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How to Get Over a Breakup

Updated: May 26, 2023

Breakups can be many things to many different people. It can be something that's quite easily done, it's premeditated, you know that you're about near the end of a relationship with a person. And it's not a particularly challenging moment in your life because you're ready for it.

But what about the times when you have a breakup that:

- leaves you emotionally scarred

- you're feeling like you can't sleep properly

- you're in so much internal agony

- You're constantly thinking of your last partner all the time

- You generally just don't feel very good.

- Your emotions come up and down in waves

- Your immune system is down

- You're either eating less or eating more than usual

- You're incredibly stressed

How do we move beyond this particular phase? Well, to understand what's happening, this breakup has been caused by a betrayal of expectations caused by the person who left you. And as part of moving beyond that stage, we have to start by recognising that your partner is a source of pain in your life right now. They have caused you to feel intense pain and trauma, and the only way to move beyond them is to start by creating distance.

1. Creating Distance

Creating distance can mean a variety of things. It doesn't literally mean you have to fly across to a different country in order to not be near them. What it means is: take away the reminders of that person and the time you share together. If you've got little reminders, like for example, souvenirs that you picked up, gifts, you might want to think about how those memories make you feel, music that you listened to together, places that you visited together, etc. I understand this can be challenging, especially if you spent a lot of time in particular areas together. But just recognize what those objects, places, music, movies, shows, Netflix, can act as a reminder and a source of trauma. You can return to them all again at a different place in time. But for now, if it creates reminders of that person, think about your relationship with those objects. Similarly, with social media, unfollowing is a good way of reducing the reminders and the interaction between you and your partner.

2. Remove your partner from the pedestal

Recognize that that person who entered your life may have appeared perfect and may have made you feel like a failure because of the way the relationship ended and you might believe you weren't good enough.

If we allow ourselves to continue this narrative the consequences will be that you won't feel good when you try dating again; you won't feel comfortable within yourself, and you won't trust yourself. The way to work beyond that is to recognize that your partner was not good enough for you. And more importantly, they couldn't meet your needs, where you want to consistency and love, they couldn't move beyond bad habits of behavior. As a result, they left you in this situation without really taking responsibility for their actions.

So a way of looking back at your past relationship is to think to yourself: where were the red flags in that particular relationship? What were the little things where for example, they said something that you didn't quite like. I want you to think about even the little things that didn't agree with you because that will help you see that person in a clear light. The reason this is important is that this period is about honoring your anger and resentment. When you've broken up and you're heartbroken, it hurts, you're in a lot of shock and a lot of pain and denying those feelings and telling yourself, "Oh, that person was a really good person," is actually going to hurt you. It's true, that person probably was a very good person, but that person has hurt you in a way that no other person has. So you are allowed to say, "that person really, really hurt me." You don't mean that you wish your partner to die. You just mean that you wish that person to recognize that they really, really hurt you and caused you to feel tremendous pain.

3. Forgive yourself

This is a bit of a tricky area because obviously forgiveness is something that not everyone agrees with. But it's something that's really important to move beyond the stain of a breakup. Forgiveness in this context is really about going back in your mind, addressing yourself and recognizing a few things.

Firstly, you didn't know any better about this person when you got into this relationship. Secondly, you didn't realise that this would be the outcome; you've learned valuable knowledge about where you're at as a result of this experience. Finally, recognise that, despite all your good efforts, that there was nothing you could have done to possibly avoid this particular outcome. And even if there was something that you feel like you could have done, then at least you can work on that, to bring that piece that was missing into the next relationship that you have. This was a learning experience, not a failure for life.

4. Do things that you love

Follow your passion, do things that you really enjoy. This means that if you've got a hobby that you like, do that. If you really like working out at the gym, do that. Anytime that we spend time with a significant other, we're also giving up a lot of our own free time, our own me-time to be with that person. Reflect back on that time and really think to yourself, what did I miss out on that I enjoy doing? When I was in that relationship, did I do things that I enjoy, like reading books, going to the movies, seeing close friends? This is an important phase to really reconnect with yourself and to go back and focus on the things that you missed out during that period.

5. Take a dating detox

The reason I recommend this particular phase, especially after a breakup is because it's good to honor the healing that needs to happen. The end of a breakup marks a remarkable opportunity to really begin self reflecting on a few things, namely, how this all happened, what you're feeling right now and what you'd like to have happen in the future. Allowing another person to enter your life at this point in time doesn't really allow you to self reflect and grow, to be in the place that you want to be to attract the right person into your life. Granted, you might have a few short flings to bolster your confidence, you might have a few areas where you feel like by meeting new people, you can learn about some of the qualities that you're looking for and the qualities that you don't want in the relationship you're wanting to build. But the reason I recommend you don't commit to anything like dating or even a relationship is because this is the one time that is so valuable and crucial for getting over the pain of the previous relationship, not getting into a rebound. Reflecting on what you want to bring to the table in the next relationship puts you at your best for the next opportunity you have with a future significant other that's meaningful you and last the test of time.

So I hope that you find this practical. Getting out of heartbreak is difficult and certainly not easy. And sometimes we try to heal ourselves with a DIY approach which usually involves: distracting ourselves by seeing a lot of friends, not really addressing the emotions, diving headfirst into work and dating again. But I can promise that by not addressing the emotions and taking time out for ourselves we severely delay our healing and even our capacity to really be with a person that we want to be with.

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