Have you watched the movie Fatal Attraction? If not, search for it, grab some popcorn, and prepare for a serious thrill. The woman in question went psycho because the married guy she had an affair with decided to cut off things. In my case, I wasn’t having an affair. But I almost went crazy like she did when my boyfriend dumped me. My behavior at the time was a textbook example of things not to do after a breakup.
Years later, I can’t help but feel quite silly at how I acted. I learned some great lessons, though, about the dos and don’ts of getting through a breakup as healthily as possible. Drawing on these life lessons, I compiled a list of 21 things not to do after a breakup. If you too are struggling to cope with the tornado of emotions in the wake of a breakup and aren’t exactly handling the situation too well, pay heed.
What Not To Do After A Breakup — 21 Things That Prevent You From Moving On
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First of all, it’s totally fine to cry a river. But, build a bridge over the river and start the process of crossing it. You don’t want to be stuck, wallowing in self-pity while your partner is busy gallivanting all over town with the new catch. So, here goes, a comprehensive list of what not to do after a breakup guys and girls:
1. Not talking about the breakup
Getting through a breakup can be tough. But not talking about it doesn’t make things better. You will only feel sorry for yourself instead of moving on. Talking it out can ease the pain. Turn to your support system like that close friend, trusted family member, or even a counselor who can provide an excellent outlet for you to vent.
On this, psychologist Nandita Rambhia says, “Surround yourself with people who are empathetic, understand you, and help you feel better. You also get to decide when to see a therapist after a breakup. No one should force you.” 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.
Related Reading: How To Avoid Self-Sabotaging Relationships?
2. Getting confrontational
Breakup etiquette demands that you maintain sanity. I did not do too well on this front, I must admit. I was angry, aggressive, and very confrontational. I would turn up at his door to cause drama. Ooh, and don’t get me started on what would happen when I saw him with another woman. If only I had taken time to learn strategies to stop feeling jealous. When I stopped doing that, I found that I was able to start letting go. Post-breakup communication is not important if there is nothing tying you to your ex, like a child. So, in my experience, one of the things not to do after a breakup is to create a scene to get your ex’s attention.
3. Holding onto the hope they will come back
The best way to get over a relationship breakup is to accept it is over. Do you want to know what not to say after a breakup? “Please take me back.” Begging that they reconsider makes you look desperate and will make you settle for anything. It’s not uncommon to want your ex back. But, silence may actually be the best revenge.
Breakups are bound to hurt, so give yourself enough time to get over the pain and depression. It’s not brave to deny your Psychologist and counselor Juhi Pandey says, “The no-contact rule is a must if you want to move ahead in your life. If going cold turkey is hard to deal with, you can start reducing communication gradually. Once it gets to a point where an ex’s presence or absence doesn’t affect you too much, you’ll have figured out how to get your power back. That’s primarily what the no contact after breakup psychology boils down to.”
4. Turning to addiction
That glass of wine has been a great comfort, right? And now, you are going through a bottle in an hour. I know I did. He did not come back, but I sure had a throbbing headache to keep me company. Stop resorting to such unhealthy ways to get over a breakup.
Related Reading: Man Vs Woman After Breakup – 8 Vital Differences
5. Becoming a social media stalker
I had to unfollow, mute, and block my ex from my social media accounts. Obsessive checking of his posts had me consumed with such rage. I was stalking my ex on social media and then losing sleep over how easily he seemed to have moved on. My blood would boil when I saw his happy selfies with new friends or cryptic captions about moving on that I felt were aimed at me.
So, if you’re wondering, “My girlfriend broke up with me, what should I do?” or “My boyfriend dumped me, how do I move on?”, cutting them loose on social media is a great starting point for detaching yourself from your ex.
6. Not caring for yourself
You are heartbroken and are feeling sorry for yourself. So, you stop eating, can’t sleep, won’t exercise, or even go out with close friends. News flash: you’re resorting to all of the unhealthy ways to get over a breakup.
Get up and start loving yourself. Psychologist Juhi Pandey advises, “It works as the perfect antidote to wallowing in self-pity. The key is to start small. You may lose interest in things around you or find yourself unable to eat. It is in moments like these that you have to remind yourself that the breakup is not the end of your life.”
7. Engaging in negative post-breakup behavior
“My girlfriend broke up with me, what should I do?” “My boyfriend dumped me and moved on like I meant nothing. How do I cope with that?” Well, sometimes there is nothing you can do but accept the reality that your relationship is over.
You definitely need to steer clear of unhealthy patterns like drunk texting your ex in the middle of the night or unexpectedly turning up where they go. All it does is make you look desperate and can result in low self-esteem when your ex looks at you like you are crazy.
