19 Dos And Don’ts After A Breakup

Break up And Loss | |
dos and don'ts after a breakup
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You never know how long a romantic relationship may or may not last. Sometimes, the end is so abrupt that no one could have seen it coming. Even if it was the right thing to do, one or both of you would remain devastated for a long time. This is understandable, as the emotional turmoil that comes with a breakup is hard to cope with. And figuring out your next steps after a breakup is even harder.

Breakups have a hard-hitting impact on the physical and mental well-being of a person. From self-pity and grief to relief and even confusion; you never know what’s coming next for you. You could feel all of these at once, or one after the other, or in no particular order. It disrupts one’s sleep and eating habits, and may even result in depression. However, healing after a breakup is inevitable.

To help speed up the process, we put together a list of 19 dos and don’ts after a breakup so you can get through this tough time with some ease. Today, we’re in consultation with psychologist Nandita Rambhia, who specializes in CBT, REBT, and couple’s counseling. Scroll down for some honest tips on how to feel better after a breakup.

19 Dos And Don’ts After A Breakup

Going through a breakup takes a toll on everyone’s mental health to some degree, even if they have tons of emotional support. And the free time you have on your hands after a relationship ends can leave you mulling over past mistakes, contemplating ‘what-if’ and ‘if only.’ There will even be one point where you will constantly blame yourself for hurting the other person. This can plunge you further down the rabbit hole of wallowing and pining.

Not being able to figure out what to do after a breakup can impede your healing process. And if you don’t learn how to heal after a breakup, your future relationships will suffer on account of all that emotional baggage and trauma you are carrying from your past experiences. It is common to feel stuck when you’re going through a heartbreak but, like in every situation, there is a light at the end of this tunnel too. And we can show you how to get there in a healthy way.

If you’re going through a breakup and don’t know what to do next, this list of dos and don’ts after a breakup will serve as a guide to get you out of this bad phase of life. Here’s our expert advice on what to do after a breakup, and what to steer clear of:

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Taking Care Of Yourself

Feeling empty after a breakup is inevitable. But we recommend allowing yourself time to properly go through the emotional stages. This phase does not have to be the end of your life. Healing after a breakup is possible, so is dating after a breakup. But, to prepare yourself for it, you need to keep a few things in mind. Don’t worry, we’re listing them down! For starters, you need to start prioritizing yourself in the following ways:

1. Make a clean break

Especially if you’re wondering what to do after a breakup of a long-term relationship. You don’t need a dating expert to tell you this, as this is the oldest chapter in the book. As difficult as it feels, it is essential. Things that you need to do for your immediate sanity:

  • Avoid your ex-partner for as long as you need to
  • Do not try to stalk your ex on social media; block them if that’s what it takes to stay away
  • Don’t meet mutual friends after a breakup if seeing them triggers you or brings up painful emotions
  • You might feel that it is possible to stay friends with an ex, but in most cases, it blows up spectacularly. Healing from a breakup starts when you make a clean break, instead of slipping back into old, painful situations and patterns
  • Keep in mind that the relationship ended for a reason, there is nothing left to be salvaged. It is better to walk away with your dignity intact

2. Acknowledge your feelings after a breakup

The second most important step is to acknowledge all the hurt and the negative feelings that the breakup brings up. When you’re going through a traumatic breakup, it’s only natural to feel bad, angry, and let down. It is important to acknowledge those feelings instead of trying to brush them away.

We ask our expert: How to move on after a breakup when you are still in love? Nandita says:

  • “Allowing yourself some time to grieve and accept your feelings is the most important aspect of the healing process
  • You don’t have to feel good so soon. Feel free to cry and scream — such practices help release negative emotions
  • Journal your big and small emotions; writing things down is a good way to cope”

Related Reading: 9 Expert Tips On How To Control Your Emotions In A Relationship

3. Figure out what makes you happy

Chances are you feel like you lost a part of yourself after losing the love of your life. But it is time to now pick yourself up and pat yourself on the back. Think of it this way, your former partner is now out of your life and you have all this time to find things that make you happy again.

