Breaking up is never easy, even if you’re the one who initiated it. Ending a relationship with someone you cared about, someone you invested a lot of time and energy into can be devastating, but it doesn’t have to destroy you. If you want to get over your ex and move on, here are some tips on doing so from an expert.
- It’s up to you how long you mourn lost love. According to psychologist Guy Winch, author of the book How To Fix A Broken Heart, how long it takes you to pick up the shattered pieces of your heart and move on is entirely up to you. If you don’t fancy the idea of downing pints of Ben & Jerry’s and crying over your ex for the next six months, you really don’t have to.
- That being said, breakups do affect us pretty severely. Winch admits that love and its loss actually has a deeper physiological and psychological effect than many of us realize, telling The Independent, “Functional MRI Brain scan studies have shown that the withdrawal of romantic love activates the same mechanisms in the brain as get activated when addicts go through withdrawal from substances like cocaine or opioids.”
- You have to be realistic about your ex. One of Winch’s biggest tips is to stop looking at your relationship through rose-colored glasses. Sure, you may have had good times with your former partner, but your relationship ended for a reason so there’s no sense in pretending otherwise. “You have to make sure that any thoughts you have about an ex are realistic and balanced,” he explains. “If your mind conjures up images of your happiest weekend together, you need to add in the images from the weekend that drove you crazy and upset you tremendously. If you find yourself longing for their sweet embrace, you should remember the nights they rejected our advances and slept on the far edge of the bed.”
- Writing it down can help too. If you’re someone who responds to visualizations, it could be helpful to write down all the reasons your ex was wrong for you/your relationship didn’t work out. Seeing everything down on paper in front of you can make it much easier to come to terms with why things didn’t work out and why that’s probably for the best.
- Understand that being dumped is always going to suck more. If you feel blindsided by being dumped by your ex, especially if it seems like they’re not suffering at all, you need to understand why that is in order to be able to recover yourself. “By the time the break-up happens, they are essentially over the relationship. However, the person who got dumped is just finding out and is in the most initial stages of grief and loss,” Winch says. “People often find it bewildering that their ex was so normal and loving one week only to break-up with them the next. But the ex was only acting loving because they hadn’t decided to ‘pull the plug’ yet, they weren’t actually feeling that way.”
- Don’t stalk them on social media. It’s tempting but one of the worst things you could do. It’ll only keep thoughts of them fresh in your mind and keep you from moving on. You need to distract yourself, not let yourself obsess over what they’re doing 24/7. Block and delete.
- Stop thinking it’s deeper than it is. It might be tempting to act as if the reasons behind the breakup are some big mystery. Did they just love you too much and got scared? Was there something you could have done differently? Was there someone else that you just didn’t know about? Whatever reason your ex gave you for the breakup, accept it. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter why your relationship ended, what matters is that it did and that’s all you need to know.
- Reevaluate your deal breakers. All relationships require compromise but Winch recommends writing down all the ones you made in your last relationship that you really didn’t want to. Creating and sticking to boundaries will allow you to have healthier and more successful relationships in the future.
- Get rid of their stuff. Seriously, this goes without saying. Don’t cuddle with their old hoodie or stare longingly at their toothbrush in your bathroom. Get rid of their crap either by throwing it away, putting it in a box in the back of your closet or another place you can’t see it, or having a mutual friend bring it back to them. The sooner it’s out of your sight, the better.
- Lean on your friends. That’s what they’re there for. Unless you ditched them during your relationship (and please tell me you didn’t do that!), they want to help to distract you, cheer you up, and help you move on. They want you to be happy and they’ll do whatever they can to help you get there.
[H/T The Independent]