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How to Get Over a Breakup: 5 Ways That Can Help You

Updated on June 7, 2012


When my marriage of seven years ended abruptly I was lost. My life felt like it was over and I had no idea what to do next. While I found that fixing the tangible aspects of my life was not that hard, understanding and dealing with my emotions was extremely difficult. I searched the Internet and found a lot of bad advice, and a little bit of good advice. Through much trial and error I found a way to move past my relationship and emerge healthy, happy and better than ever.

While not everybody is the same, there are some things that can help anybody regardless if you were married for ten years or dating for three months. Here are my self-tested, divorce-approved tips for getting over a breakup.

Allow yourself to grieve

Yes, this hurts! When my marriage ended I cried. Then I cried some more, and loudly! I laid on the floor and cried. I curled up in bed and cried. I cried while driving (not recommended). It took me three days, but eventually the tears dried enough to begin moving on. Had I not taken the time I needed, those tears would have trickled out for months, effectively ruining any chances at being happy. That’s not to say I didn’t cry at all anymore, but I cried far less and usually during situations I could control instead of in the middle of social gatherings or a job interview.

There is nothing wrong with allowing yourself time to grieve. It is a natural reaction to feel sad at the end of a relationship. Whether you cry, rant and rave (in private, not at your ex), or retreat inside of yourself, you are allowing the beginning threads of healing to take place.

As good as this feels, (and yes, grieving can feel good while at the same time be awful) just be careful not to let it go on too long. You don’t want to fall into a pattern that becomes habit. Prolonged grieving in excessive amounts can lead to serious depression or have strong mental effects. You want to come out of this healthy, not damaged beyond repair.

Talk, talk, talk

Don’t keep all of your feelings to yourself! Pick a close friend or two (not every single person you know, and definitely not Facebook) and talk about what is happening. Talk about your relationship. Talk about what you feel and what you hate and what you are going to do with your life now. It feels so good to talk! Your close friends are the ones who already know about your relationship, they already have a background on you and your ex. They can often offer insights that will help you. They know what you need and how to help you.

While talking is great, and I highly recommend it, be sure not to dwell too much on your breakup. If you are still talking about nothing else besides your breakup and it is a month after it happened you could be doing yourself more harm than good. You don’t want to become obsessed or centered on this negative experience. Healthy conversations will eventually turn into how you are moving on with your life, not how you are going to key his car or how you always did hate that haircut she had.

Don’t talk trash about your ex

While I would rather describe what to do instead of what not to do, this is a big one. Yes, you can choose that one close friend to relate your grievances to. This could even be helpful in realizing that it really is time to move on. Saying negative things about your ex to everybody will likely do more harm than good. When you talk badly about your ex to everybody, this makes you look bad and it will cause you to think too much about the bad things. In turn you will lose sight of where you are going to make yourself better. Be that better person and don’t talk trash and don’t let others around you do it either. Particularly don’t say things that aren’t true just to make them look worse. Others will think better of you for it, and to be honest people get tired of hearing somebody whine and complain all the time. Change your sentences to “I will” and “I am” instead of “he never” or “She was”. That person is not in your life anymore so stop talking about them!

Exercise

Did you know that exercising could release endorphins into your brain that will make you feel happier? You don’t need a gym membership to get these benefits, either. Take a twenty-minute walk outside in the sunshine. Sunlight has similar benefits and when paired with exercise can be extremely beneficial. You can use these walks to “tune out” from what is happening, giving yourself a break on many different levels. When you get home again you will likely feel refreshed and better able to handle the next challenge of a breakup. Plug in your iPod and hit the sidewalk – you will thank yourself later!

Rekindle lost hobbies

Is there something you loved doing that your ex didn’t? Maybe you loved hiking and he deplored it. Or maybe you like to paint but never had the time because you were always with the other person. Think about who you were before your relationship. I had to do this when my marriage ended. I have always loved to travel, and when I was younger I thought I would spend my adult years trekking around the globe. My husband however was not too find of traveling and we did very little of it. Once I was single again I realized I was now free to go wherever I wanted! In the first year I visited four different states and went on so many trips I thought I would never do, like a four-day drive up and down the California coast. Experiences like this will help remind you that being single can be fun and fulfilling, and will help take your mind off of your situation. Relaxing time is necessary to heal a broken heart.

Whatever route you go just remember never to sell yourself short. You are great the way you are and believing anything different will only lead you to a life of unhappiness. Enjoy life, take time to take care of yourself, and use this experience to better yourself.

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