  • Spend alone time: Take some time off, spend it with yourself, and get used to your own company
  • Pick up some old activities: Do all those things you loved doing but your ex-partner never wanted to do. Perhaps you love swimming but your partner wasn’t much of a swimmer. It’s time to get back into the pool!
  • Find yourself: Go on solo dates and pamper yourself. Get your nails done, invest in a new hair color, or just jazz up your wardrobe. Start going to a yoga class or develop a new hobby or start biking around the city for fresh air in the mornings. You’ll feel great … eventually

Now that you’re out of this relationship, take some time to focus on yourself and figure out what makes you happy. You’ll understand how important alone-time is and you’ll learn how to set some boundaries in your future relationships. Ideally, you should learn to be happy in your own company before you can even think about dating after a breakup. This will come in handy and ensure you’re well-prepared for all your future relationships.

4. Reach out to your friends and family members

If you talk to a psychologist, they’ll tell you that it’s crucial to have a support system when going through such a difficult time. And that’s exactly what Nandita suggests too. “Surround yourself with people who are empathetic, who understand you, and who help you feel better. You also get to decide when to see a therapist after a breakup. No one should force you,” she says. Take help from those who can help distract you and keep your mind off your ex. Spend time with them to remember how loved you are.

But how to move on after a breakup when you are still in love? Here’s what we suggest:

  • Confide in somebody you trust. Reach out to them and talk to them about your feelings
  • Ask for advice from friends and family members about what they did during similar situations
  • Make sure you have someone to share your feelings of frustration, anger, and sadness, and that this person won’t judge you
  • This is vital since it is inevitable that you will keep slumping into phases of longing and pain for some time; you will need someone to confide in
  • This way, you get an accountability partner, who can help you stay on track during this difficult time
meet friends after a breakup
Spend time with those who love you

Making Changes

An unmarried relationship dissolution can indeed hurt just as much as a divorce. So don’t take yourself lightly when you are deep in the trenches and feeling sad about what has happened to you. Sometimes, it is necessary that you make some changes to your life, so you can emerge as a new person. The best thing about difficult breakups is that they can transform you into a fresh person you didn’t know you wanted to become.

5. Move out or redecorate your space

Your immediate surroundings can have a serious impact on your mood. Changing and redesigning your living space will help you do a mental reset. Things that will help you for sure:

  • Moving away after a breakup: If you and your ex lived together, move out as soon as you can. Breakups after living together can be extremely rough but you can move out gracefully
  • Creating a new living environment: If you live alone, redecorate your home or room. It could be as simple as changing your bed sheets or even making the space more colorful. Why not go buy a fancy new mirror?
  • Getting rid of your ex’s belongings: If you have reminders of your ex lying around, getting rid of them will help to nudge along the healing process. You don’t need to keep stumbling upon their sweater in your wardrobe or smelling that scented candle they bought you last Christmas

6. Take some time out for self-care

Taking some time out for self-care can work wonders for your mental health. And here are a few tips in case you struggle with this form of care:

  • Get into a routine where you stay busy but happy: Read your favorite book again, watch movies, cook your comfort food, or order in
  • Do something out of the ordinary: Go on a solo trip to a new city that you have never been to. There are enough Hollywood movies to tell you that a solo adventure can do plenty of good to someone who is feeling upset after a breakup
  • Stay healthy and active: Keep yourself moving with a new workout. Book a massage, go running, anything that gives you happiness is welcome. Studies show that food helps one recover from heartbreak, so eat regular meals and stock up on healthy foods and vegetables
  • It’s okay to be unproductive: Being ‘lazy’ is also self-care. Make a list of the best movies to watch after a breakup and set a day aside to binge-watch them all at once. Oh, and don’t forget to stock the freezer with ice cream!

