Remember how it felt when the love of your life broke up with you and walked out that door? Did you feel…
- Unbearably sad but most of all like he didn’t care and you wanted him to care?
- Extremely devastated and didn’t know what to do but was dying to text and call to work it out, eventually realizing that you will never be together?
- Or did you spend a month crying yourself to sleep each night hoping you’d get back together?
I went through each of those experiences while going through my share of painful breakups. I felt so broken in pain like as if I was a hollow shell of a person. But with time the pain diminished and I’ve survived dating breakups for over a decade. What follows is what I learned on how to deal with my feelings of loneliness and self-loathing without letting myself spiral into depression after a break-up.
Step One – Don’t Convince Him to Stay
I made this mistake so many times because I did not see the break up coming. When it happened I felt like I got punched in the gut. I pleaded and negotiated with him to stay in the relationship by saying that I will be different the second time around because I knew my mistakes and now we could try harder to make the relationship work.
In hindsight this was a mistake for a couple reasons.
First, when a relationship comes to an end it’s because they decided to stop working at the relationship. They stopped caring and putting in the effort. They are saying they don’t want to be in it with you anymore.
Second, even if I managed to convince him to stay I never knew if he’s staying because he wanted to work it out or because I begged him to. I didn’t feel confident about the sustainability of our relationship or about his affections because I pleaded him to give our relationship another chance.
Trying to convince him to change his mind is a desperate move. I’ve been there because in the midst of a breakup I was a hot, emotional mess and could not think straight. But by asking him to stay I lost my dignity and self-respect because he already made up his mind to give up on us.
Let your man go and remain confident about who you are. I promise you he’s not the last man on earth though at the moment it sure feels like it.
Step Two – Cut Off All Contact
I never really understood how to be friends with exes right after a breakup. It was too painful of a reminder of what we used to have together. Plus, I was angry at myself for investing in a relationship that ended and staying in contact with him only reminded me of my naiveté of dating another wrong guy.
What did help me piece my life back together was to cut off all contact until I healed. This meant no texting, no phone calls, no answering FB messages, no contact with him of any sort.
I learned that by allowing myself to harmlessly contact him during this time I kept hoping we’d get back together. My heart and emotions never healed when I did this. I kept reading advice about seeking closure and the importance of having closure but reaching out to my ex never got me closer to closure.
If you are communicating with your ex during this difficult period, you are not allowing both of you to heal and move on.
If you’re worried about losing the friendship, don’t be. If he truly cared about staying friends with you he will still be there even after months of no contact. Don’t try to be friends until you are cleared of romantic feelings for him because when you hang out you might try to ‘win’ him back.
Step Three – Accept That It’s Over
Even if you think there is a chance that you he might come back it’s best to assume that your relationship with him is completely over. By accepting this it will allow you to move on with your life. You won’t be setting yourself up for disappointment if deep down you still have hope but it doesn’t happen in the future.
Just like cutting off all communication with your ex, you should stop looking at anything that reminds you of your ex or your former relationship. This includes old emails, photos, love letters, texts, or venturing to the places you use to hang out and reminders of sentimental memories.
You should also take a break from friends you have in common because in moments of emotional overwhelm you might try to get their friends to change his mind which is manipulative.
People don’t get over their exes because they are still clinging to what could have been. You have to emotionally accept that it’s over in order to heal and move on with your life.
Step Four – Allow Yourself to Grieve
I remember listening to a podcast where Anthony Robbins mentioned that mourning is optional. I never thought about it that way and thought it was something you’re supposed to do when tragedy happens. There was never a choice whether you grieve or not.
When you have just gotten out of a relationship allow yourself a set amount of time to suffer but don’t let yourself wallow for months on end. You give yourself the permission to stop mourning. Give yourself an end to when you stop grieving for your past relationship.
It’s normal to be crying every night, to be experiencing loneliness, pain, and insecurity but there should be a point where you need to move on with your life.
Enlist the help of your friends and family to share your feelings and thoughts. They are there to help and support you, to get you through the grieving process. Find someone who cares enough to listen to you talk through your emotions. This step is an important part of the healing process.
Step Five – Become a Better Version of Yourself
Once you have completed steps 1 through 4 then it’s time to build your life back together by focusing on yourself. Devote your energies to taking care of yourself and pursuing your interests before you got into a relationship. Set yourself new goals and develop new hobbies or interests you want to try.
A big confidence booster is to start exercising. If you don’t exercise regularly start slow and work your way to incorporating exercise into your routine. Exercising releases endorphins that boost your mood and help you become more confident. Studies show that when people start exercising regularly then the rest of their life starts to fall into place. You eat healthier, you feel better, you sleep better and you start to become more confident which leads to improvement in all areas of your life.
Breakups are a necessary step in finding the one true love you want to be with. Instead of letting heartache paralyze you, grow from it and understand that you give yourself permission on when to stop grieving. It is your choice. Following these steps will help you become a more resilient person for relationships because the only guaranteed way to find love is to keep on dating.