15 Things You Should Never Do to Help You Get Over a Breakup
Whether you’re the one who was left heartbroken or the one who ended the relationship, breaking up is hard to do. Immediately post breakup you may feel angry or lonely, but try to stay positive.
Don’t beg for another chance
Of course, you miss your ex and may still be in shock about the breakup, but don’t plead for a do-over. “If you feel compelled to do so, examine your motivation,” says psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert, a Huffington Post blogger and author of Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days. “Do you miss your ex specifically, or do you miss the idea of having a partner? The two are very different,” he adds.
Don’t call or text
Aim to go at least 30 days without contacting your ex if you want to be able to get over a breakup. Thirty days will become 40, then 50…and by then, chances are you’ll be feeling much better and have some additional clarity.
Don’t be afraid to change your perspective
Mentally create a new ending, by imagining it was you who rejected him or her instead, advises Alpert. “Move from being the rejected to the rejecter. This will change the dynamic and make you feel more empowered and less like a victim.”
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Don’t date (or marry!) the next person you meet
With revenge still on the mind, and in the heart, it’s very easy to want to replace the missing limb, but resist, advises April Masini, a New York-based relationship and etiquette expert. “After a painful breakup, being single for a while is the best way to ensure that your next relationship is not impulsive, haphazard, and doomed for a repeat break up,” she says. “Take some time to process what happened and where things didn’t go as you had hoped—and what you want to do differently next time,” she says.
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Don’t overdo it on the partying
Sure, it’s tempting to drown your sorrows to get over a breakup, but that’s a mistake. “Some people are looking for validation that they’re still attractive or sexy,” says Jenn Mann, PhD, author of The Relationship Fix: Dr. Jenn’s 6-Step Guide to Improving Communication, Connection & Intimacy. But right after a breakup, if you start drinking, flirting, or partying, well, all those things are distractions from the grieving process. “If we don’t take time to grieve and don’t work on ourselves, we are doomed in our next relationship,” she says.
Don’t avoid the pain
To get over a breakup, you may try to avoid your hurt and pain because it’s just too devastating. But you can’t recover from the relationship when you avoid it. “The only way to get to the ‘other side,’ is to go through the pain, instead of around it,” says Dr. Mann.
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Don’t kiss and tell
When it comes to bad-mouthing your ex, zip it. That’s not the right way to get over a breakup. “Trash talk reflects more on you than it does on your ex,” says Masini. It’s not polite, attractive, or productive. “It drags you down into the mud when what you need is to rise above.” Even though you’re hurting, try to be the bigger person by staying silent about your ex. The exception to the rule? You can, of course, confide in your close friends and family.
Don’t beat yourself up
Don’t be too hard on yourself, advises Guy Winch, PhD, a Psychology Today contributor. “Remember that your ego and self-esteem are already hurting—don’t make it worse,” says Dr. Winch. “Be as compassionate toward yourself as you would be to a friend whose heart had just been broken,” he says. If you are struggling to move on, or wish for some outside clarity from someone who doesn’t know your ex, consider talking with a therapist.
Don’t stay home
It’s so easy to wallow in self-pity and check your phone every 30 seconds hoping your ex will text, begging to start fresh. However, many experts believe keeping yourself busy is a great way to get over a breakup. “Find at least two, and up to five, things that you can do every single day for yourself that make you feel great, and that help you fill your time,” says About.com dating expert Bonny Albo. “Keeping busy, even if it is a bit cliché, does help, and soon enough you’ll have so many new things going on that you truly love and are passionate about, you won’t even have time to think about your ex.”
Don’t lose sight of who you are as an individual
Embrace your “me” time, and cultivate your interests as an individual, as you gradually move on from the relationship. “After you regroup from the loss, have fun in your singleness and learn to establish yourself without the relationship. Take a class to enhance yourself as a person,” says Dr. Felicia Pressley, PhD, LPC-S, assistant professor, counseling department, Argosy University. “Now’s the time to learn to a new language, join a swim club, or cook—solo.” Perhaps you’ll meet a new friend or a love interest in your yoga, cooking, or kickboxing class!
Don’t seek revenge
If you were the one who was dumped, chances are you’re hurting, and want your ex to feel the same levels of emotional heartbreak you do. However, this doesn’t mean you seek revenge on your former flame to get over a breakup. There are lines you just don’t cross when a relationship ends: don’t spread rumours, burn his favourite shirt he left at your house, or trash talk on his social media accounts. It’s never a mistake to take the high road.
Don’t reconnect with other exes
It’s really tempting to call another ex once a relationship ends: You once had a romantic connection with that person, he or she is familiar to you, and you’re craving an emotional and physical connection as you try to move on. Plus, in the back of your mind, it’s a type of revenge against the one who recently cracked your heart. However, when it comes to an ex reconnect—don’t do it. They’re called “exes” for a reason—you two weren’t meant to be.
Don’t stalk him or her on social media
Unfollow your ex from all forms of social media, and perhaps some of his or her family members and friends as well. Unfriending, or at least hiding your ex online, can help you avoid the constant temptation to check in and see if your ex is living a life more miserable—or more awesome—than yours. (Besides, you’re too busy enjoying your new salsa meringue dance class to even skim their social media page, right?)
Don’t keep reminders around
Delete social media pictures of your happier days (or have a friend do so you don’t get nostalgic), stash away photos you have around the house, and donate that giant teddy bear he won for you at the carnival. Don’t stop there. Take the opportunity to get your whole house organized. You may also want to stay away from mutual places you visited for a few weeks, so fond memories aren’t triggered. It’s time to start anew, and that may include changing up your whole daily routine; at least initially. This gives you time to set new routines and adapt to being single.
Don’t forget to learn something
“I’m a big believer that no relationship is a waste a time if we learn from it,” says Dr. Mann. “Ask yourself, ‘How did I contribute to the relationship’s demise?’ or ‘How can I be a better partner in the future?’” If you’re honest, you can take away something positive from the experience.
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Originally published as 15 Things You Should Never Do to Help You Get Over a Breakup on ReadersDigest.com.