Related Reading: 30 Self-Care And Wellbeing Gift Ideas – Because You Deserve The Best

7. Use your newfound free time judiciously

With a breakup comes a lot more free time. Use it to become a new version of you. This free time has the potential to make you lose your mind and may even make you want to contact your ex. Instead of spending time indulging in self-pity, use it to make some positive changes to your life. Begin learning a new language, try a new skill, reinvent yourself — all these changes help you grow and you will love this evolved version of yourself.

8. Explore and live a mindful life

It’s easy to lose yourself in grief and anxiety after a breakup. And living a mindful life is the best antidote for it. Being mindful helps us calm down and stay still for a while. This is what you need to do:

  • Incorporate a few minutes of meditation and yoga into your daily routine
  • Learn a few mindfulness exercises to be able to manage heavy thoughts and feelings
  • When you’re ready, call the gang together and have some fun
  • Go dancing, shopping, bar-hopping, or even just out for a simple lunch. But remind yourself to get back to the present when the mind wanders. It’s hard, but keep doing that until it becomes a habit

9. What to do after a break up of a long-term relationship? Seek therapy

All the tips we’ve mentioned are a good starting point. But the thing that will help the most is professional help. Even if you start reluctantly, you’ll get some insights into what you need and how to move forward from here. Not only will it help you manage your pain in a healthier manner but also offer insights into your behavior patterns. This can be immensely helpful in navigating future relationships.

Some people ask, is there a time limit on when to see a therapist after a breakup? No, but seeking help from a clinical psychologist or therapist becomes all the more imperative if you’re struggling with issues like anxiety or depression post-separation. If you’re looking for help, skilled and experienced counselors on Bonobology’s panel are here for you.

10. Give yourself some time

Perhaps the most important thing to do in this difficult situation is to remember that time is a great healer. Nandita advises, “Give yourself a lot of time and a lot of TLC – tender, loving care – to bring yourself out of this situation.” Here are some affirmations and reminders for you:

  • Be as gentle with yourself as you would be if your closest friend was going through the same
  • Remember, things will settle with time
  • Be kind to yourself and understand that you need to go through all the stages of grief after a breakup before things start to feel normal again
  • The anxiety after a breakup will calm down, things will get better, and you will move forward
  • You’ll start to look toward the future with hope

Hang in there and be patient for at least three months or so; things will start looking up soon! Most importantly, as far as your ex is concerned, don’t try to remain friends after a breakup. Not at this stage.

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Steer Clear Of Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

Breakups might not be easy but undoing those pesky post-breakup mistakes can make moving on that much harder. Identify the things you don’t need to do after a breakup so that you don’t end up an emotional wreck. And what exactly are those behaviors that you must avoid like the plague?

Related Reading: 5 Signs The No-Contact Rule Is Working

11. If you want to accept a breakup and move on, do not get into the what-if mode

Read this one carefully. Fantasizing about what could have been is right on top of our what not to do after a breakup list. As Nandita says, “The minute you decide the breakup is done and dusted, make a conscious effort to chuck any ‘what-if’ questions/scenarios from your mind.” These pointless ruminations do more harm, and no good. And let’s be honest here, there is nothing to be gained from them, so stop thinking about them.

Asking yourself these questions only keeps the pain at the front of your mind, and stops the healing process dead in its tracks. You need to practice emotional distance. The best thing you could do for yourself and your future relationships is to not ruminate on these matters:

  • Your or your ex’s faults
  • Things you could have done differently
  • Trying to figure out what went wrong between you both
  • What would have happened if you’d prevented the first mishap in the relationship, or the last one

12. Do not get into rebound relationships

In the process of moving on, one sometimes falls into the trap of making the worst possible decisions. Chances are you’ll try to get into a rebound relationship to forget your ex, and you may even try to hook up with a good friend of yours who is supporting you through this time. But, let us tell you, it is a poor decision.

