TLDR: Whether you’re going through a breakup or dealing with divorce, matters of heartbreak can be hard for anyone to handle. Heal your heart and get back on your feet today and every other day with this “how-to” post on handling heartbreak like a boss.
Emotional Healing 101
Whether the relationship lasted one month or several years, breakups and divorces can be really tough.
The longer you’re with your partner, the harder it is to split from them. Your sense of self and future get tied up with them. You build dreams and lives together. And when you split, all of that seems to crumble.
You may experience fear, abandonment, anger, a feeling of loss of control…basically a bunch of uncomfortable emotions.
The most important thing to remember through it all is that this is a passing moment.
Things will get better.
I know it seems like it’s the end of the world, but it will absolutely get better. Nothing negative lasts forever.
So keep that in mind and work through these coping methods until you come out conqueror over your heartbreak.
All you want to do is curl up in your bed, pretend that the world doesn’t exist, and watch reruns of your favorite TV show.
As tempting as that might be, it’s important to get up and get moving.
It is so hard for me personally to get out of bed when I’m going through hard things. But I always feel worse the longer I stay in bed.
So I force myself to get out of bed and I go for a run, I shower, I delve into my passions and projects. Keeping my mind and body active is a sure way to get out of the dark spiral.
Exercise is an excellent way to feel better! It gets the endorphins up, makes you feel good, distracts your mind, helps you connect to your body, and lowers your stress levels.
It’s important to keep in mind that you don’t want to over-exercise. It might be easy to want to use working-out and dieting to get back at an ex. This quickly becomes a negative thing that can be a process of reinforcing rejection and punishing yourself.
The point is to be loving yourself! Forget your ex in this process and embrace you.
Eating foods that are high in sugar, salt, and fat can increase your cortisol levels which is a stress hormone.
It is totally fine to eat some comfort food now and then and indulge. That’s not going to hurt anyone and can actually help a lot.
I know I love my peanut butter cup ice cream…
But it’s important to keep feeding your body greens and nutritious foods that help you feel better physically and mentally.
I know if I eat one big salad a day I feel a lot better emotionally and mentally than I do if I skip it.
I like my smoothies to get my servings of fruits and veggies when I don’t feel like eating much.
Sometimes heartbreak makes me completely lose my appetite.
I eat anyways! Why? Cause I know it’s important.
Yes, I do take in more liquids and drink more smoothies because they are easier to stomach. But if that’s where you have to start then do it. That’s a great start!
Your brain needs the nutrition to keep functioning and keep you smiling.
Don’t over-do it. Whether it’s eating too much, too little, or too much of a fatty food…remember moderation.
Treat yourself, love yourself, and take care of yourself.
Write/Talk It Out
Lean on your circle of support.
Talk it out with your family or a trusted friend.
Don’t create drama or sully your ex’s name (even if they deserve it) because it only makes you look bad.
Get the negative out in your journal or with a trusted person and then let it go. Make room for growth.
Journal reoccurring feelings and work it out. It is a process for sure! Don’t get down on yourself just because you feel negative or hurt. That’s normal. Just don’t dwell on it.
Start making lists of things you’re grateful for and recording/talking about the new, fun things you’re trying and doing.
Maybe you need a therapist for a while. They can be a safe place to work out hard emotions and establish new patterns and ways of thinking. Therapy can help you build healthier thought patterns and teach you how to deal with pain and loss in healthy ways.
Whatever you need…
Focus and talk about the positive and build a beautiful new life!
Friends and Play
Go out with your friends. Plunge into actives that fulfill you and give you wonderful memories and experiences.
There are many beautiful things and people in your life. Your ex was not ever the extent of your life. Just an addition to it for a while. Maybe it was a good addition, maybe they weren’t so great. Either way, you were always a complete person on your own with beautiful people in your life.
Maybe you share a lot of friends with your ex. No problem. If people are mature enough, you can still be friends and hang out with them. If they’re good friends, they won’t bring up your ex or create drama. You can still keep good people in your life through breakups and divorces.
Make new friends too. Go out and start doing your own things and creating and building your own network again.
After you take some time to let out the anger and frustration, it’s a good idea to do some reflection.
One part of healing is being able to take what you’ve learned and apply it to your life.
The time you spent with that person was not a waste. They taught you things about yourself, they made you stronger, they taught you lessons no one else could.
So take time to write about what you learned from the relationship. Write about who you were and who you are now. What do you want to change? What do you like? There is bound to be positive things about the changed in you or the lessons learned even if the relationship was really bad for you.
My friend was in an abusive marriage for years and she really struggled with feeling like it was a waste of time and a black hole in her life.
She was miserable about it for so long until, through therapy, she was able to pin point all the growth she had gone through. Ultimately it made her a stronger person and person others felt comfortable going to for help because of her experiences.
Now she says she wouldn’t go back and change anything about her experience. She’s proud of who’s she become and that she allowed the hard trial to shape her into a better person. I love that woman.
