Everyone knows that break-ups are terrible, no matter who breaks up with whom or for what reasons or how long you were together. Break-ups hurt deeply, shake your routines to bits and cause you to rethink many of your life decisions up to that point—often with the goal of wondering if you could've prevented the break-up if you'd done something different somewhere down the line. As a woman, you also go through a ton of ice cream and other sweets in an effort to cope and get back those happy feelings you had prior to the break-up.
Assuming that you were happy and he dumped you, it could take a very long time to get over him and move past the current heartache. If you dumped him, you're already one step ahead on the road to healing but it all still hurts the same. Everyone recovers from and handles a break-up differently. There are different things you can do to help speed up the recovery process but since every coin has a reverse side, there are also things you may do (consciously or not) that can hold you back from really letting go and moving on. Some are fairly obvious while others are a bit sneaky. To help simplify things, here's a short list of things to avoid doing post break-up. Ice cream sold separately.
15 Checking Up On His Social Media Is A Big No-No
With the invention of social media came a fun little pastime known as anonymously stalking. You can scroll through years of photos and posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and who knows what else without anyone ever knowing you were there (provided you delete your web browser history when finished). Sometimes this is a very handy tool for checking out potential suitors and new friends, but when it comes to post-break-ups, it's a no-no.
According to Cosmopolitan, stalking your ex on social media can trigger an obsession and prevent you from fully moving on.
You need space from each other right now, not endless scrolling as you hunt for his new lady friend you suspect he has already. If he's a decent guy, he'll stay away from social media and you'll just be wasting time in a fruitless search.
On the other hand, he might be counting on you to cyber stalk him, so he'll purposefully go out and snap falsely happy pictures with beautiful women to make it look like he's cool with the break-up and already moving on when he's actually still crying himself to sleep at night on his buddy's couch. Don't let those mind games keep controlling you when he's already part of your past, girl.
14 Time To Get Rid Of His Stuff, No Matter How Much You Love Them
Depending on how long the relationship lasted and how close you two were, chances are good that you have some mementos of him lying around somewhere. As dramatic as it sounds, do not throw everything out the three-story window at him unless he cheated on you with your sister. But you also shouldn't hang onto the items either.
According to Cosmopolitan, keeping his things keeps the wound open. Sure, you had a magical vacation to Hawaii together and have great photos from the fair last summer, or you still have some of his shirts and they still smell like him. Or he gave you your favorite necklace. It all triggers memories of him and keeps you thinking about and missing him.
Throw it out or store it all till later. When you're in a clearer and better frame of mind, you can more objectively go through your shared mementos and decide what you actually want to keep. If it's nothing at all then you can donate the belongings or throw them away without a second thought and without feeling any regret for decluttering useless junk from your life. There's also a chance that he might want his things back, so you can just box it all up and send it to him.
13 Don't Trick Yourself Into Thinking You Can Be Friends All Of A Sudden
This is a real no-no that most people think would be obvious but a lot of us still try it anyway. The idea behind staying friends is a myth that says, "I'm cool with this if you are; let's just be friends again. That was safe and easy." According to Cosmopolitan, this concept fails because usually one person wants to be friends and the other one (likely you) wants to be more than friends.
You'll pretend you're good but every time you see him, you hurt a little more on the inside and soon you'll fall back into your old patterns.
Honey, you don't need that kind of emotional stress. Call it quits completely and revisit the friend option in a few months or a year when you have a clearer outlook on this and can actually gauge whether or not you'd make good friends. Occasionally, former lovers can become good pals. After all, we've reached a level of intimacy together in the past that we normally don't reach with our friends. He has literally seen you at your worst and still stuck around, so as friends, there won't be any new surprises or secrets to hide from him.
12 Time To Put Down The Phone
So you just got dumped and you're processing this painful new phase of life with copious amounts of adult beverages, lots of crying and hopefully a good friend or two that is a bit soberer than you are to keep an eye on you. As Cosmopolitan says, texting an ex when you're not in a clear state of mind, is a bad idea. In your highly emotional state, you'll assume that if he texts back, he still has feelings for you and there might be hope yet.
In reality, he's probably hurting too and unaware that we're texting him gibberish while partying with your friends.
Have a friend take your phone and maybe your computer away until the danger of texting or emailing or messaging him has passed.
You need your space right now—not regret paired with a massive hangover in the morning.
You could always try writing him a letter by hand if you actually need to say something. In all likelihood, you won't be able to find an envelope or stamps that night and in the morning you'll be sober and able to read the letter with a clear head to really decide if you want to send it or not. Plus, the simple act of writing it all down can be the release you are longing for.
