Most of us have been there: after what had been for some time a glorious relationship, you or your significant other called it quits. At first, there is the shock, then the feelings of dismay, maybe anger, and then the reality of it sets in. You are once again single. You may not know what to do, where to go, how you should proceed with your new single status. For a detailed overview of the process look here, and know what is most important at this time is to get back to “normal” and to do it as painlessly as possible.
There is no one “right” way to get back on track, so we’ve assembled a roundtable of people who not only have survived a breakup, they have grown and thrived post-breakup.
Move forward (Or in this case, to Denver)
“I thought I had it all,” Judy Desky stated. Judy, 28, is a marketing specialist with a well-known cereal company. “Simon and I had been in a relationship since we were freshmen at CU. That’s practically a decade. I moved to Phoenix after graduation because that is where his job offer was. I had wanted to stay in Colorado; that’s where my roots are.” Judy continued, sighing, “I do not want to go into the gory details, but suffice it to say we are no longer together. After the breakup, I asked myself what was important to me, and the answer came to me immediately. My family. No more splitting the holidays each year, and no more being geographically distant. I moved to Denver within a month of the breakup. And the cherry on top? My new job is much better than the one I left behind.”
Reassess what has been important to you
As Judy discovered, her breakup made her think about her priorities. This can be a good move for everyone from time to time, whether or not they have just ended a relationship. A breakup can help you focus on areas of your life which may have gone unnoticed or not given the attention it may have deserved.
Such was what happened when Cory Althorp, 34, went through his breakup. “I knew the end of this relationship was coming for a long while, but when we actually did it, it came as an extraordinary shock. At first, I just poured myself into my work. I am a lawyer, and boy did my billable hours go up! One evening on my home from work, I noticed all the people on bicycles. The thought crossed my mind that I used to really enjoy cycling, but I hadn’t been on a bike since my school days–and I’m talking elementary school! The next day I went out and bought a bike, and the following weekend, I took it out–the first time I had been on a bike in years. I really got into it and joined a local cycling club. Lo and behold, the woman I am now dating I met in the club.” And as an added bonus, this research asserts that exercise itself can make people happier.
Think beyond yourself
Hilda discovered the man she considered her soulmate had been cheating on her for two years. “Here I was,” the financial analyst started, “I thought Gilberto and I would spend the rest of our lives together and retire to a small Italian village and renovate a decrepit villa, eat pasta and tend our vegetable garden. Well, he was tending someone else’s garden! I spent a week curled up on my sofa crying and subsisting on Ben and Jerry’s.”
She continued, “After that week, I went back to work and walking to my car after the first day back, I passed a soup kitchen. I don’t know why, but I walked in and asked if they needed any help. I spent three hours that night serving dinner and helping clean up afterward. It felt great to focus on something other than myself. I could no longer wallow in self-pity because the people I was helping had problems far bigger than my own.”
Volunteering, as Hilda found out, is an excellent way to help with getting over a breakup. Libraries have adult literacy programs which are always looking for volunteers to help with teaching adults to read, schools can always use volunteers. Volunteering will connect you with others, and will help you and others. Win-win!
Stop all contact especially of the electronic sort
“Wow, did I learn a lesson after my breakup,” said Russell, 30, a restaurant manager. “I was torturing myself by looking at my ex’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages. I knew this was not the best thing for my mental health, but I just did not want to give her up–even digitally.” Russell continued, “I knew intellectually that this was stupid and not helping in the healing process I knew I had to get through. I vowed I would stop looking at anything my ex–I can’t even say her name–had anything to do with. And you know what? I really am happier. I haven’t gone out with anybody else yet, but at least I am beginning to think about it. Not following her on social media has made me much happier.” As Russel discovered, getting away from social media is a healthy thing post-breakup and research backs that up. Delete the digital reminders and you will be happier.
Reconnect with friends
Betsy, 27, broke up with Allan, 32, for a variety of reasons. “I just knew it was time. Allan had a way of isolating me from my friends and my past. Once we broke up, I reached out to old friends and reconnected. It was great to catch up and to have people who knew me, listen to me and soothe my pain. They made me feel whole again. And I learned that friendship is a powerful thing, and to put old friends on the back burner when you’re in a relationship is not going to happen again with me. As that old Girl Scout song goes,’Make new friends but keep the old, some are silver and the others gold.’ That was so true in my case. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Old friends are priceless.”
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.