There’s no doubt about it: breaking up is rough. It is painful, emotionally and physically draining, and completely life altering. Depending upon how serious your relationship was, you might have a good long hard road ahead of you as you reclaim your life and work back to the way you were before your relationship.
But there are right ways to handle a tough situation, and there are wrong ways. Just because you are in an emotionally vulnerable place doesn’t mean you can behave in any way you want to. A “break up” might be a good excuse for some things (like treating yourself to a mani/pedi, or eating a bit more ice cream than you might normally), but it doesn’t mean you should just let it all go. You need to protect yourself, and make certain that you are back on the road to recovery to become a healthier, happier, stronger you. Since it can be difficult to determine what might and might not be a good idea in times of extreme emotional strain, here are some good guidelines about things you definitely should not do right after a breakup.
DON’T keep in touch.
Stop calling, texting, g-chating, and facebooking. This can be a really hard rule to follow since you are so used to having your ex’s companionship. They were such a large part of your life that it’s natural to want them around, especially when you’re hurting. But you need to give yourself (and your ex) space and time to heal. Even if you think that you eventually want to stay friends, you’ll need some time for the new wounds to scab before you can rebuild the relationship. So resist the urge to keep in touch, especially after you’ve had a few drinks.
DON’T lash out via social networking.
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You’re going through a tough time and it’s natural to have strong, even overwhelming, negative emotions. Expressing these emotions passive aggressively through the internet is not classy, it’s destructive and will show the world a side of you that you might not want them to see in the harsh light of day. Do you really want things you said in the heat of a breakup to be part of your internet presence when a future potential employer Googles you? Keep the smack talk to your girlfriends, and never put it into writing on a public forum.
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As tempting as it is to take just a quick glance and see what he’s up to, where he’s been, and who he’s been hanging out with, this will just feed your obsession and do nothing to let your wounds heal. It also might show you things you don’t really want to know, what if he’s seeing a new girl? What if he’s making his own potentially bad decisions? Go into an internet blackout for a little while just to detox, it will be better for you and your healing process.
DON’T hang onto the stuff, especially if it’s actually his.
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The physical remnants of your relationship will, in the long run, do you more harm than good. Take all of his stuff and dispose of it immediately, whether that means returning it or dumping it. If you can’t stand to do this alone, have a couple girlfriends come help you through. If there are items of value that you simply can’t get rid of (expensive gifts, etc.), put them away for a while. That beautiful diamond necklace is going to be way heavier around your neck than its carat weight for some time.
Maintaining the physical relationship throughout the breakup will only lead to more heartache. If you’re done, you need to be done. Draw a hard, firm boundary and stick to it. This is no easy task, but it will definitely make your healing process go by that much faster in the long run.
There’s a reason you broke up: insurmountable differences, emotional distance, or just wanting different things in life. Trust those reason. While people are definitely capable of change, it takes time and work to alter to a discernable point. Don’t think that a contrite apology is enough to bridge the gap between you and put things back to the way they were. Give yourself the time and space to heal before you even begin to think about getting back together. If it’s meant to be, it will be, even if it takes a bit longer to get there.
Good luck, and hang on. It gets better slowly. Be gentle with yourself, and try to find the joy in the little things that you might have been missing out on. They probably missed you right back.