Whether it's your first or your tenth, breakups are always a difficult time in a person's life. Even if you were the one to make the decision to end the relationship, it can be hard to adjust to life without the other person. Here are some simple suggestions that may help make the transition a little easier:
DO: Stick to your decision. If it was you who made the decision to break up with the other person, you may feel regret afterwards. Normally this is just due to the fact that your life has changed dramatically and you haven't had the time to adjust just yet. If you do start to feel regret and are worried that you made the wrong decision, remember how much time you spent thinking about it before you did it. Remember the reasons that you had for wanting to break up in the first place, and write them down if necessary. If you don't think you can be objective about the negatives in your relationship yet, ask a friend who was aware of how unhappy you were who can remind you that you made the right decision. If you do decide to try and make things work, take your time to make this decision and focus on working on the aspects that caused the break-up in the first place otherwise they will just resurface again in the future. It is possible to get back together with an ex- if that's something you both want. It's usually a bad idea to do this shortly after breaking up as your judgement will be clouded. If you think you might want to get back with an ex, take some time to weigh up the pros and cons of the decision and decide if the issues that lead to the break up are ones that can be worked on. It's important that you make the right decision for you and your happiness.
DO: Delete your ex’s number if you want. Deleting their number from your phone can help remove the temptation to call or text them when you're drunk or feeling lonely if this is something you want to avoid.
DO: Delete and unfollow your ex on all of your social media accounts- Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, the works – if the reminder of them is causing you problems. People only post the best of themselves and their accomplishments online, and believing (most likely falsely) that your ex is completely over the break up isn't going to help you move on. Spending hours scrolling through old photos of you together and new photos of them on nights out with other people (Who is THAT?!) will only prolong the hurt.
DO: Remove reminders from your environment. Getting over someone is much harder when there's evidence of them all around you so consider taking away those triggers. You can start by deleting photos and texts from your phone and, when you're ready, move onto letters and print photographs. This can be one of the hardest steps in the wake of a breakup, but it's also one of the most important. Whipping out that love letter from two years ago every time you miss your ex is only going to make it harder for you to move on. If there are gifts that you don't want to get rid of forever, give them to a friend or family member to keep safe for you until you are ready to have them back.
DO: Let yourself wallow for a while. Break ups are horrible! Stock up on some of your favourite comfort food, films and tissues and don't feel bad about crying yourself to sleep every night for a few weeks. This period will pass but it's important to acknowledge your feelings and allow yourself to feel hurt. It can take a long time to ‘get over’ someone but this varies for each individual and the situation of the break up itself.
DO: Seek support if you need it. It's perfectly normal to feel terrible after a break up but if you feel like it has been a while and things don't seem to be getting any better or if you feel like you're not coping, don't be afraid to ask for help. Talking to close friends and family after a break up can be extraordinarily helpful- they will have been through the same thing and will be able to offer advice or a shoulder to cry on. If you don't feel like there's anyone in your life who you can talk to, your school or university should have a confidential counselling service that will be able to help you work through this difficult time in your life. Talking to someone is a brave step as opening yourself up to someone can be daunting, but support is very useful. Your doctor will have experience dealing with these issues and is there to provide support if necessary.
DO: Fill up the new space in your life. Breaking up with someone leaves your life with a whole lot of time and space in it and filling this with worthwhile pursuits is a healthy way of moving on from a relationship. Reconnect with old friends who you had lost touch with, take up a new hobby, throw yourself into your work, do something that scares you. Anything that makes you feel happy and fulfilled. Turning the break up into a positive change and adjusting your mind set will help you get your life back on track.
DON'T: Harass your ex. This one can be difficult, because for a while after a break up you are only going to be able to remember the good things about the relationship. It’s common to forget the reasons you are breaking up for and remember the romantic moments and sweet gestures. This can make it really hard to avoid contacting your ex to take it all back/try changing their mind. If you broke up, there was a reason behind it, and a rash decision to get back together isn't going to solve those problems without dealing with them together to find a shared solution. It is possible to be friends with an ex, but only after both parties are completely over the relationship. You need time away from your ex to heal before you can even think about making that step.
DON'T: Badmouth your ex. Even if they treated you like dirt and the break up was terrible, the only thing you'll achieve by seeking revenge is making yourself look bad. Don't badmouth your ex to his/her friends, family or a new partner, and definitely don't do it online- that will come back to bite you in the future. If you have explicit photos or videos of your ex, get rid of them. Even the most badly behaved ex has the right to privacy and respect after a break up.
DON'T: Use your ex for a one night stand. You're feeling lonely, you're feeling horny, and you know the sex would be good. What's the harm? This is commonly not a good decision. Even if you are over the relationship, sleeping with your ex is going to drag up a lot of old, complicated feelings and will lead to someone getting hurt- whether it's you or them. The dating scene can be intimidating but you're much better off trying to find someone new to have fun with. Meet new people through mutual friends, through work, school or college or if you're feeling brave, download Tinder!
DON'T: Be scared to date or see other people if you feel ready. Break ups can be scary. Suddenly after being one half of a couple, you're on your own again. This can be daunting for many people, but it's important to remember that your relationship status does not define you. You are a whole person, whether you are in a relationship or not. The old cliché is true; you must be happy by yourself before you can be happy in a relationship. When you are ready and meet someone new, make sure you're entering into this new relationship because you want to, not because you feel you need it to be happy or whole.
DON’T: Feel like you have to get over them immediately. There is no right of wrong amount of time to grieve for the loss of a relationship, whether it takes 2 days or 2 years. If you feel like it’s impacting you in a way you can’t cope with please consider seeking help. This goes for long term and short term relationships, the length of time the relationship lasted doesn’t necessarily relate to the amount of time to get over them.