I’ve had my fair share of heartbreak, and one thing I’ve learned from all of it is that getting over a breakup is a process, not something that just happens overnight. As empowering as it can feel to go out for a night and declare yourself officially moved on, you’ll still feel the sting of heart ache the next morning. But you can get through this breakup in one piece, friend, and to help you do that I’ve put together my list of 10 steps to get over a breakup so that you can move from pain to healing as quickly as possible.
1. Allow yourself to be sad.
The very first step in getting over your breakup is allowing yourself to actually grieve the end of your relationship. This breakup is probably changing many aspects of your life, and it is normal to be sad about everything that is ending or changing. And while no one enjoys feeling down, it’s a necessary part of the process for moving on.
When you catch yourself feeling sad, don’t try to simply put those thoughts out of your mind or stop yourself from crying. Sit with those feelings, accept them, and let it all out. Bottling up your feelings and denying them will at best delay the inevitable, or at worst cause you to eventually explode in the form of a meltdown or a deep feeling of depression (yes, even worse than the depression you may be feeling now). Allowing your sadness to come out will help you move through the grief cycle to accept your new reality.
2. Cut off all communication with your ex.
I’ve written about it before, but this is such an important step in the process of getting over your breakup. You need some space, girl! Whether you think you do or not.
I know, this person was probably your best friend and it feels only natural to call or text them, but please give yourself this time to be without them. Regardless of who initiated the breakup, it’s probably best for both of you, and you’ll find that in time, you will think of them less and they will no longer be the first person you want to turn to.
3. Find someone that you can turn to.
Given that you’re no longer allowed to talk to your ex, you will need someone that you can turn to when you think you might slip into your old patterns or when you’re feeling down and want to talk it out. Find yourself a friend who will remind you why you’re not talking to your ex and who will listen if you need to vent. Put that person on speed dial and turn to them when you find yourself wanting to talk to your ex.
If you are worried that you may get on your friends’ nerves, then I am here for you, too. As a heartbreak coach, I want to be your breakup galpal who reminds you not to return to your ex and who heps you get through this tough time.
4. Stop worrying about what your ex thinks of you.
Lots of people have been told by their exes that they are crazy, or that they’re not good enough, not pretty enough, too obsessive… the list goes on and on.
But friend, it doesn’t matter what your ex thinks of you or what they have said about you. They are your ex for a reason, and if you’re going to move on, you need to leave behind all the lies that they’ve been telling you. No, you’re not crazy (this one especially irritates me!) and you are worthy of love, no matter what they may have said to you. Stop worrying about what they think and focus on what you know to be true.
5. Remind yourself that your relationship was not perfect.
It’s easy to dwell on the good parts of your relationship after a breakup, but it’s important to be realistic and remind yourself that not everything was perfect. Make a point to remember the bad stuff, like that time you got into an argument on the way to your friend’s party and you spent most of the evening avoiding each other, or how you used to feel when they would say they were too busy to spend time with you. Reminding yourself of these things will allow you to look at things clearly and help you to move on.
6. Get rid of anything that reminds you of them.
Listen, I know you love that photo of the two of you, and you’ve never been so comforted by anything the way you’re comforted by their sweatshirt. But keeping these things and looking at them will only bring back the feelings of hurt that you’re trying to move on from.
If you’re not ready to completely get rid of these things, then put them in a box and hide it away somewhere that you can’t access easily. With those things out of sight, your ex will more easily be out of mind – and that’s the goal, right?
7. Get out of bed and off the couch.
Once you’ve done the hard work of allowing yourself to be sad (see #1), make the effort to get up and about. Don’t allow yourself to spend your days lying in bed or sitting on the couch binge-watching romantic movies – this will most likely just make you feel unproductive and leave you pining for your failed relationship.
Even if you’re not ready to go out for a night on the town, getting out of your house is important! You can start small by going for a walk if that’s all you have in you. When you’re ready, make some plans to have lunch with friends. And of course, always take care of yourself and your obligations. This means going to work, going to the grocery store, and not cancelling things you’ve committed yourself to.
8. Put time into things that bring you joy.
After your breakup, you will probably have more free time than you know what to do with. But believe it or not, this is actually a good thing! Use this time to bring some joy to yourself by doing things that you love to do but can’t seem to find the time for. Have your paints been sitting there unused? Is that stack of books getting larger and larger? Could you use a little time in your garden?
Whatever it is that brings you joy, use this precious time you now have to do it. You’ll feel both happier and more productive from doing the things you enjoy.
9. Try new things that you’ve been curious about.
Another way to spend some of your newfound free time is to start that new hobby you’ve been thinking about. Taking the time to develop your skill at something new is going to push you and help you grow, and you’ll likely feel on top of the world as you start to see yourself improving. Bonus points if it’s something your ex either didn’t want to do when you suggested it or wasn’t any good at, because then this will be fully your thing.
10. Learn to love yourself.
So many of us tie our value to our relationships and whether others love us, but rarely do we learn to love ourselves for who we are. Your value lies in you alone and is not dependent on anyone else. There is no one else in the world who is just like you – and it’s time to celebrate that! Learning to love yourself can be difficult when we so often believe the lies others have told us, but there is no question that you are a worthy, deserving, lovable, and unique person.
Remember that getting over a breakup is a process, and while these 10 things can help you move on, there is no specific time limit to heartbreak. Take it one step at a time and be kind to yourself as you move through this difficult period. Don’t berate yourself if you slip into your old patterns, just start each day fresh and do your best. You’ll get there – I believe in you!