  • Don’t redirect your energies into a new person: Do not immediately jump into a rebound relationship just because you’re trying to fill a void in your life for the moment. Tread carefully, or you’ll just carry the hate and grief into a new relationship, souring it
  • Don’t try to make your former partner jealous: It’s better to stay away from the tendency of posting social media pictures for your ex or their friends to see. Don’t try to insinuate that you are dating someone new. Don’t be dishonest to yourself or anyone else. It will only make you feel more empty

13. Don’t badmouth your partner

You might be sorely tempted to lash out at your ex, they hurt you after all! But, don’t. Don’t get into the negative circle of badmouthing your ex. Find other sources to express your frustration. Don’t speak harshly about your ex-partner to anyone, no matter what. Here’s why:

  • This is especially important if you happen to have the same friends. It can leave behind a bad impression of you
  • It will just keep you feeling miserable since the hate will always remain at the forefront of your mind
  • It will ensure that you still think about your ex, and we don’t want that, right?
  • You will make it a harder time for yourself AND your ex. If you don’t want to cause them hurt, it’s best to swallow your words or write them down in a journal

14. Avoid making any drastic changes to your life after a breakup

After you break up with someone, the grief of it all can make you want to make some drastic changes — to yourselves and your personality. Wait for a while before you get those breakup bangs, or color your hair purple. The same advice applies to that tattoo you have to have right now or quitting your job, or any major life decisions. Don’t sabotage your life satisfaction because one thing went wrong.

You don’t make major decisions when you’re reeling from a loss. Your emotions are probably in overdrive and you will come to regret these impulsive decisions. So, avoid making any changes to your personality or your appearance — you’ll thank yourself for it later. Don’t give in to the urge to transform yourself overnight in order to get through a breakup.

Practicing Patience & Establishing Boundaries

The thing about this whole process of healing after a tough breakup is that it takes a while. You won’t get over your former romantic partner in a day. Maybe not even in three months or six months, or in extreme cases, a year or two. In that case, it is essential that you practice the following don’ts to not spill milk all over your efforts.

15. Don’t go to places that remind you of your ex

Are there any places that you and your ex-partner loved to visit together? Perhaps you have fond memories associated with the mall or that cute little coffee place down the road where you two met? Well, for the time being, avoid these places and set boundaries for yourself. These places can trigger your emotions and set you back in your healing journey quite a bit. Plus, there is always a risk of running into your ex in these places, which can plunge you into spells of grief and longing all over again.

So, it is better to decide right off the bat that you won’t visit these places anymore. Any place you visited with your ex, or you know your ex loves, needs to be demarcated as off-limits. Trust us, you will save yourself from a world of pain.

Related Reading: The 7 Stages Of A Breakup That Everyone Goes Through

16. Avoid wallowing in self-pity

Don’t make the post-breakup blues a permanent way of life. Your ex is not the only important person in your life, and this relationship was not the only one thing in your life. Don’t give them the power to occupy such a huge chunk of your thoughts and existence. The aftermath of a breakup is a tough time and can make you feel stuck. Acknowledge your feelings after a breakup, but don’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself.

Nandita suggests, “Accept you will go through a low phase but at the same time, don’t let it overwhelm you. Don’t remain in that phase for a long time and don’t wallow in self-pity.” The minute you understand you’ve had a breakup, acknowledge the feelings, mourn as much as you want to, but ultimately, move forward. Don’t listen to sad songs endlessly and start the healing process as soon as you can. You will thank yourself for it!

life after a breakup
Don’t be so harsh on yourself

17. Don’t fall into the trap of substance abuse

Several studies prove that sadness can trigger reward-seeking behavior. Be careful of such cravings. Don’t let yourself reach for that bottle of whiskey you so desperately want because you think it will help you survive heartbreak. It will end up creating new problems instead and make things worse for you in the long run.