So take time to self-assess, appreciate what you learned, and figure out where you want to go next.
Follow your Passions
You are still you.
Whether that is your career or hobby, take time to do things that excite and rejuvenate you.
And find new passions and hobbies. Take time to date and rediscover yourself. Sometimes we can get caught up in our partner and building two lives together. So now is your time to do some reconnecting if you fell into that during the relationship.
Get excited! There’s a lot to do and explore.
You and Your Ex 101
Maybe you parted on good terms, maybe there was war. However you and your ex left things, it’s important to handle the rest of this process delicately and maturely.
There are a lot of variables in dealing with your ex. Maybe there are kids. Maybe there is debt. You have a unique situation that you have the power to deal with gracefully and come out a champ.
Bet you saw this one coming from a mile away.
I know, I know. Sometimes forgiveness seems so trite or impossible.
The things is it is definitely the most important. Hands down.
Forgive for yourself. Forgiveness might seem like it’s for the other person. And sometimes it does help the other person heal to feel forgiven. But you don’t forgive for the other person’s sake.
You forgive for your sake, for your peace.
Forgive and let go of all those painful feelings. Let go of the grudge. The anger. Let go of the expectations and desires. These feelings do not create room for growth, love, or happiness. They just hurt you and the people around you who love you.
If you have kids, the anger towards your partner can be really damaging to their relationship with them. The negative energy can impact them negatively and make them feel more scared, anxious, angry, or in turmoil.
Obviously you want the best for your kids and you want to be a good example to them of how to handle hard things gracefully. You want to teach them they can still be happy even when things don’t go according to plan.
I have a friend whose wife cheated on him when they were younger and he went crazy. Obviously just incredibly hurt. She ended up leaving him for this man and there was a lot of anger and hurt that was thrown around. Thirty years later he still has fits of rage about what she did to him. He’ll break down crying and get so angry even though he was able to move on and had a beautiful relationship with another woman. He’s so obsessed with hanging onto his hurt that he has been unable to enjoy the beautiful life he has had the opportunity to live.
It’s so sad to me that this good person is hurting themselves so much because of something an ex did over thirty years ago.
So forgive and let go. Create all this beautiful space to begin again as a new, amazing person with a really cool life.
Don’t Threaten or Play Dirty
Sometimes it’s oh-so tempting to get mean and dirty.
If you’re not in a good spot to talk to them directly, then talk to them via email, text, or your mom. And then get to a good place as soon as you can.
But don’t get mean and dirty.
You don’t want behavior brought on by intense emotions such as anger and grief to stain your life. And you definitely don’t want it to reflect on your stability when custody of children comes into play.
Keep your emotions in check and don’t act impulsively. Hold on to your thoughts and think for a long while about them before you act on them.
Talk to a trusted friend or a therapist about how you feel or what you want to do and weigh it out with them to see if it’s something you should really do.
Don’t talk smack about your ex to friends or family and especially not your kids. The desire to get people on your side is strong and probably natural.
You don’t want to be left out in the cold and seen as the one in the wrong.
But if there is something truly awful about your ex, that will manifest itself. People can’t hide who they are for too long.
I had a friend who was married to a truly manipulative and mean person. They shared custody of their children and their ex would just bad mouth her endlessly to her kids. But she never played dirty. She just loved her children and modeled maturity and respect for them.
For a while, her children did not like her, and it broke her heart. She went through a rough time for a while and really wanted to indulge and just rip her ex apart verbally. But she held back and clung to her values.
Now her children adore her and hardly speak to her ex. Why? Because before long they saw the ex for what he was and saw through his lies. They saw how much he manipulated them and how graceful and good their mother is. It was a long fight, but my friend won far and beyond because she played fair.
Instant gratification isn’t worth your self-respect and the admiration of your friends, family, and children.
Don’t Use Your Kids as Leverage
This one is pretty short and to the point.
Don’t get your kids involved with adult affairs.
Don’t threaten your ex with not being able to see their kids.
Of course certain circumstances such as abuse or threat exempts you from this and it’s appropriate to take legal action.
But don’t let your anger hurt the relationship of your kids and your partner
There are still good things about your partner even if you don’t really like them much right now. There were good things that attracted you to them and made them a good parent.
Try to keep that in mind and allow your children to have their parent. They deserve that.
Do Be Chill and Leave the Past Behind
It may be the case that you can say bye-bye to your ex and never have to see them again.
Or maybe you want to just officially leave them out of your life now.
Maybe you’re totally good being friends.
Or maybe you have to work to be friends or at least tolerate one another because you’re going to be running into each other (kids, work, transport, etc.)
Whatever level of interaction you have with your ex, keep things simple and chill.
Talk in soothing tones and don’t dredge up the past. The past is the past. You’re both moving on. Talking about the past does nothing. Leveling accusations does nothing. It is irrelevant now. Move on.
