The art of letting go

Unfortunately, the reality of dating is that there are usually breakups along the way. Which is why one of the most common questions I get is about how to cope. I wish I could say it gets easier as you get older but that would not be true at all. However, I can say that having had a fair amount of experience with breakups in the past, I can give some decent advice on letting go and moving on.

The first thing I recommend is allowing yourself to be sad.  Even if you’re the one who initiated the breakup, you’ll probably need this to let your emotions run their course. Have a good cry into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s or write a bunch of sappy poems if necessary. Just do something you know will help you (constructively) get out those emotions.

Once you’ve done that, you need to decide that it’s time to move on. It can be one moment of resolve or twenty (or more) such moments but you need to tell yourself that it’s time to move on. I’ve found that telling myself that it’s time to move on is helpful when those “what if he changes his mind?” or “should I just take him back?” moments crop up.

Next, you need to sterilize your living space as much as is reasonable. Have some of her cds? Make sure they go back to their owner via a mutual friend. Did you make a photo collage of you two together? Throw it away or at the very least pack it up into a box. Put away/give away/throw away the stuff that will spark memories. There’s no point in crying every time you make a pot of coffee because his mug is sitting on the shelf. Get rid of it.

Then, you limit your social media consumption. Unfriend/unfollow/block the ex if you have to but do not under any circumstances allow yourself to “stalk” him or her online. No contact online is best if you can manage it. If you cannot swing total silence, at least vow not to visit his/her Facebook page until you’ve moved on.You don’t need to know if he/she s already seeing someone else and you certainly don’t need to be posting comments on all of her pictures on Instagram. It will just make the letting go process that much longer and more difficult.

Lastly, you are going to distract yourself. The biggest problem with moving on is being plagued by thoughts of the ex. Anytime thoughts of your ex arise, you are going to replace them with thoughts of other things. Do a hobby, talk to friends about something unrelated, or get some exercise. Just don’t let yourself revert to the mourning period all over, again. You need to deal with these thoughts proactively by not allowing them to stick around for long. The more you make a habit of distracting yourself, the better off you’ll be.

So, yeah, it’s not rocket science and it will take some time but those are my steps to getting over someone. It does, however, work as I am living proof. And once you’ve moved on you can find love, again.


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