Marissa Explains It All8 Steps To Beat The Break-Up BluesMarissa A. Ross

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.

I realize that was Daft Punk’s part of “Stronger”, but the semantics of West’s Graduation are not what we’re concerned with. We’re concerned with you getting over your ex, so let’s get to it.

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.

I’m kidding!

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

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  1. This really helped me. Thank you for writing this.

  2. my first love didnt ever love me back and had way more commitment problems then one should. And i was torn up inside. But now after its been more then a year I can look back appreciate it all for what it was and also! remind myself of the things that happened in the relationship that made it not work and why I deserve so much better and not to put myself through that ever again. but i know that i did truly love him, and what he was able to give in return. and i think because of that i am able to not be bitter, believe in finding real love but also not be jaded and make sure i get what i deserve in the future and love whoever that person is so much more. but it def too time nothing ever happens over night.

  3. Hi! First off, let me say that this article is awesome- you write so eloquently and you also give great advice! I met my [first] boyfriend at college this past year and I went to visit him for a weekend in June. It was wonderful and he made plans to visit me two weeks after because he had plans to be in the NJ area. About a week after I left his house, he called me and said that he didn’t think he should come visit/that we should continue dating because he still had feelings for his ex. We haven’t talked since (we agreed we shouldn’t try to be friends, especially since it was over the summer). However, school is starting up in a few weeks and I was just wondering if you had any advice about how to handle being around him again. It’s a very small college, so I know I am going to see him around. I don’t want to have a close friendship with him, but I’d like to be comfortable with saying hi to him if I pass him walking to class instead of looking the other way. I’m not sure if you’ve been a similar situation, but if so, do you have any advice?

  4. <3 this! It hits very close to home and I know those going through a rough break up will definitely appreciate your words.

    "Never Stop Loving" – my favorite phrase from your blog

  5. Thank you so much for writing this! My boyfriend of two years broke up with me in March and it’s still something I’m coping with. It’s very reassuring to be reminded that I’m not alone.

  6. I haven’t spoken to my ex for nearly 2 months now, and haven’t cyber stalked him for nearly as long. Best thing I ever did, ignorance is bliss and it helps me to move on. I don’t know what he’s doing but at the same time, he doesn’t know what I’m doing. There’s no need.

  7. Thanks a lot for this. I broke up with who I thought was the love of my life two weeks ago and I have found that focusing in myself and in my feelings is what I need (for starters,at least) And I also got a gym membership :)

  8. After my ex broke up with me in May (we’re both in NY but he’s out of state 6 months out of the year and he was in south carolina at the time), I dropped everything and ran off to LA for the summer.

    Granted, my best friend lives here and I had a free place to stay so I’m pretty lucky, but for the most part… best decision of my life. I go back to NY in Sept for school and I have to face him eventually, but it really is about focusing and putting all your energy into yourself. It’s not easy and I was miserable for the first couple of months but it gets easier, I promise. Just take your time, do the things that make you happy, and try new things that you were always scared to do. Self-fulfillment is the best satisfaction you can get… and nobody can take that away from you.

  9. some great advice. right before my break up i was laid off after 6yrs then the break up happened a week after. i found happiness letting out my lonely teardrops in the shower. i then reconnected with my friends which was so wonderful. i also went back to school & the gym to keep myself occupied. but one thing people are surprised about is how i still believe that i can find love. thats the best advice you can offer someone.

  10. Your piece reminded me a lot of the book “It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken” (http://www.amazon.com/Its-Called-Breakup-Because-Broken/dp/0767921968/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1313016679&sr=8-1) which is another great resource for those looking for help. My boyfriend of 7 years and I just broke up in May and I think your step of cutting off communication really hit it home. It’s not easy to start rebuilding yourself when he’s still in the picture!

    • oh my god, I was so embarrassed to buy this book but I did, a few weeks after my exboyfriend broke up with me.

      And you know what? It made me feel better, cheesy as it is.

