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Dating Advice: Getting Over a Break-Up

Updated on December 5, 2017
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Eric Standridge offers relationship tips and tricks based on personal experience from the perspective of a former shy guy.

Sometimes, love has a way of touching us so deeply that it almost hurts, and then when that love is gone, it feels like our world is caving in. We'll stay up at night, thinking of the way that person used to touch us, or how they used to laugh, and sometimes, we'll stay up at night screaming at God to bring them back to us.

When a loved one leaves, it hurts. It's a fact, and it's something that we all have to deal with in our own ways. Still, there's hope. As a wise man once said, "Time heals all wounds." Personally, I hate that phrase, but despite how much I despise it, it still rings true. Whatever you're going through, it will pass. One year from now you'll look back and it will be just a distant memory.

Still, time will not heal things by itself; it takes work, and it's up to you to make it happen.

There is one simple fact in life: You are the only one in charge of your life. You can not change how another person thinks, acts, feels, and you certainly cannot change what a person does. It's impossible. They are in charge of their own lives, as you are yours. Sure, you can influence them, as they can influence you, but you can never make anyone do anything. The only thing you can do is to change yourself.

This article will outline several things that you can to do take back control of your life, and it will give you important tips on getting over a break up.

Step One in Getting over a Break Up: Simply Put, Let Go

The warning signs are always there, if you know what to look for. Relationships have to grow or they will become stagnant. Once two people decide to form a committed relationship, many times that initial flame quickly dies out. It's unfortunate, but it happens. The best piece of advice that anyone can give in getting over a break up is this: Save the relationship before it's too late - keep that flame alive.

Still, sometimes that's simply not enough. The reasons that relationships fall apart are as many and as varied as there are people on this earth. When a relationship ends, there is always that one person who's left wondering what happened.

It's time to stop wondering. Over-analyzing things will only make you feel worse. It's time to let go, and take back control of your life.

  • Stop all communication. This means, do not call the person, do not text them, and do not email them. Period. In fact, erase their number from your cell phone and delete all of their contact information that way you won't even be tempted. Think about it, everytime that you talk to your ex, all it does is bring back painful memories and a strong desire to be with this person again. You're trying to get over them and it's simply not going to happen if you try to contact them every chance you get. Now, obviously this won't work if the two of you have children together, but you can still apply the same principle here - instead of ceasing all communication, moderate it to a degree where the only time that you talk to the person is when you absolutely must talk to them.
  • Cleanse yourself. No, this doesn't mean for you to go out and take a shower immediately - hopefully, you're doing that regularly anyway. This means that you let go of the ex, that, in addition to removing their contact information, you also remove all mementos of the person that you have lying around the house. You don't have to throw them away, but you do need to get them out of plain sight. Box them up and put them on a top shelf. Remove anything that you can that brings back those memories; those things aren't helping you to get over them.

Step Two in Getting Over a Break Up: Realize that it Wasn't Meant to be

That's right; it wasn't meant to be. It sounds harsh, but it's the truth. Relationships can be successful only if both people put in a strong effort to make them successful. Your ex left you, which only means one thing: They wern't willing to put in the effort needed to make the relationship work. This isn't always true, but since you're reading this you obviously care enough about the relationship to spend time looking for answers.

Right after a painful breakup, we experience life as if in a fog. We search for answers, looking for reasons why the relationship didn't work out, and we try to find ways to get the ex back. Typically, we only begin to understand what happened to cause the relationship failure months or even years after the breakup. By then, the ex is already long forgotten. Usually, as well, one will never have that coveted second chance to get the ex back. The chances of that happening are very slim. It's harsh, it's cruel, but it's just reality.

  • Take a look at your own life. Take a moment, no more than an hour or so, and objectively take a look back at your relationship. Truthfully, answer these questions: Were you truely there for your partner when they needed you? Did you always put aside your personal goals, and take ownership of mutual goals? Did you really try to understand the person you were with? Their beliefs? Their core values? Their passions? Did you really understand how they needed to be loved? How they feel that they are shown love? Step outside of yourself and into their position. If you were them, how would you have done things differently? The point here is this: You're trying to understand yourself and how you act while you're in a relationship. If you did your best then be happy with that - they lost the best thing that could have happened to them. If you made mistakes, that's fine too. Now it's time to learn from them and to make sure that you don't repeat them in your next relationship.
  • If it was "meant to be", you'd still be with that person. Maybe that's stating the obvious, but it's the truth. Nothing is ever "meant to be". As with everything, you have to work for the things you want out of life. Being in a committed relationship may be the hardest job anyone can ever have, and sometimes people either can't handle the work or are unwilling to work at it. The reason that relationships fail has nothing to do with money, sex, or any of the other things that it's blamed on. It all comes down to one thing: one person in the relationship didn't want it as much as the other, they found it too difficult for them. The point is this: If your ex was willing to truely put in the time and effort that it takes, then you two would still be together. Since they wern't willing to go the distance, they simply wern't good enough for you.

