Now, I think it’s time to talk about how to move on after a break-up. Over the years, I’ve had many clients who have gone through break-ups and there is always a common theme: heal me, take away the hurt, and give me resolution.
I wish I had it in my power to do this for each and every one of you and, certainly I am available to help you navigate through a breakup. What I can also do right now is offer these tips to help guide you in recovering from the heartache of separating from your partner.
Here are a number of tips that have helped my clients, family, and friends begin to recover from a breakup…
1. Date Your Friends.
Chances are you have some more free time on your hands now, so work on relationships with your girlfriends or your buddies. Fill your time with people you love and who care about you. Is it couple’s night at the local Wine & Paint event? Take a girlfriend instead! Have you been dying to try a new restaurant or movie? Been wanting to go to the Clippers or the Rams game? Go with friends.
2. Go Home.
After a break-up it’s normal to feel abandoned or rejected, so what better place to go than where you always feel welcomed, included, and accepted. It’s only human to want to want to feel these things. What is important to remember is to seek love from people OTHER than our partner (or ex-partner in this case).
It’s also true that for some of us, the concept of “home” can mean different things to different people. So, if you’re not super close to your biological family, find a place where you feel the most loved— maybe it’s your best friend’s house, your workout class, or your volunteer group. Whatever ‘home’ is to you, go there, let them hold you physically and emotionally, soak up their positive energy and begin to heal.
3. Get Off The Relationship Monkey Bars.
Think about the motion of crossing monkey bars. You’re swinging from bar to bar, still holding on to the last one, while reaching for the next. Relationships are not like monkey bars! You have to let go of the old one before you can be available for the next. You have to grieve the loss of the old relationships.
Quickly trying to find the next relationship well before you’re even out of your current one is not healthy. Allow yourself to process and heal before you consider entering into another partnership. Dating when we’re on the rebound usually does not end well.
4. Learn From Your Ex.
In business, in life, and especially in love, we must learn from our past. If you don’t, you are destined to repeat history and well, not to be too harsh, but it obviously didn’t work out the last time. What worked in the relationship? What didn’t? What did you learn about yourself? Did you lose a part of yourself that you loved? Get it back! Did you find out something new about yourself that you like or didn’t like? Work on that!
Process your feelings and purge your space. Going through your apartment or home and removing the memories of the two of you can be painful. Invite a friend over and talk about your breakup while you do it. Talk about why it hurts, why it didn’t work, how you’re really feeling. Say it out loud. Saying it out loud or writing it all down can really help the healing process. Having a friend there for support will make it easier for you to clean out your space, as well.
6. Plan Something You Can Look Forward To.
Plan a trip, a party, a spa day— whatever is going to get you excited and give you something to look forward to! It’s easy to feel down and get consumed by the sadness.
Having something on the horizon you can really get excited about will help keep your spirits up and remind you that your only happiness does not come from your relationship. You can derive happiness from within and you will!
7. Practice Self-Love.
Get up every day and follow a beauty routine that you love. Put on clothes that make you feel sexy, fix your hair and if make-up makes you feel good, wear it! Whatever you do, DO NOT wear your pajamas all day and forget to shower. That’s not a good look for anyone! You must take care of yourself.
This includes keeping a healthy diet and exercise routine as well. Contrary to what the movies show, most people DO NOT binge on a pint of cream and cry themselves to sleep after a breakup and neither should you. Love yourself enough to take care of your body and keep up your healthy habits.
Finally, love yourself in the bedroom too! Orgasms release oxytocin in your brain, which is linked to bonding. Bond with yourself! Your ex is not the only person that can get you there and you certainly should not be bonding with him or her anymore. Treat yourself to a new vibrator. It’s a lot less hassle than sending that late-night booty call text and a lot healthier for your heart and mind.
8. Talk About It. Write About It.
When you’re thinking back on your relationship, sometimes your brain goes into nostalgia mode. You start remembering only the good times and the happy parts. You start thinking, maybe it wasn’t all that bad? Maybe I won’t find anything better? Talk about it out loud and remind yourself about why it didn’t work. Write it down if you need to because there will be times when you have moments of weakness and those reminders will be helpful in confirming that you made the right decision.
It’s sort of like when you graduate high school and you look back and think about all the fun times and dances and football games you attended and you’re looking forward to college but you’re not really sure what it’s going to be like— your friends aren’t going to be there anymore, you’re going to a new city, the classes will be tough. You may have a panic moment and wish you could go back. But, once you move forward, have new experiences and meet new people, you realize college is way better after all.
9. Really End It.
My clients have repeatedly said that keeping in touch and trying to remain friends is not a healthy thing. It doesn’t work. It’s a breakup because the relationship is broken. Separate your household goods and anything else you accrued together; delete her or his number and go your separate ways. You do this to create some healthy distance between you and your ex so that you can heal.
I highly recommend that your first priority is to heal and take care of yourself. That means being physically apart as well as “radio silence”. No phone calls. No texting. No PM’s. Avoid “meeting accidentally”. If it’s truly over, agree to have no contact at all for at least three months.
Although it may be painful for both of you, you have to walk away if it truly is the end. Hanging on because one or both of you is afraid of being alone is a form of lingering death. The kindest thing you can do is to let go. You both deserve to grieve so that you can move on. It’s hard. I know. I’ve been there. But prolonging the inevitable only creates more suffering.
Because your healing is going to take awhile. you need to take some time to grieve. Surviving a breakup, and particularly if you didn’t want the relationship to end, makes grieving the loss understandably more complex. Perhaps, down the line, you can see each other socially and it won’t be uncomfortable, but right now, the focus is on yourself.
10. How Long Will It Take To Recover?
People ask me how long it takes to recover from a breakup. There is no exact formula that applies to all people in these situations. Each of us is unique and no two relationships are the same. Having said that here is a very general guideline: for every year that you were together, it takes roughly about three months to recover enough so that you can return to your normal level of functioning.
This doesn’t mean that if you’ve been in a relationship for five years that you won’t be ready to seriously date for over a year. It may take significantly longer or you may start dating again in a few weeks. It simply means that the longer we’re together with someone that we were strongly attached to, the longer it is going to take to recover. This is simply common sense.
11. Allow For Hope.
It may not seem like it right now, but the data shows that there is a very high probability that, in time, you will find someone else. This is true no matter your age. I know that this may not be very comforting to hear right now, but it’s true. Good things are ahead for you. Just give yourself some time to heal.
I hope that this article has been helpful. Breakups are painful. Surviving the end of a meaningful relationship can be challenging. If you would like additional support going through this, contact me and let’s see what else we can do to help you get through this.