Have you ever had a relationship end and you just couldn’t get that person out of your thoughts or your heart for that matter? You cringe at the sound of his name and heaven forbid you run into him your heart drops to your stomach. You are hurt and angry and you vow that you would never go back to him, but in the back of your mind you just can’t let him go. Everything reminds you of him, movies, songs, restaurants, food, vacations, perfume/cologne, a dog, a vehicle, the list goes on and on and on… So how do we stop the endless torture?
Don’t expect overnight success.
Researchers have found that on average it takes half the length of your relationship to get over someone. But we all know how accurate research is. They take an average of the group they are researching. So maybe it takes one girl twice as long and it takes another girl a quarter of the length of her relationship and they say it’s half the length. So if you are on the longer end of the estimate don’t torture yourself.
Things to do immediately:
Cut off contact: Unfollow, unfriend, block, etc. No more texting. If he is engaging you after your relationship has ended put a stop to it. If you know that this relationship is over there is no need to keep talking. There will only be more damage done and more crap to get out of your head. So do yourself a favor and just ignore him or block his number, but do not engage in communication.
Get rid of his stuff and the reminders of him: Make sure you return all of his belongings (as tempting as it would be to just trash it all, maintain your integrity and return it). Get them out of your house as soon as possible. You don’t need to be watching Sweet Home Alabama through your tears and trip over his underwear, that’s only gonna set you back. Put all of your pictures, cards, concert tickets, jewelry, and so on in a box and tuck it away. You don’t need to destroy them just yet (save that for a bonfire this summer, but not now).
Remove the photos: Transfer the pics of him off your phone onto a thumb drive or external hard drive, unless you are already ready to delete them (but you’re reading this article so I’m thinking not quite). Once they are all transferred delete them off of your social media. If there are some on your Instagram that you didn’t take or don’t have a copy of you can save it to your thumb drive too, but don’t get all caught up in whether you are going to lose it forever. It’s gonna be okay. Also important here – DO NOT CROP HIM OUT OF A PIC AND USE IT FOR YOUR PROFILE it will only remind you of him every time you see it!
Grieve: This process will take some time and kind of blends into the next time frame. You gotta cry, sob, scream, punch the pillow, eat the ice cream get it all out. This is like a death and you will go through some, if not all, the stages of grief. There will be more to come on the stages of grieving your relationship in a future post, but for now, just feel what you’re feeling.
Things to do over the next few months:
Reconnect with yourself: Figure out who you are now after this relationship. How did this relationship change you? Did it make you a better person? Did you see something in yourself you didn’t like when you were with him? Do you like to have peace and quiet more now? Did you enjoy doing things that you started with your ex? Maybe you guys started going to trivia night at a pub and you really enjoyed it. Just because you broke up doesn’t mean you can’t keep doing things that you did together. I’m not saying at the same place at the same time as your ex! I mean maybe find another pub that offers trivia night and call up your girlfriend. Maybe there are things you wanted to do when you were with him that he never did. Call up your girlfriend and go to the wine and paint class that he never wanted to do. Keep taking yourself on dates.
Reflect: What was it about him that you really liked? What did you despise? What do you have the hardest time forgetting? Why is it so hard to forget? Was it a way he made you feel about yourself when you were with him? Is it something that you can add to your life by yourself for yourself? What did you do to contribute to the demise of the relationship? Are there things you can see a little clearer that may have been warning signs? Is there anything you would have done differently? It’s important to get some perspective during this time. I truly believe that everyone comes into our life for a reason and we can learn something from every situation we are put in.
Get out with your girls: Call up your girlfriends and make plans. Get out of the house and get around the people who really love you. The ones that build you up and know how fabulous you are. But don’t spend your whole time together rehashing the entire relationship. Yes there will be a period of time when you need to vent and get it all out and thank God you have your girlfriends to listen. But start experiencing life again with your friends. Go to new restaurants, bars, coffee houses, comedy clubs, just get out and live this life.
Plan a trip: Take a little trip away, by yourself or with your friends or family. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, just a change of scenery. Get away for a weekend and take in some new sights and sounds.
Exercise: If you are not already doing it, get your fitness on! At the very minimum go out and take a 30 minute walk everyday, but if you really want a mental pick me up put in at least 30 minutes of cardio. Studies show exercise reduces stress, anxiety and depression and improves your self-confidence.
Nourish your soul: Do things that calm you. Get a massage, read, bake, meditate. Whatever brings you peace in your soul do that!
Finally Forgive: In order to do this you need to keep one thing in mind. You are not doing this for him. You are doing this for you. You need to be able to forgive the bad behavior in the relationship he exhibited. Forgiving him does not mean taking him back (absolutely does not in any way never ever mean you need to take him back). It simply means that you forgive him for treating you the way you did (because we are all human and we are not perfect and we all deserve forgiveness), but you do not forget that he is capable of hurting you. Forgiving him also does not mean you need to call him and tell him you forgive him. Again, this is something you are doing for yourself so you do it by yourself. You just release it within you. How many times have you had fake arguments with him in the mirror with all the comebacks you should have said when he criticized your family? Once you forgive his words and actions you will have won that argument for the last time and never have to have it again (with yourself…are you following me here?).
So what happens if you have reached that magic number of months that “researchers” say you should be over him and you are still having meltdowns when you hear about him or see him or are any other way reminded of what the two of you had? Give it more time.
Researchers at the University of Berkeley found that your brain in love is the same as your brain when it’s been wired for reward. The reward in this case is the interaction you had when you were with your ex. Your brain does not stop wanting the interaction just because it’s not getting it. It’s as if the love is a drug and you are going to experience withdrawals.
There are several factors that contribute to the difficulty of getting over an ex such as:
- How important the relationship was to you
- How it ended
- The length of the relationship
- How long ago you broke up
- Whether there was any domestic violence in he relationship
For me getting over someone depends on the relationship and how it ended, how intensely I fell for the person. If someone crossed a set-in-stone boundary such as cheating or physical abuse it is done and I find it is much easier to get over them. They clearly were not the person I thought they were therefore it’s easy for me to put them behind me. I deserve better. That doesn’t mean I jump right into the next relationship. I typically take time to myself to see who I am now. I find that most experiences change me, I grow and evolve and need time to evaluate what it is I want in life and in a partner.
Before you know it spring will come, new life will blossom and you will be ready to move on with someone new. And you will be a better person because of the heartbreak you’re dealing with now.
How do you deal with a break up? Let me know in the comments below! I would love to hear.