How To Get Over A Relationship, According To Experts
When a relationship comes to an end and it’s time to get over your ex, there’s a feeling of desperation that comes with it. Not a desperation for another relationship, but a desperation to get answers and figure out where it all went wrong. You want to know why this happened, how this happened, and what it’s going to take to get over this painful period in your life.
Some people turn to friends, others turn to a therapist, while others turn to, of all places, Google. According to Google’s research, this question is so common that it’s in the top 10 most asked relationship-related questions that people popped into Google’s search engine in 2017, because really, how do you get you over a 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."
Although there's no wrong or right way to get over a relationship, per se, there are things you can do that are more productive than not. Here are nine ways to get over a relationship.
1. Realize It's Important To Grieve
No matter how long the relationship was, it's important to realize you need to grieve it. A loss is a loss and all losses, big or small, need to be grieved if you want to move on in a healthy way. So don't beat yourself up about grieving; instead, allow yourself to grieve in whatever way you need to grieve.
"It's more than normal to grieve the loss of a relationship while moving on with your life," Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, psychotherapist and author of Smart Relationships: How Successful Women Can Find True Love, tells Bustle.
2. Get Yourself A Support Network
There will be times in your life when trying to handle certain things alone will be near-impossible. Getting over a relationship may be one of those times.
"If it’s difficult dealing with these feelings, you may need support," board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Susan Edelman tells Bustle. "Whether that is therapy, a support group, or a friend’s shoulder to cry on, get some help. Getting help is not a sign of weakness, as some believe. It’s actually a sign of strength."
3. Cut Complete Ties With Your Ex
As much as it might be painful, it's important to at least consider cutting ties with your ex. You can't expect to get over a relationship when you have a big, glaring reminder in your face all the time: your ex. In time, you might be able to be friends with your ex, but it could be counterproductive to try now.
"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.
4. Learn From Your Mistakes
One of the best things you can do to get over your relationship is to understand what you learned from it.
"In many ways, being able to call up your memories, feelings, and insights about your previous love can keep you mindful of your relationship interactions and choices that were not healthy," says Dr. Wish. "We are supposed to learn from our missteps — not just bury them!"
5. Be Kind To Yourself
For a long time, when I was getting over a relationship, I would turn to drinking. A lot. Just drowning myself in alcohol either alone or with friends. Then I realized not only was that making things worse, but I wasn't being very kind to myself. I've since turned a corner and when I have a relationship I need to get over, I make sure alcohol isn't part of the equation and that I spoil myself with a massage or expensive dinner with friends. In other words, I give myself a break and be good to myself.
"It’s very important to be kind to yourself," says Dr. Edelman. "This might be one of the hardest times in your life, so be sure to take good care of yourself. Try to get enough sleep, eat right, and exercise. Keep alcohol to a minimum. Don’t make your situation worse than it already is."
6. But Don't Be Afraid To Look Back
While you shouldn't romanticize what was, you shouldn't be afraid to look back — as long as you do it clearly. Just because you occasionally look back at your relationship, doesn't mean you're not moving forward. While your past doesn't define you, it definitely plays a key role in who you are in the present.
"Years later, thoughts of these previous loves from long ago can also make us appreciate a relationship that is good for you and, perhaps, even accept and understand, without self-blame, the you-who-was-you back then," says Dr. Wish. "It's also good to see how far you have come in your maturity and emotional bravery."
7. Live Your Life
While you're totally allowed to lay in bed grieving for a bit, you can't do it forever. At some point, you need to pull yourself out of bed and face the light of day again. You need to live your life. As Robert Frost wrote, "The only way out is through."
"Sign up for new classes, let people take you to dinner, and plan lots of fun trips," Lauren Brim, sex coach and author of The New Rules of Sex, tells Bustle. "Staying social will keep your spirits up better than sitting at home crying, drinking and watching TV."
8. Don't Give Yourself A Deadline
"Don't get fooled into thinking that grief of past loves has a clear 'end'," explains Dr. Wish.
You absolutely can't give yourself a deadline on when you "should" be over your relationship. Not only is it unfair to you, but it creates stress and is completely unrealistic. These things take time and the amount of time is different for everyone.
9. Remember You're Not Alone
"This can be a very difficult time," says Dr. Edelman. "Remember you are not alone."
You are not the first person to have to get over a relationship and you're certainly not the last. Nor, if you live long enough, will this be the last time you have to do this. It's important to keep this in mind, as much as it might seem insignificant in the moment.
Getting over a relationship is far from easy, but know that it can be done. Take the time to grieve, get support, and always remember to be kind to yourself.