This post may contain affiliate links, at no additional cost to you! Read the Disclaimer for more info.
This is a complete guide to dealing with a breakup in 2021.
So if you want to forget your ex or just cope with the breakup, you’ll enjoy the actionable tips in this new guide.
Let’s dive right in.
They’re never easy. Someone always gets hurt. Some mature while others are drowned in their pettiness. Breakups are like wounds. Some are deeper than others. Some seem like they will never heal. But trust me, you’ll be stronger when all of this ends. Even if you don’t believe it right now, you are going to be okay.
Why Losing A Relationship Hurts So Much?
Relationships are very hard, and most of the time they mean the most to us. In psychology, the act of placing your thumb on a hot surface and getting burned triggers the same neuro-response in your brain as the act of breaking up with somebody, according to Nastazia Pyrgiotis, a clinical psychologist from the Medical School of Athens.
How To Deal With A Breakup?
1. Get Closure.
Have one final discussion with your ex and be done with it. Going through the stages of grief will be a lot harder if you never receive the proper closure from your recently ended relationship.
Try to end things on as good terms as you can, it really helps. Don’t bad mouth them or yourself. Remember to not place blame on anything specific. Holding a grudge against your ex or the relationship, in general, holds you back from actually moving on and eventually forgetting about them. It’s like tying your legs to a rock. How can you walk away?
2. Don’t crawl back to them.
Never, and I mean it, EVER, reach out to your ex after the final conversation. The psychology of the human mind is very complex to understand and even tougher to handle. I know from experience what it’s like to be alone at night in your bed. In the same bed that you shared so many memories with. Your mind magically starts racing and you get lost in the thousands of thoughts, memories, and conversations that your brain is currently playing way too fast. That’s when you begin to start to think “should I text them?”.
DON’T, they are your ex for a reason or multiple reasons.
If you have a hard time sleeping, I would suggest considering supplementing with Zinc. Zinc helps you with eliminating the times you wake-up in the middle of the night. Find out more about zinc benefits or consult your doctor.
3. Cut All Contact With Your Ex.
Delete their phone number, unfollow them from every Social Media app you use, so you don’t see what they’re uploading.
This is by far the biggest mistake I see people make, and don’t have the courage to do. Trust me, cutting every contact with them, is totally reasonable and the healthiest thing you can do for yourself.
Don’t check on her/him on Social Media and don’t be creepy. Don’t watch their stories if you’ve unfollowed them. It doesn’t help you get over her/him. It only worsens the situation by starting to remember them and miss them. This can be a dark rabbit hole to go down into, and it’s really easy to do so when you are sad.
Also, keeping in contact with them, even from time to time, will only make it worse. It will bring back feelings of pain, hurt, sadness, maybe anger, and confusion.
I know it is not easy. It’s tougher than you can imagine. Every moment you will feel like taking your phone and dropping them a message or a call. And you have to stop yourself every time from accidentally flooding into these thoughts.
4. Let Yourself Get Emotional.
This one is given. You are gonna cry. A lot. Give yourself a week or two off to process the breakup and to grieve. You have to go through all of the emotions. You’ll hate crying. But it’s healthy and will make you feel better in the long… long run!
Letting go is a very painful process that takes as long as it has to.
How long does it take to get over a breakup?
There is no universal timeline as to how much time it takes for a person to fully move on from their last relationship. It is totally dependent on the individual. However, a rough estimate is about 3 months, according to research published in The Journal Of Positive Psychology.
Personally, there have been relationships that took me over a year of crying and being through my worst, to actually move on and forget about it. And there were breakups that I was able to bounce back after a month or so. Breakups are contextual. It depends on your current situation in life, the meaning of the relationship, etc. on how you’ll cope with it.
Don’t suppress your feelings.
We are human beings. We have emotions. Emotions are good and healthy for us, even the negative ones. Trying to act as if you aren’t sad about the breakup by suppressing your pain and other negative feelings via denial and escapism (taking drugs or abusing alcohol for example) is very unhealthy and will ruin your physical and mental health as well as your future relationships.
