Let’s state the obvious: Breakups suck. It can be difficult to figure out how to get over a breakup, and or even where to start. The experience is different for everyone, and can be more or less debilitating depending on the seriousness of the relationship. That being said, I believe you can still feel heartbroken over unrequited feelings, or the end of a deeply emotional bond. You are allowed to mourn the loss of any type of relationship, not just long standing romantic ones. If you’re wondering how to get over a breakup, or need a little help moving forward and working through a major change in your personal life, this guide is for you.
The key to getting over a breakup is learning that there is no key. There is no cure-all for heartbreak. Everybody needs to find their own path to healing and resolution, so there are no hard and fast rules that will help you race to the finish line. This is a delicate process that requires a lot of TIME, and personal reflection. This guide will hopefully point you in the right direction, and help you avoid making the situation any more painful than it needs to be.
How To Get Over A Breakup
Throw Yourself A Really Good Pity Party
Yes, you read that correctly. I wholeheartedly believe that a good pity party can be really helpful when you need to push past an emotional block. So here’s how you throw a good old fashion pity party:
- Find a quiet space where you can be alone…you might not want any witnesses for this.
- Allow yourself to really cry. Don’t hold back. Give yourself permission to just let go without worrying that you look “weak” or “over-dramatic.” This is your judgement-free time.
- Admit it, this situation really sucks- and it hurts like hell. It’s okay to be honest with yourself about how much you’re struggling. Take time to be disappointed, annoyed, insecure, scared. Take a moment to express those emotions and give yourself a pass from any shame or embarrassment. This is pity party, let go of your pride for a bit.
Schedule Time To Obsess Over It
This helpful advice was given to me by a therapist when I was trying to get over a breakup several years ago. If you feel like you’re spending the majority of the day obsessing over your breakup, then it’s time to make some adjustments. You don’t want the aftermath of a bad breakup to start negatively effecting your performance at work, or school. If you feel like you just can’t focus on your other responsibilities, then you need to grab the reigns and take back control of your thoughts. Allow yourself 20 minutes each day to obsess, over analyze, and decipher hidden meanings (or whatever else it is that you’ve been doing). Those behaviors are not exactly something you want to encourage, but we also have to be realistic and understand that it’s part of healing for some people. When you allot a specific amount of time to perform those behaviors you are getting those feelings out of your system, and allowing yourself to have a more clear mind for the rest of the day. If you find yourself slipping into those behaviors during the day, outside of that 20 minute window, then you need to tell yourself “Not right now.” Physically shake your head and take a deep breath if needed. It might sound silly but physical reactions can be helpful sometimes.
Eventually, as time goes on, you should try to shorten the 20 minute window until it is non existent. As you begin to heal, you won’t have as much of a need for those behaviors. Also, It’s important that you try not to judge yourself during this time. You’re not crazy, and you WILL get through this- I promise.
Get Rid Of Potential Triggers
Ridding yourself, and your surroundings, of potential triggers can help to save you from a lot of pain. I suggest deleting your ex’s number first and foremost. If you don’t have their number saved then you won’t be tempted to text or call them- and you won’t get that sharp pain in your stomach every time you scroll past their name in your contacts.
Next, find that sweatshirt you stole from them, the jewelry they got you for Christmas, and any other physical reminders of your ex that you may have laying around. These objects hold very strong sentimental meaning, and it can be painful to see them when you’re trying to heal. Take all these items and store them in a shoe box (or something bigger, if necessary) and give it to a friend or family member to store for the time being.
Lastly, do a clean sweep of your social media accounts. Un-follow your ex on everything…yes, everything. I’m sure part of you still wants that window into their life, but that kind of access comes at a cost. You will most likely end up seeing something of their page that you wish you hadn’t. Their posts can be a huge emotional trigger, and lead to very unhealthy behavior like constantly refreshing or checking for updates. Cut the chord now and save yourself from a lot of misery.
