1. Give the ring back.
This is important because you do not want to have the reminder of a broken promise lying around your house. I mean, seriously, what are you going to do with it? Yes, most people will say you should try to pawn it and make some easy cash, but don’t. Unreturned engagement rings can result in legal issues and do you really want to go to court over a ring that you’re never going to wear again anyway? Of course you don’t. You also don’t want to give your ex any unnecessary excuse to try to contact you because most likely he will want that ring back (especially if he spent a large chunk of change on it). This doesn’t mean you have to see him again either. If you ended on bad terms and do not want to meet with him face-to-face, have a close friend or family member do it for you. Just remember that the sooner you give it back to him, the sooner you can rid your life of the drama.
2. Cut off all contact. INSTANTLY.
After the ring has been returned, stop talking to him! Whether he sends you nasty texts cursing you off or paragraph-long texts about how much he misses you, do not respond. The same goes for when/if you have the urge to text him. Never give in to that urge! Talking to him will only make matters worse and make the break up ten times harder than it already is. Even if the relationship didn’t end on completely horrible terms, you were supposed to marry this person and unless you have a child with them, you will only hurt yourself by trying to stay on friendly terms with them. If it’s been weeks or months since the break up and they still insist on harassing you with texts and calls, then you may even want to consider changing your number. Just like the saying goes, “you can’t move on to the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.” There’s no way you will ever move on completely if you don’t erase this person from your life entirely.
3. Social network spring cleaning.
This step kind of ties in with #2, but still deserves its own category. You do not want your ex to have access to any of your social networks. You also do not want his family and friends to have access to it either. Why? Because he does not need to know what you’re doing at all times of the day and Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will provide him with that knowledge. So first make sure you delete and/or block him on any social networks that the two of you were friends on and then proceed to delete anyone else who is close to him as well (these people will give him info about you based on what you post or they will allow him to scope out your posts through their accounts — don’t let this happen). This works both ways too. You also don’t want to give him access to your social media because you don’t want to be tempted to look at his page either. I know we all wonder how our exes are doing sometimes or who they’re dating now. But sometimes we’re better off not knowing these things. Do you really want to see the twenty pictures he just posted of the vacation he and his new girlfriend went on last week? No, you don’t. Even if you couldn’t care less about the guy anymore, I can guarantee you it will hurt in at least some way to see him with someone who isn’t you. Stalking his social media will only drive you crazy and will in no way aid in the healing process.
4. Hang out with your good friends and reconnect with old ones.
Sometimes when we’re in a relationship we tend to forget how important our friends are. Especially relationships that lead to engagements. Sometimes we tend to develop a mindset where we think we only need our significant other and since we’re “getting married to them,” we figure we’re set for life. Only we’re not. Having friends is extremely important whether you’ve been dating someone for a month or you’ve been married for twenty-five years. It’s not healthy to have such an isolated relationship and in a time like this, having good friends is crucial. Even if you didn’t see your friends very much while you were with your ex, I can almost guarantee that they will be there for you in your time of need because that’s what friends do. So make plans with these friends; go out to dinner, go to the movies or even go out to a club. It will not only make you feel a lot better, but it will also show you that it’s still possible to have fun without being in a relationship.
5. Keep busy.
So you called up your three BFFs but none of them are available to go out and it’s a Friday night. So what? Still go out and do something! You never want to give yourself the chance to sit in your house and sulk. Even if your plans consist of going to visit a family member or browsing around the mall for a few hours, they’re still plans and they will definitely help you take your mind off of things. I know for a fact that I’m guilty of sitting in my room and over-thinking everything and anything which is exactly what you will do if you do not make an effort to keep busy. This doesn’t mean that you have to go out every single night of the week; sometimes it’s good to stay in and relax, but once you start to feel your mood dropping, that’s when you really need to consider getting out for a bit.
6. Get more involved with work and/or school.
Responsibilities are great distractions, especially when you’re really immersed in them. If you have a job, volunteer to take on some extra hours or work overtime if you can. As I mentioned before, the less time spent at home, the better. Also, this gives you an opportunity to make some extra money and maybe it can even help you work towards that promotion you’ve been waiting for. If you don’t have a job, now’s the perfect time to find one. It’s good to get yourself into a daily routine and if you have no obligations, chances are you probably won’t see the point of getting out of bed in the morning. It’s easy to become depressed after a break up and spending your days in bed can definitely contribute to that. If you’re still a student in school, then devote some extra time to your school work or after-school activities. Don’t rush through that term paper; take your time on it and you’ll be happy with the result in the end. Always look at a break up as a chance to better yourself, not as a chance to let yourself go.
7. Seek counseling if you need to.
This is a tricky one; a lot of people are terrified at the thought of counseling or therapy of any sort. However, counseling can be extremely beneficial, and especially if your break up was due to something traumatic like infidelity. The thing is: broken engagements are a lot different than regular break ups. You had plans to spend your life with this person and you probably already started planning the wedding, house hunting, and talking about your future together, as all of these things normally happen once a couple becomes engaged. When all of these plans are instantly cancelled, it can be very difficult to accept. Your dreams are shattered and so is your trust. How will you ever love again? Will you ever be able to trust someone again? Will you ever want to get married after this? These are just a few of the questions that will be running through your mind after your engagement is over and unfortunately, these are questions that you will not have the answers to. I’m not saying that a therapist will be able to give you all the answers either, but they will be able to help you find them and even if they can’t, it’s still very helpful to talk to an unbiased party about what you’re going through. We all turn to our friends and family during difficult times but sometimes our friends and family only tell us what we want to hear. Talking to someone who doesn’t know us personally can provide us with a different type of perspective.
8. Put away all physical memories.
Chances are, if you two were engaged, there are tons of reminds of him lying around your room. Whether it’s gifts you received, articles of his clothing, or pictures of the two of you — just get rid of them all. I use the term “get rid of them,” however, because throwing such important items in the trash can be almost impossible, even for myself. So if you aren’t able to bring yourself to officially throw everything in the garbage, at least pack it all up and put it some place where it’s out of sight. Maybe someday, years from now, you’ll revisit those memories with a smile on your face. Or maybe someday you’ll come across that box and finally be ready to send it off to the dump. Either way, don’t let these items stick around for too long as they will only serve as a reminder of the pain the breakup brought you. Out of sight, out of mind. Box them up and be done with it.
9. Take a vacation.
The summer following my broken engagement, I took a vacation to my old hometown in Florida and it was probably one of the best decisions I could have made. Taking a vacation — whether it’s to another state or another country — gives you a break from everything and allows you to create new and exciting memories that don’t involve your ex. If you can, try to take the vacation alone as it’ll give you time to think and find yourself. It’ll also help you realize how independent you have become since your relationship ended. But taking a vacation with some of your girl friends can also be just as great as well.
10. Start dating when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.
Once you’ve made it all the way to this step, chances are you’ve considered dating again. And by dating, I do not mean finding a rebound guy. Rebounds are never the answer, hence why I’m urging you to only date when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely. Dating too soon isn’t fair to you nor the person whom you decide to date. If you enter a relationship you aren’t emotionally ready for, there is no way things will work out in the long run. Give yourself time. You do not need to join every dating site and ask all of your friends to set you up on dates. Sometimes it’s good to be single for a while. It gives you the chance to do what you want to do and it lets you regain your independence. I don’t think there will be an exact day when you wake up and think, “Hey I’m gonna start dating again today.” But you will know, deep down, when you are ready so trust that feeling. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’ve been single for too long and don’t let anyone pressure you into a relationship with them either. Take things slow and at your own pace. Don’t go looking for love, let love find you.