So just allow yourself to cry, and to let your pain come to the surface. Have no shame in being sad. It’s okay to have the feelings you’re having, it’s part of the healing process.
You can take a break and be alone with yourself to reflect on you and your actions, but don’t isolate yourself from family and friends for too long. Being isolated in this difficult situation can lead to depression, feelings of not worth, and not being good enough.
5. Get Rid Of Any Pictures Or Stuff That Reminds You Of Your Ex.
Clean up your living space. Put away any photos of them or photos you took together, gifts, clothes, letters, etc. I know it’s hard to do but just like with the phone number or Social Media, if you keep staring at them, they are going to remind you of your ex and you’ll start missing them and being in a negative mental state.
Fewer interactions/ photos/ and things that remind you of your ex, the better.
Give them back any of the clothes they gave you. Ask them back for any of the clothes that you gave her/him. If you don’t want to face them in person, pass them to a mutual friend of yours to give it to them.
When you get back your clothes, please for the love of God, wash them immediately. Don’t smell them in hopes of remembering their smell. This would only make you feel worse.
6. Rediscover Yourself.
This is a big one. When you are with someone for a relatively big amount of time, you lose a little bit of your identity, if not a large part of it. Maybe you ditched some old hobbies and interests that you used to do, to be in line with your partner’s program or whatever. We all lose some of our identity in a relationship.
why we lose our identity in a relationship?
In a relationship, you do stuff to please your S.O., to fulfill their needs and expectations they have from you, even if you don’t really want to do these things, Nastazia Pyrgiotis said. “But you do them anyway, to feel accepted.” she continued. Another reason we lose our identity is through the unconscious fear or insecurities we have. “Maybe If I say no he/she’ll get upset, or they won’t want me anymore and they’ll break up with me.”
“Unconsciously, you may be working and acting through those fears”, she added.
Somewhere along the way, or now after the breakup, you didn’t recognize yourself anymore. You wanted to make them as happy as they made you – so much so that you were willing to do things you didn’t really want to do.
The good news is, it’s never too late to get your identity back.
You had a life before you met them, right? Try to think back to what you used to do. What happened to the things you used to enjoy on your own? Re-discover your old hobbies and habits. Get up and live your life.
7. Hang Out With Your Friends.
Have a company that can really support you. Friends and social interactions and activities, in general, are your best bet you’re going to have on this hard journey. I hope everyone has a few good friends who can be supportive during the breakup phase.
Simply hanging out with them can help you recover faster from your recent relationship. Having fun and doing activities as a group, not only makes your mind drift away from your thoughts and personal life but also strengthens the bonds with the existing relationships you have in your life.
However, the main reason I suggest that you do this is to remind yourself of how it is to feel accepted and loved again. Breakups are hard, and shouldn’t be done alone. Everyone goes through them, and everyone needs a support system. After a breakup, we have this feeling that we are not worthy of being loved again, and that nothing has meaning anymore.
Connecting or reconnecting with people that truly care about you, will show you that you are loved and supported. And that will slowly add meaning back into your life.
Breakups are a tough mental challenge. After your period of grief, minimize the time spent alone. Take this opportunity to create really strong bonds with your friends and family.
Just because you lost one person’s love, doesn’t mean you have lost love in life. Don’t be so narrow in your definition of love.
8. Focus On Yourself.
Your Self-Improvement journey starts now.
Take care of yourself.
Most people who just had a breakup completely slack off for months and even years and go down a downward-spiral of victim-hood ( feeling that they are the victim in this situation, so it’s fine to be a total mess).
They neglect their hygiene, both their mental and physical health, their existing relationships with family and friends, their work ethic and completely lose their social skills by isolating from everyone and everything.
DON’T BE THIS PERSON.
Instead, take care of yourself by showering every day and washing your teeth at least twice a day. Keep your health and well being in mind at all times. Develop a self-care routine. Don’t let this end to be the beginning of a downward spiral of self-destruction.
work on improving Yourself.
You need to get your mind off of your ex, so why not learn a thing or two in the process?
Realize that the purpose of pain is to inspire us to take action and to change something, NOT to suffer.
