Most of us assume, when we commit ourselves to someone, that it’s going to last for the rest of our lives. We know this probably isn’t true, but we don’t want to become a statistic of another self-fulfilling prophecy. So we hope for the best, and we build with this person – like we should do.

But when we break up, we tend to turn into this different person. We regret ever associating with our ex, or maybe we even act hostile towards her. Is it right? No. Does it happen? Yeah – more than we’d care to admit.

If you want to know the top 4 things you shouldn’t do after a break-up, keep reading.

Mistake #1: Thinking you need to hate the other person.

When we’re angry, we say a lot of things we might regret later. They’re not always true, even if we’re an honest person, and while they should be avoided, they will occasionally slip out. Does that mean you should hate your ex if she said she never loved you in your last fight? Well, probably not.

If the negative things that were said were true, you’ll need time to process them and decide what you’re going to do in the future. If they weren’t true, you’ll need time to remember that your worth isn’t defined by someone else – especially someone who is no longer a part of your life.

Instead of hating her, it’s best if you allow yourself to grieve the loss of the relationship, as well as the loss of your love. After all, if your feelings were powerful enough that you’re driven to hate her, it’s obvious that she was important in your life – and her interactions with you probably helped shape who you are now. Take your time to grieve, and then think of how you can improve yourself and your personal relationship expectations in the future.

Mistake #2: Blaming everything on her.

Relationships very rarely end because one person sucks. It might happen occasionally, but it’s far more likely that you were both to blame for the relationship failing. Failing to take responsibility for your own wrongdoings isn’t going to help you be a better person, nor is it going to “punish” your ex in any way whatsoever. If she’s come to terms with the end of the relationship, your opinions of her aren’t going to phase her at all.

Try to make a mental inventory of all the mistakes that were made in your relationship – both by you and by her. Be honest with yourself. If you accused her of being jealous and clingy, but you gave her a legitimate reason to fear you’d stray, make sure you account for that too. Relationships are a two-way street, and we often act in response to the way someone else has acted.

But she’s probably not innocent, either, so make sure you take note of the things she did that you don’t want to tolerate from another partner. While you might not be able to prevent them all, identifying what your specific deal-breakers are is important, and just because you weren’t the one who got fed up and left doesn’t mean your own eyes haven’t been opened. Be fair to yourself in the future, and don’t put up with things that you really can’t handle.

Mistake #3: Believing you’ll get over it in time.

Everyone always says, “Time heals all wounds.” And that’s a great sentiment, except that it’s incomplete. It really ought to read, “Time and hard work heal all wounds.” Nothing worth having comes easy, and the process of getting over a love lost is actually a lot of hard work. You have to actively work to get over her – it’s not just going to happen on its own.

For all you women who might sit and pine, watching her status updates to see if there’s a glimmer of hope that she’s thinking of you, too, I have some bad news for you. She probably isn’t, and you’re not doing yourself any favors by letting her run your thought process. If she’s not a part of your life, you shouldn’t be trying to please her. She’s not yours to please anymore.

Instead of waiting for the pain to subside, you actually have to go out and make it go away – on your own. Friends and loved ones can help, but most of the work will need to be done by you. It’s important that we remember that, even though it’s wonderful when someone cares enough about us to “fix us”, it’s no one’s responsibility but our own.

Mistake #4: Thinking you need to get rid of every memory of her.

Sometimes after a break-up, we think the only way to make a clean getaway is to erase every bit of evidence that the two of you were every item. You may throw away her old sweater she left behind, or burn her pictures, or delete her number out of your phone. But most of the time, it’s healthier to leave those things – especially if they revolve around happy memories. Maybe you don’t need to text her, if the situation ended badly (or if you’re not sure you’ve healed). But getting rid of all the old pictures is like erasing a chunk of your own history, and even if it has a strong association with her, it also says a lot about you.

I used to be the type to purge everything – always. As soon as the words “we’re through” had left either of our mouths, I was already ridding myself of the memories. The only problem was… I went through a lot of off-and-on relationships. The end was never really the end; it was more like a pause. And even when it was the end, I’d end up running across something I forgot to get rid of, or something that a family member still had – and it would flood all the memories back. This can be really painful when you haven’t allowed yourself time to process everything.

Instead, you should try to focus on removing them from your everyday line of sight, without getting rid of them entirely. There’s no real reason to delete every picture off your Facebook if you guys were together for five years – she was a big part of your life at that time and you have every right to still access those memories. As long as you’re not intentionally drudging them up to live in the past, hang onto your memories and let them guide you to a better future.

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