Picking yourself up after a break up can be extremely difficult. This is especially so if you were in the relationship for a long time. If you were the kind of couple whose identities melted into each other, it can be excruciatingly challenging. You may spend months with a sense of emptiness you just can’t shake off and many hours wondering what to do with yourself because you used to spend so much time together.
If your sense of self-worth and self-respect were not strong before the relationship, then when it ends, your self-esteem could easily plummet to unhealthy levels.
Here are a few tried and tested ways and thoughts to ponder to help you forget your ex after a break up. These will put you on a path to healthy healing.
How To Forget Someone You Loved
1. You do not have to be in a relationship to be happy
The truth is that single people can be just as happy – perhaps even happier – than married people. The belief that married people are happy is not always correct. This only applies to people in quality, genuinely happy marriages. A single person is definitely happier than someone in a bad marriage. A person in a happy marriage is arguably happier than a single person because of the love and support they have from a partner. The truth is that the emotional and psychological benefits enjoyed by people in a happy marriage don’t have to only come from a romantic partner. You can get this kind of fulfillment by surrounding yourself with friends and family on a regular basis. This is not to say that there is anything wrong with marriage, but to dispel the notion that it is the source of all joy and happiness.
2. Why did you break up… really?
Your relationship may have ended in an argument but that is usually not the actual cause of the break up. There are always other reasons, maybe some underlying reasons why people break up. Sometimes people realize they want different things where family and marriage are concerned. Sometimes people have to move away and you both find that a long-distance relationship is not working. It is a thorny issue but sometimes the underlying issue has to do with the finances of one of the partners. It could be anything. It is important to identify and admit the actual reason(s) behind the break up and allow your healing process to be based on the truth.
3. It is alright if you were just not a good match
We all have different personalities. Some complement each other and others clash. If your own personalities and that of your ex’s clashed rather than complemented each other, there is nothing wrong with that. It was actually best for the two of you to part ways because staying in the relationship would mean one or both of you staying in a psychologically damaging situation. You both deserve better.
4. Don’t blame yourself
Very often, it is the psychological and emotional elements of an individual’s personality that determine whether a relationship will stand the test of time or not. Social scientists have found that most people fall under one of two types of attachment in a relationship. Some are anxiously attached and others are securely attached. The former are insecure and require a lot of attention from their partner. The latter are secure and independent and require minimal attention from their partner. It has been found that two people with secure attachment form solid relationships. A relationship between an anxiously attached person and a securely attached one will probably run into stormy waters after a while. They say that opposites attract but in this kind of situation, opposites may attract but will probably not stand the test of time.
5. Grieve but not for too long
The first few weeks and perhaps months after a break up can be very difficult. More so if you were in the relationship for a long time. That struggle should not be underestimated. Give yourself time to grieve the loss of something you valued and someone who was a big part of your life for a long time. Do not beat yourself up for feeling a sense of loss for it is only human to have such emotions. If you feel like lying on the couch with movies and a tab of ice cream, go ahead. If you want to go out for cocktails with your friends, do that. The big ‘but’ on this one is do not let your grieving period last too long. If you do, it could spiral out of control. Even if you do not feel great after a few days of grieving, force yourself up and out of it and go back to your everyday activities. Even if you have to go about your day pretending that everything is alright, it will help the healing process.
6. Keep yourself constructively occupied
It has been a few weeks since you broke up with your ex and you are still feeling sad, angry and perhaps disappointed. Basically, you have lots of not-so-positive emotions boiling up inside you. On top of that, you have a lot of time on your hands because you used to spend all your free time together. Find constructive ways to release this energy and spend the extra time you now have. If you like art, take up a painting class, if you are sporty, take up a kickboxing class. All of these activities will be especially useful if you have a lot of negative energy to release. If you do not have two left feet, take a dance class and dance your worries away. Whatever you do, find a constructive way to keep yourself busy. It is a lot better than stalking your ex on social media or jumping into bed with the first attractive person you come across next.
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7. Why do you feel terrible about the breakup?
