One moment, you’re walking on sunshine, arm-in-arm with the love of your life; the next, you’re drowning in tears, watching 500 Days of Summer, eating Ben & Jerry straight from the carton.
Breakups are never easy. Leaving someone who you may have thought was “the one,” someone you believed you’d be spending the rest of your life with – or being left by them – is one of the most heartbreaking experiences of the human condition.
But that’s one thing to remember: you are human, and you are not alone. Many go through the same heartache and survive it. You can too. Here are six do’s and don’ts to surviving a breakup.
“Forget him,” your friends tell you. “Get over it,” your meaner friends advise.
While that wouldn’t be my personal advice, I would suggest not to dwell or obsess on your ex. Doing so doesn’t ease the pain or heal the wound; it picks at the scab. It scars you.
But that’s not to say you need to wipe your ex from your memory. Hopefully, you had some beautiful moments together. Your ex probably shaped you for the better in some ways, as you did him or her. Don’t forget that.
You came out of the relationship a more rounded, experienced person. There’s always two sides to the same coin.
Do Get Out of Bed
While you have my permission to cry your eyes out as much as you want, at some point, you must crawl out of bed and face the day. The sooner you do this, the better you’ll feel.
Exercise, fresh air, nature, sunshine, activity. These things will help you breathe and feel alive again. Laying in bed? Nah, that does nothing for your spirit.
Don’t Be Alone
I’m not saying you shouldn’t carve out some time for yourself to think about things, be alone, and feel all your feelings. But remember what that poor hiker from Into the Wild wrote when he was alone, dying, in the wilderness:
HAPPINESS IS ONLY REAL WHEN SHARED.
If you want to be happy again, you’re more likely to find that happiness in others.
Whether it’s through meditation, the arts, sports, your work, family, friends, or whatever brings the life out in you, healing will come in time. There’s no need to hurry it. And it will come in your own time, so give yourself a break and don’t let others pressure you to “get over it.”
Relationships and people aren’t something you “get over”; they’re something you grow from, learn from, and accept as part of your life’s journey.
While a rebound may seem like a good idea at the time, it almost never is. Wrapping yourself up in another person or trying to “replace” your ex is likely not the best thing for you, for the rebound, or for your ex either. You won’t be in a good place to commit to someone else, and the healing you may feel by jumping on a moving train will only be short-term.
Do Trust Yourself
Trust your own instincts. You know yourself. You know how you heal best. You know what you respond to. And you know that you’ll find love again.
Listen, I get it – now that you’ve lost your ex to the throes of a breakup, all of a sudden that person seems like the only one for you.
But, guess what? They’re not.
There are other fish in the sea, other birds in the sky, and other people who will laugh at your lame jokes. You will find someone again, once you trust yourself. And when you do, they may be a better match than you’d ever imagined.