Just like snowflakes and thumbprints, no two break ups are alike. They come in different shapes, forms and sizes.
In the ideal world a relationship should end with a face-to-face conversation, a handshake and a peace sign from both parties.
But, in reality, break-ups can be too complicated and can predispose you to some crazy, ugly things such as a hospital bill, a restraining order and an admission to your favorite mental asylum.
So before anything like that can ever happen to you, you need to equip yourself with ample knowledge on how to recover from a break-up.
1. Acknowledge the problem
In Alcoholics Anonymous, there’s a very familiar saying “You need to recognize that there’s an existing condition for you to be able to find its cure”. The same rule proves true to surviving a heart ache. It’s not okay. You’re not okay- yet.
2. Find your own closure
Not everyone is privileged to be given the courtesy of a closure. In fact, majority of break-ups do not even end in conversations.
People who practice a hit-and-run technique when it comes to relationships suddenly just bail out without advance notice and the next thing you know your Ex has disappeared into thin air, faster than an armed fugitive running towards the Mexican border.
Be vigilant. Don’t wait for 50 “I’m not home” answering machine recordings for you to get a clue that somebody has already dumped you.
3. 3 C’s Calm, Collected and Composed
The reason for the classic disappearing act for many hit-and-run break- ups is because some people do not want to go through the excruciating drama of a classic splitting-up scene which usually involves name-calling, hyperventilating and suicide ultimatums.
Therefore, if you ever get the chance to exchange closing statements with your Ex, even if you’re dying, screaming and cringing inside, always muster the inner strength to act like you’re not an ordinary person. You are capable of handling your emotions.
You can be reasoned with and from now on your first name is Civil and your last name is Classy. After all, it’s always best to give a good lasting impression in any situation.
4. Let’s be Friends?
This line gives mixed signals. Never ever think that your ex means it when he or she results to the Lets-Be-Friends cliché.
Even if the relationship ended very well, keep in mind that being good friends with the person, who broke your heart and smashed it into pieces, will only happen in years.
It takes time for genuine healing. So don’t walk your Ex through getting over you neither. It will only make things very difficult for both of you.
When the love of your life leaves you, inevitably all kinds of pain and sorrow will consume your body, mind and soul.
The surge of mixed negative emotions such as anger, betrayal, longing, sadness, regret, disappointment, loathe, fear and despair, shall take a toll on you and your body.
To counter the predisposing factors for illness in such a tremulous situation it is very wise to come up with ways to strengthen your immune system.
Studies have proven that sleep deprivation is the number one cause of stress among adults. And that sleep enables your body to rejuvenate its cells.
During sleep your organs work harder to cleanse your body, getting rid of toxic chemicals that add up to your stress. It’s also having enough sleep that allows more oxygen into your brain.
Making you think better during the day and come up with more reasonable, level-headed decisions other than jumping off your 10-storey office building.
Although break-ups can be the most effective weight loss program because you lose your desire to eat, along with your will to go on with life, sadly, lack of food will only worsen your depression.
Your body needs enough blood glucose in order to keep up with the stressful situation. So eat! Go find the food that can make you happy, visit your favorite restaurant and order the best dish on the menu.
And do you know that chocolates help release endorphins in your body? Triggering areas in your brain that is responsible for making you feel happy. So dig in! This is the best time to splurge on those sumptuous sweets.
7. Cry Me A River
Most of us are raised in a society that rewards machismo and condemns any show of weakness. The result of this is an increasing rate of criminal convictions and mental disorders.
It has been clinically known that suppression is one of the leading causes of violence and mental diseases. Keeping everything inside is not at all healthy. So before you turn into a serial-killer/sociopath you need to be able to cry it all out!
8. Take one day at a time
No one ever said that there’s a deadline in getting over your Ex. Some people take days, weeks or even years. It’s okay. Don’t be too overwhelmed with how long this toll is taking. Just focus on being able to survive today. Tomorrow is a whole different story.
9. Don’t Apologize for How You Feel
Most people feel like they have burdened and tortured their friends enough with the inconvenience of listening to their crazy whining, whimpering and moaning during their post break-up, Academy-Award-winning moments.
