Recognize where you are right now
Your relationship with a significant other has just ended. It doesn’t matter if you were on the giving end or the receiving end of the breakup; all that matters is what your feeling about it right now.
Just about everyone that has ever been in a meaningful relationship has experienced the end of one as well. It’s almost like a part of you dies.
With death, you must allow yourself to experience grief and all the stages that go along with it: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance.
It’s a process but not a linear process. This means there will be times of weakness where you will want to regress but in order to move on to a place of self-love, you’ll have to recognize how you’re behaving or reacting to situations.
You also need to recognize where you are and what stage of grief you are in. This will give you a starting point to move forward.
My Sob Story
I fell in love with my high school sweetheart and right after high school I joined the Army and was stationed half-way across the country. We thought we could make a long distance relationship work, after all it was only going to be for a few years.
Our then 4 year relationship ended with false hopes and it nearly ruined me. I was away from all that I knew and my only support came from Army buddies, several of whom were experiencing the same thing.
I was only 20 years old and it felt like it was the end of the world. I laugh about it now because it wasn’t nearly as dramatic as it felt at the time.
But after that breakup, I did all the wrong things. I was angry, I spoke only of the negative things about her, I drank a bit too much, I rebounded with girls that were like her and girls that were the complete opposite, I compared her to everyone that came after, and I built up a wall that I wouldn’t let anyone past.
Fast forward 20 years and several failed relationships to an up coming high school reunion. I seen her name and email address on a list of former classmates that were attending so for kicks and giggles, I wrote her an email. It was the first time I tried to reach out to her since a few weeks after the breakup.
It was 3 in the morning when I hit the send on the email and was just about to close down the computer when I received a reply. It took me a few minutes to actually open the response, probably because I didn’t believe it was real. I thought maybe it was one of those automatic responses you get when you enter an invalid email address.
I was wrong. It really was her. Over the next couple of hours we exchanged emails catching us up on where we were in life. I was ending another failed relationship while she was also in the process of ending a “miserable 17 year marriage,” her words not mine.
I also discovered that she had 3 children and lived in the same town we grew up in. I again lived half-way across the country but on the East Coast this time.
Anyway, fast forward another 18 months and we decided that we would give it another try and I moved back to my home town and started a whole new career.
Three more years pass and I realized that there were just too many things that I couldn’t adjust to for our relationship to continue. We were different people than when we were in high school, how could we not be?
Unlike the first time we broke up, this time I didn’t let myself get so emotionally attached. It’s probably one of the reasons it didn’t work out. But still, a break up is a break up and all the questions of why it didn’t work this time came flooding in.
I completely uprooted my life to move closer to her and did everything I could to not be like her ex-husband, yet we were making each other miserable. It had to end because life is too short not to be happy.
After the breakup, I went through all five stages of the grief process yet again but this time it went much smoother because I learned a few things over the years. Mostly, I learned how to get over a breakup so that I could start fresh with a new partner.
Okay, maybe it wasn’t much of a sob story but you get my drift.
What to do after a breakup
Just remember, none of this is linear. That means it’s not a step-by-step process, rather it is a sequence of proven advice to get through the stages of grief and begin again. Beginning again sounds like a failure but it’s not, it’s a reset to get you back on track to finding your self-love.
So, here are the 12 ways to recover from a failed relationship and begin again:
Change your mindset on the breakup. Instead of it being the worst thing that could happen, think of it as the best thing that could happen. The what ifs, should have, could have, conversations you have only play out the highlight reels of the relationship and not the root causes of the breakup. Stop trying to over analyze the end result and place your focus on the now.
Make it disappear. Not literally and not in the way you are thinking, I know you’ve been watching CSI. This is the time to “cut the cord” and remove all reminders of your ex. You delete, de-friend, segregate all common social media friendships. You don’t call, don’t text, and don’t send any emails to your ex, even if they are negative in context. It’s the time to let go.
Assess the damage that was caused in the relationship. Did it chip away at your essence? Probably not so dramatic but in some extreme cases it does happen. How are you different than you were at the beginning of the relationship.
Own up to the damage you caused in the relationship. Did you retaliate? Become aggressive? Spread rumors or bitterness to common connections? Write down all the bad things you know you did or were accused of doing.
Forgive yourself first and then forgive your ex. You don’t have to hunt anyone down or even communicate with your ex. Forgiveness comes from within so find it and let it out.
Become the person that you tell others you want to be by taking care of your essential needs. Everyone has a set of basic human needs that are only completely fulfilled by oneself. They are: Emotional (become realistic in your expectations,) Sexual (not just the act of sexual pleasure but also the process of feeling sexy,) Physical (getting in shape and healthy,) Intellectual (read and challenge yourself to new ideas and concepts,) Spiritual (not just with religion but with how you fit in to the Universe,) and Purposeful (are your work and career goals aligned?)
Remember that it is okay to relapse at times because this is not a linear process. As long as you do not regress back into the person you are trying to change.
Stay focused on the ultimate goal of self-love. It’s okay to have distractions and explore new or exciting opportunities, just don’t make any rash or permanent decisions until you’re certain you’ve reached the acceptance stage of grief.
Refresh your living space. Get new furniture, hang new pictures and art work, new decorations and new linens. Replace anything you bought together with your ex with something new and vibrant so you have no negative reminders.
Make sure you are physically socializing but don’t go off looking for an immediate replacement partner. Avoid the places you used to frequent with your ex partner for now. You’ll know when it’s time to return to your old haunts.
Don’t speak negatively about your ex even if you think it’s deserving. Everyone knows there’s two sides to every story so if you’re ever put in the position to explain what happened, just respond by saying you both were setting different goals, and leave it at that.
Avoid the rebound or looking for the opposite. Dating is healthy but locking into a new relationship is not. Looking for a person that is opposite to your ex may seem like the right thing to do but how do you know that the opposite is what you need when you haven’t given yourself the time to figure out what you actually need out of a relationship.
Heed my advice
Or don’t. It’s just advice from someone who’s been where you are and made it through alive and happy.
It’s been 7 years since I broke up with my last ex but it only took me about a year to find myself, my purpose, and a new and healthy relationship that I’ve been in for close to 6 years now.
I’m sure there are many that can go through all the phases of loss in less than a year but there is no race. Live life on your own terms and at your own pace so you can stay true to yourself and find self-love.
Maybe that last part sounded a bit too much like a Hallmark card but what can I say, it’s all true. Grab a Free copy of my eBook to learn more about how to apply the Law of Attraction to find a soulmate and a bunch more useful ideas.