Your relationship is over, now what? (5 Tips to Move On)
Dear Newly Single,
So it happened. The one that you were so sure you’d spend the rest of your life with suddenly isn’t in your life anymore. Whether the break-up was mutual, he/she decided to end things or you did, moving on is often the hardest part of breaking up. A lot of times people stay in bad relationships out of fear for the “relationship afterlife.” They think… “will I meet someone better?,” “I don’t want to be single for _________(insert holiday, birthday, or life event),” or “this is just a rough patch, it’ll get better.” All the while knowing that they’ve reached a dealbreaker in their relationship and something has got to give—sadly in some cases it’s their long-term happiness. So how can you ease this process (without gaining 15lbs and/or a drinking problem)?
- You have to decide how you’ll frame the finished relationship for your future—hopefully you’ll do so in a positive light. Will that person be “that *sshole that cheated on me” or “the one who taught me to acknowledge and value my self-worth.” Both of those people could have cheated on you, but how you frame it affects how you’ll move on and view your future relationships. Being scorned in a relationship is awful, but it’s even worse to make the next person you date feel the wrath of your anger from “that *sshole that cheated on me.” It’ll be really hard not to call him “that *sshole,” but when a relationship dies, look for the silver lining. It may be hard to see, but it’s there.
- Realize it’s okay to grieve. We all do this in our own way, but the grieving process is necessary to say goodbye. You’re losing someone you (once) care(d) very deeply for so it’s completely normal to feel pain. So if you need to pull out the Ben & Jerry’s, run 5 miles, have a bad romantic comedy marathon with a bottle (or two) of Pinot, over-indulge in that 2 for 1 happy hour drink special, make a playlist of “I hate you” songs, or however you decide to grieve, DO IT!
- Realize you are the only pursuer of your own happiness. People come and go in our lives. Some stay longer than others, but the only person who will be there with you for the course of your life is the person who stares back at you when you look in the mirror. You have control over how you let the actions of others affect you. Remember that saying: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? It’s true. Don’t give someone else the power over your happiness. It’s yours, own it!
- Pick a date to “officially” move on. The grieving period is perfectly normal, but having an extended one is not. There is that old adage saying it takes half as long as the length of the relationship to get over the person, well life’s too short to spend that much time mourning a prior relationship. If you dated someone for 5 years, I don’t think you need to spend 2.5 yrs getting over them, but to each his own. Personally, I give a day for each month I spent with the person. At the end of the day you know yourself better than everyone else in your life who views you through their own lens. It is your life and if you feel you have numerous months (and years) to pine over a dead relationship, go right ahead. But if you want to move on with your life, pick a realistic timeframe to grieve, mark it on your calendar and commit to “officially” moving on when that day comes.
- Celebrate the day you “officially” move on. I’m not saying you have to plan a divorce party or anything like that. As a matter of fact, your friends and family don’t even have to know that it’s your special “officially moving on” day. All that matters is that you know. So when that day you marked on your calendar comes, treat yourself to that new outfit, dinner at that restaurant you always wanted to try, iPod, or whatever you’ve been thinking about buying. If you want to go out to the club or brunch do it. Whatever you decide to do, do it with the mindset of a free man/woman not carrying around the baggage of prior relationships gone sour.
Do you have your own post-breakup ritual? What helps you move on?
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