It happens to each and every one of us at some point, to many of us even several times during our lifetime. And still it’s so god darn painful every single time. If you are dealing with a breakup at the moment let me assure you that no matter how much it hurts right now the pain will cease and you will feel better with every passing day. And there are a couple of things you can do to help your broken heart heal faster. The good news is: no matter if you want to forget about your ex forever or are actually trying to get them back you should start out with these strategies to lay the foundation of a fresh start.
1. Accept that it hurts
A broken heart is like a nasty flu: everyone can get it, you’ll feel horrible while you have it and it’ll take you some time to recover. There’s no point in getting angry with yourself because you’re feeling this way, there is no miracle cure that’ll make you feel amazing again within a day. It simply takes the time it takes. The one thing you can do is to be patient with yourself, to treat yourself a little and to give yourself an extra dose of whatever makes you feel good.
2. Avoid contact with your ex
Even if your breakup wasn’t heart-wrenching or you’d even like to get your ex back you should break off contact with them right after the end of the relationship. This doesn’t have to be forever but it does help a lot during the first couple of weeks or months. Seeing or talking to your ex will just keep you from wrapping up the whole thing for yourself and clearing your mind. You should be undisturbed for a while to figure out how you actually feel about this person and what your plans for the future are. If you can’t avoid seeing your ex because they are a colleague or classmate say hello when you bump into them but try to keep the contact to a minimum. Also, do yourself a huge favor and stay away from stalking your ex on social media – if necessary by blocking them or using a browser extension that’ll block their profiles.
3. Your mind is playing tricks on you, my dear
After a breakup our brains tend to be scumbags that’ll present us with a seemingly never ending stream of beautiful memories of our ex. I’m usually a strong advocate of trusting yourself and your instincts but this is a clear case of grass being always greener on the other side of the fence. If the relationship had been that good for both of you it wouldn’t have ended. As an emergency measure try making a conscious effort to think of at least two negative aspects of the relationship for every positive memory that comes to mind. This is not about bashing your ex in your mind and you will make room for the positive memories at some point. It’s a first aid strategy to not let the nostalgia and counterfactual thinking get out of hand.
4. Distract yourself – the right way
Even if you don’t feel like it – get out of bed and do something. Grab your besties and distract yourself from all the negative thoughts by doing something you enjoy. I strongly recommend staying away from too much alcohol and excessive flirting though. This will right after a breakup most likely cause more harm than good. Don’t try to fill the empty space your ex left with someone else. It will eventually leave you devastated because it doesn’t actually distract you but remind you of them.
5. Take your time to think about the relationship
Wait, didn’t I just say you should distract yourself? Yes, I did. But you should also give yourself some time to think about why the relationship ended, about what went right and what went wrong and what you can learn from it for future relationships. What’s important is that you don’t let the thoughts and feelings overwhelm you but that you consciously choose to give yourself a limited amount of time during the day to go over the topic. Thoughts of your ex will cross your mind even when they’re not welcome. Tell yourself that there will be time to think about this, but not now. Let the thoughts pass by like a cloud by focusing on something else.
6. Create new routines and find new hobbies
I already talked about the importance of routines in my post about feeling at home in a foreign place and they are also super helpful when it comes to getting over a break up. Try to establish new routines for yourself that don’t trigger any memories of your ex. Replace things you used to do together by something entirely new. This could be anything like going for a run in the morning, taking a relaxing bath after work or taking a yoga / painting / programming course. Avoid places and habits that’ll constantly remind you of your ex. We are not capable of simply NOT thinking of something or NOT doing something. We must give ourselves something new to do or think of instead. This will soon help you create a new everyday life without the other person.
7. Be authentic
Refrain from posting a picture of you grinning like a Cheshire cat on ecstasy two days after a break up. Being sad is a normal reaction and there’s no point in trying to convince yourself and the world that you are totally fine. Although it is tempting – try not to do, say or post something just because you want to trigger a certain reaction in your ex. You might feel the need to show your ex how horrible you feel or maybe that you’re having the time of your life now that they’re gone. Believe me – people will see right through you, including your ex. Also, by doing something just so your ex will notice it you give them control over your life and that’s not what you want. Focus on yourself and what feels best for you for moving on with your life.
8. Don’t start it all over again after a month. DON’T. Just don’t.
The no. 1 trap people fall into after a break up is deciding to “try it again“ after a month or two. The problem is that people think they can’t forget their ex because they love them so much. What you might mistake for true undying love though is just the fact that you grew used to each other and that a break up is always a drastic change in your life. Drastic changes are always scary and they always take a while to adapt to. Don’t get me wrong – there are couples who have successfully “tried it again”. But for this to work you have to let some time go by so both of you can get over the emotional pain, live your own lives, grow personally and eventually reassess the relationship from a new point of view. Those changes won’t happen within two months. Most people who fall into this trap claim that “after the break up they realized how much they love / need each other”. Nope, that’s just the grass being greener on the other side. If the relationship didn’t work two months ago, it won’t work now and after an initial phase of lovey-doveyness you’ll be back to where you started from. If you really want to get your ex back because you’re convinced they’re the one give it at least a year to give you and them the chance to make a fresh start.
What has helped you get over a break up? Please share your tips in the comments!