Break ups suck, there is no way around that. Losing someone is a huge loss and often a huge rejection. However, the good news is that there are ways to mend your broken heart.
1. Allow time to grieve. Getting right back into the dating game might end in you sobbing over your sushi appetizers on your first date with someone new. Not attractive. Take some time to cry, cut up photos, and throw out his stupid sweatshirt that was left at your house. Although painful, these emotions need to come out and be processed so you can move past them. Crying can be cleansing, and when we cry, we actually release stress hormones through our tears! So give yourself some time to process the loss. It is hard at first, but always remember that time heals all wounds.
2. Realize what you lost. Often, instead of living in the present, we focus on memories of the past and fantasies of the future. We often hold on to a picture perfect image of the relationship: butterflies during your first kiss or him always opening the door for you. We don’t focus on the fact that those butterflies eventually went away, and we don’t think about all the times that the door hit you in the face because his charm and chivalry also faded away.
On the other end of the spectrum, we live in our future fantasy of what could have been. It hurts to lose the fantasy of your future wedding followed by the white picket fence and 2.5 children. Remember though, you can’t lose what you never had. The past is the past and the future never happened. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The past is history and the future is a mystery”. History and mystery aren’t realities. Memories and fantasies aren’t realities. Don’t live in these false fantasy worlds! Remember what the relationship actually was, which most likely wasn’t so great. Maybe there were fights, lack of communication, or infidelity. Don’t get caught up in your mind’s picture perfect images of what really didn’t exist. What did exist were the problems.
3. Either way… you win. Someone was unhappy in this relationship and something was going wrong. Therefore a change needed to happen. Think of this breakup as your opportunity to be happy! You will either move on and find someone better, or you will both soul search, make necessary changes, and get back together having fixed what was wrong. You really can’t lose here. It is a win-win situation.
4. Re-wire your neural pathways. You have many fond memories with your ex, and it is normal to want to avoid things or places that bring up feelings of loss, painful emotions or memories. However, the more you avoid these things, the more power they have over you. The more you avoid something, the more afraid of it you become, and the more painful it seems. Reverse this cycle. Slowly, when you are ready, reclaim these places. Your ex doesn’t own these places. Maybe the two of you loved a certain restaurant with a certain Crème Brule dessert… well guess what? That restaurant still rocks and that dessert is still amazing. So grab some friends, and go there fearlessly to form new memories. It might be hard the first few times, but eventually you will desensitize to those painful triggers, and learn to enjoy it again! You deserve it.