Picking up the pieces of your broken heart? We get it, it sucks. Here’s how to get over your ex.
Remember when we were little and Disney movies painted such a vivid picture of true love and happily ever after? News flash: that’s not real life. Sometimes ‘forever and always’ has an expiration date – cue the song Mad at Disney by Salem Ilese. And I’m sure we can all agree that calling it quits isn’t even the worst part of a relationship ending. It’s the long and tedious journey to forgetting them that truly sucks. If you’re going through heartache, here are some tried-and-true tips on how to get over a breakup. Because we’ve all been there.
How to get over a breakup
1. Understand it’s okay to grieve
When I went through breakups in the past, plenty of well-meaning people would tell me, ‘Don’t be upset, you deserve better’. While they weren’t wrong, what helped was knowing I had every right to be unhappy at losing someone so integral in my life.
And you do, too. Think about it: this is someone you shared your dreams, hopes and fears with; someone you thought you’d walk down the aisle with; someone you were supposed to grow old with. It’s not easy to erase all that at the snap of your fingers, whether it was a good or bad relationship.
So sob, scream, blast breakup music on repeat. Talk to your friends and family until they get sick of it. If you’re wondering how to get over a breakup, this is the answer: be upset – but know you deserve better. You will, eventually, get through this if you give yourself some time.
2. Get off social media
I’d say this is one thing many of us can’t help: stalking our exes on social media. I was guilty of doing this for a long time, even years after the relationship ended. Not because I wanted to rekindle any old flames, but because I wondered how they were doing (and wished they were worse off without me – just joking).
Now I chase that thought away from my mind when I feel it coming on. Why, you ask? You might think it’s harmless behaviour, but it doesn’t benefit your healing journey in any way. Especially when you’re fresh out of a relationship. Most people post only the highlights of their lives on social media. Your ex might be grieving just as much as you are. But you’ll only see them enjoying each day with new friends, new hobbies, and maybe even a new date.
Trust me, you’ll feel much worse. If you don’t trust yourself enough not to stalk them on social media, perhaps it’s a sign to take a full digital detox. This can mean logging out of all channels for a period of time and focusing on yourself.
3. Keep yourself busy
I’m a lover of solitude. The two-month lockdown at the start of Covid-19 was paradise for me. I got to stay in my room, read books and watch movies all by myself. This is wonderful when you’re in a peaceful state of mind. But being alone with your own thoughts is awful when you’ve just broken up.
You’ll start replaying all the good memories in your head and wondering whether they’re thinking about you. This just makes it even harder to move on.
Want to prevent yourself from sinking into despair? Get busy. It’s How To Get Over A Breakup 101. Perhaps there were activities you wanted to do but never had the time for while in a relationship. Sign up for that yoga class you’ve been putting off, arrange weekly board game sessions with your close friends, or maybe even volunteer at an animal shelter.
Before you know it, it’ll be months since they last crossed your mind. And you’ll be a much better, more wholesome person for it.
4. Indulge in self-care
Ever heard of the post-breakup makeover? It’s a phenomenon where someone undergoes a drastic exterior change – like getting a dramatic haircut – after they exit a relationship. I remember chopping my long hair up to my chin and investing in new wardrobe pieces that made me look and feel like a queen.
Doing so is healthy because it makes you feel in control of your life and the new direction it’s heading in. So indulge in proper self-care. Get that haircut you’ve been eyeing, treat yourself to a spa day, do your nails, and drag your friends out for retail therapy.
These are easy and achievable ways to signal a new beginning in your life. Plus, you’ll serve some sweet looks I’m sure even your nonchalant ex will notice…
5. Reflect when you’re ready
This is a difficult step to take. But it leads to the most self-growth, and there’s a higher likelihood you’ll end up in a healthier, happier relationship next time.
Once the dust settles, it’s worth analysing your past relationship. Blaming your partner for everything is easier than admitting you might have had a part to play in how things turned out. The hard truth? Sometimes you’re as much of the villain as you were the victim.
Ask yourself if there were any areas you could have done better. Not just to your partner, but to yourself. Some of us repeatedly enter relationships that are bad for us, maybe because we think this is all we deserve. Dealing with past traumas and unhealthy behaviour patterns can prevent us from making similar mistakes in the future.
Who knows, you might find closure and discover the love you truly desire in the process.
If you’re trying to get over a breakup right now, we hope these tips will give you a place to start.