11 Getting Back In The Dating Game Too Soon Isn't The Best Method
One step to moving on from an ex is to get a new boyfriend. The only problem with this idea is timing. Cosmopolitan recommends a quick one-time only rebound and then finding someone else to take things slow with. At this stage of the break-up, you know you want to recover and move on but you aren’t a good enough judge to be able to tell if you're ready for a stable healthy relationship (even though that's obviously what you need).
Instead, opt for staying single for awhile or just start dating, but definitely, don't rush into a new relationship, have some me-time, you deserve it.
You can get and intimacy of cuddles that you want, and you aren't alone as much. So, you can feel safe enough to process everything that you're supposed to be processing right now without worrying about being a good girlfriend to someone new.
The pressures of starting a new and hopefully more successful relationship aren't going to help you recover from a really bad one. It'll just add to what's already on your emotional plate and further drain your resources until you break up with the rebound guy too and tackle your problems like you should have already done.
10 Don't Have An Emotional Lockdown
For some of us gals, going on emotional lockdown after something traumatic happens is a natural go-to response. In some cases, it's perfectly acceptable but in others, it can be unhealthy and unhelpful. Cosmopolitan recommends that you take time each day to identify how you feel, even if you feel awful and can't see a way forward out of the smoking wreckage of your relationship. This exercise will help keep you in touch with yourself as you begin the healing process and move forward in your own season of growth.
Besides, emotional lockdown can be hard to unlock later on when you actually do want to know how you're feeling (like when you want to start something new with someone else), which can land you in a state of depression, anxiety or mild panic that you're turning into a robot. If you're getting out of a particularly dangerous situation, turning off your emotions might be the only way to survive long enough to actually get away and find somewhere safe before you turn the emotional tap and begin to process everything. A change of scenery after a break-up is always a good idea no matter the degree of heartbreak you're suffering.
9 Getting Closure Isn't Always The Best Policy
Closure is something we—as women—all feel that we need and we like to have even if it hurts. Some of us will take this search for closure too far, however. According to Your Tango, looking for closure and trying to find out the why behind the break-up is simply an excuse to keep in touch with your ex and keep talking to him.
It stretches out the pain for both of you and reopens the heartbreak every-time you see each other or hear his voice or try to talk about what happened.
Plus, if he's a particularly stubborn type, he'll likely be done talking and you will waste your time and energy trying to find that elusive feeling of closure as you edge around the clam that replaced your ex. Closure is nice to have but how far are you willing to go and to push yourself and your ex to actually get it? You might not like what you find if you keep going down this road. Life is made up of many little mysteries; maybe why he left you should stay a mystery. A better mystery to solve is trying all of Ben and Jerry's ice cream flavors.
8 Change Is Never Fun
None of us like change and if you do, then you like change on your own terms and not the uncontrollable kind of change that life throws at us when someone else—like our ex—is in control. However, as Clayton Olson Coaching puts it, change is what makes you grow. This break-up could be what you need to find a piece of yourself to grow and focus on which will eventually make you someone better and stronger when you're done. It won't necessarily feel good or be very fun but if you try to look at it positively, you'll get there.
The mistake to avoid right now is refusing to change, whether you do so consciously or unconsciously.
You're being forced to change and grow whether you like it or not, so it's better to accept it and move on. The good news is that sometimes change can happen gradually over time without you really noticing. Taking it one day at a time and changing one little thing can go a long way in helping yourself transition and move into your new phase of life. Bigger changes can't always be avoided but they don't have to be feared either if handled properly.
7 Stop Plotting To Win Him Back
One of the first thoughts that fly through your head after a break-up is a possibility of winning him back eventually. Cosmopolitan says this is scheming and it's a no-no. Imagining things that could or might happen may be fun, but it can waste time and energy and fill you with a false hope that this train wreck is salvageable.
Instead of attending that wedding together as planned or showing up at his friend's house for a party all decked out, just stay home, stay off social media and do something that helps to heal the wound.
Paint your nails, paint the kitchen, rearrange the bedroom, read a book. Anything else instead of plotting and planning ways to win him back and make him sorry that he ever left in the first place.
Accepting that it's over is the first step in recovering and moving on. Plotting and scheming to get him back signals that you haven't accepted the new reality of your life and you should probably do so sooner rather than later to save yourself a lot of wasted time that could be better spent improving yourself. Instead, spend some time reading books or shopping for fruity snacks to munch on while watching Netflix all night.
6 Stop Asking Yourself "But What If...?"
What if is a very dangerous question when you're reeling from a break-up that took you completely by surprise. What if you two get back together? What if you'd said something different? What if he hadn't done that? It's a word trap that you should avoid if at all possible. This includes the line of thinking known as self-blaming.
According to Cosmopolitan, it takes two to contribute to a break-up—even if he's the one that eventually pulled the plug and sank the ship.
Blaming yourself for the break-up and all the pain you are in is unhealthy and unproductive. It gets you nowhere when you really need to slow down and take a break.
