Breaking up is a horrible experience because of how intertwined our lives become when we are dating someone else. We tend to share friends, we share local haunts, we exchange gifts, we have songs that are ‘our’ songs, we spend all of our time together, we sleep in the same bed… it’s a very intensive experience and means that we really are bonded to that other person. Which is why when we come to part ways we often find it so hard – everything reminds us of that partner and everything we do they are noticeable in their absence.
We have to get used to sleeping alone, eating alone and not having regular snuggle time, we will likely lose some friends that were really their friends but that had become mutual friends (including their family) and we will find that every two minutes something we own reminds us of them. Thanks to Facebook we then also have the privilege of getting to see them having a good time and looking goof in countless photos – the other half always seems to have gotten over it all quicker than you do (you have to remember that the reason for this is that people just don’t post photos of themselves sobbing in the shower on Facebook and are a little more selective than that).
Then of course is the simple fact that you miss them and you will have gone from being far more than friends with this person – and seeing them every day – to suddenly being like strangers toward them probably never to speak to them in the same way and perhaps even with animosity. You have the feelings of guilt that you hurt them and you have the feelings of persecution that come from them hurting you – in all it’s just not really a good time.
The question is then, how do you go from all this to feeling okay again? If it’s been over a year then it might be hard even to remember what life was like before they came along. Here we will look at a few of the things you can do to make things easier and to help you to heal – but remember it’s like any form of loss and it’s going to take a while to get through by nature.
Note: You should also make sure not to try and ‘forget’ the other person so much as to come to terms with what’s happened. At the end of the day you were happy at the time and you will have learned lots and experienced lots from your relationship. Relationships cause us to grow and to change in ways more profound than anything much else and this is all highly valuable. At the same time if you’re ‘forgetting’ your relationship this suggests you’re not dealing with the emotions and are rather repressing them and this can cause a lot of feelings to bubble under the surface which might damage you in your next relationship. So in other words you don’t want to force yourself to forget a very important part of your life or a person who once meant a lot to you – these tips are aimed at helping you to come to terms with the breakup and move on – not to completely forget the person in your life.
Enjoy Being Single: Reminding yourself of the perks of being single is one of the best ways to help yourself move on. You’re not knocking what you had before, but just being open to what this new status has to offer. Remember you now have much more time which you can use to progress in your career, reconnect with old friends or travel, and you likewise have more money. At the same time you’ll also be free to start dating and flirting again so take full advantage of this – message an old flame or try flirting with people in bars and clubs for the fun of it.
Be Around People: One of the things that you will likely miss most when coming out of a long term relationship is having someone who is always around or at least only a phone call or a text away. Loneliness then is one of the hardest parts of a breakup. To avoid this aspect you should surround yourself with people you know and busy yourself with lots of activities. This will keep you from thinking about your ex and it will mean you have lots of company. At the same time you can talk to friends about how you’re feeling and they can be on watch to make sure you don’t do anything destructive.
Cut Off Contact: Despite previously saying that you shouldn’t try and wipe your ex out of your mind completely, before you break up it is an important step to at least for a while completely cut off contact. Many people will sleep with their exes whether in a bid to get them back or just a moment of weakness and others will exchange phone calls and texts regularly. All this will just reignite old feelings, complicate matters, and make it harder to move on. While you’re healing then you should cut off contact completely and only re-establish it once you’re firmly moved on if you should wish to.
Make Plans to Reconnect: However these plans to reconnect are something that can really help in a break up and it’s great if you can remain friends after an appropriate healing time. This way you will be able to be happy in the knowledge that your relationship has changed rather than completely finished and you won’t have to miss the person quite so much. Just make sure that you have given yourself an ample healing time between.
Box Up Your Things: Some people are more dramatic and will make a distinct point of taking all the things that remind them of their partner and burning them or throwing them away. For the reasons described above, this is not the most healthy way to deal with your physical baggage – instead putting it all in a box and sealing it up to be opened another day is a much better way to move on. This act means is a great metaphor for how you should be treating your relationship – sealing it up in a mental compartment and then trying not to think about it except for when it suits you and you feeling ready.
Write a Letter: Okay so you’re not going to send this letter – just write one that you address to your ex partner as a way to get all the feelings and emotions you still have off of your chest. This is a great form of catharsis and is a perfect way of coming to terms with your own feelings so that you can move on and put them behind you.
Make Changes: If you were dating for a long time then there will be some things that remind you of your time together that you just can’t box up. Maybe this means your flat, or maybe it means your job. Either way you need to look for ways that you can change these aspects so it doesn’t feel like life is the same but with a notable absence. If everything has changed and you have ‘moved on’ then it’s easier to leave all the emotional baggage behind. Look into moving home, getting a new job, or generally mixing things up.
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