Even if your ex contacts you or tries to have a conversation, don’t resort to alcohol or other substances to calm the storm in your mind. Stay as far away from addictive substances during this tough time. Addiction is no joke, and it can ruin your life. So, it’s better you stay in control of yourself. Call a friend immediately when you feel like you’re going overboard with alcohol or drugs, or when you have the urge to consume them at all.

18. All said and done, don’t rush the healing process

A breakup can feel like the end of the world. In such a case, it is important to take some time off. You need to allow yourself some space and time to grieve. No matter how the relationship ended, your feelings are valid. And processing those feelings is a journey in itself. Don’t feel obligated to jump back into action the day after the breakup, it can take some time to feel like yourself again. Breaking up means losing a big part of your life. Just because they’re suddenly your ex, doesn’t mean you no longer love them!

Falling out of love takes time and this is the time you need to give. Don’t start other relationships at the drop of a hat and end up making the same mistakes again. Your future dates deserve a better, healed version of yourself. Mourning the end of a relationship is important. So grieve the end of your relationship like you would grieve the death of a loved one. Feel free to go through the whole spectrum of emotions. Because grief is valid, no matter what triggered it.

19. Don’t disrupt your whole life for your ex

Don’t change everything about your life just because you’re mourning the end of a relationship. Try to maintain a routine, whether simple or complex. Continue doing all the things you were doing before the breakup. Be around your loved ones more often. It helps to have some continuity and steadiness in life and makes it easier to get over a breakup healthily.

If your ex was a big part of your routine, make a new routine. It will work wonders for your mental health and help in healing anxiety after a breakup. Make time for some physical activity — running, hiking, or working out at the gym. These are great tips on how to feel better after a breakup and to feel more energetic. But most importantly, it will keep you busy and stop you from spiraling into thoughts about your ex and the relationship.

Key Pointers

  • It can be difficult to figure out what to do after a breakup. Forgetting your ex this quickly is not possible, but don’t try to rush the healing process. It can do more harm than good
  • Feeling lonely after a breakup is normal. Reach out to loved ones, and don’t lose hope
  • Dealing with negative emotions can be difficult. Take some time to heal, grieve, vent, and create a new routine
  • Don’t stay stuck in the past. Keep moving forward, slowly, and do all the things that make you feel calm or happy

There are five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. And losing an important person triggers them all. No matter where you are in this cycle, just know that it is possible to heal after a breakup. And no matter how painful the breakup was, moving on is possible.

Try to cope in healthy ways such as setting boundaries, talking to friends, and creating a new routine. The painful feelings of a failed relationship will eventually get easier to handle. And then, who knows, like most difficult phases in life, this too will help you metamorphose into a better, stronger, and wiser version of yourself. Trust us, there is a beautiful life after a breakup waiting for you.

FAQs

1. What to do after a breakup?

Give yourself time to process your emotions. Going through all the stages of grief after a breakup is necessary. Don’t try to rush the healing process and accept that feeling all alone is normal, and is needed to feel better. Make a list of things that hurt, and the things that make you feel better, and try to stick to these dos and don’ts after a breakup wreaks havoc in your life.

2. How to heal after a breakup?

Healing comes after acceptance. Accept the fact that it is over and it will hurt for a while before it gets better. Make a list of things to do after a breakup that help facilitate the healing process, and try to follow through. Prioritize yourself and treat yourself kindly. Learning to love yourself can be one of the hardest things to do after a breakup, but is also one of the most important ones. Learn to take care of yourself and put yourself first.

3. How to move on after a breakup?

So your ex broke up with you … what next? Be patient with yourself. Work through the confusion and clear the post-breakup haze before trying to jump into a new relationship. To accept a breakup and move on, try to identify the silver linings that come with the separation, and remove all reminders of your ex from your life. The best advice here? Time is a great healer. Give yourself plenty of it, and you’ll be just fine.

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