Breakups can have a powerful effect on our psyche. This effect can create ripples that impact the rest of how we function in life, both socially and physically. Studies show that it can be a catalyst for those who are prone to manic or depressive episodes, and yet, breakups are essentially inevitable. Not all the time, of course — we believe in love! But not every relationship is a winner, and we know it takes time to find what works.
Breakups are hard. There’s no getting past it. Or under it. Or behind it. Or over it (well, eventually). We first have to go through it to get over it. So how do we move past the hard stuff and into our most powerful, sexy, capable selves after such a pivotal low point in our lives?
Even when we are the ones making the call to end things, it is heartbreaking. We’re not only dissolving the future plans we have physically and mentally been counting on, but we lose a partner, often a friend (sometimes a best friend), a confidante, supporter — and for those codependents out there (we see you, baby), we lose a phantom limb.
A relationship is a worldview, in a way. We see things a certain way based on the relationship we have with someone, and we look at our future a certain way because of that person. Just because the image of the life we painted for ourselves gets muddled when we no longer intertwine our hearts and minds with that person doesn’t mean that life is ruined or there is no future. Here’s what we need to do, mentally and physically, to move on with moving on:
Embrace the unknown.
Life is full of unknowns, even when we are in a comfy-cozy, perfect relationship. It’s easier to feel less alone or more prepared for life’s surprises — good and bad — when we’re in a partnership. But the truth is, we can never really be prepared for what life throws our way. We have to remember that the unknown doesn’t automatically equal bad. There might be incredible opportunities, relationship, sex, and love right around the corner, or a few years from now. Let yourself be excited about the unknowns rather than devastated.
Understand that moving on takes time.
We know this feels yucky right now. Settle into it. Accept this pain. Know that every passing second is slightly better than the last — that’s how healing works. Pain will come in waves, but time and acceptance are healing your heart and soul.
Block them on social media.
The temptation to lurk our recent (and even longstanding) exes can be a powerful one. So powerful, in fact, that it can dominate our time and our lives, and become a very unhealthy addiction. It’s so unnatural to know exactly what a past lover is up to at any given moment. So even if there are no real hard feelings, block them. Remove the temptation to dig into their life, and don’t let them see yours. It doesn’t have to be forever, but while wounds are still fresh, avoid rubbing salt into them several times a day.
It’s more than just spying on them. It might seem healthy to try and remain friends, but if the partnership’s demise has you really hurting, a friendship isn’t healthy. Don’t meet up. Don’t flirt. Don’t send photos. Don’t drunk text them. Don’t send them cute photos of your dog or your parents. Almost all of it falls under some mode of manipulation, and it’s keeping you under their spell and living in the nostalgic past. Try forward-thinking only.
Do not dwell on the good times.
It’s so easy to bring our minds back to only the moments of romantic perfection. Knock that s#%t off. There was even more negative to outweigh the positive, or else it would have worked out. Don’t dwell on the positive, but don’t dwell on the negative either. We don’t think it’s healthy to try and block it out completely, so try to process the reality of it. Talk to friends. Ask them to repeat situations back to you. Try to understand what self-work you need to do to move forward … And then? Then you can stop thinking about it. Because it doesn’t serve you.
Part of this aligns with giving yourself time. Living in the past will not propel you forward, as one might guess, from, you know, basic math. Now that you’re no longer seeing them on social media or contacting them, don’t let them be the first thing on your mind when you wake up in the morning either. Think about how you’re feeling. Flood your body with oxygen, and take 5 deep breaths. Drink 16oz of warm lemon water and go for a walk. Focus on the present moment as much as possible, bringing yourself back into your most grounded state. One day, you’ll wake up and hardly remember the hurt — because you haven’t been forcing yourself to relive it.
The relationship didn’t work out because you weren’t a perfect match. Don’t lower your standards or consider yourself less worthy because you lost someone. A failed relationship is a learning opportunity, not a massive personal fault. Understand that we all have self-work to do, but that you are a treat.
Oh, that self-work we just mentioned? That is real, and the genre is vast. Try a new workout. Dancing has been proven to improve your mood, and if it can improve your bod while you’re at it? Get centered with yoga. Luxuriate in self-care home practices, like DIY facials, breathwork, baths, cooking nourishing meals, and reading books like Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach or Becoming Supernatural by Dr. Joe Dispenza. Watch yourself transform into your own love of your life.