Getting over a break up can feel like one of the toughest things in the world. This 14 step by step guide will help.
Dealing with a break up is hard. There’s no doubt about it. Sometimes it feels like the end of the world, but it really isn’t.
Here’s a simple guide to getting over a breakup so you will get back to feeling like yourself in no time.
Love is indescribable. It’s something you simply just know feels amazing, wonderful, peaceful and magical all at the same time.
Changing up your appearance to elevate your self-confidence doesn’t hurt. It can be as easy as revaluating your style and buying new makeup, or something a little more drastic like getting a piercing or that tattoo you’ve been thinking about for ages.
Or you might have regretted that tattoo that you had as a couple. Consider your options for getting a great tattoo cover up design or laser tattoo removal.
Michelle Zauner, author of Crying in H Mart describes love as “an action, an instinct, a response roused by unplanned moments and gestures, an inconvenience in someone else’s favor.”
Dr Seuss says love is “when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
While books, romantic movies like Valentine’s Day and 10 Things I Hate About You, and timeless love songs like Elvis’ Can’t Help Falling in Love make us believe that loving is simple, it can actually take a lot of effort and emotion.
Unfortunately, in romantic relationships, sometimes things just don’t turn out the way that you want them to, and you are faced with having to let go of someone you once loved.
Breakups are tough, as well as challenging, horrible, gut-wrenching, shattering, confusing, sad, lonely, physically painful, anger-inducing – the list goes on.
Knowing how to deal with a breakup is not easy; the end of a relationship can feel like the end of the world regardless of who broke it off and whether it ended in amicable circumstances.
What are the effects of a breakup?
Breakups can feel like failure – you question how and why did things not work out, was it you? Was it them? You may find yourself slipping into self-destructive habits: ignoring your friends, neglecting your work, forgetting about self-care, drinking or eating too much or too little.
Sara Davison, founder of The Divorce Coach says, “a breakup is known as the second most traumatic life experiences after the death of a loved one, and it triggers similar symptoms to grief.”
Breakups have a devastating impact to the body – it is likened to a physical injury. Your body is deprived of love hormones (dopamine and oxytocin) and instead filled with cortisol, the stress hormone. You can become more anxious, feel nauseous, tired and may even gain weight.
How long does it take to get over a breakup?
Davison claims that breakups take about 11 weeks to recover from. Anything over three months may mean that there are underlying factors of emotional trauma, so it’s important to seek out help from a mental health professional, if that happens to you.
But ultimately, how a person heals and how long it takes differs from person to person – how they manage stress, cope with overwhelming emotions and how much they have to modify their lifestyle.
While the saying goes, “the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else…”, it’s not necessarily advised. Lucy Gornall from RedOnline recommends that a person puts themselves out there once they feel neutral about their ex. Signs like hanging out with friends regularly and not wanting to vent to them about an ex, or seeing the end of the relationship as something that happened for the better with a lesson to be learnt, means that you’re potentially ready to start giving love, as you’ve already worked on loving yourself.
Fortunately, wallowing in the effects of a breakup is only temporary, and you will feel like your normal self, and even better self, very soon. In the meantime, here is a simple step-by-step guide to getting over a breakup so that you’ll get back to feeling happy and confident in no time.
1. Recognise that you will heal in your own time.
A breakup is a journey and the process of recovering from deep, staggering emotions takes time. As cliché as it sounds, it’s crucial to acknowledge that you’ve lost a big part of your life – someone you loved, a best friend with whom you shared many of your memories and darkest secrets with, someone you counted on for moral support and simple company.
It’s ok to have good days and bad days, but the important thing is that you move on because you know that this feeling won’t last forever.
C’est la vie.
2. Talk about it with people you trust or people you’ll never see again.
Undeniably, talking is therapeutic.
It’s better than keeping your emotions locked in your head at 2am while you’re trying to fall asleep.
Talking is a means of acceptance and the more you talk, the less of an emotional hold the breakup has over you.
