Mending a broken heart is not an easy task, it requires time, patience and some proactive steps to take forward in order to complete a healing process.
After all you were with someone you believe you had a special unrepeatable connection, may be plans for the future together, you may have even thought you were going to get old by that person’s side.
Then all of a sudden (or may be painfully-slowly later) it’s all over, and all your dreams and projects together ended down the drain, and it doesn’t mean you stop loving the other person right away, more often than not,the opposite is the case.
You could be the deep-in-love part of the relationship and your partner decided to leave or has simply stopped loving you back (it happens).
It requires great strength and courage to be the decision-making part of the breakup if you are also the most loving one, but sometimes, hard decisions must be taken, specially because it is your life and you deserve better than being in a toxic, unfaithful or negative relationship.
I’m not trying to be dramatic, it’s all too real, I’ve also been there and want to help out, that’s why I’ve written what experts believe to be the best steps for the big question: How to heal a broken heart?
Live it Fully
There is no better way to solve a problem than going through it, confront it, and not taking any shortcuts or cutting any corners, like jumping to another relationship right away.
This is probably the hardest part of the whole process, standing still and strong while feeling the meltdown of the relationship ending and all of its consequences, financially and personally, like when there are children involved or a house on mortgage being shared.
Don’t run from the opportunity to deal with pain upfront and get over it, this will help you to avoid finding emotional issues later down the road that you didn’t deal with sooner because you were too busy distracting yourself with other things (don’t drown yourself in work or endless distractions for example).
It is however, perfectly right and even necessary to allow sometime for yourself, read a book, practice a sport (read more below).
Take your Time
Give yourself time to fully realize and understand that there was a reason for the relationship to be over, a reason why you broke up and it all ended.
At first you might truly believe that you two could be back together in the future, but more often than not, given the enough time, you’ll realize that most likely it’s not the case.
Also don’t rush into a new “rebound” relationship just to fill the void (or as of any sort of retaliation against your ex), nothing worse than not having fully closed your previous emotional circle just to sabotage the next one with ghost of your relationship past, don’t drag someone else into the meltdown with you.
Bear in mind that healing from this kind of loss will take months to even a couple of years specially if the broken relationship lasted a while, experts say you’ll more likely be ready to “start” dating after a few months but only really after 2 years you could say your heart will be healed almost entirely (I didn’t believed it at first and thought it was a lot of time, but I have felt myself that’s pretty accurate).
Yes you can choose to allow some space for letting the other person and yourself vent out or express your point of view and may be your frustrations, however you need to avoid arguing or allow the other person to start any sort of attack (emotional, verbal, physical) since it will be of no benefit for any of you.
Best thing is to avoid being close and all kind of contact but if you decide to talk remember that you are there just to talk like adults, maturely, respectfully and the time of conflict has already passed.
When you have decided to get over the situation and end the heartache there is no point in getting into the same arguments that probably already led you to the breakup in the first place.
An important tip here: If you were the one who was most hurt (like for the other person being unfaithful to you or abusive in any way) it is of special importance to be on guard for any kind of manipulation, you were probably under it for a long time before you even realized it, and the other person may already know what your weak spots are.
Bear in mind that at this point you are trying to bring closure to the issue and not reopening old wounds.
Cut Communication and Disconnect
A hard to implement measure, but greatly necessary to get over your ex faster.
Distance always helps, physical and virtual.
Or if you happen to be forced to be close to the person (like if you work or study together or have children), then make provisions to have the least interaction possible.
This includes any text message, email, social media inbox, let alone a drunk phone call in an attempt to know what the other person might be doing with their newly acquired freedom, bad idea!
Another good tip is to eliminate/block their contact from your social media profile, you don’t really want to know how his/her parties are going without you, or who is your ex’s new significant other, a terrible thing to do to yourself, I shouldn’t need to tell you stalking will only make things worse.
Healing takes time, and you won’t get anywhere near if you keep the other person just as close as always, before attempting a healthy “friendship” if at all with your ex (not that it is advisable, read why here), you first need to get over each other in a healthy way.
Make New Experiences
And that may include making new friends, specially if you have common friends with your ex that can’t help it but tell you they have seen her/him last week at the pub or insist on telling you how is their life going.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to get rid of them, just make room for new people who wouldn’t even know your significant other even exist and that are natural around you.
Also find new places to visit and new activities to perform, do the things you didn’t do but liked to and avoided because your partner didn’t join you or didn’t want you to do, now is the opportunity to gain yourself back.
Creating this new environment should also include you taking old stuffs away from your sight, reminders of the other person and emotional triggers like photographs, teddy bears, letters and such, you don’t need to drop them in the trash but at least, keep them aside in a box… at the attic… and lose the key.
At least for now, you may later decide that it is time to bin all that stuff or donate them.
Keep your Loved Ones Close
Specially in this time of pain, you will need your closest friends and family to support you, lean on them and they will help you get afloat sooner, make a call, go with them for dinner, talk to them.
You might even start to notice not all of those so called “friends” stand by your side on difficult times but that’s ok, this will serve as a filter. Yes a little harsh but that’s how it works sometimes unfortunately.
But the ones who do stay along and hold you will comfort you and listen to you, may be they’ll listen the story over and over again as you might need to vent your frustrations more than once.
