Moving on from a relationship can be very trying. It takes a lot of energy and time. The Journal of Positive Psychology says it takes 11 weeks to get over a breakup and approximately 18 months to get over a marriage. Regardless of the length of the relationship, you need to take the time you need to properly heal from the end of your relationship.
Learning how to move on from a relationship, especially a long one, can be a challenge. Luckily, I’ve compiled 18 excellent ways that you can start moving on today. These are actionable steps you can take to start moving on with your life.
I’ll start by going over what you need to do to adjust to being single again. Then, I’ll go into details on the best ways to heal yourself and recover nicely. I’m also going to encourage you to get and stay busy, and I’ll close with some guidance for becoming a new you.
Are you ready to begin the healing process, to get over this person and move on? Expect to bookmark this article as you’ll want to refer to it, and the rich resources sprinkled throughout it, later.
Time To Be Single Again
If you are single now, it’s time to start acting that way. Learn how to get over a break up by adjusting your current circumstances. This means packing up and moving out or having your ex do this; it won’t be easy, but if you know the relationship is over, show respect for the other person by moving on and making a clean break from the relationship.
To help move things along, there are a few things you can do. Involve a third party if necessary to exchange belongings; then, practice no contact to give yourself some alone time to process what’s going on; finally, get rid of any memorabilia, so you can move forward with a clean slate.
And remember, you will not have to practice “no contact” forever; you really only need to do it until the day comes when you aren’t thinking about calling them every second. That is the time when you can contact your ex if you have a valid reason to do so.
1. Bring In A Third Party If Necessary
If you still love your ex but can no longer stand to be in the same room with them, bring someone else into the picture to help sort out the details. Find and hire a mediator or third party, like a mutual friend, to help you part ways in the most civil way possible.
If there are children involved, there are child-centered books and mediators that can assist you with this breakup or divorce. A mediator can help you calmly hammer out the particulars about what’s going to happen during what time, until you have a final divorce decree or another official document, laying out all the custody details.
Allow a third party to help you divide your belongings. If you don’t want to be there, you don’t have to! Have a friend or family member pick up your things for you. That’s what’s nice about having someone else involved. It gives you the opportunity to get a jump start on the next suggestion (having no contact)!
2. Eliminate Or Reduce Contact
It’s time to have a period of no contact. If you are a little unsure as to what this means and how to do it, check out this video by a relationship coach on Love Advice TV. As she says, it’s hard to do, but very effective; even if you’re in pain, you can overcome this pain! If your ex wants to talk and be friends, explain that you need a break right now.
My personal experience with no contact is that it really does work! When I’ve had to get over long relationships, even just telling myself it’s a temporary “no contact” period has given me complete release from the anxiety and depression I was feeling. I just told myself that this period was temporary (4 months, for example).
The book and movie, He’s Just Not That Into You, suggests waiting at least 90 days before contacting an ex, so check that out for inspiration and proof (well, close to it) that it works! To hear some other cool and silly suggestions, check out this short video on how to stop yourself from contacting your ex. Really, what do you have to lose?
3. Remove All Memorabilia
Now is the time to get rid of reminders of your ex; in fact, put them out of sight. Just go buy new things, things that don’t remind you of the relationship you had with your ex, or jazz them up with new paint or decorations. Elle Magazine even recommends a new service that will come pick up your ex’s stuff for you called “ExBox.”
If you are having trouble letting go of all the things they bought you, remember that no one is forcing you to trash it all; just move it into another room until the sting of the breakup is over. Having things out of sight usually puts them out of your mind. For more cool ideas for what to do with gifts from an ex, check out this article.
However, according to Psychology Today, if you focus too much on not thinking about your ex, you may get what’s known as the “white bear effect,” which means you are trying too hard to put something out of your mind, making it appear in your head too much. Check out some of the suggestions in that article for ways to clear your mind.
Heal Yourself In The Right Way
No one enjoys feeling pain, but sometimes life hands us lemons, and the best thing we can do is make lemonade. Do you ever feel like life puts you in the exact opposite position that you want to be in? Many people feel this way. It’s like life is always better for someone else, or “the grass is always greener.” People with this outlook rarely find true happiness, though.
People are often envious of relationships where the guy and girl seem perfectly happy together; conversely, people can also be jealous of relationships where the guy and girl are very independent. It just always seems like you can’t win, regardless of the place you’re in. When healing from a breakup, the best thing you can do is to love yourself.
