It doesn’t matter if you’ve been with someone for a matter of weeks, months or years. The end of a relationship can still leave you feeling uneasy or uncertain about what comes next. Here are a few tips that can help you cope with a breakup and move on in a healthy way.
1. Allow for mixed feelings
Breakups can be messy, especially when it comes to our emotions. Remember that it’s perfectly normal to feel a wide range of emotions, including sadness, resentment, jealousy, regret and relief, to name a few.
All of these feelings are part of the grieving process, and allowing yourself to experience all of your emotions without judgment can be an important part of the healing process. In fact, avoiding your feelings can sometimes cause them to become more intense, or they may sneak up on you in unexpected ways. It’s also important to keep in mind that distressing feelings will likely go away or become less concerning over time. While you may be in pain now, know that it won’t last forever (even though it may feel that way).
2. Set healthy boundaries
Knowing what to do after a breakup can be difficult. Setting healthy boundaries with yourself and those around you can help protect your mental and emotional health moving forward. Here are some examples of boundaries you can set after a breakup:
3. Reconnect with those around you
Oftentimes, relationships become our primary source for socializing and support. That’s why it’s important to spend some time after a breakup to reconnect with the people who are closest to you, including friends, family or roommates. Here are some tips to help you tap back into your support network:
4. Focus on what you need most
Practicing self-care can feel like a chore when we’re feeling down, but it’s important to make sure your most basic needs are being met, especially after a breakup. Here are a few examples of self-care activities that are worth a try:
5. Take some time to reflect (when you’re ready)
Reflecting on your relationship with an ex can help you identify silver linings, learn more about yourself and discover healthy ways to move forward into the future. It’s okay if you’re not quite ready to dive into the details yet, but when you are ready, here are some helpful tips for reflecting.
Who were you at the start of the relationship? Who are you now?
Relationships can be catalysts for many things in our lives. Take some time to reflect on who you were when you entered the relationship versus who you are now. Here are a few questions that can help you get started.
What are your non-negotiables?
Dating provides us with an opportunity to explore our likes, dislikes and deal-breakers. Think through some of the things that are most important to you in a relationship (e.g., lifestyle choices, time together, similar goals, religious or spiritual beliefs, wanting kids, etc.).
Being aware of these factors can help you know what you’re willing to compromise on and what you’re not.
Is there anything you’d like to do differently in the future?
Let’s face it, nobody is perfect. While it’s important not to dwell on all the things we wish had done differently, understanding the role we’ve played in relationships can help us learn to approach them differently in the future. Think back on your time with your ex.
Try to avoid beating yourself up about past mistakes. Instead, use this as an opportunity to accept that mistakes happen in every relationship. Be mindful of how you have approached different situations and how you might be able to do things differently in the future.
6. Reach out for additional support
Breakups can be tough, but you don’t need to go through it alone. Check out these resources for additional support.