Completely letting go of an ex can be hard, especially if you’ve been together for a while and they know just the right thing to say to change your mind. While it’s easy to fall into the makeup/breakup cycle, it’s totally toxic. Here’s how to end it and move on for good.
Remember the bad times. Nostalgia’s a funny thing, and sometimes it has the ability to trick you and block out reason and common sense. Rather than dwelling on all the good times you’ve had together, focus on the reason (or reasons) you broke up in the first place. If it was a serious enough concern to end things, it’s serious enough that you should stay apart.
Date other people. In case you missed it, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to moving on. Everyone starts dating again at different times, some sooner than others. Whether you’re someone who prefers to ride out the wave alone or you need to get back out there ASAP, just make sure you’re truly ready. Rebounds might be tempting, but they’re not very healthy.
Don’t stay for sex. Feeling lonely or vulnerable after a breakup is totally normal. And while you may have fallen into a pattern of feeling comforted by sexual intimacy, it’s not a good enough reason to stay in a toxic relationship. It may feel good in the moment, but in the wise words of Dua Lipa, “If you’re under him, you ain’t getting over him.”
Lean on your friends/family for support. Once a relationship ends, it’s inevitable that friends and family are going to offer their opinions on the end of your relationship. While the decision should ultimately be yours, those closest to you are often able to see the blind spots and toxic characteristics that you were oblivious to. Take everything they say with a grain of salt, but at least invite them to watch romantic comedies with you while you eat your weight in ice-cream. It’s all part of the process.
Grieve your relationship. You may find yourself wanting to reconnect with your ex just because you miss the comfort and familiarity of being with that person. That’s still not a good enough reason to get back together. Instead, process your feelings and understand that they’re normal and will pass. Treating the end of a relationship as a loss can bring you closure and help you heal, as you give yourself time to accept that it’s over.
Fly solo for a while. I have so many friends who love being in a relationship—even if it’s not always a healthy one—simply because the idea of being alone scares the hell out of them. Don’t let fear get the better of you because being single but content in every other aspect of your life is more fulfilling than being with a partner who’s toxic, draining, or both.
Build up other aspects of your life. Contrary to popular belief (and very breakup song ever written), not everything in your life needs to change post-split. It’s more about getting re-connected with who you are as an individual. Take this time to try new things, re-discover old passions, and swap out bad habits for healthy ones. Even though the breakup may have left you shattered, there’s really no better time to find yourself again.
Re-establish your boundaries… Throughout the course of the relationship, your ex probably slowly chipped away at your personal limits. It’s common for people to make excuses and exceptions for bad behavior until one day, you wake up and realize your tolerance for their crap is limitless. Now is a good time to re-establish some clear boundaries about what feels respectful for you and how you expect to be treated in any future relationship.
… And stick to them. If someone crosses the line, don’t be shy about addressing it. Because if you continue to give of yourself the same way that you did in your last relationship, the outcome will be the same. Remember, having clear boundaries doesn’t mean you don’t care about your partner, it simply means you respect yourself enough to accept only the treatment you deserve.
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