When you're in a calmer frame of mind in—say, six months from now—that's when you can objectively look back at the relationship. Looking back can help you find faults and weak points in yourself that you can then work on and improve so that the next serious relationship that comes along will find you more mature and better able to handle everything that comes along with a serious couplehood. That one might just last forever because you took the time to learn from your mistakes and grow.
5 The Wallowing Is Never Productive
As stated before, break-ups are painful and hurt like heck. Depending on what you've gone through up to this point, it can also feel and possibly even qualify as the worst pain you've ever felt. But only up to this point and only if this is essentially your first ever break-up after being together for years. Wallowing in the pain and letting it consume you is the issue to avoid here.
As Clayton Olson Coaching puts it, what you need to do is reframe the situation in your mind. Instead of saying it's the worst pain ever and the worst thing to ever happen, say it's the best thing to ever happen because it made you change and grow for the better. You just have to think positively until you feel happy again.
One way to help form the habit of thinking positively every day is to go out and buy a really nice, pretty journal. Then sit down at the end of each day or every morning and write down five to ten good things about that day. Include things that make you happy, like compliments, or the weather or finding something on sale. Before you know it, you'll actually be happier. Don't knock the power of positivity until you try it.
4 If It's After 12 AM, Put Down The Phone
Sometimes after a break-up, you'll find yourself need some attention and the obvious solution is to text your ex and see each other one last time...super late at night. Then maybe it happens again next week or he texts you a few days later another late night meet up and the next thing you know, you're exes with benefits.
As Your Tango puts it, late night meetups are dangerous territory here. Sure, he's familiar and knows you and you're comfortable with him, but he's also your ex and likely responsible for most of the pain you're in. Every time you see him, you reopen the wound and make yourself miss him all over again. So seeing him in this capacity is a terrible idea.
If you do need some attention, and you're not ready to get on Tinder, it's best to find a rebound or maybe go back a few exes if you must. Going back a few exes sounds like a bad idea but if enough time has elapsed between when you went out and broke up with them, then you're likely in the friend zone with them and can therefore safely hang out again and it won't be so bad. It helps to remember all the work you had to do to get over the past ex.
3 Time For A Breakup Box!
Everyone likes pictures. You take them of each other, yourself, the dog and anything that sparkles and that you think is amazing. Then you share these pictures with everyone thanks to social media. But, like stalking on social media, pictures are a slippery slope.
Try Cosmopolitan's suggestion of a break-up box and stick all the pictures of your relationship in there and then triple duct tape it before sending it to the attic or basement until you're feeling a bit more sane.
Eventually, you'll go through them and either keep them or cut out his head from all of them. Or you could have a picture burning party. This also means no scrolling through his social media pictures and maybe setting time aside to delete your ex's photos from your Facebook and Instagram.
If you someday find a new guy, he's probably going to think it's really weird and not exactly a good sign that you still have pictures of your ex all over your Facebook or Snapchat. You would likely feel that way if he kept pictures of his ex-girlfriend. A clear sign that you've healed and moved on is a clean slate with only a few appropriate scars to show for your hard-won experience.
2 When You Still Run In The Same Social Circles
They say that being friends first is the key to a solid foundation. But what happens after a break-up and you and he run in the same social circles? You were set up by mutual friends and you all have tickets to the game next week!
According to Your Tango, this is particularly tricky and can lead to some hang-ups as you try to move forward in your singleness and re-growth. What you should do in these situations is be polite and civil but don't go out of your way to chat with your ex or spice it up to make him regret losing you. He'll figure it out eventually if he's smart.
It's also very important at this stage to not continue the fight around your friends—especially if you want to keep them as your friends.
There's nothing quite as awkward and painful as being caught in the middle of a bitter and painful feud between mutual friends who just broke up and are obviously having a very hard time processing this new place in life. Anyone who values their sanity would eventually start drifting away from both of you just to get some peace.
1 We All Have To Move On Sometime
Finally, the last obvious no-no that you can do at this highly painful and emotional stage in life is to refuse to move on. It really only works in very rare instances and this is likely not one of those rare moments. Refusing to move on and let go means to refuse to change and grow, and to refuse to mature and become someone new and exciting.
Sure, this break-up sucks and you're pretty convinced you'll never find someone half as good ever again. But you don't really know that since you can't see the future. When Google glasses can do that, then you can refuse to change. But for now, it's probably a much better and healthier idea to accept what happened and move on in peace. Or maybe just have a sugar high or two to help yourself cope. You can sort out reality and the future later when the gummy bears run out and the freezer is bare of all that delicious chocolatey ice cream you stocked up on just two days ago.
Maybe you should join a gym or go jogging with your bestie tomorrow. Regardless, you should definitely throw out your scale. In the future, you won't need scales and you won't go through a break-up like this again—if you take the opportunity you're being given now to learn from it.