One of the unavoidable downsides of being a human being (besides, y’know, paying bills and working through summers) is going through a breakup. No matter how you spin it, it just simply sucks. Especially because there is no magical, cure-all way to fix a broken heart.
But while you can’t wave around a wand and expect a wish to make all the pain go away, you can take advice from these dating and relationship experts below. They’ve provided actually-good tips on how to mend your broken heart.
Just remember that healing is not linear, and it’s absolutely okay to do everything on this list and still feel broken. The advice they gave may not be an end-all-be-all, but it is a really great starting point.
Presenting, seven solid ways to make your heartbreak a lil less shitty.
1. Grieve the former relationship
Allow yourself to feel sad about the love you lost—and don’t rush the process. “During the grieving process, allow your emotions to be processed and honored,” says licensed therapist Mac Stanley Cazeau, owner of Therapy Is For Everyone PLLC.
If you need to, listen to some breakup songs, binge-watch that terrible reality TV show, order a pizza, and pour yourself a glass of wine, suggests Cazeau. You have to allow yourself to process your emotions and not feel guilty for how you truly feel. Especially because suppressing these feelings can make it worse in the long-run.
2. Set healthy boundaries
Listen, it’s hard to get over a heartbreak when you keep going back to the source that caused it—whether that’s continuing to text this person or stalking their socials.
For this reason, Cazeau suggests setting a boundary by saying that you do not want to communicate with this person post-breakup. “These boundaries will allow you to process your emotions and provide you the safety needed to move on,” he says.
Highly recommend you also change their name in your phone, block their social media, delete the photos, and reach out to your friends for support. The no-contact rule works for a reason.
3. Invest in yourself
Now is the best time to focus on yourself again. “When you invest in you, what you gain can be utilized whether you are single and/or in a relationship again,” says psychotherapist Nicholas Hardy. “This also helps reestablish your identity as an individual.”
So pick up activities or hobbies that make you happy. Maybe it’s creating a workout routine, maybe it’s baking some of your favorite dishes. Whatever it is, do things that you didn’t feel like you had time to do for yourself in your relationship.
In addition to improving your physical health, focus on your mental health too. Seeking a therapist via an app like TalkSpace is a great way for you to process your feelings and post-breakup pain in a healthy environment.
4. Write down your feelings
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but journaling is one of the easiest, most effective ways to process your emotions, says Tatyana Dyachenko. If you have zero idea what to write about, try starting with these prompts: What did you learn about yourself in this relationship? What are some things that made you unhappy in this relationship? What are some things that made you happy in the relationship?
And don’t worry, if writing pen-to-paper is so not your thing, try texting your thoughts out in your Notes tab or typing them into a Word document. Both are very therapeutic options if you have a lot to say and don’t feel like getting a writing cramp.
Try doing this once a day for five minutes, and I promise, you’ll either feel better or, at the very least, have a better understanding of the breakup and why you feel the way you do.
5. Write a letter to your ex without ever actually sending it
Similar to journaling, writing a letter to your ex without having any intention of actually sending it can be super therapeutic too, says dating expert Krysta Monet. “In the letter to your ex, you can openly express all of your emotions and anger. All of the things you wanted to say but never said comes out here,” says Monet. “This is your time to travel back down memory lane to all of the bullshit you put up with, and acknowledge the red flags you may have missed when you were love stuck. This is your open letter from beginning to end.”
After you’ve written your letter, seal it up and place it somewhere out of sight for a few months. When you revisit it or stumble upon it later, you will more than likely have a better understanding of why the relationship had to come to an end, says Monet. This is the clarity we want, my friend.
6. Don’t search or wait for “closure”
Sorry, but closure doesn’t exist. And the truth is, you’re never going to find what you’re looking for by hoping for “closure.” Closure comes from within and often takes time, says Monet. “Give yourself that time to understand yourself and why the situation didn’t work out. Self-closure is the only type of closure worth seeking.”
In other words, stalking your ex’s Instagram or calling them every drunk Saturday night saying you need closure is not going to do anything but hinder your progress.
7. Occupy yourself with distractions
Listen, you don’t want to ignore your feelings. If you’re sad, be sad. If you’re angry, be angry. But whatever you do, try not to sit around and sulk all day by yourself. “The more time you have to sit around and think about your past relationship, the more it will get to you. Keep your mind occupied,” says Monet.
Don’t be afraid to pick up a new hobby or try something that you’ve never had time to do before. Consider this to be your rebranding because, as a single person, the world is quite literally your oyster—and you don’t have to worry about anyone but yourself.
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