Relationships, Breakups

Relationships, Breakups

20 Useful Tips for Actually Getting Over a Breakup

Put your relationship in the past.

10/24/2021 12:07:00 PM

Put your relationship in the past.

Put your relationship in the past.

As much as we’d all like one, there is no rulebook on how to get over a breakup. After arelationship ends, people (unsurprisingly) often report feeling loneliness, a loss of a sense of self, distress, and depression1. In fact, many experts have equated having a broken heart to a form of grief. In other words: If you’re struggling to move on from a breakup, you are far from alone.

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“A breakup is a classic example of what we call an ambiguous loss, which is where the grief of the loss of a relationship is often complicated by a lack of closure,”Michaela Decker,a licensed marriage and family therapist in Mesa, Arizona, tells SELF. This, she says, can prolong the healing process and leave us feeling unresolved. And after a breakup, we are often mourning not just the loss of a romantic partner, but also the dreams and expectations we had for our futures. It’s a layered heartbreak that is tricky to navigate. And though there is no quick fix for how to get over someone, there

arethings you can do to help you through your own healing process. Here, experts and people who have been there before give their 20 best tips on how to deal with heartbreak.1. Think about your breakup as a physical injury.Andrea Liner, Psy.D., suggests trying to give yourself the same grace when healing from having your heart broken that you would if you were experiencing a medical issue. “You may not be operating at 100%, and that’s okay,” Dr. Liner tells SELF, noting that you wouldn’t beat yourself up for not going to the gym after, say, breaking your leg. “Extend yourself the same kindness for going through an emotional injury,” she says.

2. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings.Susan Birne-Stone, Ph.D., a licensed clinical social worker in Brooklyn, suggests setting a timer and giving yourself 10-20 minutes to feel whatever you are feeling without judgment. Write out any thoughts about the breakup in a letter that you will never give your ex (or just speak your thoughts out loud). When that timer goes off, ask yourself: “What do I need now? Do I need to speak with someone that loves me? Do I need to do something physical? Do I need to take a shower, eat, self-pleasure, watch a movie? What will be nurturing in this very moment that will also feel good after?” You can repeat this as needed!

3. Reconnect with things that make you happy.Dr. Liner suggests dusting off old hobbies you may have stopped doing while busy in your relationship. “We naturally shift away from various activities while dating, and it can be empowering to get back to them,” she explains.

4. Surround yourself with good support—and lots of it.Naturally, your inclination may be to lean on your friends for support during and after a breakup. Try not to let embarrassment or anxiety hold you back from doing just that. “One of the things I hear most from clients going through breakups is that they’re worried about burdening or annoying their networks,” says Dr. Liner. “So it can be helpful to rotate who you’re talking to.”

Depending on the specifics of your situation—like if the breakup was expected and if you’ve been keeping up with your friends a normal amount during your relationship—they may not be surprised to hear the news. Hopefully, they’ll spring into action and help you feel better in the specific ways that only people who really know you can.

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5. And apologize to your support system if you need to.But if you’re itching to reach out to people you’ve lost touch with for some reason, whether it’s getting caught up in your relationship or the madness of the pandemic, youcanown your mistakeif you need to, Dr. Liner says. For instance, if you basically fell out of orbit because you were that in love, she offers a few scripts to try: “I know I stopped prioritizing our friendship while I was in my relationship, and I really regret that. I’d love a chance to reconnect with you if you’re open to it.” Or, “I got really caught up in having a significant other and now see that it wasn’t cool of me to disappear on you like that.”

6. Consider finding a therapist if you don’t already have one.“Having an unbiased, neutral, third-party observer is instrumental in gaining a deeper understanding in what happened, what your role was, and how you can learn and grow from it as you pursue future relationships,” says Dr. Liner. This is extra important if your mental health has been heavily impacted by your breakup. “I place extra emphasis on this advice for anyone who is experiencing a significant decline in functioning: not eating or sleeping, missing or struggling at work, major changes in mood or personality, or having intrusive or suicidal thoughts," Dr. Liner says.

Not sure how to go about finding mental health help?.7. Do your best to be patient (even though it’s hard).How long does it take to get over a breakup? There’s no one answer, so try to be patient. Yes, it’s so much easier said than done. But Dr. Liner stresses that the pain won’t go away overnight and recovery is a process. “There will be days you feel better and days you feel worse,” she says. “Your thoughts and emotions may jump around in the stages of grief for a while,” adds

Alli Spotts-De Lazzer, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Studio City, California. Some days you may feel better than others, and it’s okay to honor wherever you are in your journey.“Our healing time will depend on the meaning the relationship held, as well as the length of the relationship,” explains

Habiba Jessica Zaman, a professional counselor in Tucker, Georgia. Especially if you experienced any firsts with this person—like the first partner you lived with—it can be really challenging to move on. And while there is no one-size-fits-all timeline, Zaman says if you’ve gone

, it may be time to seek out some professional help.8. Seek distance from the relationship.“We have to begin the process of separating ourselves from the person to be able to heal,” Decker explains. “This can be very difficult due to the intertwined nature of relationships. A good start to this is to reduce communication to only what is necessary,” she explains— keep the conversation limited to specific things like getting your stuff back, then end the discussion.