Take time to search yourself and be completely honest with yourself. Ask yourself exactly what it is that you miss about the relationship. Is it that you truly loved the person and would wish them back by your side? Some people do not actually miss the person but rather, miss the idea of being in a relationship. For some people, the status is what matters most and the idea that everyone is now going to know that they are single is disturbing. If being alone bothers you, now is the time to do some serious reflection to find out why.
It is unfortunate that in this day and age, many people still believe that an individual is not complete without a romantic partner. Your friends and family might decide to help you by setting you up on dates. Although they are probably well-meaning friends, do not let pressure from other people force you to get into a relationship before you are ready. If you want to focus on your career, travel or just be alone, go right ahead and do that.
8. Make all your social media accounts ‘forget’ your ex
The fact that we live in a digital era can make it twice as hard to get over an ex. First and foremost, delete their number from your phonebook and any text message threads, then proceed to clean up your social media accounts. If you are both ardent users of social media and if you were in the relationship for long, you probably have lots of pictures of them on your social media accounts. Make a point to un-follow or un-friend them on all your accounts. Leave no trace of them anywhere.
Why is this so important? Well, you may be feeling good and strong today but sooner or later you will have a down-in-the-dumps day when you find yourself checking if they have changed their relationship status on Facebook or what kind of pictures they have been posting on Instagram, just to find out what they are up to. This only makes you feel worse. Heaven helps you if you find that their relationship status is already back to ‘in a relationship’ or you find lots of pictures of them with some other guy or girl. Any progress you had made toward healing will be lost instantly.
9. Reconnect with friends you had lost touch with
It is quite common for people in a relationship to lose touch with their close friends when they get into a relationship. Perhaps you used to hang out with your best friends every weekend, yet when you started dating, you spend all your free time including weekends with your girlfriend or boyfriend and only see your best friends once in a while, if ever.
This is not only unfair to your friends, but it is also very likely to end badly because it is a sign that you expect your new partner to play the roles of both your boyfriend or girlfriend plus your larger network of friends. What are the chances that they can meet that expectation? Now that you are single again, look up some of your friends and spend some time with them. Hopefully, they won’t feel used and brush you off.
10. Make new friends
There is something refreshing about meeting new people and making new friends. Not to say that there isn’t any value in old friends – there definitely is, but new friends come with an underlying excitement about new possibilities. When you make a new friend, there is also the comfort of knowing that they know nothing about your past so they have no basis on which to judge you positively or negatively. New friends are a great way to get the memories of your ex to fade from your mind – and who knows you may just find love in one of the new friends!
11. Build relationships with your friends
Spending time with your friends is great because you will inevitably see and experience the positives in them which made you become friends with them in the first place. You will realize that they can fulfill certain needs which your partner could not have met no matter how hard they tried. Surrounding yourself with friends and family will put you in an environment of emotional support similar to the one you had with your partner. When that need is met you will not feel so bad about the break up anymore.
12. Reflect on what the relationship was really like for you
It may not be easy to do in the first few weeks after the break up, but when you can, do a bit of honest self-reflection. Ask yourself what kind of experience the relationship really was for you. Was it a truly, genuinely happy one? Were you struggling to make things work from the very beginning? What will you miss about your former partner and what are you glad to be done with now that they are not in your life anymore?
13. Embrace the freedom
If you were used to spending all your free time with your partner before the break up, it is normal to feel a bit lost in the first few weeks. ‘What shall I do with myself?’ You wonder. Once you get over that, you realize that you have complete and absolute freedom to do whatever the hell you want to do. You do not have to confer with anyone about plans for Saturday night, have cereal for dinner every day for a week, or even walk around the house without pants on!
Spontaneity is yours to enjoy. You can head out of town on an impromptu trip and not have to let anyone know where or why you are going out. There must be a few things you envied about the lives of your single friends. Recollect those envious moments and enjoy all those freedoms you did not have when you were in a relationship.
14. Actions speak louder than words
If you are at the point in a relationship where your partner is acting as though they would rather not be with you, but can’t get themselves to say it, then you should learn to read between the lines. If they have been very distant and you are actually wondering if the two of you are still in a relationship or not, then settle your mind with the latter. As hard as it may be, it is probably best to consider the relationship over even if the time and date of ‘death’ of the relationship have not been called by either of you.