It can be very likely to feel like being the portal of hell that drags each unsuspecting soul into a black hole of despair.
Nevertheless, it should be clear to you that what you are going through is normal. You have every right to express your feelings.
You are entitled to your own interpretations and conclusions. No one else can tell you how the split have made you feel. No one can ever tell you that you shouldn’t feel the way that you do. No one!
10. I told you so!
Do you ever have friends, who were very cynical about your relationship with the person who dumped you, that after the relationship he or she ends up saying “I told you that relationship was no good”?
If yes, then never ever make the mistake of running into these friends’ arms for comfort.
As much as they have pure intentions and enough care in the world for your wellbeing, they won’t be able to give you the help that you need.
Their preconditioned impression of your ex will lead to a debating team argument in which you will end up defending the supposed ruthless, soulless, evil creep who tore your heart into pieces and ate it for dinner.
And even though you’d like to hear about their brutal versions of how your ex had bad breath that smells like a dead animal and a poor taste in clothing enough to be arrested by the Fashion Police, still you’ll only feed off the negativity that is already consuming you.
So beat it!
11. Run to a Gentle Support System
Instead of mocking your ex-lover in front of your cynical and verbally-vicious friends what you can constructively do is to run into a support system that could give you all the gentle sympathy and support that you need during your fragile moments.
Family can be a very good source of this especially since they have known you for the longest time and that they have no choice but to love you unconditionally even after you’ve told them about your involuntary psycho/haywire break-up episodes like Uma Thurman in the movie “My Super Ex Girlfriend”.
You need people who will understand you and not judge for the choices that you made in the past. You need support that will tirelessly listen to every litany of how much you love your ex in some days, and how much want to kill him or her on other days.
12. B.U.B for Break-Up Buddy
A Break-up Buddy is a select person from your pool of ever-so-understanding support system, who is specially designed to assess how you are doing. This person should preferably be the one who was with you during the entire love relationship.
If you make a stranger or a non eyewitness your B.U.B. what happens is that you will only tire yourself from having to gruelingly go back and forth into certain episodes of your relationship, trying to explain what happened.
Having a close friend as a B.U.B gives you more air time to talk about how you currently feel, not about how you used to feel.
Think about a redefined personal assistant, whose job description is as follows: responsible for checking your emails until you’re strong enough to keep yourself from saying things to your ex that you will regret later on, keep you away from stalking your ex, be the spokesperson in all your transactions with your ex, provide necessary feedback to orient you to reality, stop you from hurting yourself and drive you to the nearest psychiatric unit if push comes to shove.
They say that a break-up is like an addiction to a harmful drug. Your heart says ‘yes’ but your mind knows that being with your heart breaker is bad for you.
It’s more of a psychological dependency to a substance and instead of heroin or cocaine this one has a pair of arms, legs and an imaginary set of devil horns, tempting you to throw yourself back to love, seducing you to the passion of your tragic story, luring you into the pitfalls of toxic pain and misery all for the name of love.
Snap out of it!
Just like any intervention to any drug abuse one needs to detoxify from the relationship.
The concept of a rehabilitation center is to remove the addict from the environment that has allowed him to pursue his addiction, hence, isolating the patient from the cause of his problems.
The same thing goes for break-ups. You need to isolate yourself from the person who caused you such pain.
14. If it cannot be helped
In cases where you both work together and certain corporate bumping-into-each-other is inevitably not coincidental then you might want to do something about it.
Try to consider talking to your boss and discreetly ask to be reassigned to another department or at least a different location where the chances of seeing your Ex would be very minimal. Or you can also ask for a different work schedule.
As much as you want to be a hard core professional who doesn’t get fazed by anything you also need to know that you are just human. You don’t need to punish yourself every day.
You need to look for certain measures within your reach to keep you away from the trauma as much as possible. You know very well that you wouldn’t be very productive at work especially when you’re distracted with a walking, talking, painful reminder of your emotional carnage.
