As the famous song lyrics suggest, “breaking up is hard to do.” But learning how to move on after you call it quits is just as difficult. Read on to find out to recover from a break-up.…
It’s not impossible to move on after a relationship goes sour. But it is kind of hard.
Two of the biggest stumbling blocks for women after a painful break-up are:
- not really wanting to move on.
If you’ve just been dumped (or you dumped him), it’s helpful to think about a plan that can get you moving in the right direction – away from him. That will help you get over him once and for all.
“Acceptance is the key to moving on when a relationship ends,” says Judith Orloff, M.D.. assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles and author of Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life (Three Rivers Press).
So accept that it’s over and focus your energy on creating a positive new life for yourself without your ex, Dr. Orloff advises.
Following these 10 steps may help you move on and get on with the rest of your life:
Before you can move on from a relationship that is no longer healthy, you’ll need to give yourself however much time and space is necessary to get to a place of acceptance.
“Even though it may not have worked out the way you wanted, accepting that the relationship was limited and is over is very important,” Dr. Orloff advises.
So even if it seems to be taking a long time – and you’re tired of taking two steps forward, then one step back – be gentle with yourself during the process, she says.
If you catch yourself harboring fantasies of getting back together – or envisioning that delicious scene in which he comes crawling back to you – just smile at yourself and turn those visions off.
Accept that this chapter of your life has closed and tell yourself you’ll be better off by moving on.
2. Distance yourself
Maybe one day the two of you can be friends again, but now is not the time.
Your heart is still freshly wounded and seeing or contacting him will only make things worse.
Keeping your distance is vital for the healing process to not only begin, but to become complete, Dr. Orloff says.
If some of his belongings are still at your place, have a friend, relative or roommate stay home when he comes to pick them up so you don’t have to see him.
If you need to retrieve items from his place, send a friend to do the deed.
Resist the urge to call, text or email him to see how he’s doing or to find out if he thinks the two of you made a huge mistake by breaking up.
If he’s contacting you, tell him to stop.
Delete his emails, texts and voice messages and don’t answer the phone if he calls.
Keeping in contact with him now may leave you hoping he’s thinking about getting back together. So cut him out of your thoughts. Thinking about, seeing or talking to him will only prevent you from successfully moving on.
3. Stop talking about him
In the beginning, you’ll probably need to get everything off your chest by talking about the break-up with friends and relatives. That’s healthy.
Go ahead and get it all out. Bottling up emotions is not conducive moving on, and can be downright unhealthy.
Your emotions are real and valid, so talking about your break-up with a trusted friend can be quite helpful at first, as long as this friend isn’t also friends with your ex.
Once you’ve let it all out, try to stop talking about him, Dr. Orloff recommends. If you don’t, your friends may start avoiding your company.
Talk about something else – or better yet, let your friends talk instead. They might not say so, but they’ll welcome the reprieve.
4. Skip the blame game
While it’s tempting to play the blame game after a break-up, it won’t help you get over him. Whether you blame him or yourself, going over and over hurtful scenarios only keeps you focused on negative emotions.
So close the book on that chapter of your life and focus on figuring out how to move on. Resist the urge to blame yourself, him, or anyone else (your meddling parents, his annoying friends) for what went wrong in the relationship.
It didn’t work out and probably wasn’t meant to be. Accept that fact and move on to something better.
5. Learn from it
Part of learning how to move on after a break-up is learning from your experience. This includes the break-up itself as well as your entire relationship with him. Ask yourself what words or
behaviors you’d want to repeat in the future, and which things you aren’t proud of yourself for saying or doing.
“Learn whatever lessons the relationship presented and focus on a bright future of love and positive healthy connections to come,” Dr. Orloff says.
Think about what was great about the relationship, what wasn’t so great and what led to the demise of the relationship. Write it all down and use these notes to help you improve your overall relationship skills.
6. Picture yourself over him
Picture yourself completely over your ex. This may take some time, but keep working at it until the picture of your new life is truly in focus.
Then enjoy feeling that sense of pride and accomplishment for getting over him and moving on.
Picture yourself looking and feeling fabulous, hanging out and laughing with your friends, meeting, talking to and maybe even flirting with other guys (even if that may sound a bit scary right now).
One way to speed the process is to practice being grateful for the good things about the relationship, Dr. Orloff advises. Carry those “gifts” with you
7. Focus on yourself
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to focus on you before beginning another relationship.
Do something just for you and give yourself some time to connect with your inner self.
Spend some quality time with close friends and family members.
Take up a hobby, volunteer somewhere, or take a class.
Keep yourself busy, but be careful that you don’t overload on activities just to distract yourself from your ex. That will make your “down time” seem even more painful.
Do something to boost your self-esteem, which has likely taken a bit of a beating since the break-up.
Get a new haircut or an entirely new style; get a makeover; go to a new spa for a mani-pedi, or buy a new outfit that’s nothing like what you wore when you were with him.
Pamper yourself with a spa massage treatment, and take a girlfriend along, if you know she’ll boost your spirits.
8. Get out there!
If you haven’t gone out to a social event since the break-up, now is the time.
This doesn’t mean you should pick up the first cute guy you spot at a bar, but you’ll feel better if you get dressed up and put yourself out in the world to socialize and meet new people. But don’t go someplace where you’re bound to run into him – pick someplace new!
If haven’t flirted for a while, start practicing; brush up on your flirting skills by practicing on someone new.
9. Take it nice and slow
Figuring out how to move on after a break-up doesn’t mean going overboard with excessive socializing, meeting hundreds of new people and flirting up a storm with every man you meet.
After all, you don’t want to come across as desperate or needy. That can lead to a relationship with someone who wants to control you, or who’s looking for someone to whom he can feel superior.
Just relax, go slow and enjoy yourself – but don’t play hard to get, either.
Soon you’ll find that men are approaching you – because you seem to be approachable and fun.
Take your time getting to know new people. If you start feeling that some guy is “the one,” check yourself by asking if enough time has passed since your last break-up to ensure that this won’t be merely a “rebound relationship.
10. Don’t generalize and don’t compare
Not every guy is like the one you just broke up with – and not every relationship will be like that one, especially if you learn how to move on in a healthy way by learning from your mistakes.
Your previous relationship broke up for a reason, so open your mind, broaden your horizons, and look for a new kind of relationship that will be not only different, but way better than what you had before.
And finally, the most important thing to do after a break-up is to stay positive. Know that getting over him will help you’ll feel better about yourself and about your future.
Aim your sights at forming a healthy new relationship with a wonderful new partner – a relationship in which you’ll feel so happy and cherished that you never give your ex a thought.
Go for it, girl.
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Read about “5 Ways to Rehab Your Broken Heart ,” including how to mourn, mope and move on.