Breakups freaking suck. They’re uncomfortable. They’re miserable. They’re at the bottom of everyone’s list of favorite things to do. But they happen. And every now and then, a breakup comes along that completely devastates and destroys you. And when this happens, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the breakup tunnel.
Personally, I’ve had more failed relationships than I’d like to remember. These breakups have been of different shapes, sizes, and durations. I’ve been totally blindsided by a dumping. I’ve been the apologetic dumper. I even have some “mutual understandings” under my belt. But one break-up in particular seemed to be the one that might break me. I was completely inconsolable. I couldn’t eat. I stopped showering. I sank into a depression that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. But after a long, long time, I came out on the other side and I’d like to think I’m better for it.
So what do you do to get over those breakups that feel like they’re breaking you? Of course breakups, just like relationships, are all unique little snowflakes, but these 5 steps to getting over it are a great place to start.
Let yourself be sad.
After a breakup, you might feel pressure to “bounce back” and recover from the loss with the grace of an Olympic gymnast. I’m here to tell you that it’s OKAY to be sad. The end of a relationship is kind of like a death. All the feelings and time you need to process it are completely valid.
You might need to cry, you might need to scream into a pillow. If you’re like me, you might need to simultaneously watch true crime and listen to moody indie rock while rocking back and forth in a corner.
Whatever it is that you need to do to honor your feelings, don’t be ashamed. It’s totally understandable to wallow when you’re going through something traumatic. Breakups are total upheavals of the life and love that you’ve held on to for so long. So don’t judge yourself for being down, and let yourself feel your feelings. You’re grieving the life that you had with your partner. Allow yourself the time and space to go on that journey.
Cut off all communication.
When the split is fresh, it can be incredibly tempting to text your ex. They’re someone that you’re used to talking to every day. You consult each other about everything. Their numbers on speed dial. Plus, you can still talk as friends… Right?
Whether or not you plan to venture into a friendship with your ex down the line, a complete, extended break from communication is absolutely necessary to get over a breakup. Staying in touch keeps you in the relationship mindset and will just confuse and prolong your grief. You have to break the habit of talking to them in order to move forward.
This also includes social media interaction. Block, block, block! I cannot express the importance of this step enough. Once a breakup is final, talking to your ex about it will just torture the both of you and put up roadblocks on your way to acceptance.
Reconnect with friends.
It’s common for some friendships to suffer when you’re in a committed relationship. To focus on your partner, you have to take some time away from your other relationships. There are only so many hours in the day. But when a breakup comes around, reconnecting with your friends is essential to healing.
Surround yourself with people who love and accept you. Vent to them. Go out and party with them. Let them distract you from the constant thoughts of your ex. Remind yourself that there are other people out in the world that make you happy, and let them make you happy.
Start something new.
A huge part of getting over a breakup is breaking the routine that you had with them. You’re not waking up together anymore, you’re not talking throughout the day, you’re not kissing each other goodnight. A great way to move on is to replace these habits with new, healthy ones.
Maybe take a class, or learn something that you’ve had an interest in for a while but never had time for. Change up your morning routine or your exercise routine. Maybe rearrange the furniture in your bedroom. These changes can be small or as big as you’re comfortable with, but make some. You’re carving out a new post-relationship life for yourself, so make it your own.
Reinvest in yourself.
So you’ve allowed yourself adequate time to grieve, have surrounded yourself with a loving support system, and have begun to break your old routines. Now what?
Some people like to stay single for a while after breaking up. Some like to jump right back into the dating game. Both are valid, and everyone can choose the right path for themselves. But remember that you’ve just been through something traumatic. As you move forward, keep your own happiness and success at the forefront of your mind. Keep your individual goals intact and stay invested in your wellness. After all, there is no relationship more important than the one that you have with yourself.
Laurie Magers is a comedy writer and actor living in Los Angeles. Her favorite color is red and her favorite food is crab legs. Check out more from her at www.lauriemagers.com.