Breaking up is hard to do – but it’s something we all seem to go through at one time or another. Well most of us do anyway. It seems to affect us similarly whether we are young or old, famous or not, rich or poor and irrespective of where we are in the world. Below are a few suggestions that will hopefully help you decrease your recovery time and maybe minimize the amount of mistakes made along the way.
1) Don’t try to be their friend – make a “clean break”
As tempting as it is, if you are still in love with your EX, and he or she doesn’t reciprocate the feelings and intensity, then you’re better off making a clean break. I call it E.R. (”Emotional Rehab”) – which is basically just my way of saying “time to go cold turkey”.
Most people choose to ignore my advice, and remain their ex’s friend – somehow imagining if they do continue to be this wonderful, supportive friend, their EX will miraculously see the err of their ways – and take them back. That so seldom happens.
Now some of you will insist on remaining “friends” with your ex (or have to due to classes, jobs or children together), so if you are attempting this, be sure to set some ground rules. For example, do not discuss your former relationship, your new partners, or anything else that you know to be a potentially volatile subject. Resist every urge in you to ask those personal questions – most of the time the answers hurt! Keep conversations relevant to work, children or classes and away from any emotional topics. It is not easy, but it is achievable.
Eventually many non-believers come back to SYBD and say they finally had to take my advice and “cut contact”, because it really is too hard trying to be someone’s “buddy” – when you’re wanting more. This is especially true when your EX starts seeing someone new and starts asking you for advice (yes really!) or tries to share the gory details. No thanks. You’re better off saying – “I care for you, and maybe in time, when I am over the pain, we can resume a friendship.”
While it is rare, in some instances, absence DOES make the heart grow fonder and they do realize what they have been missing and reconciliation is on the cards. In others, the time apart actually serves to make you see the relationship for how it really was, and shocking as this may be to you right now, in time you just may realize you don’t want to be their friend after all! Finally, after you are over your EX and no longer harbor secret desires to get back together then you can really become “just friends”.
2) Do erase their telephone number from your mobile phone
As text messaging is such a HUGE thing, you’d be wise to delete their name and number from your mobile phone (and address book) straight away. You may also be able to bar their number from your phone too. Deleting your ex’s details will save you phoning or texting at 4am to ask “Why? Why? Why?” you were dumped, or save you from begging your ex, drunkenly, to take you back. That method seldom (if ever) works for reconciliation. It often has the adverse effect. Who enjoys getting woken up in the middle of the night by someone’s incoherent rantings? Or by being bombarded by text messages from someone that just doesn’t seem to get the hint.
3) Do delete their old emails and their handle from your online “buddy” lists
If you can bring yourself to DELETE all of the old emails between you, then do it. If that seems to drastic, at least put them onto a disc or burn them CD and put them somewhere where you won’t be tempted to continually re-read each one over and over. You just end up torturing yourself. I know I’ve done it!
Similarly to number two – remove and block them from your buddy lists. I know you think it’s a minor offense, even quite harmless, to keep in touch with your ex via email or instant messaging programs, but the only one you’re fooling is yourself. I’m guilty of that one too! Often you just end up spying on them, checking to see when they are on (and wondering who they are talking to if it’s not you!), analysing each message they send you, or worse yet, you get hurt when they tell you they are off “out” that night (and don’t say where). It’s an absolute nightmare, why put yourself through all that?
In a weird sort of way, keeping in touch electronically is a form of denial. It’s a way of staying in the relationship even when the other person isn’t physically there anymore.
After six months or so have passed, if you decide you want to, then you can add them back to your buddy list and allow them to see you again on theirs. Hopefully enough time will have past where you are better able to handle being in touch.
4) Don’t sit around staring at the mementos
Put away the letters, pictures and any personal belongings of your ex. Box them up and put them in a closet or somewhere equally out of sight. I have known some people to have ceremonial burnings, but that may be a bit drastic, and after you’re calmer and have healed, you may even regret it.
