Okay, there’s no polite way to say this: Breakups SUCK!!
Whether it was a short term relationship or you are divorcing a spouse, a broken heart is one of the most difficult things to mend! In the days and weeks following a breakup, common sense is not so common for many of us.
Trust me, I’ve been there--even wrote a book about it! When we are in such a vulnerable state, we can lose sight of what we need to do to bounce back after the loss of a significant relationship. The key, ladies and gentleman, is to have the confidence in knowing what to do to move FORWARD--not backward. (As in no stalking your ex’s social media for this very reason!) After coaching tons of men and women past heartbreak and suffering through three painful breakups of my own, here are my top tips:
You must accept that your relationship is over, and there is no turning back. A breakup is like a death. I suggest that you treat it as such. It is crucial that you let yourself go through the stages of grieving without getting in touch with your ex. You may think that a quick phone call or a-just-checking-in-text is innocent enough, but trust me, it can set you back. If you want to move on, you need to adhere to a strict no contact policy—at least for a considerable amount of time. I’m talking thirty days or more.
If you are tempted to reach out to your ex, text a friend instead. (Or even text yourself the message that you’d write your ex.) But don’t be afraid to lean on your support system. This is the time to let friends and family be there for you--to let you vent, to be a shoulder to cry on, to distract you with fun, food, and drinks.
A good idea is to sit down and make a list of all the reasons why your relationship is broken and why you are better off without your ex. Read it and reread it until you believe it! The truth is: You will never have a new future if you keep such a tenacious grip on your past.
Actually, you should make this list even if you aren’t tempted to text your ex. If you don’t sit down with a pen and paper, you run the risk of keeping everything jumbled up in your head. If you don’t detangle and learn from your mistakes, you’ll just make them again with someone else. A really helpful strategy in making sense of it all is to write down all the facts and events that took place since you met your ex. You should record all major interaction leading up to the breakup. If you have an inkling that you may be leaving things out or misconstruing what really happened, you need to check yourself.
If you’ve kept a journal throughout the relationship, you can go back and reread your past entries for clarity. If you were seeing a therapist or coach when you were with your ex, you can ask him or her to offer some perspective. If you don’t have these luxuries, you can talk to your friends and family in order to validate the truth. Go through your list with your best friend, and see if your list matches up with his or her view. After a breakup, you have a lot of questions to answer, and it doesn’t hurt to get several other opinions. Once you fill in your blanks and figure out what really happened with your past partner, you’ll be more able to process the pain and more emotionally available for a partner in the future.
In the short term, don’t be too quick to get into another relationship. Just do YOU! Self-care is super-important at this time. Make your health and well-being your number one priority. Treat yourself with compassion and extra love. Do things that make you happy. Pursue new hobbies, revisit old ones, or travel somewhere special. Live your best single life, and you won’t be single for long.
Use the time to get to know yourself again and figure out what you want for your next relationship. Once time passes and you can see your past relationship more clearly. you’ll be more desirable as a single.
Unfortunately, a lot of people do not learn from their breakups and stay stuck in the past. This is a shame, as a breakup provides an incredible opportunity to learn from your past relationship, so that you can find a better MATCH. Just keep in mind: It’ll all be okay! Whether just a little bit of rejection, a traumatic breakup, or the divorce from hell: You get to DECIDE how long you will stay in pain. You can make the choice to heal. Its hard, and it isn't linear. It takes time and likely fighting with all you've got. Every. Single. Day. But don't worry: You've got this!
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Rachel Russo Relationships, LLC
28 Valley Road Suite 1
Montclair, New Jersey