Accept that life has not turned out the way you planned and take this opportunity to feel something you don’t want to feel – heartbreak. The sooner you feel the emotions, the faster and better you will heal. So, use this lemon that life has handed you, and feel it, face it, write about it, scream it, and best of all, learn from it, so that you can find true love out there.
4. Feel Your Feelings
It’s time to feel the heartache; that’s the fastest way to heal. I know. It sucks, but it’s necessary to let it all out. One study found that 40% of people who were going through a breakup had actual physical pain, so your pain is real; the way you feel is real. To feel better, feel what you need to in order to let go of the pain.
Psychology Today explains that it’s normal to feel down, to not want to do your everyday activities, but don’t let it get to the point of clinical depression. The article lists the side effects that people experience with clinical depression, so watch out for that.
If your ex has suggested you move on, that can be especially hurtful. If you’ve been the dumped person in the relationship, you may feel a lot of pain, but try to look forward and know that there is someone better out there for you. It just may take time to move past this relationship.
5. Journal Your Heart Out
If you want to know how to get over a breakup, one of the most universal recommendations is to journal; it’s something you can do at any time, any place. If you are needing the right inspiration, check out this break-up journal that combines humor, charts, and lists to help you get through your heartache.
You may also benefit from these journal prompts made to teach you how to get over someone. Use journaling as part of your process for moving on from this relationship. Make a list of all the supportive relationships and blessings you have in your life, like your friends and other people who are there for you when you need it.
Writing out your feelings can help you in letting go of your past relationship. It can also help you focus on the future; write about the things you want out of life, your goals, hopes, and dreams. Buy a journal and get started today.
6. Practice Mindfulness
The HuffPost recommends mindfully healing from a breakup by focusing on the little things in life like nature (the sun, flowers, or even just the air), and the beauty you can find all around you. So, live for the moment by focusing on yourself right here and now. That’s what mindfulness is all about – the present.
Mindfulness is powerful. Psychology Today suggests letting go of thoughts of the past and trying to get involved in a fun, new project like hitting a yoga studio. Find something you enjoy doing to pass the time. Enjoy the current moment, what you see, smell, hear, feel, and taste. Savor it all and get in touch with the here and now.
This article discusses using mindfulness to heal in a Buddhist way. It has some great suggestions for getting over a heartbreak, including wishing your ex happiness. It also discusses the Buddhist philosophy of mindfulness as a focus on what “is,” that is, “the present,” not the past, not the future. You can do this; live for today!
7. Face Reality
Accept your circumstances. Don’t keep the fantasy of you and your ex living happily ever after alive in your head. That’s not healthy and won’t help you get over them. Instead, think about the bullet you just dodged by getting out of a relationship that wasn’t right for you. eHarmony suggests having the goal of acceptance and adjusting expectations.
You’ll have a better outcome if you will accept reality. If you catch yourself dreaming about your ex, try making a list of all the reasons you are better off without the relationship, and you will feel relief before you know it. You don’t have to dwell on negative things, but just remind yourself why you are better off now.
Avoid watching romantic movies with fairy tale endings right now. Check out movies where the main character is alone in the end, not dead, but happy being by themselves. Bridget Jones may get a happy ending, but she does go through much heartache along the way, so it’s a safe one to watch. Check out 28 Days with Sandra Bullock, too.
8. Learn From The Past
It’s time to adjust “your list.” In his book, Date or Soulmate, Neil Clark Warren, the founder of eHarmony, talks about creating “the list,” which includes a list of 10 must-haves and 10 can’t-stands. It’s basically a checklist for finding “the one.”
I read Date or Soulmate after the end of a six-year relationship, and it changed my life. It walks you through how to do self-discovery to get to know yourself so that “your list” is in line with who you really are. This way, when you find the person who meets “your list,” you’ll know they really are “the one.” Check it out; it’s a game-changer.
Take the time during your break-up to learn from what went wrong. Did he lie or cheat, or was he just not compatible with you? If so, what was wrong with him? That is what you need to know to adjust “your list.” He wasn’t funny enough; that means you need to cross off one of your must-haves and add “funny” to the “your list.”
Let Yourself Recover Right
If you don’t allow yourself to recover from the end of your relationship in the right way, you could be damaging all your future relationships as you may become bitter, resentful, and just someone who no one wants to be around, and you don’t want that. So, let’s do this right.
First, find a local divorce recovery group or meet others going through the same thing as you at a Celebrate Recovery group. If you don’t feel comfortable being around others right now, consider joining an online support group for breakups. Next, consider going to therapy; find someone who specializes in these types of relationships. Consider online therapy, too.