The art of talking about a breakup is about choosing the right people to confide in – this means, people within your circle whom you know and trust. When the people you love know you’re not feeling your best, they will, without doubt, be there to support you.
Talking to people like family, friends or coworkers may help you to see the breakup from a position of strength and understand the moral of the story.
Likewise, talking to complete strangers or your friend’s friend’s friend encourages emotional release and may bring new insights to light.
3. Delete their number. Don’t stay friends.
You may argue that the breakup was mutual, but that is by no means an excuse to keep their contact details on your phone.
While maintaining a connection keeps things civil and makes the adjustment to single life a little less abrupt, Dr Gary W. Lewandoski Jr. says that only few exes make a seamless transition into friendship immediately.
Staying friends can lead to more heartbreak and jealousy, thus making the search for a new romantic partner more difficult than it should be. The safest thing to do is to delete their number so you aren’t inclined to call them and ask for closure, text and beg for forgiveness, or drunk-dial them at 3am.
Deleting their number works in your favour too, especially if your ex is constantly looking to ‘talk’ and you just don’t have the energy for it.
If you’re still hesitant to delete their number, listen to the song, New Rules, by Dua Lipa on repeat. Just “don’t pick up the phone.”
4. Block or unfollow them on all social media
The last thing you want to see is your ex living their best life while you’re down in the dumps, or perhaps even worse, with a new lover.
While it’s fun to flaunt your new life and give your ex a little taste of what they’re missing, just remember that your life is unique, thrilling and exciting, and you don’t have to prove it to anyone.
This might also mean you have to unfollow your ex’s mutuals in order to successfully avoid them on social media. It doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon the new friendships you’ve formed during the relationship; just tell them that you need space and time, and most definitely don’t want to see or hear anything about your ex… not even their name for the moment.
Remember, if they are your friends, they’ll respect your decision.
5. Got relationship souvenirs you don’t know what to do with? Box them.
Before you rage out and throw your ex’s clothes out of the window, just like Kourtney Kardashian did with Scott’s clothes in Keeping Up With The Kardashians, it’s best to act rationally and place all tangible reminders of your ex in a box or alternatively, bag them up.
The key idea is that all of your ex’s belongings and relationship memorbilia are out of sight and out of mind.
Once you’ve processed the relationship and your emotions, you can revisit them and think clearly about your next move, without feeling intense remorse and animosity.
6. Build your post-breakup recovery toolkit with sad songs to listen to on-the-go and romcoms to watch when you’re in your feels
The heart wants what it wants. Sometimes, it just wants to feel.
Music has a powerful mood-boosting effect. Hence, if you find yourself cooking a meal-for-one and suddenly get teary-eyed (and not because you were chopping onions), listen to sad music as a source of comfort. Here’s a Spotify playlist of the Saddest Breakup Songs of All Time curated by Refinery29, featuring tracks like Someone Like You by Adele and Space Cowboy by Kacey Musgraves.
However, if sad songs are only making you feel worse, pump up upbeat, confidence-boosting songs like Lizzo’s Good as Hell or Ariana Grande’s Thank U Next.
In the same realm, watching chick-flick movies and wishing that the main character’s happy ending was yours is not actually a bad idea. In fact, it instils hope in finding a new beau and reminds you that ‘love’ is truly amazing.
Here’s a list of some of the BB team’s favourite comfort movies we recommend watching.
7. Closure is overrated.
“He said, she said… what if… it’s not you, it’s me…” – we’ve heard them all so many times, so you don’t need to hear them again.
Seeking out ‘closure’ often means that there’s a desperateness to get back together if you narrow the reasons down, according to Nick Notas, dating and confidence consultant.
Avoid wishful thinking by accepting the reality of the current moment and the past.
Come to terms with the fact that the relationship ended for a reason, therefore going in circles and sparking conversations which justify the reasons as to why you weren’t compatible and how talking it through can get you both back together, are ineffective.
