A broken heart is one of the few things in life that is going to hurt, no matter how much you’ve prepared yourself – and it’s probably going to keep hurting every time it happens. After all, if it doesn’t hurt, is your heart really broken in the first place?
There are a multitude of ways that people cope with this pain. Sometimes, the easiest thing to do is just take things one step at a time.
Step One: Let go.
As hard as it may be, you need to let go of the woman who hurt you. Even if you end up working things out in the future, you won’t be able to “start over fresh” (as you should, with Round Two relationships) unless you’ve completely removed yourself from the pain of Round One. Don’t try to hold onto something that’s not working.
Step two: Feel the pain.
Most people try to distract themselves from the pain, because the pain is uncomfortable. While it’s good to follow your heart to new happiness, it’s not good to distract yourself with drinking, drugs, or other bad habits. Casual sex while you’re recovering from heartbreak is a bad idea, too, as it can lead to extra complicated feelings. Instead, try to focus on forming new, happy habits and hobbies – while still allowing yourself to feel the pain of the break-up.
Step three: Avoid limiting yourself.
Don’t set yourself a time limit for moving on, as this can have a negative consequence on your overall healing time. You should also resist the urge to tell yourself that your ex is the best you’ll ever have – if the two of you broke up, obviously your relationship wasn’t as great as you thought it was. It’s okay to grieve, but it’s not okay to put yourself down because you’re grieving.
Step four: Trust your destiny.
Some people solidly believe that their future is already written for them. It can be tough when that future isn’t what we hoped for – but if you truly believe in the destiny approach, it’s not you who decides your fate – it’s the universe. Personally, I believe we create our own destiny, to an extent. This means that we have to allow ourselves to move forward after a heartbreak, otherwise we’re only moving backwards.
Step five: Don’t dwell.
It’s normal to think back on the good times, and also the bad times. Just make sure that you’re not living there anymore. It’s best to remember that there’s a reason things didn’t work out, and even if you do end up giving it another chance in the future, it’s never going to be exactly the same as it was – so try to avoid the nostalgia.
Step six: Treat yourself.
Spend some time being your own girlfriend for a while. Go out on solo dates, take yourself to the spa, maybe even buy yourself a new sex toy or a bouquet of flowers. Whatever will help you feel loved and appreciated, do it – you deserve to spend this time to focus on the things that make you happy.
Step seven: Don’t blame yourself.
Most relationships end due to incompatibilities, not because one person was horrible and the other person was amazing. (Although, technically, I think this counts as an incompatibility too.) While some people love being showered in attention, other people will feel trapped by this. Some people are liberated by the idea of an open relationship, and other people are insecure about their partner even looking at someone else. In time, you’ll find someone who meets your personal expectations – but not if you’re wallowing in what you did wrong.
Step eight: Be thankful.
Be thankful for the things that your ex taught you. Be thankful for the things you still have even without your ex. Whenever possible, thankfulness and gratitude will go a long way toward your overall happiness. That’s not to say it’ll be easy, especially if you’re not used to being grateful and thankful for things, but it’s important that you try.
Step nine: Keep your chin up.
And for the love of yourself, think of the future. I know it hurts now, but it won’t always hurt. Remember that things happen for a reason – if it wasn’t meant to be, then she was in your life to teach you something. Maybe she was only there to teach you that you deserve better, and that’s fine. Just remember that the future is going to be better, and even the worst pain can’t last forever.