I don’t know if it’s appropriate to say congratulations on surviving the first month after your breakup, but hey, what the heck! Congratulations! You have survived your first 30-days of no contact. Now, we’re working to get you through the second month.
Let’s be honest, the memories are still going to be raw, and most of all, you may still be struggling with the idea of letting go.
One of my readers said, “Why is it so hard to let go? We have nothing in common nor do we like any of the same things. Our communication is dead. The room is silent. I can’t even remember why I love him any more, but I can’t let go.
Do you struggle with this same problem? You want to let go and move on with your life, but you just don’t know how to do it.
Right now, it might feel like your heart is beating outside of your chest and that the pain will never end.
From Feeling Better after a Breakup to Actually Being Better
At some point in your healing process, you need to move on from just feeling better to actually being better. Once we’ve dealt with your immediate pain, you have to fight against the ideas of doubt about the future. You’ll have to push back any questions about your self-worth that you may have crept in your mind over time. Here are some ways you can begin to truly deal with the break up and turn your bitter into better.
Give yourself time
This is all about your heart. It took time to trust your ex and to let him in your heart and it’s going to take time to reprogram your thinking to reimagine life without him.
This is the stuff that a carton of ice cream can’t fix.
There’s no amount of rebound loves that will make this go faster. In fact you can do double damage on your heart if you dive back in too quickly. Take it from me.
It’s going to take time to reprogram your thinking to reimagine life without him.
It’s better if you can learn this lesson from my experience.
In my single days, oftentimes, I didn’t want to feel the pain of a break up, and I’d mask it with another guy. You have the cloudiest thinking after a break up. Jumping into something else is about as smart as buying a house while you’re drunk. You’ll wake up in the morning with buyer’s remorse.
Sister girl, hear me when I say, don’t do it.
With all that being said, I don’t judge you because I’ve done it too. On the surface, it seems to make you feel better. It seems to right all the wrongs. It affirms your value and self-worth because someone thinks you’re pretty and worthy of being loved, but sometimes, it only serves to slow down the healing process.
Give yourself some time.
Take a weekend to change your perspective
I want you to disconnect. You may do this best on a camping trip or on a wilderness adventure. You may do it at a hotel in the city where you’re prepared to unplug your phone and give Facebook a break. If you disconnect for a weekend, you’ll be better able to think objectively.
Looking back, one of the most helpful things I’ve done after relationships that didn’t work out was get counselling. It’s always great to talk to someone objective who can give you a bit of perspective.
Give yourself permission to grieve and to be sad
And this brings me to our next point. Let yourself grieve the situation. Give yourself permission to be sad.
In some sense it’s truly the death of something. It’s the death of hopes and dreams. It’s the death of a relationship that once was, and you need to give yourself time to mourn these things.
And Jen Kromberg PsyD expressed it best of all when she said “Grieving is like digestion: There is nothing you can do to hurry it along. It takes time and the only thing you can do is try to get through it. But take heart in the fact that this, like everything else, will eventually pass.”
Remember, there are five stages of grief so give yourself time and permission to go through each of them as you process your emotions around the relationship. You may go through stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. In their book On Grief and Grieving, Elisabeth Kubler Ross and David Kessler express that we shouldn’t think of grief as being “stops on some linear timeline.” The stages “are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling.
Don’t make big decisions because they can lead to big mistakes
You may feel inclined to make some major decisions immediately after your break up to draw a line between the before and after of your ex.
You might considering buying a house or a car to fill the emptiness that they left behind. Or you might consider quitting that job and moving overseas. After all you’re a boss right? Girls run the world!
Just pump the brakes for a minute.
While I’m all for taking charge of your life, allow yourself to take a step back from what you’re immediately feeling to figure out how this decision will benefit you in the long-term. Talk the decision over with some more rational-minded friends and family members who are able to see things more objectively and clearly than you are in your clouded state.
Why not write your idea down and revisit it in the morning, in a month and in three months to see if you still feel the same passion for the idea. If the moment passes and you realize it was a bit impulsive, abandon it and keep moving forward on your path to being a better you.
I just want to say, this doesn’t mean that some major changes won’t be necessary or good for you after the break-up. Just put a little thought into before you dive in.
Get some sunshine
This might seem so simple, but it’s so good!
Have you ever gotten sunshine and suddenly felt better. Have you noticed that you often feel better on a sunny day than on a gloomy one?
This isn’t just because you’re a beach babe, there’s science to support it. There are major benefits to getting a bit of sunlight because it helps your body produce serotonin, which is believed to improve mood. So getting out and getting some regular sunshine is just what the doctor ordered.
Pack up your ex’s stuff
This may be one of the hardest things to do but I guarantee it will be one of the most cathartic. It will be like a physical representation of what’s happening in your heart.
Pack his STUFF up and take it out of your immediate sight. Now this is a PG site so I’m not going to advise you to burn his stuff. Girl, you’re not in a TLC video. You ain’t Beyonce. We’re keeping it classy.
The less you show him that you care, the more you leaving him wondering if you care. That’s my philosophy. So, if you wanna put it in storage, give it to a friend, give it to a mutual friend to return. Once you’ve broken up and make that clear cut, don’t plan a special date just to return his stuff. There always seems to be a story after this that starts “…and then what had happened was…”
To avoid those we decided to get back together only to break up again moments, don’t plan a date just to return stuff. It can be hurtful and confusing for your heart.
