What are the best things to do after a breakup?
We asked experts to give us their insights:
Christine Scott-Hudson, MA, LMFT, ATR
Licensed Psychotherapist | Marriage and Family Therapist | Owner, Create Your Life Studio
When you are going through a break-up, it helps to do a “relationship autopsy” on paper to help you sort your thoughts and feelings.
Expressive writing will help you tune in and see what you authentically feel so you can listen to yourself and validate your own feelings. Take out a journal and ask yourself these five questions:
- What did I learn?
- How is it valuable?
- How can I use what I learned, going forward?
- What is there to grieve?
- How can I support myself through this process?
Then, put your journal away and try to do something distracting and fun alone, like watch a critically acclaimed tv show series. Distraction can be healthy or unhealthy.
Unhealthy distraction looks like getting involved with someone new too fast, partying too hard with cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs, shopping too much, binge eating, etc.
Whereas, healthy distraction looks like binge-watching tv shows, going to the movies, taking a new class, calling friends to do something fun (not to ruminate on the break-up.)
Focus on yourself
You must put your focus back onto you. Do not call, text or social media stalk your ex. Block all of their numbers and social media accounts, if you have to remove the temptation.
Focus on what you feel like doing, what you would like to see, do, and feel. Keep your compass trained to your own happiness, and follow it.
Life Mentor | Speaker | Relationship Expert | Author, The Problem Was Me
Connect with supportive people in your life
Many times the person will go through a grieving process, which may consist of anger, denial, sadness, and acceptance that the relationship is over. It’s important to create a ‘we’ process so feelings are shared with others.
This can serve as an opportunity, allowing the person to learn from an unsuccessful relationship in order to achieve an enduring one in the future.
Do a self-reflection
It is important to take this opportunity to self-reflect and learn lessons from past behaviors and actions in order to improve oneself. If not the person may find the wrong character traits in the next relationship.
What did you like about your relationship? What didn’t you like? What would you change if you did it again? What do you want from a relationship?
It also highlights the importance of setting boundaries. This is a vital component of a relationship. Learning how to set boundaries will only benefit the person when he or she enters their next relationship.
Dating Expert, Dating Scout
Breakups are hard to move on from. But be firm that the relationship had to end the way it did. No more entertaining “What ifs.” Don’t even think about contacting your ex for “closure” when deep down, all you want is to hear their voice once more. That isn’t healthy and it would make moving on much harder to do.
Focus on becoming a better version of yourself
Do you know the saying there’s always a rainbow after the rain? Breakups can be hard to deal with, especially if it was unexpected. However, you can see it as an opportunity to assess the things you need to improve about yourself and do some action about it.
Invest in yourself and try new things
Since you can focus on yourself now, invest in yourself by learning and doing new things. You’ll be surprised by how many more things you can do alone, and how exciting it is to accomplish them.
Your life shouldn’t end after a breakup. It’s okay to cry and be overly emotional for quite some time if it was a really painful one. But once you cried your heart out, it’s time for you to get back on track and start anew.
Continue with your life
Stop obsessing about the next thing to do and continue with your life no matter how long it takes for you to move on from the break-up. Remember that the relationship you severed with your ex is just a piece to your whole life.
You have your career, family, friends, and other things going on in your individual life that you can focus your energies on. Just continue living it, don’t force new things if you can’t, and remember to take baby steps along the way.
Sexual Empowerment Expert | TEDx Speaker
Breakups can leave us feeling empty, hurt, used and most importantly, if not aware of it, it can take our power away and makes us shut down to those around us.
So to avoid all those impacting the quality of your life and the ability to heal, make sure that when this situation arises in your life, you are prepared to deal with it easier.
Remember that your heart energy can’t be broken
Yes, a break up can be harsh and hurtful, very emotional and painful but your heart can not be broken. If your heart was broken would you still be alive? Allow your heart to ache but know you are strong, your heart keeps you alive every day so this too shall pass. Your heart is the strongest muscle in your body. It is wise and strong beyond measure, and very resilient, so give it space to heal.
Acknowledge your feelings
Regardless if you are the one who ended a relationship or the one who was broken up with, identify what you are experiencing right now and be kind to yourself.
Do not ignore what you are going through. It is normal to feel upset, closed off and hurt. But don’t create thoughts in your mind on why this happened. Sometimes it is simple: some relationships just come to an end (with or without the heartache).
Break-up is not an indication of your self-worth
You have done nothing wrong. You have done nothing to deserve this. The experience you are going through is not an indication of your self-worth. Even if a relationship ends due to infidelity, or other reasons that get blamed on you or your partner, in reality, if you check in with yourself, you may realize that the two of you may not be suited for each other.
Spend time by yourself
You are allowed to spend time by yourself, to heal, to understand your thoughts and emotions. Don’t rush into dating again, and please do not ignore what you are feeling.
Putting a brave face on it’s only at your disadvantage. You are allowed to take time with yourself for yourself. So do that. Put some good music on, take a bath, write down what you feel, cry even, scream or punch a pillow. It is quite cathartic. Give it a try.
Related: How to Be Happy Alone?
Surround yourself with loved ones
The same goes for people you trust and feel good around. You want to feel supported and cared for, so make sure you have someone around you who can listen to you, be there for you, and help you cheer up.