Don’t take anything they say personally. They may get angry or reactive too. You can’t control how they act. But you can control how YOU act.
Be civil and chill and pretty soon they’ll catch up and match.
Yeah it’s tempting to think some soundly timed insults might make things better. But in the long run it just makes the insulter look petty.
It is a sweet joy to just move on until you realize none of this affects you anymore. And yes, that will happen if you work for it.
Life is good. Be chill.
Do Move On
It’s such a delicate process isn’t it?
It can be so easy to try to just get revenge and get with someone. It’s tempting to find a trophy and parade them around to make your ex jealous. Many people don’t want to look like they’re hurt, or that they are dependent on their ex.
We want to show how desirable we are and how much they missed out on, dang it!
As tempting as I know this is…it’s not worth it.
You could hurt someone by just using them. You don’t want to break someone else’s heart just because yours has been broken.
Also, the whole point of a split is now you get to focus on you!
You get to rediscover yourself, find new passions, delve into your hobbies. You don’t have your spare time being divvied out with compromise about what you’re going to do on the weekend or Wednesday night.
It’s smart to take the time to love and reconnect with yourself. Take some time to heal before you open up to being vulnerable again. That way you know you’re doing what’s best for you and you’re more aware of what you need to be happy.
And then have so much fun with the process of dating and finding a new person to love. It’s so exciting! You’re now able to go forward with your new found and stronger self and find a great partner.
And don’t put pressure or a time restraint on this. Some people find that they’re happier alone or just casually dating for a long time. Some people find love quickly. There isn’t’ a right or wrong.
The important thing is that you’re happy and taking care of yourself.
Getting Back Out There
So you’ve gone through the process.
You’ve taken care of yourself—dated and fallen in love with yourself. You feel like a strong, independent, sexy woman.
And now you’re ready to get back out there and have some fun. Maybe even find someone to share the good times in your life with again.
Oh but…maybe it’s also been so long you feel like you’ve forgotten how to do this. You start to feel some of that confidence falter…
No worries! You know what they say, it’s like riding a bike. Remember, you just have to have enough faith in yourself to get started.
Dating Can Bolster Your Confidence
Just jump into it.
You’re going to find that there are a lot of people who want to be with you. I guarantee your ex isn’t the only one who will ever want you. That’s ridiculous. There are so many people out there, and you are a catch.
Have some fun and date around. Let the attention bolster your confidence.
Try New Things
Break away from your usual and be adventurous. You might surprise yourself by what you like. And life is still about self-discovery right?
Maybe try online dating or Tinder or whatever it is the kids are doing these days. Or, if you tried online dating before, try going out and meeting people through mutual interests and activities.
Get involved in volunteer projects, clubs, classes, whatever catches your interest, and make new friends. People usually date in their friend circle or meet other people through their friend circle.
Go on dates you usually wouldn’t have before. Try new activities and be open to extending your horizons. And try not to be afraid. Dating is scary enough as it as without new activities stressing you out.
Flirt and Take Chances
Maybe it feels awkward at first, but before long it’s going to feel natural.
Go out of your way to say hi, give your number, or even just smile.
He doesn’t know to ask you out unless you cue him, right?
Have small conversations with people until you find someone you really connect with.
Also, take chances with blind dates. Let your friends set you up with that guy they are certain you’d just love. Hey, maybe he ends up wearing ridiculous turtle necks and talks way too much about foreign films…BUT maybe you learned something about foreign films and you find out you actually kind of like them.
Doesn’t hurt to try.
Dating with Kids
Dating with kids can make things more complicated. But it can still be fun.
Just keep in mind that you’re looking to form a new family with someone. That someone needs to love your kids. They need to want kids and accept them. This cannot be compromised on.
Have healthy conversations with the person you date about what they want. Talk about what they want in life and watch them to make sure they measure up to their own (and your) expectations.
Don’t be shy about having conversations about your kids and making a new family when the time is right. It’s a serious and fair topic if they’re serious about you.
Definitely include your kids in the dating process. Check in with them about their feelings and make sure they’re processing everything ok. Sometimes family therapy can be a great thing through this, and it will make your kids feel heard.
Also take your kids out with the person you’re dating seriously. At a certain point it’s important to see how they are with your kids for extended periods of time. See if you all have chemistry as a family.
And of course be safe. It can cause single parents a lot of anxiety to bring an adult outsider in around their kids. It takes a lot of trust.
Exercise reasonable caution, take time getting to know a person before bringing them around or sharing intimate details. Don’t let this turn into fear though. Everything in life has risk. Just make sure it’s reasonable risk and you’ll be fine.
Be rational, safe, but also trusting. Everything is going to work out.
Remember to Prioritize Yourself
Remember to do you. Put yourself (and your kids if you have them) first.
Do what makes you happy and don’t limit yourself. You deserve the best.