Step Three in Getting Over a Break Up: Find a Support Group

Enough about the ex, now lets focus on you. Again, you can not change the past, and you can not change another person. You can only change yourself, and in the process, create a better future. In getting over a break up, you have to forget about the past and get on with life.

While breakups are hard, they can be bearable. John Donne once wrote, "No man is an island, entire of itself." That one line of verse speaks volumes of truth. At times, we all need to have a support group to help us through hard times. True friends know that there will be times when you'll call them at three in the morning just because you need someone to talk to. Family members know that there are times when you'll have to rely on them for help. At the same time, these people, at some time in their lives, will also need to turn to you for something. These are people that care about you, and there is no better way to get through a rough breakup than to rely on those that care about us the most.

  • Rely on friends and family. Don't be afraid to call them up when you're feeling your worst. Talking through things will always help. Don't be afraid to express how you feel. Don't be afraid to open yourself up to others.
  • Write it down, get it out. For those things that you are most afraid of telling to others, write them down. Write out how you feel, your angers, your sorrows, anything you can think of. Write the ex a letter, but don't send it. Instead, once you have gotten it all out then take a look at what you wrote. Examine it. And yes, let the tears roll if need be. Once you've done this, then take it outside and let it go. Stomp on it, rip it, shred it, set it on fire. Above all, just let it go.

Step Four in Getting Over a Break Up: Take Control of Your Life

Right now, you're not in control of your life. You're letting your emotions take hold of you and control you. All of those feelings of doubt, remorse, anger, hatred - they are eating away at your soul. It's time to let go of those negative emotions and get on with life. Nothing is going to change as long as you lie in bed, wishing you were still with them. The only way things are going to get better is if you decide to make things better. Turn off the computer, open the blinds, and let the sun in. There's more to life than sitting on the sidelines wishing for the impossible. Go out and make the impossible, possible.

  • Stay Busy. Unless you're a caveman (or woman), there's a million things to do and places to see right outside your front door. Even if you don't feel like going out and doing something, you must force yourself to go. It gets easier as time goes on. Find something constructive to occupy your time. The busier you are, the less you'll think about your ex. Before you know it, you'll be enjoying yourself so much that they will quickly become a distant memory. Oh, and if you are a cavewoman (or man), there's still a million hobbies that you can try. The point is this: Stop wallowing and start doing.
  • Get dressed up. It's a simple thing, getting all dressed up, that will give your confidence and self-esteem a major boost. Go ahead, go shopping. Buy a new suit or a new dress. Pick up those pair of jeans that you've been looking at for months. This is the time to focus on you. Just by changing your appearance, your whole outlook on life will change. Think about the last time that you really went all out. Remember how confident you felt? How in charge of things you were? It may be simple, but it does have profound effects. Spend every day trying to look your best. People will notice, and you'll notice too.
  • Go out and meet new people. No, don't go out looking for a rebound relationship - those never seem to work out right. Instead, go out and make new friends that enjoy doing the same things that you do. Before you leave, take a look at another article I wrote, "Dating Advice: Where to Meet People." While this article was wrote for people who are trying to find places to meet people for dating, it also works for people who are looking to meet new friends.

Most everyone that has gone through puberty has been through at least one breakup. It is never an easy thing to experience, and is stressful for both sides. Getting over a break up is tough, and if anyone ever tells you different, they are lying.  Just remember, your life is your own. You are in charge of what you make your life to be. If your desire is to wallow in self pity, that's alright, but nothing ever comes from it. But, if your desire is to truely live life, then it's time to put the past in the past and get on with life. Take control of your life and make of it what you want it to be.

As always, I wish you the best.

© 2010 Eric Standridge and Sierra Juarez


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