Everyone thinks they’re going to be different when it comes to breakups, but we all fall into the same traps. While it’s likely that you’re guilty of making some of these moves in the past and probably will again in the future, here are some things you should try to avoid doing after ending a relationship so you don’t make one of the worst situations out there even more painful.
Thinking you want to be friends with them
Thinking you want to be “friends” with your ex is usually an indication that you’re holding onto the relationship and need to let go. Trying to be friends straight away either leads to more fighting, extreme jealousy, or regular hookups that lead you right back to where you started. “Friendship” is clearly not what’s happening, and if you give yourself a few months with zero contact between you, you’ll probably realize you don’t actually want to be friends with them after all.
Keeping tabs on their social media
This is one of those things that everyone knows but no one can seem to stick to. Going through your ex’s Instagram to see who they’re hanging out with or whether or not they look like they’re thinking about you is one of the most counterproductive and unhealthy things you can do. Block them on all platforms if you need to, but do not give in to your curiosity. It does not have your best interests at heart.
It’s impossible to avoid wondering about what could have been. You wonder what you did to make your ex leave or what you did to get yourself into a relationship you weren’t happy with. Worst of all, you might question whether or not you should have initiated the breakup. Whatever the case, what’s done is done. You don’t get to redo the past. Accept the change and look to the future as your guide for what to do now.
Preventing yourself from wallowing in sadness
Look, you’ve just gone through a horrible experience. This is what 90% of love songs are about. Your pain is justified. Your feeling that nothing will ever be okay again is justified. Don’t belittle your own hurt because you think you don’t deserve it or you need to get on with your life in order to get over your heartbreak. Let yourself be miserable for a time and experience the catharsis of intense emotion. Then you can move on.
Having selective memory
There’s this thing that happens right after the dust settles on a breakup where people start to forget everything that was bad about the relationship and only remember the good things. Everyone needs a grieving period when they’ve lost a huge part of their life, but it shouldn’t exclude the memory of why you broke up in the first place.
Thinking that relationship was your last chance to find love
There is no age at which you become unlovable. There is no “timeline” that you have to meet. Love isn’t about age, and for that matter, neither is sex. You may have had a tough time in the dating world, but it doesn’t mean there’s no one out there for you. There is always someone out there who will love you and who deserves you. Count yourself lucky that your breakup has freed you up to go find them.
Transferring your pain onto a rebound
Sometimes rebounds can help you forget your ex and move into a new headspace about yourself and your dating life. But if you jump straight into a rebound while the wound of the breakup is still fresh, you may end up feeling doubly heartbroken. Nothing and no one will be able to fill the cracks in your heart except time, and if you try to find a rebound who can do it for you, you’re only going to cause more pain for yourself.
Good breakups are like good hangovers: by definition, they do not exist. This often leads people wanting to make it right, to finish the book on a beautifully crafted sentence that satisfies everyone. People seem to think that the only thing preventing them from moving on is one last conversation with their ex to explain everything and understand. But closure is not a collective experience. It’s a personal process and ultimately a choice. Only you can find closure for yourself.
Pretending you’re totally fine until you’re totally not
You can’t make the pain go away by pretending it isn’t there. Even if you’re able to fool your friends that you’re okay, you know the truth: you’re grieving for your relationship and it hurts like crazy. The more you let yourself feel your emotions, the faster they’ll subside.
Channeling your pain into hatred
No matter how bad your relationship was or how explosive the breakup, do not turn to hating your ex. Whatever happened between the two of you is over. They are out of your life. While hating them may make you feel powerful for a time, all it’s doing in the long run is destroying you from the inside and preventing you from taking control of your own emotions and moving forward.
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