Give your ex lots of space – don’t contact him
Break ups are hard to deal with but being off and on again can be even harder. My thinking is that if you’ve decided to break up with someone, you should allow that person to experience what that decision feels like.
You may be thinking that you’re positively sure the two of you will get back together at some point in the future. Even still, you should respect your ex’s decision to break up (if that’s how it all went down) by allowing him to experience what that feels like.
The best way you can do this is to respect his decision. This means put down the phone. Don’t text, call, e-mail, send a message through a friend or send out a carrier pigeon. Give him some space.
You’ve heard the old saying, if you love something you let it go. If it doesn’t come back it was never yours. If it comes back it is yours forever. Unfortunately life doesn’t work as neatly as a glib saying but there is some truth in the banality of it all.
Tap into your support system
This is not the moment to be proud. Make sure to get some girl time with your besties or call up your mom or an auntie for a good chat. This is no time to be alone. Being with your people can remind you who you are and how valuable you are.
Remember why you’re such a diva – revisit all your strong points
After connecting with your people, it will be so much easier to remember why you’re such a diva. It’s great to just let all the good stuff float around in your head, but let’s write them down so when you feel down you can revisit the list and remember all over again.
Grab a journal and start writing. Write everything you love about yourself. Write the things people have said to you as a compliment.
This is no time to be modest. Go all out and list out your good qualities! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Do something big to better yourself
Maybe you’ve always wanted to go back and get your degree. Perhaps you could use a series of facials. Were you super dependent on your ex to balance the budget, why not learn how to do it yourself. Now, at this moment when you’re feeling a bit low, is the best moment to pick yourself up with learning some how-tos.
How can you do something big to better yourself?
Accomplish a goal
I’m not sure if you’re anything like me, but I love accomplishing goals and when life has me down, it’s the moment I’m least inclined to feel like accomplishing them. What if we flipped the script and set ourselves up to improve our state of mind by setting out to accomplish a goal.
It could be as simple as reading a book you’ve always wanted to dive into or as complex as sitting for a certification, enrolling in school or going on a trip you’ve always wanted to take.
How much better will you come out on the other side of a break up if you decide to better yourself. I can think of few ways better to spend your time after a break up than by accomplishing a goal.
Do something for someone else
I remember a break up I had in college because of some advice my mother gave me at the time. It was at the end of a long relationship but I did like the guy. In some ways, I accidentally sabotaged it because I was really afraid of getting hurt. During the course of the relationship, I said some things that were hurtful and the guy I was dating appropriately backed off. I moped around for several weeks afterwards. I recounted the story to my mom. I remembered the details and wished he would call. Finally, after weeks and weeks of listening to me whine and complain, I guess my mom had had enough. She asked me why didn’t I do something for someone else. She said I was feeling horrible because I was so focused on myself. If I did something for someone else, it would force me to focus on someone other than myself. So I decided to take her up on her challenge.
I started looking up different organisations in the area that might need a bit of support. Finally, I settled on a local hospice. I called the front desk and asked if I could drop something by for someone who as particularly need. The receptionist said she knew someone who would benefit from my gift. It was close to Valentine’s Day and I started putting together a gift basket. I put so much effort into the basket until finally I was beaming with pride with what I had created. It was the bee’s knees!
So my challenge to you is to try doing something for someone else. Sometime after a break up, we can have the tendency to only think about ourselves. Is there someone who would benefit from an act of kindness, a card, some groceries or a night of babysitting. Trying meeting someone else’s needs and almost magically, you’ll find yourself feeling a little bit better.
I know you may not feel like it, but getting up and doing a good workout can make you feel better in the long run. We talked about it in the short run, but as you well now, exercise has long-term benefits!
Dust off your gym membership or sign-up for one. If you don’t want to spend money, commit to going outside regularly for a walk or run.
There is no time like the present to extend your lease on life and to reinvent yourself!
Take stock of the relationship – good and bad
Now’s the time for a dose of honesty. I want you to take the journal we mentioned earlier and take stock of your relationship, the good and the bad. This is going to give you a gauge of what you’ll need in your next relationship.
Be honest here. If you and your ex split for bad reasons, like unfaithfulness or abuse or some other nasty offense, it may be hard to see the good in it. You may need to do this exercise with an objective friend.
Make a chart with two columns, one for the good and the other for the bad. Think about the good that happened in the relationship and think about the bad. List it in your journal.
Not only will this give you some clarity around the relationship, it may help you understand why you don’t want him back and what you need in your next relationship.
Get to writing!
Revisit what you’re looking for
Now is an opportune time. It may not feel like a good time for anything but you’ll be surprised. While it’s still fresh in your mind, revisit what’s important to you in a relationship. Revisit the good and the bad of the relationship. Allow yourself to be as objective as you can about what you’re looking for and what you need.
As you’re going through this exercise, don’t just let the pendulum swing to the other side. Be realistic about what you’re looking for. Your ex may have had almost all of the qualities you’re looking for but just lack one or two of the things. Are those things crucial to your happiness in a relationship? Now is the time to be honest with yourself. As a young woman, you have the biggest opportunity at this moment to find wha you’re looking for by being truly honest with yourself.
Break ups are the worst! It feels like you’ll never get to the other side. You may wonder to yourself, how can I deal with this break up, but sister girl, know that I’m here for you!