What to do after a breakup: the three crucial ingredients
“We broke up and now I’m lost”
By Melanie D
Oh my God! I’m so lost! My boyfriend of 6 years and I just broke up last week. We used to do EVERYTHING together and now I’m nothing. I’ve been lying in bed ever since just crying and crying and crying. I can’t eat or sleep. It’s like the best part of me has been ripped out and now there’s nothing left inside me to operate my muscles.
Don’t get me wrong, things have been bad for awhile and it’s probably best that we’re not together anymore, but it sure feels like I’ve made the worst decision of my life. I really loved him but he’s totally selfish. I’ve spent the last year watching us get more and more distant and then watched him get mean. I think the worst part of all is that he accepted my breakup as if it was like going through junk mail. He hasn’t said anything. He just grabbed his car keys and left.
Why am I so upset over him?
That’s not really what I’m writing about. I know I have to go through this grief in order to heal my heart, but the more I look into the future, the more it just seems impossible and bleak. I need to know what to do after a breakup. How do I move forward? How do I heal? How do I get him out of my head? How do I get him out of my heart?
It feels like I’ll never love again. How do I honor myself in a way that makes me available to find love again?
Seriously, what do I do now?
Breakups don’t have to break you!
Sometimes a breakup can feel like the end of the world. Even the breakups you really wanted take a serious toll on you. You not only lose a person you used to love, you also lose someone to talk to. You lose the comfortable routine you’ve totally gotten used to. You lose that person that you get to go through life with. The one thing you don’t lose is yourself. Yeah, it might feel like she’s totally missing right now, but she needs a little time and then she’ll come roaring back!
Think of it this way: you also lose that person who was holding you back and possibly judging you for all those dreams you had for your life…
Let that sink in, but also consider getting some perspective. The book, Breakup Bitch will seriously make these moments unbelievably easier! Check it out, but in the meantime, check out the three things you can get started today on what to do after a breakup.
Give yourself time to mourn
You’re already on track realizing that there is no way to speed up the mourning process. You will hurt and cry and be miserable til just a little bit after you are completely fed up with it. The biggest mistake people make is rushing forward onto the next big thing (or next cute boyfriend!).
Your brain is compelled to go through these last six years in minute detail trying to find answers. The brain hates to be in such pain and it will do all kinds of things to ensure you never end up hurting you this way again. So many people shut down completely and decide to “never love again” or you find yourself stuck in an extreme whether you’re starving yourself or bingeing, whether you sleep all day or not at all, whether you turn to drugs or alcohol to dull this never-ending pain. When in reality, the only thing you need to do is allow yourself some time. These thoughts roiling through your mind might seem crazy or hopeless; the trick is to lets them speak, but in the end, you don’t really have to listen to them.
Be gentle with yourself
These are the moments when you start believe all the mean things he said to you not to mention any mean things you might say to yourself. The sad thing is that these voices sound very persuasive. If you let them in and don’t challenge them, they might stick around for awhile and this will make the mourning process seem endless. As said before, you should allow whatever thoughts to come out and be heard, but make sure you disagree with the ugly ones.
This isn’t a crazy battle inside your brain for power. It’s as subtle as simply stating “That’s not true” whenever you think you’re to ugly or too fat to ever be loved again. Or maybe you might start agreeing with your ex’s assessment that you’re crazy or stupid or whatever. Simply remind yourself the HE fell in love with the you that you still are. If you’re lost wondering what to do after a breakup, it’s vital that you remember that you are lovable and he proved it!
Go get outside!
Nothing washes a breakup out of your body faster than getting your heart rate up and seeing parts of your community… if not the world! You don’t have to go on a full-out Eat Pray Love journey, but you do need to get away from your little “hurt nest” just to see that the world to doing fine and it’s waiting for you to join!
Find an activity to keep you active. Join a team sport or start going on very long walks. It would be cool if those walks turn into jogs which turn into a whole new lifestyle change. However… GO EASY! Blasting yourself out on a eight mile run your first week outside is just going to make you feel even more miserable. Know where you are in your level of fitness and aim slightly higher. Our main goal here is simply to get your blood pumping and releasing some of those yummy endorphins (plus all those breakup toxins).
Think about all the things you became in order to keep your past relationships. How many of those things empowered you and how many of them made you weaker just to keep a guy in your life? It’s time to throw away all of the parts of you that really aren’t you. In an article from Psychology Today, Dr. Jill Weber talks about taking on a new identity:
Consider what you may not have attended to about your personality or interests because you have been so consumed with your ex partner. If that relationship has been challenging for some time, you may have stopped paying attention to yourself on a nuanced level. Are there things you have thought about from time to time that you would like to do or new challenges you’d like to take on but are afraid to take the risk? …Now is the time to make connecting with new people a priority. Force yourself to take the risk, get out of your comfort zone and actively pursue new areas of your identity.
If you’re still in the mourning stage, let this be your hope. Start thinking now about how you are going to reinvent yourself. Start dreaming about that day you feel good enough to start over and all those interests and hobbies your ex might have thought were silly. Become awesome at a few things and not only will your ex feel the pains of losing you, but that sexy next guy will find you irresistible!