Don’t subject yourself to more humiliation than what you’ve already experienced by allowing your Ex to be dangled around in front of you day after day. That’s like offering a shot of tequila to a recovering alcoholic.
If you two are next-door neighbors then you can probably lessen visibility by changing your daily routine so you won’t bump into each other when you take out your garbage.
If you live together then it’s about time to scout for apartments preferably within a 50-mile radius.
15. Movie regulation
Under no circumstances are you going to rent romantic chick flicks like Sleepless in Seattle, The Way We Were, Gone With the Wind, Ghost, City of Angels, Titanic, Serendipity, The Notebook, Fools Rush In, The Wedding Planner and the Twilight Saga. Do yourself a favor and stay away from these selections.
When you are going through a heart ache it can be very common that you tend to relate your love story to any movie that you run into. “OMG! I can totally relate to how Kate Beckinsale fought to find her destiny John Cusack!
I wonder if this is a sign to give my Ex a call” Slap yourself before you get any ideas!
The worst post-break-up movie choices are those that involve mushy, gooey, unrealistic story lines. Veer your mind away from your misery. Instead, watch adrenalin-inducing, suspense-thriller flicks.
Adrenalin literally helps elevate depression, hence, the following movies are on the top suggestions: Jaws, Jurassic Park, Alien vs. Predator, Shutter, Nightmare on Elm Street, Zombie Strippers and Saw Parts I, II, III. That will definitely keep your mind distracted!
16. Laughter is indeed the best medicine
Other than pumping up your body’s energy level by watching adrenalin-kicking thriller movies another way of manipulating your hormones to help you overcome depression is by waking up your endorphins. That’s right!
Endorphins stimulate the parts of your brain that triggers feelings of happiness. And what better way to release endorphins than to laugh your heart out.
Although laughing can be hard to achieve right after a split still this can make wonders to your emotional health. Once in a while, stop by a comedy bar with your funny friends, watch the funniest cartoon shows on television or simply read jokes on the internet.
Laughing will truly uplift your spirit. (Warning: Don’t go out in public and laugh for no reason at all. That will truly concern people into thinking that you’ve gone Cuck-coo).
17. Stay Away from Love Songs
Love songs can cripple your power to move on. Just like romantic movies they can mislead you into thinking that every line applies to what you’ve been through. Record companies profit a great deal in consoling millions of grief-stricken love casualties with songs such as “My Heart Will Go On”,“ If You’re Not the One”, “All By Myself”, “Til They Take My Heart Away”.
18. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
What you do in your intimate private moments with yourself is your own business. Therefore, make the most out of it by talking to yourself in the mirror. You might think that this can make you look like you have a peculiar form of autism, but don’t bail out on the idea just yet!
Talking to yourself in the mirror is a good form of therapy because it enables you to express your feelings without actually having to look like a fool in front of the evil monster who ripped your chest open. It lets out all the bad spirits that have been haunting you within.
Also it’s a creative and artistic form of venting out.
You can imagine that you’re talking to your Ex, telling him or her of all the hurtful things that you’re going through and why it’s not going to work out anymore.
You can even recreate scenes wherein one day after six years you’ll bump into each other with your new hubby.
Act out any scene you want, sky’s the limit. By doing this you can actually kill two birds with one stone: release your negative resentments and develop your Broadway-theatre acting skills!
19. Don’t ask WHY
“It’s not you, it’s me”, then you go on thinking “It’s definitely me!”
In break-ups it is inevitable that you come up with our own conclusions on what really happened in the relationship, desperately trying to explain and reason out on why the person who used to love you so dearly just suddenly lost interest.
What turned your Ex off? Why the sudden change of mind? Is it because you’ve gained weight over the years?
Is it because you’re not as funny, tall, thin, good-looking, rich, smart and talented like all the others? People tend to take it out on themselves with questions like these.
But always remember that there is no concrete reason to justify as to why a person doesn’t love you anymore. Sometimes these things just happen and it’s not within our control.
So quit beating yourself up with these Why thoughts. They won’t do anything constructive for you.
20. Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda
Along with the Whys we tend to bargain with the situation by asking the What If questions- “What if I bleech my hair platinum blonde like that officemate that my Ex left me for?”, “What if I learn how to cook just like my mother-in-law?
That will definitely do the trick!”, “What if I convert myself into a Jew?” or “ My Ex will totally going to eat out of the palm of my hand when I start learning the Kama Sutra!”
WRONG! Clearly, what one needs to understand is that from the very beginning, your Ex loved you for who you are, not for the things that you are not.
You need to acknowledge the universal truth of life that everything, including people, goes through changes whether we like it or not.
And there’s nothing that you could have possibly done better, to the best of your knowledge at that time, to change his or her mind about you.
Traveling into an exotic resort or your dream vacation destination to unwind is different from running away from the situation.
In the bestselling memoir “Eat, Pray, Love” of Elizabeth Gilbert, a nasty split convinced her to travel to 3 different countries to find herself and experience the art of healing through each culture. A change of paradigm can awaken your senses.
In the midst of a painful break-up people tend to lose themselves within the wreckage. A quality time with yourself allows you to rekindle who you are and what you’ve lost during the relationship. So pack your bags and get a ticket to an ultimate getaway!
22. Don’t attack your replacement
In cases where your partner cheated it is sometimes tempting to pick fights with the one who stole him or her away from you. Nonetheless, you need to control this urge simply because it can hurt you more than you know.
Attacking the stick-with-no-soul will turn your ex into defense mode. What you can do to save your dignity is to act like as if you’re indifferent and that you’re just happy your Ex is out of your life.
23. Inventory time!
Returnable items should never, at any time, setting or circumstance, be sent on a personal basis. Remember that you are still going through the withdrawal phase. Agreeing to see your Ex to exchange borrowed stuff is going to open a huge can of worms.
You are a wreck at this point. Watching your heartbreaker symbolically returning your stuff is like handing him, or her, a kitchen knife to stab you in your gut. Assign your trusted B.U.B. to come to your rescue. Let your buddy do the dirty work by talking to your Ex about claiming these items.
24. Segregate! A garbage disposal method
When you are going through a whirlwind experience such as a break-up it would not help to be surrounded by the relics of your ex.
Therefore you need to get rid of that huge stuffed toy named Binky squatting on your bed space, that particular picture frame on your nightstand, the dead, wilted flowers decomposing in your closet and the Valentine cards you decorated onto your cork board.
If you have difficulty trashing these items then at least keep them in an out–of-sight storage place, or you can also ask your most reliable B.U.B to lock them into a secret chest box and swallow the key.
25. Why clubbing is a bad idea
If you raid a club and interview every person in there you’d be shocked to find out that majority of club goers have just recently gone through a break- up.
Although going out and partying can look very cool and hip, the truth is it’s only going to make things worse. Look at the whole picture.
You just got dumped, you don’t have a self esteem. You are surrounded by liquor and horny, emotionally insecure people who’d love to feel you up in the dance floor.
Chances are you’d wind up with a regrettable one-night stand and beat yourself up when you wake up the morning after.
26. Avoid large groups
Remember the portal of hell leading to a black hole? That’s you! Post relationship you are not going to be the most outgoing and fun person to be around.
You’d probably just suck the living daylights out of the people you’re with, as you incessantly give them an unsolicited full-detail report about your poignant break-up calamities.
These bystanders don’t need to hear about the last time you found out your Ex was having an affair, nor do they need to endure listening to how you discovered relationship enlightenment by reading the teachings of the great Dalai Lama. Zip it!
27. Create a standard verbiage then change the topic
If it cannot be helped that you certainly ought to attend dreaded, social functions wherein everybody’s going to interrogate you about your break-up, then you better come up with a short, general and fleeting spiel.
In a family reunion, for example, don’t tell Aunt Esther that you’re seeing a 200-dollar per-hour- shrink and that your childhood issues have caused you to fail in your ability to trust.
Instead, just keep it short and simple, something like “Well, it didn’t work out. I guess we just wanted different things. Hey! Is that cousin, Liz, at the sushi bar?”