When we are in pain, especially due to a breakup, it’s easy to believe that we are destined to suffer. This is not true because suffering is a conscious decision. I really like this quote from Walter Anderson:
Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have- life itself.Walter Anderson
Throw yourself into other aspects of your life. Now you have the opportunity to take some time to work on your relationship with yourself. You can figure out what you want from your life. Visualize where and who you want to be in the future.
Keep your mind busy by doing focused activities (learning a new skill, reading a book, watch a movie, etc.) You have a whole life ahead of you and sooner than you think, you’ll have completely moved on.
The best thing to do from personal experience is to start engaging in things that are challenging for you. Whatever the activity this may be, the reward of overcoming an emotional or physical challenge will really benefit you.
Ways of Improving yourself:
I know this may sound like the last thing you want to do right now, but if you feel anxious, angry, mad, frustrated, etc. then this is what will help you. These feelings are your fuel and motivation for every workout session. Breakups are one of the most popular reasons, if not the most popular, that people start their fitness journey.
Learn to divert your energy, there are countless stories in which people dedicate their emotions to working out and improving their physical appearance, and achieved something great. If you don’t divert these intense emotions in the right direction, then it will harm you and the people around you.
Disclaimer: Don’t just focus purely on physical health and appearance. Building a great body, yes it is exciting. But neglecting your mental health along the way is the most common mistake that people make. 2 years ago, after my breakup, I was literally living in the gym, I worked out every single day, even twice a day. I achieved my greatest physique to this day. But I wasn’t happy. In fact, I was obsessed with how I looked and how people viewed me. I had severe social anxiety and I was in a bad place mentally. My point is, don’t make the same mistake as I did. Don’t neglect your mental health.
After a breakup, it feels that your mind is working against you 24/7. It repeats old memories, conversations, etc. The thoughts of “what could I have done differently” etc, are going to try to get you.
Meditating, having a few minutes with your mind, can help you de-clutter your brain from these running thoughts. Meditation is a way of accepting the situation that you are in, be in total peace with your thoughts, and moving on.
Disclaimer: At first, it is going to be very difficult, take it with a grain of salt. It may even seem that your thoughts are multiplying and it’s getting even harder to control them. This is totally okay, it is meant to be like this. Every start you make is difficult. Just like with working out, the first session will be difficult and you won’t see any differences. But the true benefits from meditation come if you stick to it. You’ll see that session by session, day by day, these thoughts will calm down, and eventually, you’ll be at total peace with them.
This is going to be even more crucial than working out and meditating, or at least in line with. What you eat impacts your brain and your mood in a great manner. No matter if you work out 3 hours a day, if your eating habits are trash, you won’t see any noticeable changes in your body and brain.
Don’t binge eat. I know a lot of people, myself included, that picked up horrible habits after relationships went south.
Stay positive/ be optimistic.
This sounds extremely difficult I know. And 100% it is. Most people will start to feel really bad about the breakup, they’ll replay the scenario over and over again in their head, thinking what it could have been different.
This is a self-negative loop that most people feed into when they break up. And this is where the true magic of meditation comes in handy. The only way to prevent this negative spiral is to stop it as soon as it starts, and by meditating you’ve acquired this skill.
The longer you stay in that negative state of mind, the more difficult it would be to move on, and the bigger the negative impact will have on you.
For me, my way of being positive in one of my breakups was to understand that I was too good for her and that I had exams in 1 month, so I put all of my focus there. For you, it may be that you get to start fresh.
Think of the benefits of breaking up
Freedom, the excitement of meeting new people, more free time to work on yourself, no more drama, etc. It isn’t all black and white.
There are 7.6 billion people on Earth, the chances are if you found love once, you can find it again.
Pick out outfits that make you feel good about yourself, dress yourself up. Buy clothes that fit you and make you feel comfortable in your skin. Do something that you are good at. Tell yourself that there’s nothing wrong with you, you are an amazing person and you’ll get through this.
By working out, meditating, and eating healthy, you’ll build up confidence naturally. Especially by meditating, you’ll accept the way you are, and that’s the way you show love to yourself.
