There’s no sugarcoating it: getting over my first breakup was miserable. I felt lonely and sad and confused and I had no idea how to begin the healing process. However, with the help of some great friends and a bit of creativity, I found some tricks that helped me immensely.
Recovering from a breakup will be difficult and it will take time, but it is extremely doable, and you will emerge stronger and better than you were before. Everybody is different, but I found a few tricks that worked well for me, and hopefully you can benefit from them as well.
One: Let yourself mourn.
The death of a relationship is almost like the death of the actual person. Yes, my ex was still alive, but he was dead to me as I knew him. He was no longer there for me to call or to hug or to joke with. Our future plans were demolished, and I was left with only the ghost of our memories.
It is a sad reality to face, and it is completely normal and okay to be sad about it.
During this mourning period, let yourself cry. It’s okay to be sad. Sadness is an emotion that plays an important role in our lives. Embrace it. When you feel it creep up on you, welcome it, and allow it to serve its purpose.
We feel strong emotions so we can learn from them. That’s why after a breakup, people are more cautious about letting themselves get hurt again. And they are more careful and make better choices. We learn and we grow.
Growth is the most important outcome from any life experience. So do what you can to expedite that process. Make note of what you liked and didn’t like about this relationship, on their end and on your own. Acknowledge the mistakes you made and learn from them.
Two: Get rid of the evidence.
You will not get over your ex if you see a picture of the two of you next to your bed every day. It may be difficult, but you need to get rid of it.
Change your phone background and your ringtone, and remove them from your social media accounts.
Put everything that reminds you of them in a box or bag. Every note, picture, card, gift – anything that makes you think about your ex. Put it away in a closet and don’t look at it for a long time.
Seeing these reminders will only reopen the wounds. Try to make it as easy as possible for you to go through your daily routine without being reminded of the past. This is a new chapter in your life and you need to put yourself in an environment that encourages a fresh start.
Three: Cut contact.
This was the hardest for me, because I didn’t understand how one day he could be my best friend and the next I couldn’t ask him how he was handling a difficult situation in his life – but you cannot lean on each other during this time.
If the breakup is not as amicable as mine, you may be tempted to send nasty messages or letters. This is equally as bad. It will not make you feel better, and it will only create a bigger mess.
If you two would like to remain friends with each other, that’s great. But it can’t be right now. You are both emotional and confused, and staying in touch will only complicate things. Give yourself some time to move on and adjust to a life without the other person.
It doesn’t have to be cold turkey (although if that’s what you think is best – go for it), but soon after the breakup, you should cut off all contact with your ex.
If you absolutely cannot fathom that, break it down. Vow not to message them for two weeks. When that two week time period comes, see if you can make it another week. Try to aim for about three months.
Four: Get busy.
Whether it’s honing a skill that you’ve already developed or finally trying that new hobby you’ve always wanted to learn – throw yourself into activities.
This serves many purposes. The busier you are, the less time you have to think about your ex. And even better, immersing yourself into these activities will make you a better person and you’ll walk away from this experience with new skills and hobbies.
For me, my breakup led me to discover how much I love yoga. I learned how to play the ukulele. I read new books that I didn’t have the time for when I was spending my free time with my ex.
For the first time in a while, I could manage my time and make decisions that solely benefited me. I didn’t have to think about anybody else and I relished my newfound independence. I could do whatever I wanted! And so can you. Enjoy it!
Five: Don’t force anything.
You will not get over your ex overnight. They were the most important person in your world for a long time, and there will be an adjustment period to change that.
Sometimes the pain will seep through your busy schedule. Let it in. But don’t let it ruin your day. Give yourself some time to be sad, but put a time limit on it and have a plan for immediately afterwards.
Let yourself cry for a half hour, and then call a friend. Or go for a walk. Or do something that you know will make you happy.
Being sad is a natural and important emotion, but you don’t want to lose yourself in it.
Six: Use a crutch if you need one.
The hardest adjustment for me was relearning the habits I had formed. I had grown accustomed to texting him before bed, and waking up to a message from him each morning. Habits are tough to break, but it is possible. To help with the transition, I found temporary replacements.
If I was feeling really bummed one evening, I would send a good night message to my mom. If I felt the urge to text “I miss you,” I would address it to a friend and enjoy catching up with them instead.
Mornings were the loneliest for me; it was painful to wake up to the emptiness of what once was. To fight this, I began setting my alarm ten minutes earlier. This forced me to get out of bed and launch into my morning routine immediately, leaving little time to remember or think about the missing presence in my life.
Seven: Give it time.
Regardless of all of these methods, the best and most effective way to get over a relationship is time. The more time that passes, the better you will feel. No amount of tips or tricks will change that.
It has been four months since my breakup and I still feel sad sometimes. But overall, I feel so much better. I don’t feel a stab in my heart when I see a picture of him or hear his name. I am happy being on my own.
Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to speed up time. So the best thing to do is to remind yourself that everything will be okay.
Breakups are tough, but in the end, you will be stronger for it. You will learn from your mistakes and you will find another partner that makes you happier.