As I listened to my friend tell me about how his girlfriend recently and abruptly broke up with him over a trivial issue, I tried to console him as much as I could. He was head over heels for her and she told him she loved him two days prior, he even met her dad but all of a sudden they were no more and he was so confused. He has tried to get her back but all to no avail and she said she's not feeling it any more. What went wrong? Only she and God knows...
So, in times like this, all one needs to do is MOVE ON! Moving on isn’t always easy but it is an essential part of life. For this week’s blog post, we’re going to be looking into some solid tips on how to move on after a break up. Let’s gooo!
Dr Deborah L. Davis from Psychology Today said “When a relationship is over, feelings of rejection can numb your sense of self and wreck your balance. For many jilted lovers, the first impulse is to try to fix what’s broken or recover what was lost. But often, the beloved has moved on and reconciliation is not possible. And still you persist. How can you ever move on?” Many people are stuck in treadmill relationships, they’re in motion but are not really going anywhere and sometimes a break up is the remedy they need.
If you're still distressed by feelings of failure, idealising or fawning over your ex, and even begging them to get back with you especially when you’re not at fault, you’ve essentially granted this relationship the power to consume your life and create your misery because you’ll feel worse if your attempts lead you nowhere. These feelings are currently plaguing my friend but if I can help it, he is gonna be back on his feet in no time.
Tips for Moving On After a Break Up
Not moving on is like holding on to a dead body hoping it will get back to life even though it is stinking up the place. Imagine a relationship is like having a phone call, if the other person cuts the call and you keep talking, you’re only going to be talking to yourself so you have to keep your phone down and keep on moving with your life. It is the sad reality but just as a magnet can lose its attractive or magnetic properties so can the attractiveness of a relationship be lost and if this is the case, one party may get tired and want something else. If you get dumped, here are some tips to help you bounce back like Big Sean and move on. Sometimes a magnet loses its attractive and it may be time to move on.
1. Find a Suitable Distraction
Distractions have been one way humans have been able to deal with pain whether it’s through intoxicants, passions or other people, a Sigmund Freud quote comes to mind.
“Life as we find it, is too hard for us; it brings us too many pains, disappointments and impossible tasks. In order to bear we cannot dispense with palliative remedies...There are perhaps three such measures: powerful deflections, which cause us to make light of our misery; substitutive satisfactions which diminish it; and intoxicating substances which make us insensible to it.”
Avoid making your distractions destructive things if not it will lead to a snowball of problems which will cause more pain. As I told my friend in question, one of the best ways is to get involved in something creative or productive such as painting or getting fit af! Being productive is important because heartbreak isn’t a solid excuse to skip work or school. You’ll discover that as time goes on, it gets easier and you will meet someone better. Let me caution you though, most people will tell you to found another person to rebound with quickly, while this isn’t necessarily wrong, you should check if you’re ready for it or you may just become toxic to someone innocent.
Doing something is better than doing nothing if not, you’re going to wallow and wallowing will lead to all sort of negative thoughts (see How to Combat Your Negative Thoughts). Some things you can do are, write and record a chart topping album like Adele, write a best seller! Start that business you wanted to. Audition for that role you’ve always wanted, stop postponing your dreams like Nigerian elections. Basically, you should try and get your money up, as Beyoncé said in Formation “the best revenge is yo’ paper.”
One of the primary steps for moving on is acceptance. You need to wake up to the fact that things are not how they seem. The relationship has ended. This ending might be your fault or probably not, if it’s your fault, try to see if it’s something you can fix especially if it’s a toxic trait. In the same vein, if it is a non-toxic trait, like you just being a nice person, you don’t necessarily have to change but in my experience, nice people struggle a lot with relationships because they get taken advantage of. If it’s not your fault, as hard as it is, try not to beg and let them go, call it pride or whatever but if someone is willing to let you go easily, what are you holding onto? Air? Well, that means you’re gonna fall if you don’t let go yourself and try to break your fall.
As The Serenity Prayer says, you should "accept the things you cannot change" and to "change the things you can." You can’t always change your ex's feelings, mind-set, behaviour, empathy levels towards you. But you can change yourself. Learn from your mistakes, grow stronger, and take this time to fortify your character. Once you stop focusing on your ex, you can focus on yourself properly. Like I said before, be productive and keep improving yourself and it will lead you to greater happiness, self-esteem, confidence and overall, a better life.
3. Cut Them Off Completely
They say absence makes the heart fonder but in my experience, it can also make the heart colder. Absence is what you need to process a heartbreak, afterwards you can pop up like bread in a toaster. It may seem sensible to remain in contact because you are “mature” and can still be friends with your ex but seeing the source of your pain will dramatically slow down the moving on process especially in its early stages.
Laura Yates, a UK-based relationship and dating coach who specializes in heartbreak, explains, “Something I recommend is a period of no contact. No texts, emails or social media messages because you need time and distance to get emotional clarity. When you just break up with someone, your emotions are all over the place — you will likely miss them desperately and overlook all the reasons why the breakup happened in the first place just to have them there with you again.”