Breakups are no fun but they are not the end of love or the end of experiencing the relationship you want. As long as you work on yourself, stay strong, own your power, have healthy boundaries and create space for love in your life, all that will get returned to you.
You are worthy of love and regardless of what experiences you had, what past lovers or partners have said or done, you will experience a beautiful relationship if you take care of your mind, heart, and emotions.
Certified Relationship Expert | Family Care Professional, Maple Holistics
Take the necessary time to do the things that you enjoy doing. Healing takes time and patience, but it’s easier if you do the things that make you happy.
No matter the angle that you’re coming from, breakups are hard, and by ignoring your needs you only make it harder on yourself. Investing in self-care post-breakup can relax your mind and body during this tumultuous time.
Grow through it
The well-known adage “don’t just go through it, grow through it” was most likely formulated by someone going through a breakup. Learning from your experiences is an essential element of the breakup process. Use your breakup as a chance to discover yourself and embrace the challenges that might come from the process.
You might want to make a list of the things you’ve learned about yourself or relationships, or just take a time out to figure your next step. Do whatever it is that will mean something good comes out of your pain.
Relationship Coach | Blogger
When you’re going through a breakup one thing is certain: your self-esteem takes a major hit. Feeling ashamed, you begin isolating yourself from others, which only makes you feel more alone in your struggles. That’s why it’s crucial, after a breakup, to surround yourself with awesome people who lift you up.
Finding your tribe
An instant way to connect with interesting people and build new friendships is to join groups or teams you’re interested in. Always wanted to try a sport? Join a co-ed recreation league. Sport and social clubs exist in most cities and are a great resource since they offer a variety of activities that you can join as a new player.
Meetup.com is another great resource since they offer group meetups for everything from book clubs to chocolate eating groups. Whatever interests you, they got you covered.
Filtering your tribe
Staying off of social media during your breakup is definitely a wise move. Seeing your ex living their best life without you is painful and will only make you feel more rejected and alone. Stay out of the digital space and focus on improving your life in the real world.
Be careful who you share your breakup details with. While friends and fam may have the best intentions, be wary of the people who dismiss your distress as “not a big deal” or tell you to just “move on.”
Healing takes time and everyone’s timeline differs. Try to talk with people who are comfortable listening to you vent and who aren’t trying to fix you.
Feel like you need to give your ex a piece of your mind? Write letters to them on paper and do not send. Anytime you feel tempted to text them, write it out. Being able to say everything without a filter is a great way to release relationship resentments.
Real closure comes from you, not from a convo with your ex, so vent it out. After all, you can’t move forward until you deal with your past, and journaling is a great way to start.
Buy or print a calendar and put it in a place where you will see it often. Write down every activity you are doing each week and all plans with friends. Having things to look forward to, and reminding yourself daily of upcoming events, goes a long way when you’re in a breakup rut.
Write down one good thing that happened each day (even if it was the cookie dough ice cream you had for breakfast). Maintaining a state of gratitude will help you keep a positive perspective.
If it takes a village to raise a child, it definitely takes a tribe to help recover after a breakup. Find your tribe, protect it, and let the healing process begin.
Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor | Certified Imago Relationship Therapist |
Co-founder of The Marriage Restoration Project
Take care of yourself
Breakups can be harder, especially depending on the intensity and length of the relationship. The first thing to do is to love and take care of yourself, don’t jump into a new relationship right away, and wait till the dust settles. Breakups can have a long-term negative effect on both parties. No need to hate each other or feel resentful.
If you set boundaries moving forward, you will be more successful. With regard to boundaries, you will need to figure out what makes sense and is appropriate for your unique situation. It may mean remaining friends. It may mean having little contact but you don’t need to have hard feelings.
Obstetrician-Gynecologist | Women’ Sexual Health Expert
Whether you or your ex initiated the breakup, there can be a range of emotions that come up. It is not unusual to feel anger, sadness, resentment, and fear. It is also not unusual to feel a sense of freedom or joy. No matter what comes up, the most important thing is to allow the feelings.
When a breakup happens, it’s sometimes easier to stuff the troubling emotions instead of being vulnerable and admitting that we are hurt. If you acknowledge the feelings, you will likely get through them faster. Being unwilling to acknowledge the emotions creates resistance and more suffering in the long run.
Take time to sit with yourself
No one wants to be lonely, but taking some time to be alone can help after a breakup. It gives you time to process those emotions we talked about. Journaling, listening to your favorite music, or meditating, are all good options for spending time with yourself. You may also want to consider dating yourself.
I find in my work that sometimes you may “forget” the things that make you happy. So remind yourself of those things. Take yourself out to dinner or to the movies.
Evaluate the relationship
Now, this is not a directive to blame yourself for the breakup or to put all the blame on your ex. A relationship involves two people, and no matter what happens, each person has contributed to the outcome.
If you don’t want to repeat the same mistakes in a new relationship, it may be helpful to objectively evaluate what happened in the relationship. And that means looking at both the good and the bad things that happened.
Get professional help
Sometimes it can be hard to work through a breakup. The emotions that come up can derail our rational, logical thought process, making it impossible to move on.
Don’t be afraid to seek out a therapist or relationship coach to walk the journey with you. The extra support can be invaluable to your growth and personal development. Specifically, a coach can help you to uncover your subconscious beliefs that may be sabotaging your relationship success.