We’ve all been through bad breakups, and by the third time around, you think you’d be better at handling them. But the truth is, it’s just as hard each time. Either the spark disappears or you grow apart and want different things, or even worse, someone cheats. Whatever the case is, healing from breakups is hard and I have some tried and tested tips to help you cope.
Cry (a lot) and this will last a few days
Pent up emotions have a way of coming out in the most random places. To avoid a break down in the cereal aisle of the grocery store or in your office break room, let yourself cry if you need to. Once you let it all out, you’ll feel emotionally cleansed.
Buy a tub of ice cream and binge-watch Netflix
It’s completely okay to let yourself bum out and feel sad. Watch shows that will help you feel better, preferably comedies. How I Met Your Mother has always helped me through breakups. It’s also motivating to watch shows about women killing it in their careers. My favorites are How to Get Away with Murder, The Bold Type, and Grey’s Anatomy.
Once you’ve reached the point when you’ve stopped crying, watch Jane Villanueva and Michael’s perfect relationship in Jane the Virgin to give yourself hope that love exists and for perspective on what a healthy relationship looks like. This will help you realize you deserve the best, and the break up was needed so you can meet someone who will treat you like the queen you are.
Identify your emotions
You can’t help yourself feel better if you don’t know what you are feeling. When you feel those sudden waves of sadness/pain, stop for a moment and analyze what emotion you are feeling. Is it anger, loneliness, betrayal, longing? If you are feeling lonely, go see a friend to keep you company. If you’re feeling betrayed, remind yourself that you are perfect and did everything right. If you’re angry, find a healthy way to channel it. If you miss them and want to call, ask yourself if they cared enough to reach out, let alone fight for you.
Delete their number from your phone
Delete it even if you’ve memorized it. Delete recent calls, messages, photos, voicemails and emails — every single trace of your ex. There’s a lot of power in symbolic acts, and deleting your ex’s number is like cutting digital ties with that person.
Block them on social media
Obsessing over your IG story to see if they have watched it isn’t getting you anywhere. It’s not healthy to keep tabs on your ex’s social media to see if they are having fun without you, and it’s not okay to post photos of yourself in hopes that they will see them. Your happiness shouldn’t be contingent on someone else’s pain. Even if you aren’t doing either of those, it’s hard to move on when you keep seeing their face pop up on social media every other day.
Stop blaming yourself
The problem wasn’t just you. Relationships are hard and not everyone is perfect for each other. The problem was the two of you as a couple.
Don’t look at old photos
There may be a time to reminisce about old times, but that time isn’t now. Sure, there were good times with this person, but they didn’t stick around during the hard ones.
Do not call or text whatsoever
Whenever you have the urge to reach out, message a friend “I think I want to text him” and they will slap some sense into you. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. You’ll want to do this with about three or four close friends because I promise you, each of them will be getting that text at least once a day during the first two weeks. Your problems are their problems. That’s what friendship is, and they want to help.
Tell your closest friends why the breakup happened and let them tell you that you are better off without your ex and that they don’t deserve you. You will need to hear it (multiple times).
Don’t immediately suggest to “stay friends”
If he does, tell him you need to think about it. Your impulse tells you to say ‘yes’ because you don’t want to seem like you care too much, but at the same time you aren’t completely over him so a part of you is hoping this friendship will lead back to something more.
Dress nice and glam up
Treat yourself even though you aren’t in the mood to. Give yourself a facial and pamper yourself with a bath. This is your time to shine and you don’t need to look good for anyone other than yourself.
Dance it out
It helps, I promise. Meredith and Cristina taught us well.
Plan a trip
Focus on the better things in life. Travel can be exhilarating and helps you discover parts of yourself you never knew you had. It’s a way to rediscover what makes you happy when you’re not influenced by someone else. You can now live your life on your own terms.
Donate things that remind you of them
If you want to start a bonfire or break a gift mug, that’s okay too.
Start a new project or a place to volunteer
You need to put all the time and energy you used to spend on them, into something else. Work on a passion project that that’s been on the back burner or take on a new hobby. Maybe it’s time to get all that negative energy out with a new kickboxing class.
Don’t listen to sad songs
Make a playlist of hype songs. Basically anything Britney Spears. Add empowering songs like Most Girls by Hailee Steinfeld, or even angry breakup songs like Gives You Hell by All American Rejects, Potential Breakup Song by Aly & AJ, I Don’t Care by Icona Pop, and Fuck You by Lily Allen.
Disassociate normal things from them
Did they love football and you were supposed to go to your first game together? Go to one. Don’t let that distant semblance of a reminder ruin a potentially great experience for you. Did you meet in NY? Don’t be afraid to go back sometime. The world is your oyster and you can do whatever you want. Don’t let some guy ruin things for you that you would have enjoyed otherwise.
Forgive yourself for letting them stay in your life longer than they needed to be there.
You’re going to be just fine.