Like I said before, don’t be too quick to wanna be friends with your ex, it doesn’t get you anywhere and if you keep talking to them, the feelings you have may be in the way. For example, how would you feel when they introduce you to their new partner since you’re now friends? For me, staying friends isn’t recommended, at least not initially because one may want to be friends while the other wants to rip their clothes off and get down and dirty but they can’t anymore, and that sucks! Keep this in mind though, you’re not waving the white flag by not staying in contact or being friends with an ex.
4. Challenge Your Negative Thoughts
Negative thoughts are part of being in pain and it makes sense to blame yourself for the break up but sometimes the relationship has run its course and it was time to end. The reason for the break up doesn’t always have to be about you, it might be them. Avoid indulging in self-pity, insecurity (see How to Overcome Insecurity), heavy self-criticism or self-blaming and ultimately, avoid suicidal thoughts, the only thing that should be suicide are the doors of the car you wanna drive. The person who caused you pain by breaking up with you may be enjoying their life so why should you be the one suffering?
Dr. Simon Rego, Director of Psychology Training at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, says that negative post-breakup thought patterns are to be expected. Cognitive behavioural therapy can help challenge thoughts that are spinning out of controL. Dr. Rego recommends, “Don’t buy into the thoughts that emerge (e.g., challenge predictions about the future, correct distortions in beliefs, etc.) and slowly but steadily reengage the world (i.e., reach out to social supports, make plans that get you out of the house, exercise and eat well, return to healthy sleeping habits, take risks again when it comes to dating).”
A preventative measure is to not immerse yourself in someone else so much that you lose yourself to the extent that when they leave you, you feel very hollow or feel like dying. Try to have a life separate from your partner such as your having your personal hobbies which you shouldn’t share with them so that after the break up, indulging in your hobbies doesn’t remind you of them. A curative measure might be getting into a rage based physical activities like boxing, wrestling or kickboxing so you can let out the anger and negative energy on a poor, not so lucky punching bag or opponent.
5. Face Your Pain
Even though you’ve found a great distraction, it doesn’t mean you can bottle the pain forever, you’re gonna have to open it or it will erupt one day like a volcano and may become a bigger problem than you expected. The pain of loss can be tempting to avoid but you’re gonna have to confront it like an adult. I remember as a kid when my foot got burnt by fire twice and there was a swelling, the doctors told me I had to walk despite the pain in order for the healing process to be complete.
Face your pain because the alternative can lead to depression, anxiety, obsession, and other mental or emotional problems. Avoiding grief keeps you feeling stuck and powerless (see 10 Ways to Get Unstuck in Life). According to Dr Deborah L. Davis, you should “see grief as a necessary reaction to loss. Grief includes feelings of disbelief, anger, fear, and sadness, as well as physical symptoms of fatigue, tension, emptiness, distractibility, and changes in appetite and sleep. It is painful, to be sure, but it is also a by-product of your ability to invest in meaningful relationships.”
6. Choose Happiness
As Eleanor Roosevelt rightfully said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Your ex should not determine your happiness or self-esteem levels, I know having a relationship with someone is one of the strongest human desires but you don’t have to have a relationship with your ex to be happy.
Life is short to worry about someone who probably doesn’t care about you or who can’t appreciate what you bring to the table. If they don't, someone else will, like Ariana Grande said “thank u, next.” Don’t spend your days drowning in misery because misery loves company. Instead, go and do fun things by yourself or with friends or family and you will feel better soon enough.
7. Get to Know Yourself
A breakup can be a blessing in disguise, you can see it as an invitation to the get to know yourself better party. Sometimes what we’re chasing or the void we’ve been trying to fill or the missing piece we’ve been looking for may be within us but we’ve just failed to notice it. So, discover yourself like a diamond in the rough. Get a shovel and start digging! Get a torch and start searching and find your inner gem.
Take yourself out on dates, discover what makes you tick, the more you know about yourself, the better for you. Think of it this way, a mechanic can only fix a car based on his knowledge on cars. So if they’re any internal issues you’re dealing with, the most effective way to resolve them is to understand yourself.
8. Be Future Oriented
The break up is in the past and it’s honestly time to move forward in your life, the world isn’t nice enough to wait for you so quit falling behind. Don’t be stuck in your feelings and choose to be stagnant, sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is move on like nothing happened. Keep your options open, it may be hard to date again but keep in mind that not all people are the same but you should be cautious but open to try new things.
Dr. Dain Heer, author of Being You, Changing the World, said when you find yourself at the end of a relationship, you should ask yourself this compelling question: “What else is possible now that wasn’t possible when we were together?” You may end up with an entirely new person or you may end up back with your ex if it’s meant to be but at least the “terms and conditions” of the relationship will be better and healthier.
In conclusion, moving on isn’t going to happen overnight, it is a whole process and you should go at your own pace. Keep trying to move forward, don’t wallow, don’t beg and don’t overindulge, keep ya head up and things will get better.
QOTD: “A very wise man once told me that you can’t look back – you just have to put the past behind you, and find something better in your future.” – Jodi Picoult
WELL, THAT'S IT FROM ME GUYS, NOW...
So how do you move on after a break up? Please share your stories and tips by Commenting below, Share this with your friends and family, SUBSCRIBE to my blog for weekly updates and to get free e-books. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. See ya next Monday!
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My name is Ofai and I'm passionate about blogging and it gives me fulfillment that I can help you out so sit back, relax and enjoy your weekly carats of #SelfImprovementGems with me!