It happens to the best of us. That relationship that you thought was going places suddenly comes to a screeching and painful halt. No matter how tough you claim to be, you know that it hurts.
Everywhere you look something reminds you of that person who broke your heart. You may start to feel like you will never allow yourself to love again. You may start to look at relationships as wastes of time — as nothing but silly pursuits for chumps. If this describes you, SNAP OUT OF IT!
Yes, breakups are painful, breakups are uncomfortable, breakups are inconvenient. However, breakups are also a part of life. On the path towards finding that truly special person in your life it is inevitable that you will have to go through a breakup. As a matter of fact — maybe you should sit down for this — you will most likely have to go through several breakups before you come across your ideal partner.
As painful as breakups are, they should never be a source of permanent dissolution or disenchantment with dating or romance.
— “Easy for You to Say” —
Okay, it’s true. Describing breakups as a normal part of life is far easier when you are not the one going through the heartache. Having a bunch of well-intentioned people filling your head with a bunch of platitudes about how “everything will be alright” or “there are plenty of other fish in the sea” will rarely do anything for you except possibly make you nauseous.
This is why we constructed this universal survival guide for breakups. It may not ease the pain right off the bat, but it will push you in the right direction so you can emerge on the other side stronger, better, and eager to get back into the dating game.
— 1. Let It All Out
Feeling emotional and sentimental about a breakup is perfectly natural. This means that it is entirely acceptable to express your sadness about your loss. After all, it is a loss. It is the loss not only of the company of the person who you were with, but also of all of the potential and dreams that you had invested in the relationship.
Therefore, it is strongly advisable for you to have a good cry about it. We’re not talking about shedding a few tears that you try to hold back as you’re recounting the story to a friend. We are talking about a good old-fashioned, straight from the gut, cry. The sort of event that could easily consume an entire box of tissues.
How you have this good cry depends a lot on your personality. Some people will prefer to do it alone. Others may feel better if a close friend is present. That part is entirely up to you, but having one good heart-wrenching cry is the first step to overcoming the breakup blues.
— 2. Make It a Clean Break
Breakups are not to be toyed with. They are serious and they are permanent. If after the breakup your ex makes continuous attempts to contact you for whatever reason — overtures of platonic friendship, emotional support, guilt trips, etc. — you must put an end to those lines of communication swiftly and permanently.
You shouldn’t feel guilty about doing so. Keep in mind that it is the healthiest position for the both of you. In order to move forward, you have to leave your past behind.
Of course, this also means that you should not be the one that is attempting to restore or maintain communication with your ex. Doing so will only result in creating false expectations of making up. You may also begin to use your ex as an emotional crutch handicapping you when you want to reenter the dating scene.
— 3. Be Active and Productive
Following a breakup, you will undoubtedly receive advice that encourages you to exercise, find a hobby, do volunteer work, etc. While this is not bad advice, it is not placed in proper context either.
By this, we mean that, yes, it is important to be active and to have a sense of productivity after a breakup — however, it should not involve simple “busy work.” It should be related to something that has genuine meaning for you.
The reason for this is because the amount of time that you will be dedicating to these activities will be the time that you were otherwise spending with your ex. As such, if after a few days or weeks of taking underwater basket weaving classes you find them to be more of a bore and a chore than a joy, that could trigger feelings of loneliness, regret, wastefulness, low self-esteem, and a longing for the relationship that is no more.
This is why we like to clarify this popular piece of advice by stating that you should definitely find interests and activities that will keep you busy, but they should always be related to something that you genuinely enjoy or that will produce tangible benefits and results for you.
— 4. Don’t Become a Hermit
While it is perfectly understandable in the first few days — or even a couple of weeks — following the breakup for you to have a desire to be alone, don’t allow this to extend beyond that time period.
Start by easing back into a social routine with close friends. This could start by having get-togethers at your place or attending get-togethers at theirs. From there, you can ease into outings at your favorite bar or hang out. Before you know it, you’ll be back at the social stride that you had the last time that you were single.
— 5. Get Back Into the Dating Scene
How much time will elapse before you formally get back into the dating scene will vary. By no means are we advocating that you should rush into anything. Going out and hooking up with somebody simply to be on the rebound usually doesn’t end well.
Instead, make sure that you have gone through the four previous steps mentioned above. By the time that you feel that you have recovered your social stride that should also be a good time for you to consider reentering the dating pool.
Some people may reach that point in two or three weeks, others may require two or three months. While there is no set rule for this, you should view three months as the outermost time marker for getting back into the game.
You should also consider using online dating sites or hookup apps to meet new people. The level of customization and filtering that they allow when searching for a potential partner will provide you with the ability to search for partners who are truly compatible and like-minded with you. This, in turn, will give you the added confidence you need to start dating after your breakup.