Then, of course, don’t discount the close relationships you’ve developed with your friends and family. Find a person in your support system who you trust, preferably someone who understands relationships, and confide in them. Finally, seek closure with the one you were in love with. If possible, just write them a letter and don’t send it.
9. Join A Support Recovery Group
If you are recovering from a breakup from a long-term relationship or even a marriage, there is support out there tailored just for you. Find a divorce support group near you to meet other people who are going through the same thing as you. Many churches offer this type of support for broken relationships, so check your local listings.
If you don’t feel comfortable being around people who are going through a divorce because you feel that those relationships are more serious than yours, check out a Celebrate Recovery (CR) support group. CR has locations nationwide and offers people a wide range of recovery classes to attend.
People who attend Celebrate Recovery are working through all sorts of issues and are just looking for others who feel the same way. Some examples of the types of groups that people go to CR for are addiction, anger, codependency, eating disorders, love and relationship addiction, abuse, and gambling issues. Some people go for just life issues.
10. Talk It Out
Of course, talk things over with your friends and family. However, you may also want to consider seeing a therapist who specializes in helping people get through past relationships. Seeing a therapist does not mean that something is wrong with you; rather, they’re trained to help you sort through your feelings and move forward.
If you are having severe anxiety, depression, or other serious symptoms, you should definitely make an appointment and get in to see a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are the only people that can prescribe medication; if you think that’s something that you may need, see one of those types of counselors.
According to My Wellbeing, therapy can help you discover and deal with the pain you feel after a serious breakup, teach you effective coping strategies, and offer you a sounding board, helping you discover what you really want out of life. Thrive Boston also has some great counseling tips to help deal with the end of relationships.
11. Turn To Your Support System
Hopefully, you have people in your life that you can turn to when something bad happens like this, like friends and family. Explain to your friends and family what happened with your ex and ask for help in moving on. Have your friends take you out to dinner or to a movie to get you focused on something other than your breakup.
If you don’t have supportive people in your life, you may have to go out and make some new friends, not the easiest thing to do. You may have the right people in your life, but for some reason, they just aren’t there for you this time. Very Well Minded has an awesome article for dealing with unsupportive friends and family.
Another option is to offer yourself support! Offer yourself the kind of comfort you are wishing others would provide you with. Take a bubble bath and read a good self-help book. It teaches you how to deal with your own well-being by taking control of your life
12. Get Closure
When you have come to terms with the end of your relationship, it’s time to start thinking about moving on to the next chapter in your life. There are many ways to get past this relationship. My first suggestion is to write a letter (do not send it) to this person explaining your feelings and what they meant to your life.
You could write the letter in your journal; the point is to get your feelings out by letting the other person (hypothetically) know what they meant to you, how you feel about them now, and what your life is like now that the relationship is over. If you think it’s beneficial for them, you can send it, but in most cases, there’s no point; you’re venting.
Life didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to, and the relationship’s over; something didn’t go as planned. This person just wasn’t the right person for you; that’s all. You’ll find someone else, someone more suited for you, perhaps even the love of your life or “the one” – whatever your love beliefs are. Mr. or Mrs. Right is out there; just be patient.
As you are recovering from the end of this relationship, it’s important that you stay busy and distracted. Don’t deny your feelings; as mentioned earlier in this article, I recommend you face your feelings head-on, but you should still keep busy with other things. You may feel like it’s the end of the world, but life continues to roll on, so you need to make the most of your time!
13. Find A New Passion
If you enjoy sports or have a favorite hobby, now is the time to engulf yourself with these things. Find joy in something else, something you have not had the time to do since your last relationship. You are now a free person, so do whatever you’d like. Develop a new sense of adventure by exploring nature or arts and crafts!
Find out why everyone is in love with Marie Kondo and her desire to spark joy in life! Join a gym and see how exercise can help you find love and excitement! (Endorphins make you happy!) Go to a lecture, hit the next book signing, jam at a local concert, find a new person to talk to, take up jogging, or check out a nearby church.
Consider doing some volunteer work; that’s an easy thing to get passionate about; volunteer at your local soup kitchen or nursing home. Just think of all the new relationships you’ll develop by doing that, and you will find a true love of helping others; you may even find a lifelong relationship by doing one of these suggestions!
14. Focus On Other Things In Life
It’s time to move past the relationship and person you are trying to get over. That means taking on projects you may have put off because you were busy with your relationship. Consider working more hours, developing new client relationships, or enticing existing vendors to expand their product lines. Take some initiative with your career.
