No matter how your relationship ended, there is no denying that break ups are hard and can create all kinds of painful feelings. While saying goodbye is never easy and moving on may seem impossible, there are many positive things you can do to help the healing process along. Now is not the time to lay blame. The arguing is done. Its really over. Though tempting, now is not the time to get even.
Do something truly for yourself. Is there a hairstyle you’ve been wanting to try, rock it. That gig you wanted to go to but your ex hated the music? Buy a ticket and spend your Saturday night dancing it out. Do all of the things you have been denying yourself for his/her benefit.
If you left your relationship because of abuse or addiction issues, take the time now to seek the appropriate help. Toxic relationships are that much harder to leave completely, particularly if control or violence was an issue. Keep a grounded friend around to be a voice of reason that keeps you strong. Manipulative partners make hellish exes. Having a sounding board will help you navigate any backsliding. If addiction is a problem for you, seek counselling and support to help you adjust to the major changes that are now occurring in your life.
Join a gym. Go to the pool. Take a boxing class. Work on you in a fun social. Start that health kick but don’t crash diet yourself into the veritable new and improved you overnight. If you can’t yet face a meal, (it happens) stay hydrated, drink any alcohol in moderation. Make small meals and make them special -just because you are now cooking for one doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on quality.
Get in touch
It is common for friendships to fade off or slow down as romantic relationships develop. Now is the time to reconnect with all of those who were there before your ex beloved and have remained after. Surround yourself with supportive people who understand your situation, know how to listen and recognise when it is time to drag you off of the couch and take you out.
Looking to take a next step in your career? Now is the time to start focusing on self-development. Reevaluate your goals. Are there leadership opportunities at work that you haven’t considered because of the extra hours required? Perhaps you’ve been considering going back to study or studying abroad. Now is the time to work out what you want to achieve for your own life. Leave it up to others to work out where they fit in. The more you build now, the more you’ll have to share when you decide it’s time for another relationship.
Block your ex on social media. I know you think you can be friends, but all it is going to take is one photo of your ex with his arm around a random to undo all the hard work you’ve done. If you’re still facebook friends with all of his friends, consider whether you want to see his face popping up in their photos. Make your own call on whether to unfriend them but at the very least unfollow their profiles so no stray photos pop up in your newsfeed. Replace your bedding. There is nothing worse than coming home to the sheets that once accompanied Sunday morning cuddles. Box up your mementos and leave them with a friend until you feel more able to have them around you. Untie yourself from the possessions of the relationship and start creating your own place that reflects who you are now and who you hope to become.
Running away will not solve any of the feelings that you are struggling with. Trust me. But some time away may help to gain some much needed clarity. Consider volunteering abroad. Put all of that energy into something positive. Always wanted to take that girls trip to Fiji, now is the time. If an overseas adventure is not on the cards, take a daytrip out of town. Take the train and your iPod somewhere scenic or road trip it out of town with your nearest and dearest and a playlist of your favourite belters. Split the cost of a cabin or camp out by the sea. A change of scenery will do wonders to clear your head and will keep any urges to pack up and move permanently to South America at bay while you mend.
I’m not suggesting you go on a texting rampage but don’t underestimate the power of a solid scream into nothingness. Get out of the house or bury your face into a pillow. Get it all out then let it go.
Get some perspective
Go to ground, as my aunt would say. I tend towards continual forward movement until I burn out to avoid unpleasant feelings. Take some solo time out to really sit with what has happened. Evaluate your part in the breakdown of the relationship and what think about you would do differently the next time around. Keep the lessons, make room for the nice memories while still being aware of the bad. It is healing to forgive not only your ex but also yourself, but don’t feel that you have to forget. Work out your mistakes honestly, without too much self-criticism and take stock for next time (there will be a next time, even if you’ve sworn off love for life). If you can recognise behavior patterns before they become an issue, you’ll be less likely to repeat your mistakes.
You’re hurting. You’re making huge changes in your life but don’t close yourself off to opportunities that may come your way. Go on dates. Go out with friends. Join a book club or a film society. Try new things and know that as you change, your path will to. Prepare for what’s ahead without focusing too much on what has passed. Find your passion.
This is a time for reflection, some self-love and a chance to re-evaluate what you want for yourself and for your life. While it may not feel like it right now, the end of your relationship is not representative of some epic personal failure. It’s an opportunity to do all of the things you couldn’t do before, to meet new people, to address parts of yourself that you’d like to change and leap at opportunities you may have been closed off to before. Simply put, it’s your time. Embrace it.