It’s hard to say if there are more songs, poems and movies written about the ecstasy of falling in love… or the agony of breaking up. No one relishes nursing a broken heart back to health, but it’s something everyone who’s ever loved will have to do at some point. While we can’t say it gets any easier, there are a few measures you can take to help make the process of moving on move along.
Time (but not too much)
First of all, acknowledge that what you are going through is hard. When you’re in love, your body develops a chemical addiction to the other person, and the withdrawal is both painful and necessary. Give yourself permission to grieve. However, if you allow yourself to dwell on the difficulty of the breakup, you just replace one addiction with another, this one much less enjoyable. Make a serious effort to involve yourself in projects and activities, and immerse yourself in other people. Talk to your friends about the breakup, but talk to them about other things, too. Even if you don’t want to, forcing yourself to get out and concentrate on other things will get you on the right track to feeling like yourself again.
You will never get over them if you let yourself daydream about getting back together. Delete them from your cell phone, and don’t even think about clicking on their MySpace profile. It’s a good idea to get rid of everything that reminds you of them to help yourself realize that that phase in your life is over. Depending on the length and closeness of the relationship, some people find that moving helps them make a clean break and a new start. If that isn’t an option, rearrange the furniture, redecorate your walls – anything you can do to symbolize moving on will help you make the transition. It’s time to start a new era, with new memories and new possibilities.
Get it out
Relationships leave trails of unresolved issues, questions and feelings their wake. But it isn’t always possible to talk to achieve closure with the other person. Nonetheless, it’s important that you express what you think and feel – working through those questions is a big part of leaving them behind. Put them on paper. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a journal or a letter, but sometimes addressing your thoughts to your ex can help you achieve more cathartic value. After you’ve spent all of your anger, confusion or guilt, look at what you’ve written. If after you’ve exhausted your pen or keyboard you still feel like it’s something you still really need them to know, consider sending it. First, edit any accusations or sections that are too emotionally charged – you don’t want to send anything you’ll regret later – and make sure it reads as an honest letter that isn’t asking for a response. Once you’ve sent your thoughts, frustrations and explanations, you can feel certain that you’ve said what you needed to say and move on.
Friendship can wait
No calls. No sightings. No friendship. You need at least three months with absolutely no contact before you can even think about starting a friendship, and it often takes much longer. There’s no such thing as “staying friends.” You were not friends when you were dating, and if you were friends before, it ended the moment you became intimately involved. If you want to start a friendship now, realize that it will be an entirely new relationship that must be built from the ground up. You’ll share a different kind of bond, have different kinds of conversations and play different roles in each other’s lives. It may be true that once we love someone, we love them forever, but it cannot be in the same way if you hope to have an honest friendship and an honest chance at moving on.
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