  11. this article is amazing. i just broke up with my fiance and we were together since ’96. yeah, long time. he was basically the only real boyfriend i’ve had since my early twenties. so this would be my offcial first break-up too. thought we were gonna get married but that obviously didn’t happen. the split was mutual but it’s now in the phase where he blames the whole break-up on me and is “the victim” in all this which i think is his way of trying to make me feel guilty and get me back. BUT he hasn’t changed. anyways, it’s been 3 months now since we’ve moved apart and i’ve been struggling. so many emotions are involved all at the same time and it just sucks. i’ve had support from my mom, sister and close friends but it’s hard because i feel like they don’t fully understand all that went on between us. all they say is to just “get over it”. easier said than done. but i’m glad they’re there to help me recognize what and what not to do. but i just wanted to say that this article is great cause it’s what i’ve been trying to do but have yet to conquer. it’s refreshing to see it all written in steps. like baby steps :) its just so strange and hard to be single again cause i’ve been so used to having someone around and i feel like there was a death but that person is still alive YET i can’t go and see him. very sad and frustrating. why do men tell you they love you yet they don’t do anything about it? i mean, call me old fashioned i guess but the men with their pride. if you really love me, you wouldn’t of let me go in the first place. you know? and so if he’s been crying about it, and hasn’t done anything about it, then you really don’t love me. so i’ve been dealing with confusing stuff like that. been watching lots (and lots) of TV, bought a Wii Fit and have yet to start crafting like i used to. it will be hard to let go and i’ve already put his stuff in boxes and out of sight but steps 5, 6, and 7 have been the hardest cause we also share the same group of friends. i do miss him. anyways, i can’t wait to start step 2 and just try to find me again. don’t know if i’ll be ready to date anytime soon but just taking it one day at a time. anyways, didn’t mean to put all the ranting in there but just wanted to say thanks for wrtiting the article. i’m always going to love him and i did learn a lot during this journey but just didn’t expect this to happen. life goes on i guess. i just hope i find someone who will love me back like you said maybe even love me more. that whole story made me tear up because i loved him so much but he never really reciprocated it back to me. he so hopefully i’ll find someone who’ll love me for me and will reciprocate love back if not more. it’s hard to believe right now that i will find that person because i’m so down and i feel old to start dating again. but i pray that it’ll happen. i can’t even imagine going on a blind date right now. freaks me out! i’m so shy that i dont see that happening in the near future. anyways, this article helps me realize that i’m not the only one out there whose trying to mend a broken heart :) thanks. and i WILL be emailing you if i needed LOL! :)

    • Hi Melissa! I read through your comment and I am going through a very similar situation as you. I have that lost and confused feeling a lot. My ex and I live about an hour apart so we saw each other only once every week or two. So he broke up with me over two phone conversations… after 4 years of dating. yeah…. Then we got together for a ‘casual hangout’ a little over a week after the breakup. Man, so tough. We both were crying our eyes out! I just had that feeling that he does love me, and I love him, so why the heck doesn’t he want to be together? It’s tearing me up! He just says that he needs a break… but doesn’t know if we’ll get back together. He says if it’s meant to happen then it will. Well what the heck am I supposed to do while he’s on his ‘break’ from me? He says he doesn’t want to lose contact with me and wants to remain friends. I don’t know how in the world I can do this. I also feel like I don’t want to go searching for a new man, I just want HIM back. Since I obviously can’t sit around and wait for him, how do I get past these feelings? I’ve never dealt with anything like this before. :( HELP

      Anonymous | 8/10/2011 07:08 pm
  12. I’ve been dealing with this with a best friend/boss – he and I were close for about 6 years. That kind of break up is still as painful as a romantic one. We were best friends until just about 6 months ago when he started dating a co-worker. And all three of us work at the same place with a staff of 8. I personally had the WORST time with #5 & 6… until she became hostile towards me on Facebook and I blocked her. Best thing I ever did.

  13. You have no idea how much this means to me at this moment. My first love and I have just recently broken up after being together for 6 years, since we were 15 years old. It’s been ridiculously hard to get by but I’ve basically followed the same steps that you’ve listed here.

    Watching the whole series of Lost and Dawson’s Creek, along with making money scooping ice cream all summer, writing my blog, and drinking copious amounts of coffee were my way to get through the day. Your last step, however, really hit me hard though. NEVER STOP LOVING. Now that’s some sentiment right there. Fact is I will always love this boy and he will love me. Perhaps we aren’t meant to be but the love doesn’t have to stop. And that certainly does not mean that someone else won’t be out there to love me just as much, if not more. Plus, at the very least, I know that I am capable of loving someone wholeheartedly and that is not something to sleep on.

    I really loved this post though. It made me smile.

  14. What do you do if your ex is still living in your house and you’re waiting for him to move out? AND he already has a new girlfriend AND you’ve only been broken up a month, AND he never sleeps at home because he spends every night with her??? I feel so sick to my stomach over this.

    • Whoaaa, girl. You really need to get him out. NOW. I’m not sure how you should go about doing that, but I would just put his crap on the lawn. That is so disrespectful of him. If he’s always at his new girl’s house, then he can live there. Seriously, you have to put your foot down somehow cause none of that is healthy!!!

  15. Step 9 Don’t have any future ‘physical contact’ with your ex.

    ughh..

  16. This is perfect omg.
    I’ve read a few similar articles but this one is definitely the most accurate in my opinion.

  17. Thanks for putting into words what so many of us should be trying to do. I just broke up with my boyfriend and I have to say that I have come to hate Facebook in some ways. You can be way too aware of what your ex is doing, saying and thinking with social media. It doesnt allow you to get over things quickly.

    I also firmly believe in finding a way to love yourself through it all. It is sometimes hard as hell, but so important. No one was ‘wrong” in my failed relationship. But we were never going to see eye-to-eye on certain crucial things. I believe this is ok – but you know your own limits of what you can agree to disagree on. Trust yourself and be a little selfish after the breakup.

  18. This will come in handy soon :( thank you so much, like everyone out there, i needed this as well. <3

  19. I agree with Jennifer Marissa, this was an awesome read. I couldn’t agree more! This will definitely help others. *claps*

    Anonymous | 8/10/2011 12:08 pm
  20. This is exactly what I needed to read right now! Thank you for writing this. I’m in the midst of a break-up with my boyfriend of three years and this just reaffirms to me that I will be able to get through this with the right mindset. Again, thank you.