A Reddit user summarizes his experience. “How is there no part of her that misses me? I just keep thinking about what I could have done to make her want me back. I don’t want her back now. I told her when we broke up how I felt we could work things out, and she said she didn’t want to. I’m not gonna beg her to take me back, if she wants to talk she can come to me. But it still just hurts, I can’t shake the feeling that I could have done something to make her want to stay.”
8. Keeping tabs on their lives
From social media stalking to actual physical stalking is a no-no. You may even need to keep away from any mutual friends. Unless you have shared responsibilities, cut off ties. The no-contact rule can be immensely helpful in moving on, so implement it for as long as you need to.
Psychotherapist Gopa Khan advises, “The no-contact rule psychology is similar to the cruel but effective strategy of ripping off a band-aid. While it may be excruciatingly painful at first, it helps you come to terms with the fact that a romantic partner is no longer a part of your life. As you come to grips with this realization, you slowly but surely let go of the false hope of getting your ex back. This creates space in your life and your mind to start a new chapter.”
9. Lashing out emotionally
I was nasty to be around after the breakup. I went through episodes of emotional outbursts. One minute I was crying, the next flinging glasses against the wall. It would only feel good for a short while but the pain was still there. I had to learn to express my emotions in a healthy way, so I started writing. Anytime you feel tempted to contact them during emotional times, look for something else to do.
Self-care is critical, so
- Take yoga classes
- Start a new hobby· Spend time with your good friends
There are so many fun things to do after a breakup. The worst thing you can do is focus on how bad you are feeling. Trust me, within a few months, the post-breakup pain will have subsided considerably — even if it doesn’t feel that way right now.
Related Reading: What are your legal options when breakup leads to revenge porn?
10. Seeking post-breakup revenge
They hurt you, so you want to hurt them back. Now, you are busy tring to figure out how to get revenge on your ex. How about putting that energy toward something that will actually help enrich your life and put you in a better place emotionally? This could be anything,
- Your work
- A hobby
- Practicing mindfulness
11. Destroying your ex’s stuff
I couldn’t resist the cliché petty things to do to an ex, such as property destruction. It is not the best way to try to move on after a breakout. I put all his stuff in the trash can, poured gasoline over them, and watched them burn while enjoying a glass of wine. But even after everything was in ashes, the anger and resentment remained. In retrospect, I should have just donated it all to the Salvation Army.
12. Rushing into rebound relationships
You are feeling lonely or are trying to make your ex jealous. So, you decide to jump into a rebound relationship. That is one of the things not to do after a breakup. Use the time to heal from the past relationship and become the best version of yourself instead. Sure, it’s the harder choice but it’s also the only way you will be able to open up your heart and your life to someone new in true earnest and forge meaningful connections.
13. Ignoring your emotions
The emotional toil of breakups can be overwhelming. Allow yourself to feel the emotions and find a healthy outlet for them. Getting through a breakup requires that you give yourself the grace to mourn the loss of the relationship in a healthy way. And that includes embracing emotional vulnerability during this trying time.
Transpersonal Regression Therapist Dr. Gaurav Deka says, “It is normal to have anxiety after a breakup simply because our experience of love is more strongly felt in the body than it is in the brain. We feel love on a somatic level more than through our thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
“For example, when we experience withdrawal from any sort of substance or alcohol or even food, it is really our body that experiences these cravings, and our mind interprets that craving and translates it into thoughts such as “I want to have alcohol” or “I want to have dessert”. These thoughts arise as a result of the body craving something it badly wants. The experience of being in love and then losing it is also not very different from these cravings.”
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14. Blaming yourself for the breakup
The best way to get over a relationship breakup is not to play the self-blame game. Post-breakup guilt is common. But replaying every minute of what could have gone differently doesn’t help. Also, don’t keep calling your ex looking for explanations or closure. They may gaslight you into believing that you were the bad person in the relationship.
15. Making unexpected life changes
Is moving away after a breakup a good idea? Yes, but only if it is what you had been planning to do. Don’t suddenly pack up and leave because you can’t bear to spend one more minute in the same town as your ex. Rushing into major decisions because you are emotional can come back and bite you later. Definitely one of the things not to do after a breakup as it can have serious consequences.
16. Resorting to self-harm
Grieving is a normal stage during a breakup. However, letting this emotional rollercoaster affect you to the extent that you start harming yourself or even entertaining thoughts of self-harm is a dangerous sign. If you’ve had such thoughts, no matter how fleeting, it becomes all the more crucial that you don’t isolate yourself. You need your family and friends around you at this difficult time.
17. Spreading rumors about your ex
Spreading rumors about your ex is undoubtedly one of the petty things to do to your ex, and has no positive outcome. Besides, it’s just bad breakup etiquette. Seriously think about what to say and what not to say after a breakup before you mention their names. If you’re not in the headspace where you can talk about your ex rationally, just avoid talking about them altogether.
