If you have recently become single after a long relationship, you already know it isn’t easy. Even if you were the one who chose to end the relationship, being single can come as quite the shock after being committed to someone for a long period of time. There will be times you hurt, times you doubt yourself, and times you just don’t know what to do. Your ex was probably the person you turned to for everything that came up in your life, and now that person is gone. Whether you were ready for it or not, your life is going to look a lot different now that you are single.
Here are some tips on how to be single and happy after a long relationship ends. While there is no magic formula, there are a few tricks that can help you move on.
Give Yourself Time To Mourn
Letting go of a long relationship can be complicated. It can feel the same as a death. The grieving process is going to be in full effect after losing a long time significant other. If you deny yourself the ability to go through each step, you’ll only prolong the mourning. Go ahead and let yourself grieve. Cry. Curse. Feel all of the feelings that you want and need to feel. You may find yourself going through all of the same stages of grief as you would if your partner had died. Don’t rush the process. It takes time.
Denial – You may think that it really isn’t over. There is a way that you can fix things to make your partner come back. You’ll focus on a future where the two of you are back together. Unfortunately, you may end up sending late night texts against your better judgment.
Anger – Anger at your ex is certainly going to set in after you get past the denial stage. You’ll probably be angry at your ex, angry at the universe, or angry at other people for odd reasons. Try to avoid bashing your ex to anyone who will listen, although venting to a good friend is never a bad thing.
Bargaining – You may try one more time to get back with your ex. This time, though, you’ll bargain with him/her. You may offer to seek counseling or be a better person or ask him/her to do likewise.
Depression – Depression doesn’t always have to look like sadness. It can manifest itself in many forms – feeling tired all the time, not wanting to do the things you used to enjoy, or a loss of appetite. You may feel like you will never be able to move on with your life.
Acceptance – Finally! This is the phase where the tears finally begin to dry up. You can let go of your relationship and slowly move on with your life. The acceptance phase may come on slowly, and you may regress occasionally back to depression or even to earlier stages.
Spend Time Doing The Things You Enjoy
The absolute quickest way to rebound after a breakup is to focus on yourself. Find the activities you used to enjoy when you were single. Sign up for some group activities or invite an old pal to join you. Spend time with yourself. Read a few good books. Go to the movies. Get active! Whatever it is you do, just try to enjoy yourself.
Try doing the activities you loved to do as a couple, too. If the two of you used to hike together, go for a hike alone and prove that you can still enjoy it without your ex.
Do something that makes you feel good. Get a massage, a pedicure, or treat yourself to a complete makeover and a new hairdo. Buy yourself a new pair of jeans or a jacket that you’ve had your eye on. It is okay to be a little materialistic right after the breakdown of what was a long relationship.
Delete Your Ex From Social Media
Please do yourself a favor and stop following your ex on all social media accounts. You don’t have to un-friend them right away if you don’t want to (although I do strongly recommend you do so after a while), but remove them from your newsfeed. The last thing you need to see is evidence that your ex is moving on while you aren’t.
Avoid posting fake or posed pictures of yourself on social media trying to prove that you’ve moved on (when you obviously haven’t). The best practice is to try to stay off social media completely until you get to the acceptance phase.
Even if your relationship ended on friendly terms, you are not true friends. It is impossible to be friends with your ex right after a long term relationship breakup. You will both be reeling with painful emotions. Your ex might have even said that they want to stay friends, but trust me – he or she was just trying to spare your feelings. Friendships are possible somewhere down the line, but only after all romantic feelings have died (on both sides).
You Don’t Need To Date Right Away
It may be tempting to jump right back into the dating scene, but try to resist that urge. You won’t be ready to get back into a relationship, and you may end up hurting someone else. While a few casual dates won’t hurt anyone, the best practice is to enjoy being single and learn to spend time alone. When you enter back into the dating pool later on, you’ll be much better equipped emotionally.
Breakups can be really tough, especially if the relationship was long-term. They can disrupt your entire life and make you feel as if you will never bounce back. You may feel panic and extreme anxiety, but all of your feelings are normal. While it does take time to recover, you can take steps to make it as painless as possible. Give yourself time to grieve, and don’t rush it. It may seem like it takes forever, but take heart in the fact that this too will eventually pass.
Melissa Ricker is a nuclear engineer and a professional freelance writer specializing in career growth, technical writing and online entrepreneurship. She writes a blog, Engineered Motherhood, for working mothers who need help balancing career growth and time management.