Talk To People.
After a breakup, no one wants to talk to anyone. You just want to wrap in a blanket and cry, a lot. But you don’t want to feel alone in this journey, so don’t isolate yourself! You need to talk to people. Social contact is a must, and hopefully, you took action with the #7 Hang Out With Friends section of the article.
In case you forgot…
Create Goals for yourself and dream big.
Having a purpose in life improves it drastically. If you don’t have a hobby or a goal, get one!
It will put a meaning in your life, a reason to get up in the morning and do things. Visualize what you want from yourself and from your life. Write that down into a piece of paper with the steps you have to take to get there. It doesn’t have to be something big. Start with baby steps and slowly pick up the pace.
You don’t have to get there in a month or in a year, but you’ll have to keep the goal in mind. “Is everything that I do right now helping me reach the final destination?”
This requires huge will power and action-taking.
Every step, no matter how small it is, if it’s taking you a little closer to your goal, then it’s the correct one.
One mistake I see people make is that they do all of this hard work and action-taking, in hopes of getting their ex back. Before you do that, re-evaluate your goal. Breakups happen for a reason, and that most of the time, an ex should remain an ex.
9. Make A Drastic-Change.
Cut your hair, get different hair color, get a piercing, etc. Making changes to the way you look can really boost your confidence and start a new version of yourself. Maybe your ex liked your long hair but you wanted short hair. So cut it. You’ll no longer feel attached to them.
DISCLAIMER: JUST DON’T GET A TATTOO. Don’t rush into anything and don’t do anything you don’t want to do. You’ll regret it.
10. Look back and analyze.
Once the break up isn’t so raw, look back, and analyze it. Figure out objectively what you did right and what you did wrong. Treat this as a learning experience, so you won’t make the same mistakes in future relationships.
If you were needy, learn to overcome neediness.
If they disrespected you and your boundaries, consider looking for future partners who will respect and support you. And learn to respect yourself.
Did you break up because of communication problems? Make communication the foundation of your next relationship.
Did you break up because they felt neglected? Be sure to spend quality time together with your next partner.
Was your ex manipulative and/or abusive? The next time, don’t ignore these red flags.
11. Get A Rest From The Love Game.
There are 2 opinions on this matter. The first is a saying: “If you want to get over someone, you have to get under someone.” and the second is: Avoid the rebound. If you guessed from the Bold letters above, I believe the second one. And I’ll show you why.
You see, it’s a terrible idea to seek out a relationship after a breakup before you are ready. You haven’t healed completely from the previous relationship and you will likely not give your partner enough to make the current one work, which means that eventually, you will find yourself in the same spot. Not only you will be trying to heal yourself from the wounds of the previous relationship but also from the fresh wounds of the rebound relationship. Rebounds are a great way to destroy yourself and others in the process.
Embrace your independence. You don’t need to find your new soulmate right now. Focus on yourself and your goals.
12. Time heals all wounds.
Read that again. Time heals all wounds. Right now you may be wondering how you are going to move on without this person in your life, but trust me, in a matter of time you will no longer think of them. You’ll probably even realize it was for the better.
Unfortunately, there is no way to get through this quickly, it takes time. Give yourself time and give yourself love. You are healing. It’s a long process. It’s a long journey. And a hard one. It’s an uphill battle that you’ll have to take. But you can make it by doing your best every day, and in the end, you’ll just realize “That happened, but I’m okay now.”
13. Seek Out Professional Help.
If you find nothing is working, maybe consider talking to a counselor or a therapist, in the end, I’m not a professional.
There is nothing wrong with seeking mental health help. A counselor is literally paid to listen to you, no matter how long it takes. They can also step in and refer you to someone who can prescribe anti-depressants if it gets to that point. If it does get to that point, however, don’t feel bad about needing meds. It won’t be forever. A large portion of the population at some point in their life suffer from depression, as the World Health Organization states. There is no shame about this.
Breakups, we’ve all been there. You are not alone in this. You are smart and strong, and you’ll pull out of this as a better person. Take care of yourself, and don’t be afraid to reach out to talk.