Whether you were the one who decided it was time to move on or you were dumped outright, the end result is the same: loneliness, sadness, and a general feeling of hopelessness.
Breakups are one of the more difficult emotional situations we face in life, and as a result a certain degree of emotional pain is unavoidable. But there are also ways to move on from a breakup quickly and with the least amount of heartbreak, and these are what I’m going to discuss in this article.
First 48 Hours: Accept Reality
The first couple of days after your breakup aren’t going to be much fun. Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid the heartache you’ll experience in the immediate aftermath of the breakup.
Woman feeling sadThat said, there are a few ways to help yourself get through these difficult days, and the process begins with accepting the reality of your situation.
It’s not helpful or productive to deny the reality that you and your partner are no longer together.
Nor is it going to do you any good to try and talk things over with your ex.
Instead, try to own up to the situation you’re faced with and accept that your ex is no longer a focal point of your life. Accepting that can be painful, but now is the time to let out your emotions and come to grips with life as it stands now that your relationship has ended.
Crying is OK — At First
Don’t be afraid to do a bit of crying or spend some time alone in the first day after your breakup, especially if it helps you accept the reality of what’s happened. But do your very best to avoid having these emotional breakdowns while your ex is present.
In fact, during these early stages, it’s not a good idea to speak to your ex at all. In particular, avoid begging, pleading, or apologizing to your ex in an attempt to reverse their decision or in hopes of finding closure.
Many people will try to search for answers after a breakup — wanting to learn what they did wrong or why their ex decided to end things — which is not the right thing to do, especially in the first few days after your breakup.
Instead, you and your ex should go your separate ways, and you should try to get control of your emotions and accept your reality without looking for answers or asking yourself what you might’ve done differently.
Next Steps: Decide on a Course of Action
What you must also do during the first 48 hours is come to a decision about how you wish to proceed from this point forward. If you were the one who initiated the breakup with your ex, then that probably means you’ve decided that it’s time to move on and eventually find someone new.
If the breakup was forced upon you against your will, then you have a decision to make: Should you try to get back together with your ex, or should you accept your partner’s decision and try to move on without them?
And if you’re going to accept the breakup and move on to greener pastures, the next step involves a little bit of emotional healing.
Numbing the Pain & Moving Forward
Man moving boxesRegardless of whether or not you want to win back your ex’s heart, you’ll still probably want to do anything you can to minimize your emotional pain and sadness while moving forward with your life as soon as possible. Here are a few things that can help you get through the first few weeks after your breakup:
1. Remove visible reminders of your ex. There’s nothing worse than being reminded of a painful memory every time you walk into your bedroom, which is why one of the most important ways to move on is to remove visible reminders of them from around your house.
Take down photos, love notes, gifts from your ex, and any other items that might remind you of your past relationship. Then put them in a box in your attic. Eventually, you can open them up again, but only when you’ve moved on completely. For now, you don’t want to be reminded of your ex.
2. Keep yourself occupied at all times. If you sit around the house doing nothing, you’re giving yourself a chance to think things over and bring undue heartache upon yourself.
It’s best to keep busy with work, school, hobbies, or any other activities that keep your attention focused on something other than your ex.
Even watching a favorite TV show or playing video games will take your mind off the breakup for a while.
3. Lean on your friends. Now is the time to call in favors from your friends and family. Try to avoid being alone whenever possible. Go out with friends or spend time with family, even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing. Trust me when I say that being social is one of the single most effective ways of getting through a breakup.
4. Maintain healthy habits. Scientists have proven that vigorous exercise produces feel good chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine in your brain. That means that an intense 30-60 minute workout 3-4 times a week can help you avoid depression and feel better about life (and yourself) in general.
It’s also important to maintain healthy eating habits and generally take care of yourself so that you don’t put any extra stresses on your body or mind.
Practice all four of the above recommendations for a few weeks following your breakup and you’ll find that things will quickly improve and your general outlook on life will soon be more positive and cheerful.
Remember that each day since your breakup is another day towards a happier new life.
Dealing with Your Ex
As I mentioned above, if you decide you want to win back your ex, then you should check out my article on getting back together with an ex. But even if you do want to repair your now-broken relationship, it’s best to avoid communicating with your ex for at least a few weeks.
Torn picture of a coupleAnd if you’re committed to staying apart and moving on without your ex by your side, then there’s also reason to avoid contact with him or her for the time being.
Speaking to your ex, even if it’s a cordial and friendly conversation, will re-hash old memories and inspire painful emotions. Furthermore, talking to an ex can lead to arguments and bitterness, which is hardly what you need at this point.
So, if your ex decides to reach out to you — even if it’s with the best of intentions — try to politely brush them off for now. At all costs, avoid confrontation or games that might end in more pain or anger.
While it’s important to start dating again soon after your breakup, don’t take any actions that are obviously intended to cause your ex pain or incite undue jealousy.
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