It’s over. Another relationship just ended. Another love flushed down the toilet. Another guy just said goodbye and left you standing there, alone, crying, and completely devastated. Are you really here again?
More than likely, your breakup feels like it’s consuming you. You’ve replayed it – and your entire relationship – over and over in your head. The thought of not being with him makes you sick. The thought of being with anyone else makes you even sicker. Will you be able to go on and find love again? Will you get over him and be ready for someone new?
Yes. Yes, you will.
As brutal as breakups can be, there are absolutely things you can do to make your stay at Heartbreak Hotel a little bit more comfortable. There are tips and strategies to ease your suffering and to help you prepare for your next relationship in a way that is healthy and beneficial. Not only can you learn from your past, but you can also use it to build a pretty fabulous future for yourself.
Here are eighteen steps to getting over your last relationship while getting ready for your next one.
Step #1: Grieve the Loss
Experiencing a breakup can be one of life’s most traumatic events. I’ve even heard it said that dealing with the loss of a relationship can be similar to mourning a death. And, if you think about it, they’re not that dissimilar. You have indeed lost someone you loved, someone who was most likely a very important part of your life. It is truly awful.
After a breakup, you are completely entitled to grieve. In fact, it’s actually healthy! So allow yourself some time to feel sad, anxious, and even a bit depressed. Keep the tissues handy, wear your pajamas as though they’re the latest fashion, and stock up on the ice cream. Let the negative emotions work their way through you. Repressing your sadness or masking it with temporary fixes will only serve to delay your recovery.
Step #2: Delete Your Ex
I often like to say there’s no nostalgia in heartbreak.
The photos of the two of you on your computer? Crop them out of your life.
Songs that remind you of him? Remove them from your iPod.
Television shows you watched together? Consider them cancelled.
Places you frequented as a couple? As far as you’re concerned, they’ve gone out of business.
Let’s be honest: removing your ex from your life won’t be an easy task. In fact, it’s extremely painful and difficult. However, it’s a necessary step in moving on and finding love again. Why? Because holding onto the memories is, in effect, the same thing as holding on to him. As long as you allow him to be a part of your life, you won’t be ready for someone new.
So how do you accomplish the seemingly impossible task of truly separating from your ex?
One helpful method is to reward yourself each time you make forward progress. Replace every deleted song by downloading a new one. When you bypass the restaurant you frequently ate at together, take yourself and a few friends to a happy hour somewhere you’ve been dying to try. Not only will you eliminate old memories, but you’ll also create new ones as you go. Building a new life for yourself will turn out to be a wonderful experience.
Step #3: Forget About Closure
In my work as a dating and relationship coach (which also means I frequently work as a breakup coach), the number one thing my clients tell me they want after a breakup isn’t revenge. It isn’t that they want to see their ex alone and miserable. It’s that they want “closure.” And this longing for closure often leads them down unhealthy paths in an attempt to achieve it.
“I have to see him one more time – to get closure.”
“He wasn’t returning my calls so I showed up at his house. I needed closure.”
Here’s the truth about closure: you don’t receive it through another person. Your ability to heal and move on is not dependent on whether he sees you again, is willing to rehash the past, or will suddenly view things through your eyes. Closure is a gift you give to yourself when you realize he simply wasn’t the right guy and that the relationship is over. You give yourself closure; his actions have very little to do with it.
When we say we need closure, what we usually want is for our ex to hear, understand, and agree with us. More often than not, we want them to come to their senses, realize they made a mistake, and offer to take us back. Unfortunately, this rarely happens – especially when it’s something we push for.
Being okay with not getting closure from him (and instead, giving it to yourself) is one of the most important things you can do to heal from a breakup. It affords you the ability to truly move on – without looking back – and prepares you to find a new and even greater love.
Step #4: Take a Dating Hiatus
After a breakup, there are usually two ways in which we view subsequent dating. Some of us think to ourselves, “I am never putting myself out there again.” Others hit the bar scene and sign up for multiple online dating accounts before their tears have fully dried. However, neither of these extreme measures is the healthy route.
So how about adopting a more moderate mindset?
After a major heartbreak, it’s almost always a good idea to take a breather from dating. It’s not that you’re swearing off men forever, mind you. You’re simply giving yourself a little break in order to get your emotions under control and to give your heart time to mend.
Frankly, it’s highly unlikely you’re in the proper condition to meet the right guy anyway. You’re still hurt and raw; thereby increasing the odds you will either (a) burst into tears when he asks about your previous relationships, (b) sleep with him on the first date just to prove you’re still desirable, (c) act incredibly needy and clingy in the fear he’s going to leave you, too, or (d) all of the above.
So give yourself at least a few weeks off from men and concentrate on healing. As temporarily comforting as jumping right back into the dating pool after heartbreak can be, taking a short break from the opposite sex is usually just what the doctor ordered.
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Step #5: Boost Your Self-esteem
Your ego takes a major hit after getting dumped. Your self-confidence can plummet. You might doubt almost everything about yourself – your attractiveness, your judgment when it comes to men, your ability to ever find lasting love. Heartbreak has a way of damaging our self-esteem – even if only temporarily.
Triumphing over a breakup begins when you start to work on building yourself back up. Be sure to keep all of your great qualities in the forefront of your mind and remind yourself of all you have to offer someone new. Don’t allow your ex’s rejection to cause you to doubt yourself or your worth.
One of the best ego boosters is to find something you enjoy doing and are good at – and then work on excelling at it. Nothing pumps you up more than finding a hobby – or even a potential career path – which ignites your passion, enthusiasm, and self-confidence. And, as a fringe benefit, having this type of activity in your life will also make you that much more attractive to the opposite sex. How can you beat all of that?
Step #6: Treat Your Body Right
How do you view food right after a breakup? Do you comfort yourself by over-indulging in it or does the mere thought of ingesting more than a breadcrumb make you nauseous?
The truth is, neither is a good thing.
The idea of taking care of yourself while you’re feeling so awful may seem like an impossible task, but it’s an important one. Gaining or losing a lot of weight has the potential to cause us even more unhappiness. Eating a bunch of junk can mess with our hormones and our moods. A one-time binge-fest is perfectly okay after a breakup. However, don’t get into the habit of using food (or a lack thereof) as a crutch.
Working out is also very important. I’m sure you know that exercise releases endorphins – the chemicals in your body that make you feel good. It’s for this reason that a good workout can alleviate any depression or anxiety you feel over your breakup. (And let’s not forget that a session of cardio allows for a late-night cupcake run if you really need it.)
Eating right and working out are key pieces not just to getting over an old relationship, but to putting yourself in the best position to find a new one. When we are healthy and active, we feel good. When we feel good, we radiate positivity and optimism. And it’s a happy and confident outlook that is the single most important quality when it comes to attracting men.
Stay tuned next Friday for Part 2 of this three-part series!
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