Let’s face it.
Being heartbroken over a romantic relationship is one of the most painful human emotions to experience.
Not only are you grieving the loss of someone you love, but you’re mourning future plans that now no longer exist.
This sadness can be all-consuming and disrupt other areas of your life, leaving you feeling shameful and anxious, on top of the already crippling overwhelm of heartbreak alone.
I offer five steps below to help you get over your ex in a healthy manner, but keep in mind that healing your heart is NOT a linear process.
Meet yourself where you’re at, moment to moment.
Ask, “What is it that I need RIGHT NOW?” instead of putting pressure on yourself to heal and move on in one fell swoop.
Editor’s note: Although this article uses male pronouns, the advice applies to all sexual orientations and gender identities.
I know. The thought of not having access to him, whether it’s via social media or being able to have a “friendly check-in,” feels too brutal for you to handle. But when you stay in contact or even connected to your ex on social media while still wanting him back, you’re either holding out hope that he’ll change his mind and/or setting yourself up for even more pain, if you discover that he’s dating someone new. It may feel extra painful, but you’re doing yourself the biggest favor by cutting ALL contact with him, his close friends, and his family members, no matter how close you are to them. Set yourself up in such a way that you have no information about his whereabouts, how he’s doing, or who he’s with, so that the focus can be on YOU.
This one can feel so counterintuitive but it’s most necessary. Here’s the deal—you’re already grieving—so giving yourself the conscious permission to let your heart break instead of resisting what’s actually happening is being much kinder to yourself than you may realize. Emotional pain isn’t fun, but it’s an inevitable part of our human experience. Cry when you need to. Give yourself time off from work to fall apart. Let yourself sleep. Name the emotions and sensations that are coming up in the body—simply cultivating awareness in the present can offer you some cathartic peace, while always remembering that this too shall pass, because it absolutely will.
What story are you telling yourself about you, your ex, and how the relationship unfolded? You’d be amazed by what you believe are the facts vs. the story you’re creating that’s causing more suffering than necessary. I don’t offer this suggestion to diminish your pain—if he lied, cheated, or blindsided you, your pain is real and as my second step suggests, it should absolutely be honored and processed. But when I offer that my clients consider changing their story (after allowing their pain to come up), I’m inviting them to change the meaning they’re making out of what their ex said, did, or didn’t do. Are you making it mean that you’re unworthy or not enough? And if you’re experiencing shame and regret over your part in the relationship, I present an opportunity to shift into a story of self-compassion and an appreciation for the greater lesson learned, that you can bring in to your next relationship—not just with someone else, but most importantly, your new and improved relationship with you. Our partners are always a mirror reflection of how we see ourselves.
Say no to social obligations. Yes—even your best friend’s. She will understand if you’re not really feelin’ a wild night out, and if she doesn’t, put yourself first anyway. It’s time to do YOU. Own it. Your emotional pain is real. Mending your heart is your priority, and there’s zero shame in that. Lighten as much of your workload as you can too. The more rest, time, and space you give yourself to process and be with your pain, the quicker it will pass. Don’t fall into the trap of keeping yourself so busy that you end up repressing what needs to be consciously processed. I’ve been there and done that, and ultimately ended up finding myself creating the same pattern of feeling abandoned and rejected, because I avoided doing this necessary work and escaped into plans and obligations as mere Band-aids that always managed to fall off.
I used to scratch my head with this one. I thought dating myself meant taking myself to dinner, a museum, the movies, or for a spa day… But I’d do those things because that’s what the books said, and then still felt like a$$. Those actions are lovely things to do for yourself and enjoy, so I’m not saying don’t do them, but when I suggest dating yourself, I mean learning how to genuinely love being with you and you alone. What thoughts do you have about your singledom? Are you willing to authentically commit to owning your single status before rushing to change it? What’s your relationship with your body? Your finances? How do you feel about what you do for a living? Investigate where you’ve been selling yourself short. Where you’ve been feeling “not enough,” that has nothing to do with an ex’s thoughts or words about you, but YOURS and yours alone. This dating-yourself work, to the point that there’s an actual shift toward genuine enjoyment and comfort with your own self, is the game-changer that will ultimately help you attract a much more up-leveled partner when you eventually put yourself out there again.
Even if you can’t fathom someone new as you move through these steps of getting over your ex, commit to them anyway.
You’re worthy of gaining a deeper and much more connected relationship with you, regardless of who stays or goes. What I know for sure is that you’ll attract more keepers, in all areas of your life, when you’re the most committed to keeping YOU.
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Claire Byrne is a heartbreak/finding-love coach, and the host of her podcast, Stop Wanting Him Back & Find Someone Better. Click here for more information on her group program.
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