At times, you may want a dramatic breakup, just like the ones in the movies, but note that it isn’t always necessary. Mere acceptance and progression is all you need.
After all, time is the best healer – not talking.
8. SELF. CARE.
Yes, a breakup is a valid reason to spoil yourself.
Go outside, take that extra long warm bath, get your nails done, bake that cake and eat it, buy that designer purse or a pretty bouquet of flowers.
Do things that make you feel grounded and fill your cup.
These activities can help to relieve stress, improve self-confidence and even minimise feelings of loneliness.
You don’t have to endure pain and guilt to be able to heal.
9. Say yes to social invitations and surround yourself with good people
Breakups can feel super isolating – you’ve lost the one person you used to do almost everything with.
By saying yes to going to social events, you can find your freedom and may even end up creating new friendships or strengthening old bonds you’d lost when you were in the relationship – just like Jules Wiley did from the tv show, Dollface.
You can be single, WITHOUT being alone. Surround yourself with good people you know will take care of you and show you that you are capable of loving and being in love no matter your relationship status.
Plan your days, evenings and weekends with fun and new activities. Don’t forget to reserve time for yourself too, as mentioned in the point above.
Also, be mindful of obsessively checking your phone or feeling guilty for having fun and maybe even flirting a little.
The world is your oyster.
10. Nurture your body with healthy food and exercise
Breakups can interfere with or completely disrupt your daily routine and, accordingly, your mental and physical health. You may find yourself going out and socialising less, eating more or eating less, and skipping gym days – just to name a few examples.
Give your body what it needs by nourishing it with delicious and nutritious foods while also making sure to get in some movement every day; whether it be a slow walk, yoga, a 2 minute treadmill sprint or 1 hour boxing class, anything can help.
Don’t forget to breathe too – you have just gone through emotional trauma. And, if you’re craving chocolate or extra time for a lie in, do it. In essence, it’s about balance and moderation.
11. Describe your ideal partner
Putting pen to paper seems like an ancient practice these days, but it is undeniably cathartic when it comes to venting out thoughts and emotions confidentially.
Write up a list of reasons why your ex-partner wasn’t right for you. Review the list and appreciate that that relationship was a lesson that has given you a new perspective and focus on what you need now and in a future lover.
You can also list reasons as to why you are worthy. Reaffirm yourself, empower yourself and remind yourself to never settle for less.
Write or draw up a new romantic partner. List their physical and emotional qualities and why they make them a ‘keeper’. Whether you write, “my future partner will be tall, dark and handsome. He will be kind, family oriented and funny”, or, “my future partner will be Harry Styles” – there is no outrageous thought or feeling when you’re journalling.
12. Put extra focus into your work and career
Where else can you exert that post-parting anger and tensity into? Your ambitions, of course.
Putting in extra time and dedication will benefit you massively in the present and in the long-run.
Study harder, pick up extra shifts, work on that side hustle with no absolutely zero distractions. By getting your mind off the negatives, you’ll most certainly be able to heal a lot quicker than you expect.
13. Experiment. Go to new places and try out new things
While it’s nice to revisit an old place and attempt to create new memories in order to cancel out the old ones, try going to a new destination alone or with a friend.
Go to places that have absolutely zero memories attached to them, and rebrand them as ‘your special spot’ and no one else’s. This activity will help to clear the mind while soaking up the sun’s rays and breathing in fresh air.
Need ideas for places to go post-breakup? Click here to see the best post-breakup vacation spots.
The days are now yours and you can do with them whatever you want to. Like they say, carpe diem.
14. Change your look – become you 2.0
Let’s make this clear – this doesn’t mean getting an impulsive tattoo or quitting your job. Make sure you think about any major changes or decisions first.
Changing up your appearance to elevate your self-confidence doesn’t hurt.It can be as easy as revaluating your style and buying new makeup, or something a little more drastic like getting a piercing or that tattoo you’ve been thinking about for ages.
Be kind to yourself and have fun, xx.