28. Resist the urge to call names
Immediately right after you get dumped face-to-face, try your very will and might to keep yourself from of calling him or her with names. Most people who do this are those who get blindsided by the break up.
Although trash talking your ex can feel so good right at that very moment, you’ll eventually regret doing this because you are giving your ex a good reason to justify the break-up by saying “ See, you’re acting crazy, this is why it’s so over”.
29. Kill your Ex with your kindness
Play it coy, although you’re hurting make sure you’re not going to be remembered as the “bad guy”. End the break-up conversations politely then be out of reach. This will make your Ex question his or her decision to dump you.
30. No Phone Zone
To keep you from sending crazy emails and text messages at 3 in the morning then regretting it the day after, you need to remove his or her contact information from close reach.
Never make phone calls in the middle of the night wherein you’d just listen to your Ex’s voice then hang up. He or she will definitely know it was you.
In case you memorize his number make sure that you put aside your cell phone during solitary moments. Don’t pay attention to it unless you need to send important messages and make necessary phone calls. During break–ups your cell phone is your worst enemy.
31. Write down all the positive and negative traits of your ex
Lawyers argue a case by pointing out both the positive and negative sides. This allows them to cover all the necessary possible counter- statements of the other party. The same is true to break-ups except that the other party is also your own self.
You need to see the bigger picture. Taking a step back and writing down all the pros and cons can help you realize that certain assumptions may have been misinterpreted.
32. Burn down that list
Just like a cremation ritual burning down that list of expectations and regrets is like a symbol of letting go. In fact, many cultures consider burning as a sacred ritual to reach out to the spiritual world, letting go of all the pain.
Another reason why you need to get rid of that list is that you wouldn’t want to run into it over and over again in the near future.
33. Gift of Love
View your love as a gift you’ve given to the person without expecting any in return. If the person you love won’t reciprocate that feeling then tell yourself that it’s alright.
Own the fact that Love is an intangible gift that people give freely. There is no limit to that power.
No one ever said that you have to stop loving the person. You can’t force yourself to turn your love on and off. If you still love him or her, then continue. Just accept that you can’t be with the person. There’s a difference.
34. Revenge ain’t sweet
No matter how much you fantasize about running your car over your Ex when he walks home at night, nor how much you’d want to kidnap him, tie him to a tree and throw pot shots at him, always keep in mind that vengeance will hinder you from moving on.
Why? It’s because of the guilt associated with revenge. After your sweet vendetta you might eventually experience feelings of guilt and remorse, thus making you more vulnerable to running back for his or her forgiveness and giving the Ex more reasons to file a restraining order against you.
35. Definitely No Break-Up Sex
Break up sex is very tricky and confusing. No matter how much you say that you’re over him or her, and that you two are just up for the sex, nothing more, you are actually kidding yourselves.
Studies show that during sex a set of chemical hormones, known as fermones, are being released.
The brain picks up on this chemical exchange of scent, which allows people to associate the pleasure of an orgasm with the emotion of love, since both sensations are triggered in the same hypothalamic region of the brain. This makes moving on much more difficult.
36. Kick Ass
Channel your vengeful anger into socially acceptable sports such as Kickboxing, Jujitsu or Taekwondo. You can pound on that punching bag all you want and not get arrested.
You can also take it out on your sparring partner if you want. Not only is this a good form of release, this also releases your endorphins, decreasing your level of depression.
37. Realize that You’re Free
If there is one good thing about being single that is freedom. No one will monitor you every 30 minutes, asking about what you’re doing, where you’re going and what time you’ll be home. You no longer have to feel guilty for coming home late or having to give a full incident report on all your whereabouts.
38. Money talks
Think about all the money you’ve spent on presents, dinner dates, cards, movie tickets, gas, and hotel rooms. With a bad economy today you need all the saving you can get. So begin investing. Save your money for the things that you’ve always wanted to buy for yourself.
39. Avoid rebound relationships
After a separation it is very convenient to result to a rebound relationship instead of going solo. However, this is very dangerous to your emotional health- a recipe for disaster.