Make plans with them, go to the movies, or a trip together, nothing better to lift your spirit.
Make a Positive List
Make a positive list containing your strengths, virtues, the things you are grateful for and recognize your own merits and goals already obtained.
This exercise will help you realize the positive side of your day and life, make an effort to write on that list, keep it handy to keep adding to it.
If you are feeling down on any given moment go through the list and read it again, be thankful and write some more.
Sometimes the hard part is to be aware of the great virtues you already have and the things you have achieved through great effort, specially with a broken heart, trust and self-esteem have probably eroded by now.
Now it could seem to you that your merits are unimportant after a long term goal like a relationship has failed, but that’s totally untrue, don’t let a temporary heartache delude you and keep you away from your dreams, like a worthy partner.
Make Space for Yourself
Find new activities to lift your spirit…. or stick with the ones you already enjoy but have stopped doing because of your heartache.
In any way, you need to find or make space just for yourself like:
- Going to a spa, get a massage and indulge yourself in a really needed relaxing time.
- Get a hobby you enjoy, like model building, horse riding, baking, etc.
- Exercise more for your own health, this has the added benefit of fighting depression and helping your brain to release happiness hormones.
- Learn a new language, you even get the chance to meet new interesting people and be left with the life-long benefit of knowledge.
- Learn to play the music instrument you always wanted, or take the time to master what you already enjoy playing.
Think of What You Have Learned
The experience although painful sure taught you a couple of things about yourself and about relationships.
As they say, two are needed for love to work out right, and you can also learn from your mistakes even if you were not the one to blame for the relationship’s ending.
Anyway don’t obsess over who’s fault it was for the breakup, better focus on what you have learned, whether it is to not make the same mistakes again on your behalf or learning how to chose the right person for you and addressing issues and problems accordingly as they present on a new relationship.
You might have been with the wrong person and now that you are out your ex’s circle of influence you can see more clearly how things shouldn’t have gone in the first place.
Bear in mind you can actually miss the person regardless if they were good or not for you, it’s perfectly normal, one tend to idealize the now not-present person, we tend to remember only the good memories and ignore the real reason of the breakup, realizing all of this could take some time, take it.
Allow Yourself to Forgive
Forgiving the other person or even yourself will be necessary in order to move on and heal.
It will release your heart and mind of the heavy load of thinking badly about your ex or yourself, letting you open to new experiences and people.
Mind that everybody can make mistakes, your ex did, you did and the whole point is not to justify them or you but trying to understand the motives behind them.
With empathy, resentment dies.
You don’t need to tell your ex “I forgive you”, but truly believing it within you will release your spirit, just don’t force yourself, it may take a long time before you truly feel like it, make the exercise of placing yourself on your ex’s shoes, not to fix the relationship, but to understand it better.
Try to avoid negative thoughts or talking badly about the relationship, your ex or yourself as it may drag you back to dwelling in the ugly side of your memories about it, no need to extend the heartache any longer, really.
Also try to get rid of the feeling of guilt whether it was because of something you did during the relationship or because you decided to end it, it happened for a reason and now that you know better you will certainly make better decisions right?
Do Something for Others
To feel better and happier yourself, you can bring happiness to others, this in exchange triggers your brain into feeling pleasure, social connection and trust (of what you need more now).
But what can you do to get more of this feel-good dose in your day life?
- Encourage others to be kind by setting an example.
- Help on a senior center near you.
- Lend a hand on a food bank, volunteer.
- Donate books, toys, money, your time on your local institutions.
- Tell your loved ones and your not-so-close ones how you appreciate them.
- Be gentle to others in act and speech.
There are thousands of ideas, you can think more on your own or read a great list here. The most important thing is to be authentic, do what you feel you enjoy.
Acknowledge that not because you had a bad experience with someone means that all other men or women are the same.
You are not the same as other people in your area, gender, job, nationality right? You can clearly see that, so there is no reason to think all related people would tend to end up being like your ex.
Surely enough, if you pay attention and are the good partner you would like others to be, then you most likely will end attracting someone like you, so be a great partner.
By the same token, you are now more aware of the issues and behavior that could lead other or yourself to being hurt, so address those problems timely and accordingly.
Give Yourself the Opportunity to Love Again
Nothing more important than being able to reach this point after a breakup.
Once you are ready and have dealt with all the negative feelings like remorse, heartache and even anger or distrust you could let yourself to start to date and love again.
Just mind that there is a risk in every relationship but don’t let that scare you away of every opportunity, you could be missing the chance of finding the perfect match for you just because it didn’t work with somebody else in the past.
If you are starting to date someone give yourself enough time to know them, don’t judge them, and go slow, everything worth having is also worth waiting for.
Another great tip I have read the experts recommend over and over is to write a letter to your ex, what?
Yes, make it a physical paper letter, with all of the things you always wanted to say, your feelings, your hurts and even your rage, let it all out and read it again…
But never send it, this is for yourself only.
Then you can throw, burn, tear it to pieces or whatever you like and let it be part of your past.
When you meet somebody else don’t look for perfection since it doesn’t exist, you are looking for someone to complement your life and your strengths to compensate their faults and vice versa.
Distinguish the right person for you through mindful effort and become the best partner yourself and you will be rewarded handsomely.