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There isn’t a one-size-fits-all recommendation for things like whether or not to delete an ex’s number or block them on social media. That will really depend on the specifics of your situation. But Decker says to be mindful of how keeping the option of contacting them open is affecting you. Thinking back to the analogy of a breakup being a wound, Dr. Liner says after tending to the cut, the next step would be to leave it alone. “Every time you contact your ex, you’re essentially picking off your scab,” she says. “Picking scabs leads to infections and scarring, and the same happens to our emotional healing.”

9. Consider appointing an intermediary if needed.Exceptions for limiting contact need to be made, of course, especially in situations where you are currently living together, or perhaps sharingor even co-parenting. “In these cases, it can be helpful to ask a trusted friend or family member to be your proxy for arranging logistics temporarily so you can get some distance,” says Dr. Liner.

10. Put away as many painful reminders of your ex as you can.“The healthiest coping mechanism is getting rid of everything associated with this person,” says Zaman. (As you’ll see in a bit, that doesn’t necessarily meantrashingeverything.)Maintaining the option for communication or even saving old texts or phone calls, according to Zaman, “keeps hope that [you’ll] possibly get back together. It could also hinder the ability to move on with your life without this person in it.”

That said, one day after you’ve processed the relationship and can even look back on it fondly, you may wish you still had certain mementos from your time together, which brings us to our next tip.11. If you do save mementos, do it smartly.If you don’t want to throw out

allthe memories associated with your ex, Decker suggests putting them in a box and keeping it out of our eyesight untilemotions have died downand you can make a less impulsive decision about what to do with your keepsakes.If you don’t trust that you won’t still dig out your ex’s old sweater that you always slept in—even after hiding it—consider asking a trusted friend to either hide or hold on to these mementos for you.

12. Try dating yourself. (Yes, seriously.)In case you’re tempted to roll your eyes at this one, know that it really can be helpful. “Whenever I am dealing with a breakup, I always act as if I am in a relationship with myself,” says Jeanine Duval, the editor of an online

in Montreal. She takes herself on dates, cooks herself exciting meals, the whole nine. “Treat yourself like you are the best partner in the world! Because newsflash: Youareyour own best partner,” she says.13. Don’t keep tabs on your ex.You don’t need to know about what they are up to, so don’t fall into the trap of lurking on their social media or having mutual friends keep you updated. Knowing what they’re up to will not help you move on. “If you find yourself obsessively checking their [social media], it would benefit you to either unfriend, block, or hide them, as is an option on some apps,” Decker explains. Again, this is a time you may need to enlist the help of a friend who can take these steps for you if it’s too much to do them on your own.

14. And don’t hook up with them!This might seem obvious, but it’s nearly impossible to sever the tie between you and your ex if you’re stillwith them.15. Take a break from dating if you’re not ready.Being single again might seem scary, but you don’t have to force anything. Jumping into something too soon, Decker says, can backfire when you have not yet fully processed your breakup. “This can lead to additional stress and regret that will further complicate the healing process,” she explains.

16. And periodically check in with yourself to see if youareready.How do you know when it’s time to date again? “When you consistently feel more positive emotions than negative ones, such as you often find yourself laughing and feeling more like yourself,” Decker says. Another good sign can be if you consistently think of your relationship without a strong emotional response, such as anger or sadness. But that won’t necessarily be true for everyone—you may be able to still find a special connection or just have a great time dating even when processing anger or sadness about your ex. Ultimately, though, dating will feel best if you’re looking to genuinely enhance your life, not just fill a void of loneliness.

17. Don’t engage in revenge posting.You know the posts—where you’re curating your social media with the intention of posting things your ex will see (or hear about through mutual friends) in order to elicit jealousy, show them how great you’re doing, or just generally behaving with them in mind. This causes you to still prioritize them and allows them to take up significant real estate in your mind. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these kinds of posts, but if you’ll be disappointed if your ex doesn’t watch your story or text you after a particularly great post on your feed, that’s a sign to proceed with caution.

18. Consider volunteering.shoe company Read more: SELF »

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