How to Get Over a Breakup
Not many things carry with them the emotional toll of a breakup. Whether the relationship lasted months or years, the aftermath is never easy. Regardless of who broke up with who, or even if it was a mutual separation—breakups carry feelings of heartbreak, depression, anxiety, loneliness, disinterest, and can even culminate in physical ailments. But none of those feelings will last forever.
And that’s the most important thing to remember in the aftermath of a breakup: you will get through it. Whether it takes a few weeks, months, or more—time is on your side and you will get through it.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the time it takes to get ‘there’, or to ‘move on’ will be any easier. But there are a few things to remember after a breakup that can help you along the way:
Be Honest with How You Feel
The first, and among the most important things to remember when dealing with a breakup is to be honest with the feelings you’re having. If you’re sad, don’t immediately pretend you aren’t. If you’re angry, don’t immediately try to hide it.
Be honest with the feelings you have—bring them to the light so you have a better chance of seeing them and dealing with them. That way they don’t sneak up on you later, or fester because you shoved them down when they wanted to be expressed.
Experience your emotions so that they don’t swell inside you and wait to erupt. It’s extremely common after breakups to feel shock, grief, denial, fear, betrayal, embarrassment, sadness, and even relief. No matter what emotion comes to you—let yourself feel it.
And realize that it’s okay to have those feelings—in fact, it’s the first step toward recovery.
Life doesn’t necessarily slow down or wait for you to move on from your breakup. It moves along just the same, and the same difficult parts of any given day can rear themselves if you let them. While there are some things we can’t control on any given day, there are several things we can.
If it helps you and you need it, take some time off work. Enjoy a few days of doing the things you like to do. Conversely, if you feel ‘in your head’ a lot when alone at home, sometimes diving into your work can be a good thing. The main takeaway is to try and limit the small things that add stress to any given day. If there are some things you can put off—get back to those projects next week. If knocking out a home renovation is something that calms you down, take the time to do it.
However, beyond those small quality of life measures that can be taken, there’s another big elephant in the room: social media. Odds are if you’ve broken up with someone, it might take a little longer for the world to find out. While it’s up to preference, a good way of helping you move on is either to block their content from showing up on your feed, or just taking a few days off the platforms all together.
There’s no cut-and-dry timeline for how you’d like to go about changing relationship statuses, or whether you should remain friends. Each breakup leads to different outcomes, and it’s up to you to decide how you’d like to proceed.
Enjoy Time with Friends
Perhaps not directly linked to social media, but social interaction is among the best things to experience after a breakup. Let your friends know what happened, let them know how you feel, and let their company help you move forward.
If people invite you to do something to take your mind off the breakup, try your best to be open to it. Say yes and enjoy yourself. Try new things, new activities, and reconnect with friends that maybe you didn’t see as often when you were in a relationship.
They’ll be happy to see more of you, and you will too. Don’t hide what you’re feeling or how the breakup is impacting you—open up to them, and you’ll be thankful for the love you receive in return.
Take Care of Your Mind
While all the tips so far relate to your mind, it’s important to acknowledge that your mind might be going through some anguish. It has a plethora of confused feelings and it’s trying its best to achieve homeostasis, but it doesn’t quite know how.
Breakups are a mental struggle, and that struggle can cause a number of psychological problems. While these problems are often normal, sometimes they might just be that ‘one too many.’ The straw that broke the camel’s back. There’s no easy way to know how much you can hold until you can’t anymore.
If the mental issues of the breakup are causing continued feelings of anxiety, depression, or loneliness—and you feel like you’re going in circles not feeling any better—consider speaking to a therapist.
Sometimes just talking to a professional can help you get passed the plateau, and other times they can offer methods of coping you might have otherwise never learned. Don’t downplay how the breakup has impacted you—if you think professional help might be the path to take, take it.
You’ll be relieved that you did.
Take Care of Your Body
Beyond your mind there’s also your body to take into consideration. Sometimes people’s method of coping with a breakup comes in the form of comfort food. While that food, like anything else, is fine in moderation—it might keep the not-so-good feelings staying a little longer.
Even though it seems like an almost insurmountable hurdle, one of the best things you can do after a breakup is to throw yourself into forming new, good, healthy habits for your mind and body.
That might be investing the time in a new meal plan, or it might be taking up a fun dance or boxing class. It might just be restarting a favorite exercise routine, going on a few long walks, or a few long runs. No matter what it is, finding a routine that gives you energy and gets the endorphins going is a great way to confuse the mind. In that post-workout glow, you might have to remind yourself that you ‘should’ feel sad, when your body just feels great.
Engage with Your Future
After the real ‘grieving period’ of the breakup, the point where it feels fresh and there isn’t much more you can do in a day than get through to the next one—you can start once more to engage with your future. That future can come in many forms, and it doesn’t necessarily mean to avoid living in the present. Engaging with your future simply means making decisions that positively impact the progression of your life.
Perhaps this breakup has given you more time to focus on work, and more opportunities have resulted because of it. Keep pushing forward there if it makes you happy. On the other hand, this job might have been a result of the relationship—a career chosen because of where you both lived together rather than your own dreams. If that’s the case, maybe it’s time for a move—or a change in career path.
In simplest terms, it’s time to focus on ‘you’. What do you want to do? Did that relationship hold you back from it? How will you make sure the next relationship doesn’t?
And beyond just careers, or hobbies, or learning a new language—after some time, moving on and engaging with your future might even mean dating again. It might mean getting back out there and seeing what you find. While there’s no rush, and there’s no cut-and-dry timeline for when you should, a simple interest in dating again is often a good sign that you’re on the path to recovery.
If you’re ready to get back out there have a look at our comparison of the best dating sites in the UK.
Whether the breakup was your own doing, your partner’s, or a mutual decision—it doesn’t make the aftermath much easier. Getting over a breakup takes time before anything else. And there’s no sure-fire way to know exactly how much time it will take.
Be honest with yourself about how you feel after a breakup and do all you can to move forward. If that’s just getting out of bed and brushing your teeth, do that. If it’s getting out the door to grab some groceries and cook a personal dinner—that’s a success.
Get through the days, until you find yourself enjoying them again.
If friends help, see them more often. If work helps, throw yourself into it. If you need to seek advice from a professional, make the call. If you need to move, try your best to make it happen.
Whatever you feel you need to do to get over your breakup, so long as it’s healthy, do it. There’s no way to know how long you’ll feel the way you do, but every little step helps. Every step gets you closer. It won’t happen all at once, but you will get through it. You will. It just takes time.