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Moving On After Your Relationship Ends

Updated on January 10, 2017

The Ending

The majority of us have experienced the heartbreak and sadness that comes with the ending of a meaningful relationship. It hurts, body and soul, and sometimes it feels like the easiest thing to do is lay around and cry reading old cards or letters from your ex, reliving the past. I can relate, and I have been there a few more times than I care to mention. Ah love, the never ending common goal that we all hope to reach one day. Love can be a wonderful life changing experience, where you are walking on the clouds and can't stand to be away from that other person for an hour. You are certain this is 'The One ' and this time you got it right.

Then, reality sets in, one person or the other ends the relationship. Sometimes you expect it, other times you wind up in complete shock. Sometimes it really is a mutual decision and you both realize that the relationship cannot last and just simply isn't meant to be.

Regardless of the type of ending, it still hurts and once again you find yourself in that familiar place of having to pick yourself back up from the floor and begin again at square one.

After the Initial Heartbreak

So many steps follow the initial breakup and every person in the world is different but from my experience here's a few of them.

  • Anger - Depending on the reason for breaking up you may start off very angry. If one person cheated or lied to you for example you are going to be upset, and reasonably so. However, be aware because the anger doesn't last near long enough.
  • Regret - After your initial anger wears off many times you will begin to second guess yourself. If you were angry and ended the relationship you may start to question whether you made the right decision or not by ending things. if you were not the one who ended it, you may start to question yourself, your actions, and wonder if it was something you did wrong or didn't do right which caused the relationship to end.
  • Sadness - Plain old sadness comes like waves through a breakup. You will feel sad throughout each of these four periods of time, if only briefly. Even when you're angry you will still find sadness lurking right behind it. Many times you will romanticize the relationship only remembering the 'good' times the two of you had together. Try to keep in mind the reason the two of you broke up in the first place and not let yourself only focus on the good times.
  • Moving On - Personally, I don't believe a person can truly move on after a meaningful relationship, until you have experienced and really dealt with some of the previous feelings. If you jump right into another relationship chances are it is not going to last. It isn't fair to the person you are with, and it certainly isn't fair to yourself. It's nearly impossible to fall in love and give your heart to someone when you never really got it back from the previous person.

The Act of Moving On

Moving on from an important relationship takes time, and time is relative depending on each individual person and each individual relationship. If you were in a long term relationship with someone chances are you won't recover in a weeks time. If you were with someone for 2 days, well, I'd say about 1 day should cover it. For most of us though, and for the purpose of this Hub, let's just say at least 1 year or more can constitute a long-term relationship. In the grand scheme of love and life being involved with someone for a year still does not seem like it is all that long. At that year point though, spending your days and nights with the same person you have gotten to know this person intimately. They have gotten to know you in the same sense. To lose that, is a very real loss and when love is lost it almost feels like you have lost a piece of yourself. In order to get yourself back on track here are a few things I suggest giving a try. Nothing is fail proof, and I only know as much as I personally have experienced on this Earth, but this stuff has helped me out in the past. Maybe it will help you out as well.

