If Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and Carrie Underwood and any post-breakup scenes from your favorite TV shows are any indication, pop-culture loves to perpetuate the image of the scorned ex who breaks car windows or the sad one who's hysterical and hasn't showered in days. However, there are far more productive ways to deal with a breakup. It's also important to know and accept that ending a relationship can have a very serious affect on your mind, body, and soul — and that it's OK to feel hurt and confused.
In fact, you're totally not alone in feeling a roller-coaster of emotions. According to a 2010 study from Northwestern University, "[a] breakup can turn your world upside down, making it feel like you don't know who you are anymore." The study also found that the more serious the relationship was with an ex, the more likely you are to experience a crisis of identity. Additionally, the authors of the study found that "...not having a clear idea of who you are without your partner can lead to emotional distress."
Undoubtedly this can make going through the breakup much more difficult, but it is possible to move forward and get through this legitimately painful time."Consider how much energy you are wasting on thinking about your ex," Amy Levine MA, CSE sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure, tells Bustle. "Realize that redirecting that energy can change the course of your life and take action."
Here some six actions to take to really move on from your ex, because you deserve it.
1. Cut Yourself Off From The Ex Completely
One of the best, and first (not to mention most advised) in your course of actions on the road to healing and moving on, is to cut them off completely, this includes removing them from all your social media feeds (until further notice). "Cut the ex off cold turkey — no contact. Leave them behind. Keeping the line of communication open, no matter how good of 'friends' you think you'll be is only keeping the hopes of a relationship alive," Ravid Yosef, dating and relationship and founder of Love Life TBD, tells Bustle. It may be hard at first, but living on false hope that you'll get back together will really prevent you from moving on, and will be detrimental to your healing process.
2. "Get Your Ass To Therapy"
Any preconceived notions you have about therapy, throw them out the window because this could be the key to a sane recovery. If you've never been through a breakup (and lucky for you) you may not understand just how crucial and positive therapy, whether it's with a professional or with a canvas and paint, can be in your recovery.
"There is a lot to process when a relationship ends, and in order to maintain as much sanity and dignity as possible, it's important to have the steady, professional support a therapist provides. If one is not immediately available to you, talk to friends on the phone, or create your own art therapy with the media of your choice. (I once bought an entire art set after a breakup: canvas, brushes and $100 worth of paint)," Lauren Brim sex coach and author of The New Rules of Sex, tells Bustle.
3. Dig In And Remember The Bad
When you first break up with someone you thought was the love of your life, you can feel so overcome with what could have been that you begin to see things not as they really were, and also see your ex in a better light than they deserve. Many of us romanticize and seem to have selective memory when thinking about the relationship.
"It's so easy to remember the good, rather than the reason you broke up," Amy Levine MA, CSE sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure. "If you're hung up on your ex, make a list of all the reasons why you're not together and particularly what was a deal-breaker that you let go on too long. Put this list on your phone so you can glance at it every time you want to call or text." There's a reason why you both broke up — and don't forget it.
While easier said than done, take some time to think about the energy you're wasting and how you can use it towards good instead, even if you have to fight through tears.
4. Do You And Do It With Purpose
This "good" can include changing your life, and deciding to live a new, purpose driven life. While this one is difficult when all you want to do is lie in bed, its time to focus on you, to sustain a new healthy relationship —with yourself.
"It's important to take care of yourself, live a whole life and live in your purpose. Do something that's important to you, that you are passionate about and driven by. Something that makes you feel good, not momentarily but always," says Yosef.
You know that dream you've had to own your own business but had put on the back burner because you were so deep in the throes of you relationship? Now is the time to do it and focus on rebudiling and doing what you want.
5. Plan For Some Fun
It's so important that you don't fool yourself into thinking that 'everything is hopeless, so what's the point?' for too long. Sure, it's important to let yourself be sad initially — we've all been there — but this is also the perfect time to boost your spirits and plan for fun. "Sign up for new classes, let people take you to dinner, and plan lots of fun trips. Staying social will keep your spirits up better than sitting at home crying, drinking and watching TV," says Brim. She also adds that staying social includes dating, which although can make you want to start crying all over again at just the thought of it, it can actually be very helpful after a breakup.
"Receiving confirmation that you are desirable from a new date or lover can make you miss your old lover, but it can also give you insight into yourself and your previous relationship, which is ultimately what sets you free," she says. And don't we all want to be set free from this pain?
6. If It Feels Right, Go For The Rebound
This tactic is not for everyone, but for some, a rebound relationship is a helpful way to get over someone. And there's research to prove it. A 1993 study from in the Journal of Social & Personal Relationships found that beginning a new relationship quickly after a breakup seemed to have positive effects. "[The study shows] that a rebound relationship can be healthy for you long-term in getting over your ex and sustaining your confidence and general happiness," Yosef says.
Brim seconds this method for getting over a breakup: "When we connect with someone new the feelings that come up can bring healing and a fresh perspective as we begin to connect with love, pleasure and connection that do exist outside our ex."
Whatever actions work best for you, whether it's pursuing your dream job or going on dates with someone new, remember that you deserve to be happy.
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