart. You cannot begin to move on unless you consciously realize that your relationship is over.
Take time out to grieve
Therapists believe that a breakup causes one to go through the same stages as bereavement. You may start by feeling shock and denial at the end of a relationship and even hold on to false hopes of a reconciliation. Intense anger at what has happened and misery of a ruined relationship are other stages that you would probably need to go through before the healing can begin. Allow yourself to pass through these phases but do not lapse back into false hopes of getting your partner back. If you think it would help, take some time off from work or college to get your bearings together. During this time, do whatever you need to feel better – have a good cry, watch old soppy movies or simply lounge about the house in a tattered night suit. In fact a good way to get all those hurtful feelings out your system is to put them on paper. Chances are that you had been so shocked by your partner walking out on you, that you were not able to present your side of the matter. So write down all that you had wanted to say while you were being dumped and call a few names to your ex for good measure. But when you are finished, rip up the letter and throw away the pieces together with the hurt that your ex has caused you. Most importantly, stay away from alcohol, drugs or other kinds of harmful behavior – they have never ever helped anyone feel better and on the contrary are the surest ways to complicate things further.
TIP: Download the guide to getting back with your ex.
Put in some distance
The soonest way to get over being dumped is to cut off all contact with your ex. There is no sense in wanting to remain “friends” as it will only encourage hopes of a reconciliation and thus further delay the healing process. Stop mailing, texting or calling him/her on the pretext of “keeping in touch”, unless there are child visitation or other legal issues. If you are in a situation where you are likely to meet your ex – like taking the same train to commute or working out at the same gym – do your best to vary your routine so that you wouldn’t “accidentally bump” into each other. Things can be trickier if your ex was a co-worker but even then see if you can arrange something like a move to a different department or getting a cubicle on another floor. Be as honest as you can about make a clean break since only this will help you get on with your life.
Get rid of reminders
The sooner you discard all evidence of the relationship, the quicker your heart will heal. Feel free to throw away letters, cards, photos and gifts that your ex might have given you. You could delete emails and photos from your computer or mobile and chuck away all the personal stuff that may be still lying around your place. Alternatively you may feel strong enough to return his or her junk, but just mail it instead of taking it over to your ex’s place.
Get back to your routine
When coping with the end of a relationship, the last thing you may want to do is to face the world. But remember that not everyone out there knows about your loss. So take baby steps and one evening, just venture out to have an espresso or stock up on your groceries. Gradually do this more often by going out for a movie on your own or taking a walk in the neighborhood park. Consider getting back to work or school if you had taken some time. If you are nervous of meeting people who might ask about the breakup, choose a time and place where you are least likely to run into them. As you gain more confidence over time, you will find it easier to talk about what happened and enjoying the things you liked to do before it all happened.
Don’t refuse help
Getting out of a relationship can be emotionally wrenching and you need not make it harder on yourself by doing it alone. If a close friend or family member offers help, be sure to accept. Visiting a cousin at her home in Oregon might not only enhance for your fishing skill but for your self-esteem as well. Similarly if your best pal offers to stay with you for a few days, don’t feel that it would be expecting too much from him. You will realize that there are many other people to whom you mean a lot and the end of a relationship does not mean the end of the world.
See what the world has to offer
One of the best ways to heal your heart from the hurt of a breakup is to find new things to do. If you had met your ex at the gym or at the book club, going back to those places might renew some very painful memories. Rather get interested in a new hobby like pottery-making or baking. You will not only learn a new skill but meet an entirely new set of people who know nothing of your past and care even less. Even better do things you couldn’t or perhaps weren’t allowed to in your previous relationship. For instance plan a walking tour through the vineyards of France or the mountain trails of Ireland if your ex disliked going abroad. Or get a pup if your former partner was against having pets in the house. One of the worst parts of a breakup is witnessing the plans you had made with your partner as part of a future together fall apart. So setting and achieving new goals will not only help you look ahead again but also feel that loss may have brought some dividends after all. However don’t pick up something just for the sake of finding a new partner or you might be setting yourself up for some more heartbreak. Instead focus on enjoying a new experience and things.
Finally, socialize but don’t go on a rebound. As you begin to feel better, try to get back to the social circuit. Go out with friends or even accept the invite to a neighbor’s housewarming party. Who knows what new and interesting friendships you may end up making there! If you feel ready, by all means start dating as well. Just be careful of entering a relationship on the rebound. A new relationship before your heart has healed completely will not only add to the emotional baggage but will be unfair to the new partner as well.