There is a process to moving on from a breakup. This process isn’t an exact science – some people can skip a step or two and be just fine, while others will take significantly more time as they fully calculate every step and make sure things are just right before they move forward. Neither of these is right or wrong – it’s just a matter of how you process things. Just knowing this fact doesn’t make anything any easier – but it can help if you remember a few things along the way.
Moving on takes time.
Exactly how much time is going to be different for everyone, and every breakup. You could be over things in just a few days (which isn’t very likely when it’s been a meaningful relationship), or it could take you years. Don’t try to rush yourself – just as you can’t “will” a broken bone to heal, you can’t “will” a broken heart to heal, either. The more you focus on getting over her, the longer you’re letting her be a fixture in your mind – which is counterproductive. Instead, give yourself time to become your own best friend. This will help so much more!
The bigger portion of your life she represented, the longer it’s going to take.
This is why some people (myself included) consciously delay attachment to a person. Sure, it doesn’t always work – and in fact, most of the time, it backfires. But the more you love a person, the more it’s going to hurt to let them go. Remember that old saying “it’s better to have loved and lost” and all that goes along with it? It’s true – even the worst relationships will have given you a learning experience, and the best relationships will let you know what you deserve in the future. Usually, the length of the relationship will play a role in the healing time required, but I have had some short relationships (less than three months) that meant more to me than an eighteen-month relationship – each situation will be different.
There is no rush, and there is no obligation.
No one else has the right to push you past a relationship – no matter what their position in your life is. I’ve had family members who tried to take me out to meet someone new before me and my ex had even broken up officially. I’ve had exes who “checked up on me” to make sure I was okay and that I was getting over them well enough. (Hint: These messages should be ignored, because her stated intentions are probably not her actual intentions.) I’ve had friends who tried to set me up with someone else within days of a big breakup – the one I call “The Big Breakup” – and it usually ended up with me drunk and crying. Seriously, letting someone push you around after a breakup is probably the worst thing you can let happen. Tell them you need time for yourself.
Don’t make it all about her.
The more power you give her over your life, the harder it’s going to be to let go. This means that every time you have the opportunity to blame something on her, ignore the opportunity. It might seem like placing the blame on her will free you from the spell she had over you, but truthfully, it’s letting her keep her hold on you, with no effort on her part. Talk about unintended consequences! Instead, identify your own faults as well, and focus on fixing those. You can’t fix a relationship that’s already ended, and you have nothing to gain by making it all her fault.
Breathe – and pamper yourself.
Just because you’ve identified your own faults doesn’t mean that you can’t spoil yourself a little. You deserve happiness and peace, and putting yourself in a more relaxing situation can help you naturally process things. If you meditate, do it! If you’d rather relax at the spa, find a good friend to go with you, and take advantage of the healing power of a stranger’s hands. (Note: I’m talking about a massage, not sex.) No matter how you like to relax, give yourself extra time to relax – your brain is going to be a mess of stress for a while, and it’s easier to erase these things if they’re not causing you unnecessary stress. Deal with the stress, and dealing with the pain will be easier.
Rebounding doesn’t actually help.
Often, we can be tempted to hook up with someone else to force ourselves over a relationship gone wrong. It doesn’t work – it just confuses you, and potentially causes even more pain. This is especially true if the person you’re rebounding with doesn’t know your situation, but it’s not always easy to tell your problems to a stranger. The obvious answer here is to not get with the rebound hookup, but to instead wait until you’ve healed.
Just because you still think about her doesn’t mean that you still want to be with her.
You can get over someone and still think about them on a regular basis. Especially if she was a big part of your life for a long time, understandably, she’s going to be on your mind. You shouldn’t try to erase her memory completely – chances are, you’d be letting go of more than just the pain if you do – but you should understand that things aren’t the same. You’re allowed to have happy memories with her. You’re allowed to have sad and angry memories with her. You should never be ashamed of your memories – you can’t change them, you can only keep them from repeating themselves… And you can’t do that if you pretend they never happened.