Women around the world are dying to know how to get over a breakup. They desperately want some magic pill or formula that will take them out of the heartache they’re experiencing. They want to forget the man that caused them so much pain.
Does that describe you?
Are you tired of crying over the end of a relationship? Ready to move on, but unable to do so?
Do you feel like you don’t even want to date again because it always ends in sorrow?
If so, then this article is for you.
I can’t tell you how many women I’ve worked with who say, Adam, I’m done. Every time I fall for a man, it ends, and I’m left crying a river of tears. It’s just not worth it anymore.
Dry your tears, missy. Because I’m here to help. No, I’m not here to take your application for the convent because the solution is not to become a nun. The solution is to understand how to get over a breakup in a productive way that helps you heal and gives you the tools to handle it better next time, should it happen again.
You May Be Asking Yourself One of These Questions
If I had a dollar for every question about how to get over a breakup, I would be a rich, rich man. I’m willing to bet you want to know the answers to at least a few of the following questions, so let me do my best at answering them for you.
How do I get through the breakup of a long-term relationship?
Not all breakups are created equal. If you’ve only been dating a guy a few weeks, it should, in theory, be easier to move on than if you’ve lived with a man for several years. When it’s a long-term relationship, you have more than just heartbreak to deal with. You may have to find a new place to live, arrange shared pet custody, and divide the record collection.
My biggest advice on how to get over a breakup in a long-term relationship is to give yourself far more time to do so than you think you’ll possibly need. I mean: months to years. Every day won’t be awful, but you may do well for months and then see your ex on the street and fall apart again.
If you were married, healing may take longer. According to a study by The Journal of Positive Psychology, it takes divorcees, on average, about 18 months to fully move on. This may seem extraordinarily long, but it’s better to budget more time for healing than to assume that you’re better and then find out you’re not.
How do I get over a breakup when I still love him?
Some breakups take a while, but you’re completely over the guy. Maybe you just need time to adjust to being single.
But with other breakups, they’re especially difficult because you’re still in love with him. You still want him. You can’t see how you can ever let go of this man.
Here’s my advice for this question on how to get over a breakup when you’re still in love: realize that this is not The One. If it were, you wouldn’t have broken up. You may desperately want to believe he was the one, but the sooner you let go of that idea, the sooner you heal and open your heart to the real One.
How do I get over a breakup fast?
C’mon, girl. You don’t seriously want me to answer this one? There is no fast lane to healing from a breakup.
Trying to convince yourself otherwise will most certainly result in more pain.
How do I get over a bad breakup?
Like I said: not all breakups are created equal. Some get downright nasty, with one person (or both people) saying hateful things or continuing to hurt the other.
This isn’t helpful.
If you’re the one doing the poking, realize that you are never going to get closure and move on if you keep up this immature behavior. Yes, he did things that pissed you off. Maybe he cheated on you or lied to you. You have much you want to scream about. And certainly, getting it off your chest will make you feel better.
But do it in a journal. Or to a therapist. Because unleashing your fury won’t change the past. It won’t even change how he acts in the future.
It will just frustrate you more.
So bite your tongue. Refrain from responding with your knee-jerk reaction to a text. Take a breath. Think on it. Find a diplomatic way to respond, or…
Don’t respond at all. You owe him nothing.
If he’s the one coming at you, your best defense is silence. He wants you to engage. He wants to push your buttons. Don’t let him. Ignore him — and yes, I do realize how hard that will be. But you’ll be better off, I promise.
How do I let go and move on?
You’re immersed in good memories of your relationship. You keep playing them over in your head. This makes you happy, you think. But in reality, it’s just making it harder for you to let go.
I want you to mentally pack up those memories. You can take them out down the road, but not until you’ve fully moved on from this guy. Say goodbye to them, and to him. Every day, focus on the present and the future. Not the past. It will take time, but you can do it.
How do I get over a breakup?
Everyone has a different formula for how to get over a breakup. You might surround yourself with close friends who will listen as you cry it out. You might listen to sad songs. Or angry ones. Or happy ones. You might stay busy to avoid the pain.
Try them all out. You’ll know what’s right when you find it.
How do I get over someone I see every day?
This is a doozie. Maybe you work with your ex and now face seeing him daily or quitting your job (which ain’t happening). It’s challenging to put on a happy face and pretend everything’s cool when you’re dying inside.
As best you can, avoid your ex. This might require telling your boss what happened and ask to be put on a new project or even applying for a role in a different department.