For starters, just box up all of the stuff until you feel ready to face it. Eventually you’ll be able to look at the holiday snaps without feeling sick to your stomach but not right now. In a year’s time, if you do still feel like torching the stuff, then do it somewhere safe – like the beach!
5) Do use a journal or notebook to vent your pain, anger, frustration & so forth
You should never underestimate the power of pouring the words out onto a page. This is even good for men. In fact, it’s generally exceptionally good for men, as a lot of men don’t have an outlet for their emotions and pain. During the healing process often we don’t feel like we are improving, and the notebook or diary will show you just how far you have come if you read it after a few weeks or months. It is incredibly cathartic and it just may stop you from saying things to your EX you may later regret. I highly recommend writing letters to your EX that you don’t actually send.
6) Do spoil yourself
This is something that both men and women can and need to do. Do something so simple as to having a manicure, facial or a massage. Or, maybe purchase that nifty gadget you’ve had your eye on. Both men and women can also benefit from picking up some new items of clothing that make us feel sexy. We all want to feel attractive. Treat yourself as you would want that someone ’special’ to treat you. Have candle lit dinners – with all of your favorite foods – just for you. You’re worth it.
7) Do buy new bedding & change your surroundings
It may sound silly but it’s very powerful step that you can take to cleanse the situation and start fresh. I have known some people to actually go out and buy whole new beds. If you can afford it, go for it. There is something to be said for sleeping in bedding with no history and no memories. The same can be said by changing the wallpaper or repainting an area – to make it more of your own. Surround yourself in your home with things that make you feel comfortable. Pictures of family and friends who really love you and support you are a very good start.
Give yourself plenty of time to heal from this break-up. Many people begin dating before they are really recovered. It is almost as if they get bored of the pain and the healing process, so they suddenly grab the next random person who happens to show a little kindness and BAM! It’s a fantastic theory but it doesn’t always work that way.
Try refrain from immediately trying to find someone to replace your EX and fill that void. Better to work through your pain fully before returning to the dating pool. While there is something to be said for rebound shags, they can sometimes do more harm than good. We’ve all heard “you can’t get over a man (or woman) until you get under another”. Don’t bet on it. Dating too soon often leads to comparisons to your EX, makes you feel lonelier than not dating did, and can actually set you back further, emotionally, than before you had started to date again. As much as we think this bright, sexy, intelligent person makes us feel so good, at the end of the day, they won’t really be able to fill this VOID in you. Only YOU can really make YOU happy. So the trick is to be happy within yourself before you start to date again.
9) Don’t listen to the negative self-talk
Once we have been dumped, there is a tendency slip into negative “self talk” and to worry about so many things: if we will ever be loved again, have sex again, trust again or perhaps we worry we are too old, too fat, too dumb or too anything…to ever be happy and fulfilled again. That is highly unlikely, so relax! Dispel thoughts like that immediately and replace them with positive affirmations of your own self worth.
Remember, just because your EX may no longer find you desirable or want to be in a relationship with you, doesn’t mean that no one else ever will. It just means your EX doesn’t. So what? You are still you. You are still whole, complete and perfect just as you are and it will do you good to keep reminding yourself of that.
10) Do take charge of your life – the world is your oyster
Use your time to alone to focus on yourself and your own goals in life. You can take a course in cooking, pick up a new hobby or learn seroc dancing – whatever you want. Buy a house, a motorcycle, travel the world, retrain for a new career or go for that promotion. The world is your oyster!
Get up off the sofa as soon as you can. While some regrouping time is necessary, at some point you should try to get in yourself back in shape and back in the land of the living. If you’ve lost a lot of weight (due to that lack of appetite!) then it’s time to put it back on – and vice versa. Start eating right and treating your body with the respect it deserves -it’s not the one who dumped you! Go running, walking, biking or to the gym to get the endorphins swimming through you. You’ll feel better if you do and you will project that to all you meet.
“How will I know when I am really over my ex?” A good gauge is if you no longer harbor feelings and desires of getting back together. Not only that, but you can actually think of your EX having sex with someone else and it doesn’t feel like your heart’s just been ripped out of your chest and was stomped on.