Create Your Breakup Playlist
Everyone needs a good breakup playlist-it’s practically a rule. You’ll want a mix of upbeat confidence boosters, and emotional ballads you can cry to. Music is such a great tool for healing and mood adjustment. You’ll probably some lyrics that really stand out to you, and end up serving as a sort of mantra for you during this period. You can find plenty of well curated breakup playlists online, or you can make your own. I created one for you as well, filled with songs that got me through my fair share of heartbreak. Feel free to checkout my playlist in the box below, or click here to listen on Spotify.
Bring Back Your Dear Old Diary
I know this seems like cliche’ advice at this point, but you really should start writing in a journal. Everyday, write down what you’re feeling. Write about how angry you are, and don’t skimp on the details! Explain all of those intense feelings you have bubbling up inside, and get them down on paper.
Day to day you might feel like you’re not making any progress. You might feel like months have gone by and you’re still just as sad/angry/depressed/confused. The truth is, you ARE making progress, and your journal will help you recognize that. Look back on your old journal entries and see how much your thinking has changed. Appreciate the small milestones like making it through a full day without crying, or being able to listen to that one particular song again. Also, the journal will help you realize all the times you thought “I’ll never survive this pain,” you actually did survive.
Keep it Private
Try to keep your healing process relatively private, within a close group of people you TRUST. Which brings me to my biggest rule for breakups- DO NOT POST ABOUT IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Keep everything about your breakup offline. No cryptic Instagram stories, no angry subtweets, nothing! I understand the impulse. Maybe part of you is hoping your ex will see the post and feel bad. I don’t think that is very likely though. Instead, imagine their surprise when you post NOTHING about it. They broke up with you, so therefore they no longer have the privledge of knowing what’s going on in your personal life. When you post on social media, you’re giving that person a glimpse into your life again. Keeping the breakup offline is a much more mature response than airing out your dirty laundry.
Movies To Watch During A Breakup
Some of these may be relatable, some of them may just make you laugh. This is your chance to recreate the scene from Legally Blonde where she throws a box of chocolates at the TV and screams “LIAR!” at the happy couple. (And Yes, that movie is on the list.)
DO NOT DO THESE THINGS
Try to avoid these habits or behaviors. I'm telling you this from personal experience- if it's on this list, then it's NOT a good idea.
- DO NOT text your ex, for any reason. Period. No exceptions.
- DO NOT reach out to his friends, or family.
- DO NOT post cryptic photos/messages on social media.
- DO NOT discuss your breakup with random people.
- DO NOT make any major life altering decisions while you’re healing. (this includes changes to your appearance)
- DO NOT try to get revenge.
- DO NOT try to make your ex jealous.
- DO NOT jump into a new relationship right away. You can’t mend yourself with a new relationship. It may work at first, but eventually all of those unresolved emotions will come back to the surface.
- DO NOT try to start/maintain a friendship with your ex right away. If you both agreed to stay friends, that’s fine, but give yourself plenty of time to heal first. If they really cared about being your friend, they’d understand you may need some time…or a LOT of time.
Still Have Questions?
If you have a specific question on this topic, let me know! I’m more than happy to help. Use the following form to submit your question(s), and I’ll answer them in an upcoming advice column. Your submissions are 100% ANONYMOUS, so you don’t have to provide any personal or identifying information.
This Won't Last Forever
I promise that you will survive this, and the pain is only temporary. I know it feels like you’ll never get over this, but you’d be surprised how much time changes things. Also, be mindful of the lessons you learn along the way- they can help you grow from this. If you’re interested, I’ve shared some tough lessons I’ve learned along the way in these two posts, 5 Best Mistakes I Learned in High School and Life Lessons That Stuck With Me.
I’ve also created a graphic to help you remember the key points that I mention. If you’re interested, click the button below to visit my Freebies page where you view and download the graphic. You can also check out my other guides and free downloads while you’re there.
Lastly, remember to be kind to yourself.
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