7 Tips For Getting Over Your First Breakup, According To Relationship Experts
There are few experiences in life more difficult and confusing than getting over your first breakup. To be honest, every breakup — whether it's your first or your tenth — has the potential to be awful, but there's something about going through a breakup for the very first time that's just a little more challenging. Being in love or in a serious relationship for the first time is a unique experience, and having that come to an end can be tough to navigate — even when you know it's for the best.
"Your first breakup is something new, sometimes unexpected, and as such it can be confusing," Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "You may not know how to go about doing it; you don’t know what it feels like to go through it; and you are not sure how you are going to feel the next day, or week, or month. Also, if you were in a loving and committed place — it can come as a real shock."
Even if you were the one initiating the breakup — not the one getting dumped — there are still going to be all kinds of mixed feelings after it's over: sadness, relief, anger, regret, loneliness, and, eventually, excitement for the future. Wading through that mess of feelings isn't easy, but it is possible. If you want to get a headstart on healing your heart, here are seven expert tips for getting over your first breakup.
1. Get Some Space From Your Ex
Breakups can be messy — there's no denying that — and it can be hard to make a "clean break," especially from your first ex. While it's normal to meet up a few times post-breakup to get some closure, it's in your best interest to go no contact for at least a little while to start the healing process.
"You are going to need space and time to process what exactly it is that happened," Backe says. "Taking time for yourself in vital. I don’t mean to say you should shut people out, but maybe you should avoid contact with your ex. In time, if you want to, you can reconnect, see where you are, and perhaps exchange whatever words and objects need to be exchanged."
2. Accept Support From Your Friends
One of the low-key hardest parts of a breakup? Having to announce the split to your friends — because the idea of rehashing the breakup can be painful and overwhelming. But it's important not to keep your friends and loved ones at a distance when you're heartbroken: open up, lean on your friends, and allow them to help you heal in your own time.
"Let your inner circle (or whole gang) know you broke up, and let them grieve with you, and have doubts with you, and also cheer you [up] when the moment arrives," Backe says. "Breaking up causes all kinds of pains and insecurities, and having someone who loves you by your side can be a real blessing."
3. Sort Through Your Emotions Through Writing
Journaling might not be your ~thing~ per se, but if your mind is swirling with emotions that you're having trouble sorting through, putting pen to paper and writing down your thoughts can help you get back on track emotionally.
"Write down your thoughts, or dreams, or wants and needs, or your life plan — whatever it is, express it with writing," Backe says. "It can help you formulate and articulate your ideas, to clear some space in your mind, stream your consciousness, and pick up clues about how you are doing."
4. Allow Yourself To Grieve
After any breakup, there needs to be a grieving period: some time to just feel upset and wallow instead of repressing those feelings and pretending you're totally OK.
"Allow yourself to grieve," Eric Ibey, a professional and personal coach, tells Bustle. "...Give yourself the space to be sad and don't feel bad about it."
5. After A Little Wallowing, Take Action
Although a little wallowing post-breakup is totally healthy, at some point, you have to continue on with your life. Time might help you heal to an extent, but you'll move on much faster if you take action and keep busy with things you love to do after the breakup.
"You have to take action to get over your breakup," Ibey says. "Read books, talk to family and friends .... go on a trip, and do the things you've been wanting to do for a long time but felt you couldn't because, perhaps, your ex was holding you back."
6. Don't Be Wishy-Washy About The Breakup
Particularly during your first breakup, it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea of no longer having your now-ex-partner in your life. While some couples successfully get back together after a breakup, it's more likely that any waffling about the breakup will just result in more confusion and heartache down the line.
"If you and your ex decide to part ways, commit to it," Ibey says. "Go your separate ways, do the inner-work necessary to make YOU a better partner and let your ex do the same. Otherwise, you'll end up right back in the same arguments, miscommunications, and friction as there was the first time around."
7. Focus On Becoming Happy On Your Own
There's no doubt that you'll feel a little down for a while after your first breakup, but it's so important to actively focus on building yourself up again: work on finding confidence in yourself and happiness on your own, and when the time is right, you'll attract someone new.
"The ego will bash you up and say 'See, this break up is proof you are a loser and will be left alone forever' — it's total nonsense," Carol Howe, an author, spiritual teacher, and relationship expert, tells Bustle. "Life is constantly moving. New people are always coming into your life... If you learn to believe you are a great person and walk around with a big smile on your face and feeling ridiculously happy on your own, people will flock to you."
There's no way around it: going through a breakup for the first time is tough. But if you focus on making yourself happy, surround yourself with people who love and support you, and keep busy, in time you'll heal and be ready to move on.