It doesn’t matter if you’ve been with someone for a matter of weeks, months or years. The end of a relationship can leave us feeling uneasy or uncertain about what comes next. Here are a few things you can do to cope with a breakup and move on in a healthy way.
1. Allow for mixed feelings
Breakups can elicit a wide range of emotions, including sadness, resentment, jealousy, regret and relief (to name a few). All of these feelings are a normal part of grieving, and allowing yourself to experience your feelings 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. Keep in mind that these feelings will likely go away or become less intense over time. While you may be in pain now, it’s important to remember that it won’t last forever.
2. Set healthy boundaries
Breakups can be hard. Setting healthy boundaries with yourself and those around you can help protect your mental and emotional health. Here are some examples of boundaries you can set around a breakup.
3. Reconnect with those around you
After a breakup, you may find yourself busy making plans or you may find yourself feeling more withdrawn. Regardless of how you cope, it’s important to take some time to reconnect with the people closest to you, including friends, family or roommates.
This can also be a good time to reconnect with yourself. Take some time to reflect on who you are outside of your relationships. Jot down a list of things you’re grateful for in life today, hobbies you want to get back to and other sources of joy in your life.
4. Catch up on self-care
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 find silver linings, learn about yourself and discover healthy ways to move forward in 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 gone differently, understanding the role we have played in relationships can help us learn to approach relationships 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 what you might be able to do 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.