Do you have a bucket list? Here’s a great resource if you haven’t yet created one, but if you have, get busy checking things off your list. “Develop relationships with my neighbors.” “Work on my relationship with my mother.” “Wear a bikini in public.” Go work on them when it is appropriate and check them off your list!
Step outside of your comfort zone and try new things. Expand your horizons by increasing your knowledge. Consider learning how to type faster, how to speak a foreign language, or how to bake a souffle. Take night classes to expand your resume and portfolio or use the time to learn how to knit or sew a quilt for your grandmother.
15. Develop New Relationships
If you were in a serious relationship or marriage, you probably had mutual relationships with your support group. Now, it’s time for you to branch out and create your own relationships. Hit a yoga class, Bible study, beauty salon, meetup group, or book club and make relationships with people there.
Nurture your existing relationships by building upon friendships you’ve already developed. Pay attention to the things that they’re into; follow their blog, Instagram, Facebook feed, or website, and make it a point to like their images or posts. Show your interest in things that other people like, and you’ll build lasting relationships.
Become A New You
You don’t have to change who you are, but you may want to take this time to improve upon yourself. Pamper yourself with a day at the spa, do some spring cleaning in your living quarters (you are a princess after all), and learn to love being alone. A part of you may deeply miss this person, but that doesn’t have to hold you back from making some changes in your life.
16. Pamper Yourself
Have you been waiting for an excuse to change your look, but this person or the relationship has been holding you back? Well, you no longer have an excuse to not do the many things you have wanted to do to spruce yourself up. So, book a spa day and go wild! Treat yourself to the works – hair, makeup, nails, massage, and so forth.
If you have a great “rainy day” fund stored up, hit the mall or your favorite store online, and go shopping for a new wardrobe, accessories, makeup, and perfume. It’s time to spoil yourself. You’ve hit a rough patch; you’ve begun the healing process; now it’s time to focus on taking care of you!
17. Be Happy In Your Environment
Three Female Friends Enjoying Breakfast At Home Together
One of the best ways to get over a person who was a big part of your love life is to change your surroundings (if you can). Consider redecorating or remodeling. These ideas are great distractions and can help you heal from the breakup, especially if this person was holding you back from making changes you wanted to make.
If you’ve watched the Tidying Up with Marie Kondo show (or read her book), consider becoming a minimalist and ridding yourself of the clutter that has filled your life. Follow her suggestions for ways to have a truly minimal lifestyle. Plus, it’s nice to have a clean and orderly home. It’s actually a relaxing thing to come home to after a long day.
18. Enjoy Your Alone Time
While you need to socialize and not stay cooped up alone forever, it’s also crucial that you learn to love being in the company of, well, yourself! Me-time is a good thing; it helps you get in touch with a part of yourself you may have had hidden because you were with someone.
Take a peaceful, candlelit bubble bath reading your favorite magazine or book. If you take a warm bath before bedtime, you’ll really enjoy it because you’ll sleep like a baby! Find ways to relax; go get a massage or buy a portable massager that you use to relax your muscles or even to pleasure yourself. After all, you are alone right now.
Other activities you can enjoy doing while being alone include dancing anywhere, singing out loud, or watching a Netflix marathon. Do something you really love doing, but just haven’t had a chance to do in a long time. Crank up your favorite tunes, put on your favorite shoes, and cut loose in front of the mirror, dancing your little heart out.
If you love someone, the best thing you can do to move on is to let go of her. If it’s meant to be, she’ll come back to you. During this time, practice no contact. Take about 90 days and use this time to make yourself feel better.
Learning how to get over someone after a serious relationship is tough. Start the healing process by taking some time to yourself; do this by ceasing contact with your ex for about 3 months. Use this time to process what’s happened and to heal properly.
If someone has broken your heart, you may feel like throwing up. Allow yourself to process your feelings; eventually, you will feel better. Take time to get in touch with your new reality; you may still love them, but if they ended things, accept it, and move on.
Letting go is awfully hard sometimes. During these times, it’s best to stop talking to the person and to give them all the space they need so that you can healthily part ways. Remove them from your social media and out of your phone. Cease all contact.
The 5 stages of a breakup are similar to those of someone experiencing grief; they include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The last part, acceptance, is what you need to strive for; aim to accept your circumstances. It’s part of having a healthy healing process.
Did I leave anything out? Is there something you are doing differently that’s helping you move on from a serious relationship?
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The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé
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