Bad breakup? Challenge accepted.
Stage 1: Disbelief
Surprisingly, this can happen whether you were broken up with or did the breaking up. For some people, it barely lasts, for some people it lasts a few hours and in others a few days. I've found that the longer a relationship has lasted for, the longer it takes for Stage 2 to set in. Getting through Stage 1 is the easy part - carry on with your day to day life, and make sure you look after yourself. It's the time that you can really think about your relationship and accept that it is over.
Try not to text him. I know a lot of people say to cut off all contact, but I think if after the initial breakup you feel confused, it might make you feel better to talk a bit about it with him or her, because your ex partner is probably feeling similarly. However, after this has been talked out, the only way to truly get over it and help you though Stage 2 is to cut the contact down, or to an only professional basis if you work with him or her.
We know what it's like for something to happen that you instinctively reach for your phone to tell him or her about, or you've come across something that you'd both found funny. Or you look at your phone in the morning and there's no good morning text. Worse, he's no longer lying next to you. Stay strong, don't let your resolve crumble.
Stage 2: Realisation
We all know what this is. For some people it's sobbing into a pillow, praying to God even though you're an atheist, slamming your fist into something or hopelessly looking through photos and stalking through their facebook page. Here, it is very important to let it all out. Let yourself cry through Bridget Jones, eat or don't eat, though try to. The key here is how long you let it go on for.
Good news - it is only up from here. I would say absolutely no longer than 3 days of this self pity, though for myself I allowed a day. You have to look after your body and your mental health, and the key to both of those is exercise.
Stage 3: Accept the Challenge
Get up out of your bed, or wherever you are doing your lamenting. Get some trainers on and get your backside outdoors and go for a run. Yes - you're hurting. Yes, it is definitely hard. And indeed, life isn't fair. But this is one of the challenges that your life has presented to you. You won't be beaten by it, you won't cry pathetically and moan to all of your friends. You aren't going to beat yourself up over whatever you did or didn't do.
Channel everything that you are feeling into something. Exercise is the best, because it helps your body and releases hormones to make your feel better. I know that not everyone can exercise, so maybe try to channel your emotions into something else. It might be making music, getting into politics, cooking. Trust me, you'll get good at it.
Just do it!
Stage 4: Talk to your friends
You might want to talk about your breakup, you might want to discuss last night's episode of The Voice. Either way you go about it, human interaction is really important!!
The day of my last breakup, I had to go to a group work university tutorial only a few hours afterwards. I desperately wanted to wallow in bed, but I absolutely had to go - and when I got there, I genuinely forgot about it for an hour. I had a laugh, I saw people I knew and liked - made plans for the following evening. We talked about totally inane stuff but it made me feel a lot better.
Stage 5: It's ok to think about it
Shoving all thought of your past relationship out of your head for the rest of your life is hardly healthy, is it? When you're feeling a bit better, open your mind to all the niggling thoughts that you might have been keeping at bay. The jeans he wore that you loved, the white top that made her look really pretty.
You might feel more sad when you start thinking about these things, but to move on you have to power through it, and stick with Stage 4 while incorporating Stage 5. When you can think about any aspect of your relationship without breaking down, you know you've done it. Try to look back with fond memories, rather than be bitter.
Do rebounds help you after a breakup?
Stage 7: Focus on yourself
When your mind is at peace again, now is the time to build your life up. Maybe you neglected friends or work while you were with your partner. Sort it out. Maybe you got really comfortable and stopped working out or dressing nicely. Sort that out too.
Rebounds help some people and make it worse for others. I've used someone as a rebound once, and wouldn't recommend it nor advise against it. However, there's a difference between a rebound and going off the rails. Your behaviour is entirely down to you - nobody cares what you've 'been through', the only person who can sort you out is you. Get it together.
Stage 8: Be open to new relationships
Don't be scared of a new relationship if you were hurt in the last one. Sometimes it can be really hard to trust again, particularly if he or she talked about spending a life together and now this. Be careful of the L word is my only advice!
Don't allow yourself to be sucked into anything. It is okay to tell someone that you are still recovering and need some time. Maybe they'll give it to you, maybe they won't. Either way, you should be stable enough in yourself before you go leaning on someone else for support.
You're over it!
Okay, the hard parts are over! You are now single and free to do whatever you wanted to do. My ex boyfriend was really against the military, but I actually had always wanted to join the Reserves, so now I have joined and I absolutely love it.
Go out and let someone catch your eye, dance in a way you don't want to remember, do whatever you want! Wear what you want, dye your hair, get a tattoo, redecorate your house. Get clothes that you feel confident and sexy in, and before long you really will have your eyes on someone else. It will happen when you least expect it, so make sure you're always looking your best!