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How to Get Over a Breakup and Move On
It's OK that Your Heart is Hurting
Is your heart hurting over a recent breakup? Or has it been a while, and yet you are still grieving? It's OK. Letting yourself grieve is a good thing to do, even though it is by no means fun or enjoyable. Getting through your breakup is going to take some time, so let yourself go through the process and don't be in a hurry to "get over" it, so to speak.
Recognize The 5 Stages of Grief
Recognizing that you will probably go through some semblance of the following Stages of Grief is important. When an individual loses a loved one through death, one experiences these things, but they also apply in great degree when it comes to the loss of a romantic relationship as well.
The 5 Stages of Grief:
1. Denial and Isolation - When you cannot believe the loss has happened, and you tend to isolate yourself from others
2. Anger - You are angry that the loss has happened (this is really just a way of covering the pain and hurt you are feeling.)
3. Bargaining - Thnking to yourself, "If only I had done ____. If only I had said, ______, this wouldn't have happened." You bargain in your mind to try and bring the person back.
4. Depression - It is really hitting you that you have really broken up at this point. It is finally becoming real, and you are deeply sad.
5. Acceptance - You are finally able to come to terms with the fact that this loss did occur, and are slowly moving on with your life and looking toward new horizons.
If You Really Want to Move On...Cut Off Contact with the Person
I know it's hard, but this is vital. In order to go through the healing process and move on, you need to cut off all contact with your ex.
- No texting him/her
- No calling him/her
- No seeing him/her in person
- No stalking him/her on Facebook (or being "friends" - too tempting)
- No driving by his/her house to catch a glimpse
You get the idea! You are going to mess up in this area... It's pretty much a given. Almost nobody I know of is able to cut off contact "cold turkey" with someone who was once very important in their lives. But, after you've messed up a couple of times, you'll probably realize that it only hurts you more to see the person, talk to them, text them, etc, because it is just another remind that... you are not with that person anymore. So, the faster you cut off contact, the better!
Express Yourself Through Creativity
I'm a creative type, and I also majored in Psychology in college. I'm really interested in Art Therapy, and truly believe that art and music can be therapeutic in the areas of trauma and loss. I have found this to be true for myself, and believe it can be very helpful for others as well.
As you deal with your breakup, express yourself in any creative way you can, whether it is through art-making, poetry, writing in your journal, and so on. Even if you only know how to draw stick figures - why not try it? You might discover that you're more creative than you thought!
When I went through a serious breakup, I took an art class. I started drawing, painting, crocheting, and writing more than ever. Not only was it therapeutic for me, but it also brought me back to my roots as an artist, and it took my mind off my problems sometimes, too.
If You're Not the Creative Type... Express Yourself in Other Ways
- Take up running, or start running again. Why not train for a marathon?
- Join the gym, and start working on personal fitness goals
- Take a cooking class, and practice your skills on your parents or roommates
- Ride your bike on a beautiful trail
- Go for a hike (make sure you are prepared, though!)
- Learn a new computer program, or coding, if that's your thing
- Take a college course that you've always been interested in
- Whatever your passion is - focus on it, and reach for your goals!
Art Therapy Exercises... Why Not Try One Just Because?
- Draw or paint how you feel today
- Draw or paint how it feels to be broken up
- Draw or paint your hopes for the future
- Draw or paint things that make you happy and filled with joy
- Note: You could also use materials such as newspaper or magazine clippings to do a collage and make a mixed media picture
- The important thing is that you are expressing yourself and getting your feelings out
I'm not an art therapist, although I would like to become one someday. These aren't "official" or anything - Just ideas to help you express yourself as you process your breakup and look toward the future.
Cultivate Friendships - But Be Careful Not to Rebound!
Now is a great time to cultivate your relationships with friends, new and old, as well as family members. Go out to lunch with your mom or dad. Hang out with your best friend. Invite a friend you don't know very well to lunch. Cultivate relationships, but beware of rebounding.
A rebound relationship is basically a relationship that results from not wanting to be lonely after a breakup. It's not a good idea to jump into a relationship right away after experiencing a breakup, because you are not ready emotionally to become attached to someone new. You will constantly be comparing this new person to your ex, and while you should be devoting much time and attention to getting to know this person, you will most likely still secretly be pining away for your ex. That's not fair to your new boyfriend/girlfriend, and it's not ultimately fair to you either, because you haven't given yourself the time you need to heal and grow as a person on your own.
It's OK to be single and to embrace learning about yourself as a person. What are you like without a significant other? If you can't stand on your own without being in a romantic relationship, that might be a sign that something isn't right.
Get Closer to God
Spending this time getting closer to the Lord is also extremely vital. In fact, you will find that you have a lot more time to read the Bible and pray, and go to church, serve, and fellowship, than ever before. You can have undivided focus on the Lord when you are not in a relationship, and you should take advantage of that now, before God brings your spouse along.
Focus on God through:
- Reading God's Word, the Bible
- Fellowship with believers at church
- Serving the body of Christ
- Witnessing to non-believers -- those who need to know Christ and His love
Now might be a great time to explore what your spiritual gifts are. How does God want you to serve others and be a blessing to the body of Christ? To minister to those who don't know Him?
Also, it is important to trust God with your future, knowing that He will provide a spouse for you at the right time. Jesus taught his disciples, "Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you as well." (Matthew 6:33)
Don't Look Back - Focus on Your Bright Future!
As tempting as it is, remember that as humans, we tend to look at the past with rose-colored glasses. When you're remembering the good times with your ex, and feeling sad and lonely, stop and take another look.
- Were things really as good as you are remembering? If they were, why are you now broken up?
- Did he/she really treat you the way you want/deserve to be treated?
- Was he/she really the boyfriend/girlfriend you need?
Chances are, that person is not as great as you are making them out to be in your mind. So instead, do this exercise:
- Write down five negative memories with your ex. That's right, I'm encouraging you to focus on the negative!
- Write down five reasons why you're better off without your ex.
- Write down five things your ex didn't want you to do, that you thought were important.
Now, breathe a sigh of relief! You're free from your ex, and your future looks bright! God has great plans for your life!