This helps because you are rescuing yourself from the position of limbo. Remind yourself that you deserve better, that anyone who really wants to be with you will tell you and show you just that. You should never wonder if someone wants to be in a relationship with you.
15. Be kind to yourself
After a breakup, it is easy to sink into a place of constant self-criticism and suddenly notice all sorts of negative things about yourself. Pull yourself out of this by matching every negative thought about yourself that pops into your mind with a positive one. You will be surprised at how many great things you can come up with about yourself.
Imagine that a close friend you care about was going through what you are going through. What words of encouragement would you have for them? (You would probably have a lot!) Give yourself the same reassuring pep talk. Say the words out loud if you have to and in front of a mirror, to make the message sink into your mind.
16. Deal with the fear of being single
Some people are terrified by the thought of being single. They will do anything to make sure that they are always in a relationship. Researchers have found that people who are afraid of being single are more likely to get into bad relationships than people who are quite comfortable being single. On the other hand, people who are afraid of being alone are more likely to stay in bad relationships which they would otherwise get out of.
When you are consumed by this fear, you unconsciously lower your standards when it comes to selecting potential suitors. You easily settle for much less than you would. The paradox here is that people who are desperate for love and romantic relationships are less likely to find genuinely fulfilling and lasting relationships than those who are happy to be single for as long as it takes.
Do not forget that potential suitors can smell desperation from a mile away. Desperation makes even the most attractive guy or girl a lot less attractive to a potential suitor and can send a potential suitor running in the opposite direction.
17. Do not entertain negative thoughts about yourself
When someone you believed valued you tells you that they do not want to be in a relationship with you anymore, it is easy to conclude that there is something wrong with you. It can leave you scrapping your self-esteem off the floor. You will be surprised at how creative you can get when your mind is looking for something to blame for being dumped. Maybe I am too short, maybe it is the color of my eyes, maybe it is the way I dress, if only I made more money…, etc., the list can be endless. It is up to you to make sure these thoughts never take root.
The breakup might have brought back long-standing, deep-seated insecurities and self-doubt. If that is the case, keep in mind that all characteristics are changeable. If there are certain characteristics you do not like about yourself, you should set out to change them. Better yourself for you and for the next person you get into a relationship with.
18. It won’t hurt forever
If you are still reeling in emotional pain after a breakup, it could feel like the pain will never end. Take the grief of a broken relationship as the pain from a deep and physical wound. We have all had to deal with a physical wound at some point in our lives. We know that as long as it is kept clean to prevent infection, time is all it takes for it to heal and eventually close. The same goes for heartbreak – time is the ultimate healer and it definitely heals all wounds.
19. Do not get into a rebound relationship
After a painful breakup, it is normal to feel the need for some attention and affirmation from a member of the opposite sex. Your friends may encourage you to go out to the bar and flirt with the first person who shows the least bit of interest in you. You may immediately get into a relationship after a painful breakup thinking you are over your ex, but these kinds of relationships usually do not last nor end well. You are simply using your new partner to suppress your feelings about your ex and maintain the sense of being in a relationship. It won’t be long before you realize what you are doing and before they realize you were not genuinely interested in a relationship with them.
20. Open your eyes
Like I mentioned earlier, it is important to allow yourself to grieve after a breakup. You may not notice it at the time but your grieving period is a time spent with all focus on yourself. You are in a little world which revolves around you and your pain.
Once your grieving time is up, get up and open your eyes to the world around you. Engage with people around you and allow yourself to be fully present in whichever space you may be in. Think about matters going on around you rather than focus on yourself all the time. Help people around you solve their problems. It may take some practice to do this but it can be done. Fake it for a while if you have to. You will realize the world around you is a lot more interesting than what is going on in your head. The present and possibilities of the future are way more exciting than the past.
A Few Last Words…
These are just a few tactics to help you gradually forget someone after a breakup. The bottom line is that there is nothing wrong with being single. If you wish to remain single for some time before getting back into the dating game, it is absolutely in order. No one should approach ‘singleness’ with fear. As long as you are afraid of being single and are looking to shed the status as soon as possible, you cannot enjoy the process of finding true and lasting love – and it is likely that you never will.