They say it is better to have loved and lost than never loved at all, but that doesn’t mean the whole “losing” thing doesn’t seriously suck. No matter if it was the Battle of Gettsyburg, or simply a parting of ways, the end of a relationship can hurt like crazy. Luckily, your love woes don’t have to ruin your life. By coping with your break-up in a healthy manner, you actually have the chance to come out of it like a Kanye song: harder, better, faster, stronger.
1. Let It Out
It’s important to take the time to let yourself grieve, and to get it out of your body. Cry your eyes out, vent to every single one of your friends, scream into your pillows, make really sad playlists & sing along at the top of your lungs, whatever. The point is, you have to address and express what you’re going through in order to cope with it in a healthy manner. Your negative emotions will fester and manifest into bigger problems if you keep them inside you, so just get them out now. Yep. Go ahead, just get that out of the way as soon as possible.
2. Write It Down
Even for those of you who aren’t literarily inclined, writing is extremely beneficial. I want you to write down all your feelings (definitely goes hand-in-hand with step one). I also want you to make a list of all the reasons your ex wasn’t “the one” for you (in case you ever get drunk off remembering the good times and start doubting) and a list of all your personal goals, hobbies you’d like to spend more time doing, and activities that make you happy (we’ll use this list later).
3. Out With The Old
Sometimes we don’t think about how much our environment affects us, but it really does. Take this opportunity to start fresh in your home. Decluttering, reorganizing, and sprucing up your living space really helps because living in a mess is overwhelming, and you already have enough going on. While you’re at it, get rid of any memory triggers. I’m not saying throw out every memory of you guys, but definitely put them in a box in the closet. You don’t need to be seeing your ex’s face every time you walk down the hall or be reminded of your first anniversary with that teddy bear you keep next to your bed. Cleansing your abode of your break-up will help you feel reinvigorated and ready for this new chapter in your life.
4. Focus On You
After a break-up is the best time to get down to business and focus on you. Take that list I made you write about all the things you wanted to do, and do it. Make more art, watch more black & white movies, start taking yoga, go back to school, whatever you want to do, do it! Not only is this great for you because you’re enriching your life with activities that make you happy, but you’re also keeping yourself proactively distracted from the break-up. It’s important to note the “proactively” attached to the distraction, because there are plenty of unhealthy ways to distract yourself. Partying non-stop is a very common way people “focus on themselves” after a break-up. That’s not focusing on yourself, that’s numbing yourself. Be careful of these sorts of traps. You want to use this break-up as a chance to better yourself, not to become the hot mess every night at karaoke.
Focusing on yourself and what makes you happy cultivates so much positive energy, and like attracts like. The more positive energy you create, the more you will receive, so always do whatever you can to be motivated to move ahead in your life.
5. Mind Your Business
Whatever your ex is doing is none of your business. Whatever your ex thinks of you is none of your business. This is going to be a hard concept for some of you, but honestly, whatever they are up to is none of your business. The only thing you need to be worrying about right now, is you, your healing, and your happiness. Step 4 should be keeping you busy enough, but if you find yourself Facebook stalking the one who jilted you, just step away from the computer. It’s okay. Everyone wants to, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Trying to sneak peaks into your ex’s life is just going to make you upset, so don’t do it.
6. Keep Your Distance
I’m not going to say you can’t contact them at all for forever, but definitely keep your distance right after a break-up. As with step 5, step 6 shouldn’t be that hard if you’re working on step 4. But you need to keep your distance because talking to or seeing an ex will do nothing but exacerbate the hurt that you are experiencing. It’s going to be hard, but just don’t do it. Don’t talk to them, and don’t see them. When you feel like you’re going to crumble, call your best friend. If your best friend is unavailable, spill your guts to me at A.skRossNow@Gmail.com. I’m serious.
7. Let It Go
It’s sort of a necessity. You need to make room for all the other stuff in life that’s going to piss you off.
You need to let it go for the same reason you needed to get it out, because it’s not good for you. Not only is it not healthy for you to harbor anger and resentment, but there’s also no benefit. Hating your ex won’t make the pain go away, it will only keep it around longer. Instead, be grateful for the time you spent with them. No matter how it ended, your relationship was a part of your journey and you learned so much from it. Be grateful you were brave enough to take a chance, and be grateful you are now brave enough to maturely deal with your heartache. All these things will make you a stronger person, which is something to be truly thankful for.
8. Never Stop Loving
Your friends are going to probably be pushing you to “get over it” or “just forget about him/her”. Look, you feel the way you feel and you’re entitled to it. By denying it or telling yourself you’re wrong for still having these feelings, you’re only making the situation worse. You know what I say? Never stop loving. That is not me saying to become an obsessive stalker who never gets over their ex though, so listen carefully. Never stop loving, but love without expectations. I don’t know how to quite put this in words, so let me give you an example from my life:
I was absolutely devastated when my ex dumped me. When he sat me down that night, I was totally convinced he was going to tell me he loved me for the first time and instead he told me he couldn’t see me anymore. Needless to say, I was truly taken aback. All my friends told me to get over him, but my philosophy was you get what you give. Just because I loved him, didn’t mean he had to love me back. I was okay with him not loving me back. I didn’t even try to get back together with him. I knew by letting my heart express itself, I would have that love returned to me one day. I wasn’t sure who it would be, but I knew someday someone would reciprocate the love I was capable of.
I may be crazy, but I believe from the bottom of my heart that this faith in love and the love I had to offer (coupled with healthy coping tactics explained above), is what brought me the great relationship I have today. I didn’t let myself become jaded, or unreceptive. If anything, that break-up made me believe in love more than anything else because I felt it inside me.
You should always believe in love, even when you are hurting. No, it isn’t waiting around every corner and yeah, Mama was right. You have to wait. But I promise it is out there, as long as you believe it is. It is when you cut yourself off from your heart and become involved in unhealthy coping mechanisms that love ceases to exist.
How did you get over your last break-up?
Personally, I watched the entire nine season collection of Seinfeld six or seven times, ate a lot of mashed potatoes, got a gym membership, wrote like a maniac and redecorated my room. And of course, gave myself a lot of pep talks about the steps I just wrote about. I hope they help you as much as they helped me.
Photo via Kelsley_LoveFusion Photography Flickr