Sex & Relationships

Five tips for getting over a break-up

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Breaking up is hard to do: Pamela Allardice shares five ideas for getting through the dark times and finding a way forward.

1. Let it out

Disappointment and anger will fester if you keep them cooped up. Go for a run, chop wood, learn boxing, scream, or kick a cardboard box to pieces. These emotions can also be used to the good. Get busy and clean the house, scrubbing, sweeping, polishing and tossing trash. Physical activity eases mental anguish and you’ll find satisfaction in a job well done.

2. Allow yourself to grieve

Mourning is a natural reaction to loss, and the more intense the relationship was, the more you’ll grieve. When we give our heart to another person, we trust them with the essence of who we are. When this connection is broken we feel as though we have not only lost the other person, but that we have lost a chunk of ourselves. Grieving presents in several forms: you may feel numb; you may brood and continually go over what went wrong; and you will undoubtedly feel just plain miserable. You can’t go around this mountain of sad feelings — you have to go through them. Yes, it will hurt like hell. But it will make you strong.

3. Find closure

In order to make room for the next stage of your life, this relationship needs to become part of your past, not your present. A formal ‘closing ceremony’ may help. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Set aside an hour where you can sit undisturbed. Have paper and a pen handy. Head one sheet of paper with “What I will miss about this relationship …”. Head the second, “Things I won’t miss …”; the third, “What I’ve learned about myself during this time …” and the last, “What I want from a future partner is …”. Be honest. By opening up, you will gain a greater understanding of yourself and be able to accept the loss.

4. Find forgiveness

When you’ve been dumped, this is the toughest call of all. It’s also necessary, because otherwise you’ll find it hard to move past your hurt, and may unconsciously see yourself as a victim. Before you list your ex’s faults and swear that you’ll see him in hell first, understand that forgiveness doesn’t mean that what he did to you was acceptable. It means you don’t want to be angry with him any more; it’s not worth it. Continuing to hate them will make you cynical and bitter. Deciding to forgive and let go means you take back control and focus on a positive future — yours.

5 Move on

Ultimately, the most important thing you will learn from breaking up is to have faith in yourself. By working through the pain, you will come to understand that you are resilient and courageous enough to cope with change and challenges. Tape these words from French philosopher Jean de la Fontaine to your mirror: “I bend but I do not break.”

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