  • Reconnect With Friends - This is a wonderful way to start getting back to your old self, the self you were pre-relationship. Sometimes in the throws of a relationship especially a newer one we drift away from the world as we knew it before we were involved with someone. Our friends go on the back burner. It's not intentional, sometimes it just happens because at the beginning it's all magical, giggly, and wanting to be attached at the hip with the other person. We all have those friends in our lives, thankfully who will welcome us back with open arms and who stick by us through thick and thin. Many times going out, having fun, and overall reconnecting with your friends can help to fill the void left from a lost love.
  • Listen to Happy or Angry (Anti-Love) Music - Music is a wonderful way to release your stress and anger. Rocking out to some anti-love music of any genre is bound to lift your spirits. Any music is a good choice for helping you through the time of heartache with the exception of the 'Love is grand, I'm so in Love, Thank God For Love' type of mushy stuff. This is no good at all. It will bring up memories and before you know it you're crying in your car, calling the radio station on your cell phone sending out song requests to your ex. Stick to the happiest music you can find.
  • Date - While I do think you should allow yourself a fair amount of time to really deal with your true feelings and emotions there is absolutely nothing wrong with going out and enjoying yourself. I, personally, don't find there to be any error in going out on the occasional date with someone. It's not like you're proposing, you're simply grabbing a bite to eat or catching a movie. Who knows, maybe when you ARE ready to get serious you'll have some nice choices lined up. There is nothing wrong with allowing yourself to have some happiness, even though deep down you are still all gloom and doom.
  • Pick Back Up Hobbies - When in a long term relationship many people let a lot of their old self just completely go by the way side. Again, this is normal. When you fall in love you most likely will pick up new interests with your partner. They will take interest in some of yours you will take interest in some of theirs. Many people lose themselves from time to time in the relationship itself. Things that you used to really enjoy you find you just never have time for anymore. when the relationship ends, these are perfect activities for you to get back involved with. A special advantage is if your ex also happened to hate that particular interest or activity of yours. It makes it all the more fun for you to get back in to.
  • Get a Pet - Maybe this one sounds a bit out there for some, but after losing a partner you feel terribly alone. If you're allergic to hairy animals, dogs, cats, etc, try a fish. I have a soft spot for dogs. I own two now and if you're an animal person and don't already have a pet you should think about trying it out. It's nice to not feel completely alone, and animals reciprocate love for their owners. They can truly become part of your own little family. Another great pet that I highly recommend are chinchillas. I got my chinchilla, (her name is Gidget), about 4 years ago. They are fun and adorable. They can live up to 20 years if you give them a nice life. They require little to no food or water, and you never even have to bathe them. With Chinchillas they take their 'baths' in sand. They literally roll around in a little box that you put sand in and it keeps them clean. I realize it sounds ridiculous but they are amazing little animals. If treated well, and depending on where and what type of chinchilla you buy, they are extremely sweet. Gidget runs around the house, and my son is crazy about her. They generally run from about 100-150 dollars, but trust me, this is one pet that is well worth it.
  • Learn New Things - I love this one! I'm always up for learning new things in my life anyway but after a relationship ends it's a great way to keep your mind off of the pain and really get moving with your life. When you pick up new hobbies and go new places you start to rediscover yourself, maybe even learn some things about yourself you didn't know before. We are not meant to just continuously do the same humdrum thing over and over I think it's important to keep trying new things to keep your life moving forward, and who knows who you will meet along the way. This is a great way to meet new friends and introduce new people into your world. All of which will help fill the void of missing your ex.
  • Talk To Your Family - Whether you believe it or not, your family members really were right where you are at. Some may still be going through it! There's no law that says you have to be married, stay married, etc. at any particular time in your life. Family is the one group that will always have your back. I'm extremely close to my family especially my mother, and I doubt there's much of anything the woman doesn't know about me. Fortunately for me, I can learn from her because she's already been where I am right now. She's walked this path and suffered heartache and pain. I guarantee if you are going through a breakup and trying to come out on the other side your parents or other family members will listen to you talk and give you some helpful advice that generally you SHOULD take. Friends are worthy contenders as well, but just don't count out your family during hard times, because when push comes to shove they will always, ALWAYS, love you and take care of you.
  • Re-Decorate - In the moving on process this always helps. It's therapeutic even if you and your ex didn't share a home with one another. If you did share a home with each other then I believe this is a MUST. You don't have to go nuts with this, I know a lot of us are on a budget. It costs next to nothing to grab a couple buckets of paint, and if you're looking for different furniture the first place I would check out is your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Everything is super cheap there and you really can find some gorgeous stuff. Sand it down, slap a fresh coat of paint on it and you've got a gorgeous new chest of drawers or coffee table. Whatever you decide to do, even if it's just moving your current furniture around, do something. Walking into the same old house or apartment the two of you shared or where he/she would come over to constantly visit, can bring back horribly sad memories when you least expect it. If you change things up a little bit, walking into that same place isn't near as melancholy.
  • Resist the Urge to Call/Text/Visit Your Ex - This one is generally a given, but sometimes when the break up is fresh people slip up. Stick to your guns though the best you can. In the effort of really truly moving on it's best to have a clean break. If you were friends for a long time before you dated, you may have the chance to become friends again but not right away. In breakups one of people involved are usually hurting more than the other and being friends right then is all but impossible without causing more damage. Late night calls or texts are generally cries of loneliness and should definitely be avoided. Make yourself wait until the sun is up the next day and if you still feel the same way, and truly think there's something left that you need to say to your ex then decide for yourself in the beautiful light of day. I guarantee once another day has come though, you will rethink the situation and decide against it.



Happy Again

Each person who has suffered heartbreak moves at a different pace and it takes different struggles and strategies to finally move on and be happy again. Unfortunately, nothing in this life is all black or white, what works for some may not work for others. Eventually, it will happen for you though, you will be able to finally move on with your life and get past the relationship that ended even though you once thought it would last forever. Figure out what works for you, stick to it, and keep going. Once you reach that place, where you can look back on the relationship, smile, and appreciate it for what it was, you will know that you have truly moved on. You will start to get back to your old self, and become happy in your own skin again.

