What happens when you break up with someone? It’s different for everyone, but it’s safe to say that “a lot” is a common answer. Chances are, your significant other was a part of every facet of your life. While moving past that person may be difficult, there are ways to make it easier on yourself.
“It’s very trite, but tell yourself that things will get easier with time because things can be really painful,” said Dr. Paulette Sherman, psychologist and author of Facebook Dating: From First Date to Soulmate. “The average breakup takes some time. Just give yourself some time to normalize and to get used to it.”
Whether you’re working on getting over a long-term relationship, a short-lived fling, or even an intense crush, you’ll find something useful in the practical tips on getting over someone that Sherman shared with the Cut.
1. Grieving is the first step of the process.
The first thing that you should do is give yourself an appropriate amount of time to grieve. “Let yourself feel your feelings, because you don’t want to repress them,” Sherman says. You should also be sure to talk through any grief that you have so that you can work on moving past it instead of holding on to it.
2. Put someone else on speed dial.
“If you’re used to that person being the one you told the great news or the bad news, then you’re kind of susceptible to that every time something happens,” Sherman says. “Put your mom on speed dial, or your best friend. If there are certain times that you’re used to talking to that person, just start sort of connecting more with somebody else because it becomes a habit and otherwise you might call them when you’re in a vulnerable position.”
3. Structure your days.
Sherman says that this can be a catch-22, especially at the beginning, since you do want to set aside time to grieve. Grieving shouldn’t be the main part of your day, though. “It’s helpful to keep busy and to structure your days in the beginning, just so that you’re not wallowing all the time,” Sherman explains.
4. Put extra focus on self-care.
“Take care of yourself because you’re going to be emotionally rundown,” Sherman says. This is the perfect time to focus entirely on yourself and make sure your needs are being met. “Focus on your self-development and your self-esteem because sometimes that takes a hit. Whether that’s through exercise or some hobby, something you really like to do or learn. So you feel like you’re becoming your best self and you feel confident again.”
5. Take a step up in your next relationship.
Figure out what wasn’t working in your relationship, and make sure that the next person you date doesn’t have that quality. “You’ll notice there’s a reason you broke up with the person, then you know that you’re just not going to tolerate that going forward, so you’re going to choose with that in mind,” Sherman explains. “Then the next relationship, you won’t have to deal with that.”
6. Get excited for your future.
Your future is now entirely yours for the taking, and you don’t have to keep anyone else in mind. “It can be empowering to do a vision board of goals for what you’re going to do the next few months are moving forward, because that kind of empowers you to keep your eyes there,” says Sherman. This is a way for you to get excited about your future instead of focusing on the past.
7. Purge your pictures (and your social media), but don’t act rashly.
Sherman cautions against throwing everything out in anger, in case you might want a picture or two when your emotions calm down. “If pictures are all out, put them away if it’s going to upset you. You can always decide what you’re keeping or throwing out later.” You should also plan on giving yourself some space from that person, which includes unfollowing or blocking them on social media. Sherman says that you can tell the person you’re trying to get over that you’re doing this if you don’t want to hurt their feelings.
8. Cut off communication if it’s hindering you.
This goes hand in hand with taking space from someone on social media. If you continue to talk to the person or hook up with them, it will just be that much harder to get over them in the long run, particularly if you’re secretly hoping for a change of heart. “If you’re sitting around for six months hoping the person is going to change their mind and come back, that probably isn’t going to happen and it’s not healthy because it’s not being present,” Sherman says. “It’s not dealing with the reality of what is.”
9. Know your worth.
Remember that a breakup doesn’t make you unlovable or undesirable. Internalizing negative beliefs about yourself is damaging. Instead, turn your focus to your best qualities. “Write down 25 things that make you a great catch,” says Sherman. “[You] can read that over before [you] start dating again.”
10. Be wary of rebounds.
This scenario varies from person to person. “It’s important to be a little careful of the whole rebound thing,” Sherman cautions. “First of all, you can hurt the other person, but also maybe your mind-set is not ready to deal with more emotions when you’re already upset. For some people — if they can handle it, and it’s something they’re conscious of — it can help them get back out there without getting too intense.”