18. Avoiding professional help
Post-breakup depression is real and can stop you from moving on. Seek professional help if you are finding it hard to cope. Psychotherapist Dr. Aman Bhonsle says, “A therapist or a counselor can help you see things from a wider perspective. They can help you realize that grief is a universal human emotion and this is not an experience unique to you.”
If you’re considering seeking help, skilled and experienced mental health experts on Bonobology’s panel are here for you. They can guide you through the pain of your breakup as well as the process of recovery.
19. Stalking your ex’s current partners
Among the unhealthy ways to get over a breakup is stalking your ex’s current partners and comparing yourself to them. All you are doing is looking for ways to hurt yourself even more. Don’t do it, it’s an exercise in futility and will bring you more pain.
20. Trying to be friends with the ex
My pal asked me, “My girlfriend broke up with me, what should I do? I am thinking of reaching out to her to just be friends.” “You better not,” was my immediate response. Don’t get me wrong, it’s possible to be friends with an ex, but give it time. As long as emotions are still involved, it won’t work.
A Reddit user says, “SO many people try to be friends and it blows up in one or both people’s faces 99% of the time. People do it because they feel guilty and want to assuage that, but also because they’re selfish and want to keep the closeness/intimacy of the relationship without acknowledging the pain. You can be friendly, of course, but a really serious relationship can rarely end as two friends.”
Related Reading: The 12 Mantras of Being Happily Single While You Are Single
21. Losing faith in love
Hey, cupid is still very much around. If you believe that without your ex, love no longer exists, it will stop you from moving on with your life. It’s very important to find closure after a breakup otherwise you could be mentally stuck in the past relationship.
Counseling psychologist Namrata Sharma says, “Closure can be a significant part of an individual’s existence. In order to validate everything in their future, they need that last bit of conclusive discussion. Otherwise, a person can lose trust in things. But for some people, a closure conversation after a breakup might become a source of reliving the trauma.
“So, it has to be decided very carefully which part of their relationship or the fight they want the closure for. Or else, it can turn out to be a traumatizing experience and do more damage than good. It has the power to deteriorate the healing process.”
What To Do After A Breakup
I thought my life was over when my ex left. For a minute there, I didn’t believe I would ever find love again, enjoy life, or anything like that. But I turned to my support system, allowed myself to feel my emotions, and got over it. I learned that it is possible to find happiness after a breakup and heal completely. So, here’s what to do after a breakup guys:
- Give room to your emotion: Expect all manner of emotions — sadness, melancholy, confusion, longing, and so on. Express them as you need to, but without resorting to destructive behavior like turning to addiction
- Talk it out: In the immediate aftermath, you will experience an emotional rollercoaster. Your support system can provide an excellent outlet for you to vent during this time. So, go ahead and turn to them for support
- Get professional help: If the emotions are overwhelming and you can’t cope, remember there is no shame in seeking professional help
- Prioritize self-care: Your mental health is important. So, take good care of yourself and focus on finding happiness once again
- Continue living your life: Life goes on, and there is so much joy in the world. Do what you love, and it will take your mind off the pain you are going through.
- Avoid contact with your ex: Until you heal, stay away from your ex. And that includes even social media platforms or anywhere you are likely to meet them, even if it means not hanging around mutual friends
- Move if you need to: Is moving away after a breakup a good idea? Yes, if you are sharing a house. Be okay with moving out so that you can start your life afresh
Related Reading: 12 Rules To Follow When Dating Your Friend’s Ex
Remember, you will not move on overnight. You were in love with this person and will experience many emotions, sleepless nights, and more. Avoid falling into the trap of looking for ways to get back with your ex. Stop thinking that they’re the only right person for you, and by being good friends, they will come back. Spend your free time constructively, take yoga classes, start a new project, and think of how you will avoid making the same mistakes in your new relationships.
- Things not to do after a breakup include jumping into rebound relationships, bottling up emotions, isolating yourself, begging your ex to take you back, obsessive checking up on your ex, or plotting post-breakup revenge
- Petty things to do to your ex include spreading rumors or property destruction
- The best way to get over a relationship breakup is to lean on your support system and get professional help if you need to
- Unhealthy ways to get over a breakup include turning to addiction, stalking, drunk texting, and not prioritizing self-care
A painful breakup can feel like the end of the world and the immediate aftermath can be an emotional upheaval that can leave you feeling like you’re grasping at straws to stay afloat. But getting through a breakup in a healthy way is possible. Once I got over the post-breakup pettiness, I knew it was time to move on. I talked to my close friends, kept away from my ex, and continued to live my own life. Only you can determine how you want to move going forward. But prioritize your mental health and seek professional help if you are struggling.
Certainly, follow our above list of what not to do after a breakup otherwise the whole process will be much harder. Try not to think about them or run back to them for support and comfort. Teach yourself how to comfort yourself as a newly single person.
Spending time with friends can help if you’re wondering how to handle a breakup. Indulge in activities that boost your self-esteem and keep yourself busy and occupied.