If that’s not possible, try just seeing him as a coworker. Do not talk to him about personal things. Stick to work-only subjects. If you need to deal with relationship issues, do so after work hours and via text.
The Breakup Healing Process
Now, as I said, everyone’s got a different way of healing and moving past a relationship post-breakup. What works for one person might not work for you. But you owe it to yourself to find the routine and timeline that fits you. And that might change from one breakup to the next. Just keep the big picture in mind: you’re trying to find the healthiest way to deal with the pain you’re suffering.
With that said, keep in mind the importance of having enough time to heal. I told you that divorced people usually need about 18 months to move on. But maybe you’ve never been married, so you don’t need that long. For shorter but still significant relationships, you can feel better in as little as three months, according to a scientific study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology.
In assessing people who had experienced a breakup, scientists found that 71% were able to see their past relationship in a positive light in 11 weeks.
For you, it might take 12 weeks. Or 8. But however long it takes you, be open to the process. Be willing to do what you need to take care of your emotional health so that you can get back on track with your life.
And please do me a favor: don’t convince yourself that you can be friends with your ex. Because you can’t. It sucks that this person who was once so important to you will become a stranger, but that’s how it is. Trying to change that will only prolong your pain.
Now allow me to share three tips on how to get over a breakup that I have seen work time and time again.
How to Get Over a Breakup Tip #1: Take Care of Yourself
You may normally spend a ton of time taking care of others, like your kids, pets, friends, or family, but now is the time to put yourself first. Treat yourself as if you had the flu: be willing to give yourself attention so that you can get well fast.
Take long hot lavender-infused baths. Have dinner with girlfriends. Watch old movies (maybe avoiding the rom com category until you can watch them without falling apart).
Say no to your regularly scheduled activities. You need time alone to work through your grief. You will cry. That’s part of it, and that’s perfectly okay. Crying is a cathartic way to get him out of your system, so bring on the tears.
Even if you haven’t kept a journal since third grade, consider doing so now as another outlet for your emotions.
Steven Meyers, professor and associate chair at Roosevelt University, talks about the benefits of journaling on Time.com: “Writing out feelings and thoughts allows people to purge distress from their system, and has been shown to be a powerful intervention.”
There are any number of things you can do as part of how to get over a breakup to take care of yourself so that you can heal and move on:
- Treat yourself to a spa day
- Exercise (it’s known to help with depression)
- Go shopping
- Eat healthy foods, not junk
- Focus on your career or find a new one
- Buy a pet
- Study a new subject, either formally or just for fun
If your ex is still in your life, you’ll probably find it more challenging to move on, so consider establishing a No Contact rule. Unless you have kids together, there should be no reason for you to talk to your ex. If you do have kids, set a rule that you won’t discuss the relationship and will only stick to logistics.
How to Get Over a Breakup Tip #2: Get Out and Do Things
My next tip on how to get over a breakup is to get back out there. I’m not necessarily talking about dating again (but you will come to that at some point, believe you me), but simply getting back to being an active member of the human race.
That does not mean you should instantly book 12 exercise classes a week, volunteer at the rose garden, and start speed walking in an effort to block out all of the healing process. Staying overly busy might trick your heart for a while into forgetting it’s been broken, but in the long run, you still need to face the music (and your emotions) so that you can move on.
If you’re at a loss for what to do because you did everything with your significant other before the breakup, check out Meetup.com and find people who are interested in the same things you are. You could meet others who like to hike, take photos, knit, or drink craft beer. You’ll keep yourself busy and make new friends.
Think about the things you did before you were with this guy. Maybe it’s time to get back to water skiing or competitive karaokeing. If you were passionate about hobbies once, that passion may lead you back to feeling more yourself.
How to Get Over a Breakup Tip #3: Reflect and Learn From It
The women I’ve met who have been the most successful at getting over a breakup are those who took it as a learning process. They assessed what went wrong with the relationship, accepted their own role in its demise, and used this information to move forward in their next relationships.
I know. It’s very Eat, Pray, Love. But there’s a reason that book is a bestseller!
Think about it like this: would you rather sit around moping, your mascara dripping down your chin, eating a bowl of cheese curds, or would you rather feel like an empowered, sexy, and confident lady again?
I’m really really hoping you chose the second option.
If you did, you’re going to have to stop being defensive about what happened in your relationship. Maybe it was 100% his fault. Could be. But you need to reflect — especially if you’ve had several breakups that happened for similar reasons — how you could have been a better partner.
