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How to Deal With a Break-up: Five Things You Should and Should Not Do

Updated on November 13, 2019
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Heather has a Bachelor's Degree in English from Moravian College and has been freelance writing for more than 14 years.

When it comes to love, it can be a splendid thing; if it was working. Relationships that don't work are difficult creatures full of drama, sadness and some memorable times. It's difficult to pinpoint why some can go the distance, while others fold at the first sign of trouble. Successful relationships are sometimes as rare as winning the lottery or getting your big break in Hollywood.

Occasionally, there are relationships that seem to be going well on the surface, but they were always secretly flawed from the start. It's those particular break-ups that hurt the most because one partner never saw it coming. Heartache and anger often go hand in hand with the fallout being swift once the news was revealed. Trying to remain in control in an uncontrollable situation was twice as difficult.

How do you handle getting your heart broken by someone who clearly didn't see a future with you? What are the appropriate measures in going through a break-up? Here is a list of five things you should do and five things you should avoid doing at all costs when going through a break-up. Read on to see if your first or second impulse is on the list.

How did things get to this point?
How did things get to this point?

Recommended Actions to Take

Be honest about your feelings-
Allow yourself to absorb the shock of being dumped by your significant other. Choose your words wisely when they tell you that it's over. If you want to cry, you're allowed to do so because it hurts to have your heart broken. Sure, it might make them feel uncomfortable, but it's best to not let things go unsaid with your soon-to-be former significant other. Okay, there was always a fine line between honesty and using your words to cut them like metaphorical knives. Getting your point across without inflicting emotional harm was the best course to go in the long run.

A little bit of tact goes a long way-
Realize that a complete meltdown in front of your callous former significant other isn't the best idea, especially if they didn't choose the right approach to end the relationship. If they choose to end the relationship via text message or through a third party, let them know that it was the wrong move to do so in a clear and concise manner. They will likely hate that you're calling them out for being a coward, but the truth does hurt no matter which way you slice it. Choose to be better than your former partner and not stoop to their level. No need to dredge up the past and discuss all of their shortcomings as a way to dig the knife in deeper. Let them become the villain if they choose to go that route. It's best to simply not respond and block them on social media or on any electronic device you have at your disposal. Safer that way instead of giving into the impulse to curse them out online.

Have an adventure for one-

Now that the relationship is over, take time for yourself. You need to learn how to heal your heart before you move onto someone else. Take a simple vacation or a day trip to somewhere you've always wanted to go to. Now is the time to take a chance and have an adventure for yourself, since you have no one to answer to anymore. Explore the world and find a piece of your individuality in the process.

Exorcise any physical trace of your ex in your home-

Get rid of any photos you have of your former boyfriend or girlfriend. The less reminders you have of them in your personal space the better. Just know that you won't be able to eradicate them completely, especially in your subconscious. That one will take a long time to wipe out that memory hard drive. There's no procedure to erase your ex like in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Learn to accept that the memories are just that: memories and nothing else. Once you do that, you're headed in the first step in the right direction.

Find an outlet to cope with your feelings-

If you're a writer, write about what you're feeling. Paint about it on a blank canvas. Get your emotions out of your head. Seek out a friend, family member or an outside party to talk about your feelings. Getting them out in the open is much better than keeping them inward to fester. That's never a good thing to do, because it will never provide the closure you truly need to reach in order to move on properly.

Let your ex know what you're feeling, even if they don't want to hear it.
Let your ex know what you're feeling, even if they don't want to hear it.

Avoid Taking Part in Doing the Following

Don't confront them in public under any circumstances-
Repeat this phrase: it's a bad idea to seek your ex out in a public place. Don't draw any unnecessary attention to yourself; or your situation. Sure, it might be nice to kick your former boyfriend where the sun doesn't shine, but that act also made you look just as bad. Almost like a stereotypical spurned lover of a commitaphobe who was proven right by this moment. Try to not be that stereotype. If you see your former flame, be civil in public if necessary and just keep moving to avoid giving into any bad impulses.

Stalking them on social media never helps-

If you're still friends with your ex on any social media site, delete them immediately off your friends list. Cut off all contact with them. The sooner, the better. It will cause you to avoid the temptation to regularly check their profile page every five minutes or so. If you see photos of them on a date with someone new, it will cause you to go into a shame spiral and eat all of the ice cream in your freezer. Avoid that risk and stop all contact with them immediately. Block their name and any opportunity to send you a message. Make a clean break now to prevent you from liking a post of theirs or sending them a message of any kind.

Try not to end up as a story on Dateline-

Okay, it might be ideal to want to have an impulse to put a banana in your ex's tailpipe or slash their tires, but childish acts such as those could get you in trouble with the law. It also seemed like a subplot in a Hollywood blockbuster about an unstable former lover going after their unworthy former significant other. Fatal Attraction showcased a man who had a decent marriage and ended up in a brief fling with a female coworker who couldn't take rejection. Her increasingly desperate actions made men want to think twice about being in the same room when breaking up with someone. Don't embrace your inner bad girl when recovering from your recent break-up. Never follow your first, second or third impulses when it comes to your feelings and your actions. Taking an extra second will benefit you in the long run and likely keep you out of jail if you tempted to go by the route of vandalism.

Never look for any of their future flames-

This action is an important one, folks, so listen up closely. You know that your now ex-lover will move on to someone else. It's a given that someone who loved to date will find someone else sooner or later. Accept this fact for your own benefit and not act surprise when this moment does occur. Deceptive people, or the dumper in this case, tend to just heal quicker and move on twice as fast. Don't under any circumstances look for their current flame on social media and warn them about what type of trouble they're headed for. The new boyfriend or girlfriend won't believe anything you have to say because you're the picture of the scorned ex. Just accept that and let them find out for themselves what type of heartache they have coming to them on the horizon. If your ex-lover dumped you, the odds are they will do it again to someone else. That's just the law of averages.

Repeating the past is never a good idea-

Depending on the nature of the break-up, it might be the ultimate longshot, but it has been known to happen. Relationships end and then some time passes before a former couple somehow wound up back together. More often than not, it doesn't. When a break-up occurs, it was meant to happen for a reason. The same issues that were there before in the first attempt will often rear their ugly heads out in any subsequent attempts at a reconciliation. If your ex wants to get back together, think long and very hard before jumping headlong into a repeat of your previous go-around. Figure out what went wrong and try to work to fix those past issues. Make a pros and cons list to see if the relationship was worth saving. If there are more cons than pros, it was best to let sleeping dogs lie and move on to someone likely better for you in the long run.

Choose your words wisely if your ex is offering an olive branch.
Choose your words wisely if your ex is offering an olive branch.

In the end, break-ups hurt like the worst kind of emotional surgery. It just does and there is no way around it. Prepare to be heartbroken and cynical when it comes to having a romantic future of any kind. You will recover from this, but it will take time to do so properly. There is no realistic time table in doing so. Learn how to love yourself without having partner by your side. Once you do that, you will be off to a good start in moving on from a partner who likely never deserved you in the first place.

Accept the fact that the relationship ended in the first place. Once that happened, you reached the first step in the right direction. Never give someone else the power to diminish your overall strength. If you do that, then the road will be a lot longer and harder to recover from. Enjoy yourself and your life before stepping out onto the dating scene again. Finding your own inner peace made you all the more appealing to any potential suitors out there. One step at a time first. The company of one was the right medicine at the very moment.


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