Not only are you risking the other person to get hurt, you are also fooling yourself because you’re still not capable of giving any genuine love at this point. The result of this is just another potential relationship catastrophe. Thus, the cycle goes on.
40. Sing your heart out
Do you ever wonder why professional singers age slower and seem happier? Scientists believe that many happy people come from those who regularly sing.
This is because their diaphragms expand more often than the average non-singer. This allows more oxygen into the cells, right into the brains- making one think and feel better.
41. Don’t explain anything to the other team
The friends and family of our lovers will most likely be on the other team’s side no matter what. Don’t blame them.
Their unconditional love is like a signed contract to always defend your Ex’s actions at all times. So don’t even bother to explain anything to them. They are not your concern. The only opinion that matters is yours.
42. Change Contact Details
If your Ex is being a compulsive stalker you will be doing both of you a favor by changing your contact information. Remember: Action speaks louder than words.
Hey! It’s not like you’re changing your identity and moving your family to New Zealand you’re just sending a subtle message that you’re no longer interested and that you’re focusing on moving on.
43. Anger Management
The great Chinese general, Sun Tzu, wrote that in the Art of War one must never cloud his mind with anger. Instead, one must have a clear, focused tactical mind in the midst of battle. You want the other party to get pissed, not you. This is very true in break-ups too.
The more you get mad and bitter, the more you’re giving your Ex leverage. Always keep in mind that the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. That’s the direction you are aiming for.
44. Get a New Look
Going through the train wreck of a split can have an effect on your looks. So you need to remember that just because you feel terrible on the inside it doesn’t mean that you need to look like a burned out, death-row convict on the outside.
Retouch those nasty eye bags with a nice make up concealer.
Put on a little glow over that dead-looking, grayish pale skin by going to a tanning salon. Chop off those horrid split ends with a new haircut.
Do this for yourself, not for anyone else. A new and improved look can definitely uplift the little self-esteem that you have left.
45. Self Help
Go to a library and find yourself a good self-help book. Despite how embarrassing it may sound to seek for advice from a book, it is still very important to get factual information on what you’re going through.
Reading professional suggestions from texts in black and white is different from listening to the subjective and varying opinions of your friends.
To get sufficient background about Behavioral Psychology you might also want to seek out relationship advice from your college friends, Freud and Erickson.
Redecorating your environment can make wonders to the flow of “zen” (energy) back into your life.
According to an ancient Chinese philosophy called feng shui, by repositioning the physical characteristics of your home your spiritual inner state of being can greatly respond to such external environment.
Say you’ve locked yourself in your room for 5 days, crying and being miserable. These negative feelings get stuck and clutter. By a simple rearranging of furniture these certain elements can be expelled.
47. Get a Life!
Start pursuing a hobby that you’ve always wanted to do yet you never had to time to pursue when you were in a relationship.
It doesn’t have to be majestic acts of greatness like curing AIDS or running for politics. Indulging yourself in simple new hobbies like fishing or cooking lessons can get your mind distracted enough.
48. Get your phonebook
When things are looking up and you’re feeling a bit better about being single once again it’s time to begin nurturing your old friendships and making new ones. Catch up to all those whom you’ve missed.
Invite your friends for coffee. Make sure you discuss things that are not related to your break-up experience. If they ask about it, refer to item number 27.
49. Be Grateful
Being grateful is not the first thing that comes to your mind during the most depressing and dejected time of your life, however, you should know that there are so many things that you have to be grateful for at this point.
Perhaps you can be grateful for the ability to heal or you can give thanks for all the lessons you’ve learned from your experience. You can be grateful for your own resilience. You can even be grateful for merely the opportunity to get across this article.
Wouldn’t it be nice to just take a pill that can make all the pain go away overnight? Wouldn’t it be so easy to just skip the whole grieving part and just go back to your “normal” pre-relationship state?
Unfortunately, that’s not how things work in this planet. The only thing that you can do is to get used to pain long enough until your pain tolerance sets in. So hang in there, my friend!
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