Eventually, you will even be able to consider opening your heart up to another relationship. With love it always starts out as a 50/50 chance of working. You will never know without taking the chance. As awful as the heartbreak can be at the time, if you keep searching you will eventually find a love that is worth the risk. Learn from your mistakes and above all else, don't give up. When you do finally find the kind of love where you feel completely safe and content, you will find the heartbreak of the past no longer matters or influences you. Hardly any of us are lucky enough to get it right on the very first try. Just keep putting yourself out there and never shut yourself off to the possibility of love, because as hurtful as the experience can be when it goes wrong, it's equally, if not more wonderful when you finally get it right!

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  • Dana Cole James profile image

    Dana Cole James 5 years ago from East Coast - USA

    After leaving an unhealthy relationship, I didn't really feel as if it took any time to "move on" emotionally. I'd moved on a long time before physically leaving. As for sadness and regret, though: I still have both to some degree. Not sadness that the relationship ended - at all. Just sadness that it could have been different.

  • JeniferRW profile image
    Author

    Jen 5 years ago from Couch

    @MM, Awe thank you! I'm glad you liked the 'move on' list. I think a lot of it is probably stuff everybody does after a break up, but it's always nice to know you are not alone in a painful situation. Compared to huge world wide problems the loss of love doesn't seem like big of a deal..except to the person it's happening to. In my opinion, when you truly love someone and you lose it there are few things in this world that hurt in that way.

    I always love and appreciate your comments on my stuff. It means a lot! Thank you so much for voting as well!

  • JeniferRW profile image
    Author

    Jen 5 years ago from Couch

    @cogerson, Thanks so much! I'm glad to hear your relationship is going strong though! That gives the rest of hope for that 'someday' possibility.

    Thank you also for welcoming me! Even 3 weeks late, it's ok by me. Everyone here has been so great. Everybody seems like a very close knit community but still open to newcomers. I have had the best time here.

    I just finished reading your hub yesterday, on 2011 movies to see if I should go see Footloose or not actually! I was intensely crazy about the original. I'm thinking I may hit a matinee later today. I'll let ya know what I think, I really don't want to be let down.

    Thanks again, for commenting and welcoming me to hubpages! Keep updating those movies for me, I'm addicted to them!

  • JeniferRW profile image
    Author

    Jen 5 years ago from Couch

    @ruffridyer, First of all, I am truly sorry to hear about your loss. I am glad some of what is written here pertains to your situation even if only in some small way. Loss through death, at least for me, is a game changer. Many of us at a younger age have not had to experience the pain and anguish that accompanies losing your partner through death. It breaks my heart for you.

    Second, what was meant about 'the anger doesn't last near long enough,' is when you are hurting, at least in my experiences, the anger can almost ease the pain if only to work as a numbing device for a bit. I'm sure therapists all over the world would want to smack me for even suggesting such a thing, but from what I've seen, if you can stay angry because of something the other person did to cause you pain, the longer the better. It can be sort of a 'blocker' for sadness, and all the other intense emotions that accompany heartbreak. It doesn't last forever, and as I put, not long enough for me, but maybe once the anger finally subsides you will be at a better place. A place where you can better work through all those other emotions in the process of trying to move past it.

    Thank you for commenting. I really do appreciate it and again, I'm so very very sorry.

  • JeniferRW profile image
    Author

    Jen 5 years ago from Couch

    @jabbo, thank you so much! I always appreciate you stopping by and leaving such encouraging comments on my hubs. I think it is very difficult to be friends with an ex. I have tried that on a few occasions and in the end for one of us or the other it just lead to jealousy and eventually ruining the friendship in the end.

  • Movie Master profile image

    Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

    Hi Jenifer, some excellent advice here and I love your 'Move On' list.

    Thank you for sharing, voting up best wishes MM

  • Cogerson profile image

    Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

    Great advice in this hub. Thankfully I have not had to deal with a relationship ending in many moons. But that being said...as I read your hub I was able to remember the things I was feeling during some bad breakups....and I can tell you that the advice you have provided will in fact help a bad situation be a little bit better. Thanks for sharing this information. Voted up and useful....and welcome to HubPages....sorry my welcome was 3 weeks late.

  • profile image

    ruffridyer 5 years ago from Dayton, ohio

    I have two comments, first I don't understand your meaning when you state,"Be aware because the anger doesn't last near long enough."

    Are you saying you should be angry much longer? I am confused.

    My second comment is, My relationship ended through death. However much of your advice still applies to my situation. A good hub.

  • jabbo1 profile image

    jabbo1 5 years ago from Iowa

    Jenifer....that's right on the money. Experienced it all. Rare cases can people be true friends after being together. Learning these steps and how to cope with the loss also helps you be a better partner the next time around. Love it!