Tips on Getting Over Your Ex
What To Do When A Relationship Ends
If it's any comfort, any adult can commiserate with the way you feel when a relationship ends. Whether the breakup was your idea or your partner's, there are major changes happening for you now, not the least of which is dealing with the emotions that are swirling through you.
Right now it may feel like the pain or emptiness you're experiencing will last forever; it won't, but you may not be ready to believe that until you come to terms with the fact your relationship has ended. This is the first step to moving forward.
Accept that the relationship has ended. It is a fact. Once you accept that fact you can grieve your losses. Grief after a breakup is natural. Grief will run its course, and there are many things you can do to work through the grief, and you will begin to feel better.
When you fail to accept the finality of a breakup, when you hold onto hope that the two of you will get back together, you set yourself up for long-term pain and disappointment. This isn't healthy for you; it isn't in your best interests. Move on to acceptance of the situation, to allowing yourself to heal.
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What Not To Do After a Breakup
There are many positive, healthy options you can choose to do after a breakup, but there are also some options that are likely to lead to negative consequences or long-term repercussions. These are things you don't want to do after the end of a relationship:
- Try to hide or dull your emotions through excessive use of alcohol, excessive eating, use of illicit drugs or misuse of prescription drugs, refusing to eat or to diet excessively, or shop excessively
- Become involved in another emotional relationship before you've had sufficient time to process your grief and other feelings about your past relationship. Rebound relationships have a bad reputation for good reason.
- Wonder what is wrong with you as a human being or as a romantic partner. While a breakup is often the result of issues on both sides of the partnership, it doesn't define you as a bad human being or partner.
- Avoid friends and family. These people care about you and will allow you to talk through your feelings and provide positive reinforcement and affirmations towards you.
- Wallow in your feelings. It's easy enough to do; listen to the music the two of you enjoyed or visit places the two of you visited -- but don't. Nothing good is to be gained by these activities.
- Stay in touch with your ex or keep mementos around. After you've had time to grieve and heal from the breakup, you might want to reconsider these, but in the meantime they are a no-no.
- Don't be afraid to be alone. You'll know when you're ready for a possible relationship when you are happy in your own company. If, when you're alone, you feel compelled to call your ex or to overindulge in an unhealthy way in something, give a friend a call or make a visit to someone you care about.
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Tips to Get Over Your Ex
Accept that you are going to experience emotional pain due to the changes in your life after a relationship ends. Accept this fact and prepare to take action, to make changes, to look inward and move forward.
How are you going to move forward? How will you heal the broken heart you have now that seems without end? Read on:
- Change your habits, routines. Establish new places to go, different music to listen to, re-start an old hobby or find a new one, get a new hairstyle.
- Take care of yourself. Maintain your appearance and personal hygiene. Get dressed every day. Eat nutritious meals and get regular exercise. Looking good will make you feel better.
- Stay in touch with family and friends. You can even stay in touch with mutual friends of your ex-partner, just don't ask them to be in the middle of the two of you. Share your feelings with the people who care about you.
- Write a list of things about the relationship/ex-partner that you did not like or found irritating. Add to the list as memories emerge. You might want to keep this list on your bathroom mirror or car visor, or any other place you are likely to see it each day. This isn't about placing blame on your ex-partner; it's about being realistic that the relationship that's ended did have it's down sides too.
- Redecorate. Get rid of his posters or her frilly bedspread. Change the colors of the walls or spruce up the living area with new pillows or prints.
- Journal. Put your feelings, your experiences, your insights down on paper. Be honest with yourself and just let the words flow. You don't have to write in sentences; just put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and write. It's cathartic to get the thoughts and feelings out of your mind and onto something concrete, even if you never visit those entries again.
- Consider some stress-busting techniques such as yoga, tai chi, meditation, guided imagery, massage, physical exercise. Any of these may be therapeutic in your healing process.
- Write letters to your ex. Pour out all your thoughts and feelings into letter to your ex-partner. When you've completed one, tear it up or delete it. These are not letters that should ever be sent; they're for your benefit.
- If you find yourself unable to accept the finality of the breakup, or can't seem to move past your grief, consider consulting your health care provider, a therapist or counselor.
- Use this post-relationship period as a time of reflection. Think back over how you might want to do things differently in the future, about behavior you will and won't accept, about your values and how you want a new partner to respect those values. Because you are likely to be in touch with your feelings post-relationship, this time is a gift for you to learn from those feelings. It's a gift because you will likely be in a better place internally when another relationship happens in the future.