There’s no right way to get through a breakup. Just like there’s no right way to make a first move or tell someone you like them, this aspect of love has no singular correct path. There’s also no time period in which you NEED to be over a breakup. I am a big believer in taking your time through the grieving process. However, you should still put a little bit of work in to feel as best you can with every passing day of the process. I can’t claim to be an expert on breakups, but like a lot of us, I’ve experienced how hard they can be. A psychologist or love expert could probably provide much more credible information about how to best cope with one, but I also think there’s a level of relatability that comes from getting these tips from a peer. Nothing helped me more during my own breakups than getting advice from people I knew and trusted who had been in similar positions. So no matter what side of the breakup you’re on, I hope these tips give you some tangible steps you can take to get through a chapter of your life that likely won’t be easy.
- Make a list. I was going to save this tip for last because it’s the best one, but man oh man, I couldn’t wait. Whether you are the dumper or the dumpee, grab a pen and paper, call your best friend, and brainstorm a list of all the reasons that your now ex sucked. You’re going to feel mean writing it, but let yourself be mean. Did you hate the way his breath smelled half the time? Did you hate how she didn’t feel the need to bond with your family? Did he make you feel insecure about something you never thought twice about in the past? Was she just…really dull? Sometimes this list is super easy to make, other times it feels impossible, but try to get at least 20 bullet points down! Be as judgy as possible- it’s not like you’re sending them the list or posting it on social media. This is solely for you to reference when you start to idolize the person in your head like we inevitably do a lot of the time. Also, send a picture of the list to your best friend when it’s complete. If you show signs of wanting to get back with that ex, your friend can save the day and remind you with some harsh love that you, yourself, were able to identify so many bad things about that person. Is this ex of yours as bad as the list is going to make them sound? Probably not, but this isn’t the time to be rational and fair. Yeah, you could make a list of just as many good things about this person, but there’s no reason to give yourself that kind of reference when you’re trying to separate yourself from them.
- Don’t delete the pictures…just move them. The best thing you can do for yourself is text a close friend all of the pictures you and your ex took. Back them up to a flash drive or source of storage where you won’t be seeing them pop up on your phone when you’re looking for a picture of your baby cousin instead. This way, if you need to have a night where you just look at pictures of the two of you and cry a little bit about it, you have the pictures to do so with, but they won’t be popping up when you’re in a good mood and don’t want to have that ruin the happiness you finally are gaining back. Months or years down the line, when you’re over the breakup and want to just have memories of that relationship to look back on pleasantly or neutrally, you can re-download the pictures. Deleting them for good seems like a good solution in the moment, but down the line, you’ll want to have access to those memories.
- Make two playlists- a sad breakup playlist and a bad b*tch playlist. You are going to experience a roller coaster of emotions if this breakup hits you hard. The lows are going to feel really low, and the highs will feel really high. Music is SO impactful when it comes to your mood, and the last thing you want to do when you’re having a high moment is feel like you have to listen to a sad song because it’s been on repeat for so long now. At the same time, when you need to give yourself a night to cry about it all, you want to have a playlist ready to carry you through the feels. Let music be one of your biggest supporters through this process, no matter which mood you’re in. For sad songs, my favorites include John Mayer’s “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room,” Kodaline’s “High Hopes,” Ed Sheeran’s “Happier,” and Taylor Swift’s “Red.” For bad b*tch moods, I highly recommend The All-American Rejects’ “Gives You Hell,” Taylor Swift’s “Picture to Burn,” Blackbear’s “Hot Girl Bummer,” and Ariana Grande’s “Thank You Next.” (Yes, my music taste is basic…what is new?)
- Don’t try to be friends with the person right away…I really don’t care what the circumstance is. You can’t go from being romantically connected to solely platonic in an instant. You need to find your own happiness and stability aside from that person, and keeping in constant contact with them isn’t the right way to find those feelings. Once you both heal, sure, go be friends again, but not until you know that you’re not deep down motivated by a desire to get back together with them. This is definitely different in more intense breakups such as divorces, but in general, don’t try to be buddy-buddy with your ex right away.
- Exercise! Whether it’s an intense sprint workout, a relaxing yoga session, or just an engaged walk in the park, get those endorphins pumping. Not only are you reminding yourself how capable and strong you are on your own, but also you’re letting your brain unlock the happy chemicals that will inevitably boost your mood.
- Remind yourself one simple thing: You were okay before you met that person, and thus you can be okay after that person is no longer in your life. This sounds so simplified, but at its core, it is so true.
- Don’t adhere to the saying “To get over someone, get under someone else.” I think it can be good to be reminded that this ex of yours isn’t the only person that will ever find you attractive, but rebounding is usually such an unhealthy move. You need to fully heal before you put another person in the mix, whether you’re pursuing that person emotionally or solely physically. It’s just going to make you dependent on that person for the attention you used to get from your ex, and it’ll only slow down the healing process. Give yourself time to process the sad emotions instead of rushing to feel those lovey emotions again. If you really feel like you need a quick fix of attention, get a Tinder for like five minutes, have a thirsty person drool over you online, and then delete the app, but don’t let the rebounding go any further.
- Stay busy, but give yourself time to process. Make sure your days are filled with activities and people who will lift you up, but give yourself a designated amount of time each day to be alone and process your feelings. Find the balance that works for you in this sense, but give yourself time to just feel all the feels so that you aren’t worrying as much when you try to fall asleep at night or when you’re trying to get yourself out of bed in the mornings.
- Know that you’re not the first one to go through this! In my psychology class we learned about the term “personal fable,” which basically means that we, as humans, have a tendency to believe that our problems are unique and that no one knows what we’re going through. In reality, though each breakup is different in its own minute ways, there are many common trends, and this fact should serve as a comfort in reminding you that there is probably someone out there who has experienced exactly what you’re going through in one sense, and another person who has experienced what you’re going through in another sense, and so on. People before you have survived this, and you are more than capable of continuing that pattern.
- Get professional help. At the end of the day, none of these tips are going to magically mend your broken heart. Finding relatability in peer advice is important, but also seeking help from someone trained to help through such grief is very important if you feel you need a bit of extra help getting through this tough time. If you’ve been with a person for years, making a list of all the things you hate about them might not be enough to get you back to feeling happy, and that’s perfectly understandable. People often think that a breakup isn’t a “serious” enough reason for getting professional help, but this stigma is so incorrect. If you need help getting back to your best self, take whatever resources are available for you, and don’t ever feel like your reasons for seeking help aren’t legitimate enough.
Long story short- you are capable of surviving this, even if it feels like your heart is being ripped out of your chest right now. I know this post sounded very much like it came from a Cosmo Magazine-writer-wannabe, but truthfully, I wish I had this kind of compiled list to reference in the past, and I’ll never apologize for getting on the soapbox about this topic. Also I wanted to make a non-corona post because we all need a distraction from that for just a little bit. Ok, I’m signing off…hope these tips help!