That’s all we want, isn’t it? To be, as Oprah says, our best selves? So it makes sense that you’d want to use this breakup as the opportunity to be an even more kick-ass girlfriend for the next guy who’s lucky enough to have you in his life.
How to Get Over a Breakup Tip #4: Get Creative
Just like Elizabeth Gilbert used her divorce as inspiration to write Eat, Pray, Love, you too can leverage your breakup as a tool for creativity. And in return, that creative project can help you heal.
If you’re a writer, write a story or even a book about your relationship or breakup.
If you’re an artist, paint what your pain looks like, and what the happiness you seek will look like.
If you’re a singer, write a song.
If you’re none of the above, buy a coloring book and markers. There’s even a coloring book geared toward breakups called Have a Nice Life Asshole!
Play with Play-Doh. Dance to music in your kitchen. Paint a table.
Just let creativity be your therapy. You’ll feel better. Promise.
Bonus: Getting Over a Breakup Quotes
Just for fun, I wanted to throw in some inspirational breakup quotes to inspire you.
“Do no harm, but take no shit.”
This quote has been floating around the blogosphere for a while, and even decorates its fair share of t-shirts and posters on Etsy. Consider it the modern Golden Rule.
When dealing with your ex, you can never assume that the sane person you were in love with once is the person you are now dealing with. He may turn into a petulant child, taking every opportunity to insult you.
Responding in kind will solve nothing. Turn the other cheek and all that, but do not let him walk all over you.
This quote is telling you that while you need to rise above any kind of negativity as best you can, you should not be a doormat. Stand up for yourself. Push back without attacking.
“Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.”
The biggest thing that will hold you back from getting over a breakup is dwelling in the past. You want to change it. You want a time machine that will allow you to return to that moment everything went wrong.
But you can’t.
You have to let go of the past. It’s an intangible concept.
And yes, it’s hella scary to think of what the future holds. You wonder whether you will ever find the right man for you. You want a guaranteed plan for the rest of your life.
But the universe doesn’t work like that. You have to give up trying to control your life and just trust that everything will end up fine.
“Sometimes painful things can teach us lessons that we didn’t think we needed to know.”
When everything’s good in your life, you aren’t looking for lessons to learn about how to be a better person. But when things go off the rails, the way they do with a breakup, you’ll find, if you pay attention, that there’s plenty to learn.
Sometimes you need time and space to see those lessons. But look at every person that you love, that you have shared your life with, as having taught you something.
Maybe he broke your heart, but he’s the one who encouraged you to start a business. You can mentally thank him for that.
Or maybe this is the fifth man you’ve dated who has had commitment issues. The lesson here is that you need to look for someone who doesn’t fear commitment because you will never be able to change his mind about that.
So rather than constantly feeling sorry for yourself, think about what lessons this breakup can teach you.
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
Old Winston Churchill knew what he was talking about, though he probably wasn’t talking about breakups. We’ve all felt like we were going through hell after the end of a relationship. But the good news is: you have no choice but to get through it. And one day, hell will be a little easier. And a little easier. And one day, life will be good again.
“If you can love the wrong person that much, imagine how much you can love the right one.”
Ah, Pinterest. A veritable font of unattributed breakup quotes. I like this one because so many women keep trying to believe that ex is the right one.
But he isn’t, or you’d be with him.
When you’re trying to learn how to get over a breakup, you have to let go of that idea that he was the right one for you, and allow yourself to realize that as good as you might have thought your relationship was with that man, you will discover one that is a billion times better when you do find the right guy.
Like I said at the start of this article: I can’t wave my magic wand and make the pain of a breakup instantly disappear. But realize that the mind and heart are actually pretty smart; there’s a reason why healing from a breakup takes a while. You need that time to process things, learn from them, and then use that information in the future.
But first things first: take care of you. Plan for things in your life to be a little different for a few weeks or months. You might get out of your routine a bit, and that’s okay for a while. But as soon as you’re up for it, get back to exercising, going out with friends, or whatever little things make you happy.
Because this man did not make you happy.
You thought he did, but he was a mirage.
You don’t need any man to be happy. You are a whole person capable of happiness on your own. Remember that.
And one day, when you’re healed, you will meet a man that will make you remember why you take the risk to fall in love. Because sometimes it’s absolutely worth all the pain that you had to go through to get to it.
What tips can you share with other readers on how to get over a breakup that have worked for you? Leave a comment below.
If you need a reset on your confidence after going through a major breakup, consider joining the Sexy Confidence Club. You’ll meet like-minded women and get your hands on some incredible resources that will help you get back up and confident once again.