How To Get Over A Breakup Without Jumping Into A New Relationship
We’ve all been there. You’re going through a fresh breakup; you’re wallowing in self-pity and eating ice cream while trying to pick up the pieces and move on. Life feels pretty bleak – you’re not sure what to do with all your new-found free time, you have no one to call when something extremely good or extremely bad happens, and you feel lonely.
As a result of all of this, we tend to try and distract ourselves with potential new partners right from the get-go. We are looking for the love we just lost somewhere else – usually in another romantic partner – before the wounds of our past relationship have fully healed. Is this healthy? Nope. Not only are we not taking the time to process our grief and fully find ourselves again, but we are also dragging our old pain into our new relationship, causing problems from the start.
But, it’s so hard to get over a breakup without someone new in the picture. So how can we fully move on from a past relationship without jumping right into something new, like so many of us are tempted to do? There are a few ways to beat the temptation of picking up a new beau right away:
Spend some time alone.
Do this, even if it hurts at first. You may not believe it now, but you will eventually learn to enjoy your own company again without feeling like something is missing. It just takes practice. If this is really hard for you, try to pencil in at least 30 minutes of alone time a few times a week: read a book, write in a journal, go see a movie, or whatever else you feel like doing.
Choose an activity that you enjoy doing and do it by yourself. This will build your confidence back up, remind you what it feels like to be in touch with yourself and your emotions, and keep you from constantly relying on distractions.
Surround yourself with other people who love you.
While spending time alone is important, it’s equally important to reach out to your support network. Make sure these are people who have your best interests in mind and who are mentally strong enough to support you through this difficult time. Chances are you weren’t dedicating as much of your time into maintaining your relationships with friends and family while you were in your romantic relationship, so now is the time to build those connections back up.
Your time with these loved ones will remind you that you’re never truly alone and that you still have people to lean on and have fun with. Sometimes laughing with them is the best medicine for heartbreak.
Listen to music and cry about it when you need to.
Breakups hurt and there’s no way around it. The only way out is through, as unpleasant as that might sound. So, if you’re having a really tough day, don’t be afraid to get emotional.
Turn on your favorite sad songs and have a cry. This will help you release these pent-up feelings and reflect on what it is that’s making you feel this way. Do you miss your ex-partner? Are you still feeling hurt by them? Are you mourning the loss of your love or are you still hoping to get it back?
Sometimes music and crying can be the best way to sort these things out, and believe it or not, reflecting on the answers to these questions will help you heal and move on quicker.
Affirm yourself in the mirror every day.
After a breakup, it’s understandable that your self-esteem would be lower than normal. You might be blaming yourself, telling yourself you’re not good enough, and otherwise putting yourself down. To crush these negative thoughts and remind yourself of exactly how awesome you are, make eye contact with yourself in the mirror for two or three minutes each day and repeat an affirmation that speaks to you out loud. It could be as simple as “I love you and I accept you” or it could be something more personal – you get to decide! Just make sure it’s a positive message that resonates with you and who you want to become.
Meet new people and have fun.
Get out there and meet new people! This doesn’t have to mean going out dressed up and bellying up to the bar all night hoping that a guy comes to talk to you. It can mean hanging out with your friends, saying yes when you’re invited to parties where you only know a few people, and making more of an effort in your local community.
Just have fun with these new people. You might be surprised. You could meet someone awesome, and even if they don’t stay in your life for the long-term, a memorable experience with this new person can raise your standards and remind you what it’s like to just click with someone right off the bat. Basically, it can remind you of how you deserve to feel, and remind you not to settle for anything less.
When you’re ready, say yes to dates, but make sure nothing turns serious.
After you’ve gone out and socialized, you may have been presented with the opportunity to start dating around again. If you’re not ready to accept, don’t pressure yourself into it too soon. But, if you’re of the attitude that “hey, this could be fun,” then go for it. Say yes, go on the date, and try to have fun without overthinking anything. Best case scenario might even be going on just one date with several different people, almost like you’re sampling what’s out there.
The important thing here is to put yourself out there, but to not actively pursue. If someone wants to pursue you – great, let them. You get to decide how far you want it to go, and if and when you want to call it off. But at this stage, you’re probably still pretty vulnerable. It might be tempting to reach out to someone who seemed interested in you, but don’t force a conversation. If it doesn’t happen naturally, just leave it. You need time to yourself before throwing all your energy into trying to attract someone new.
Observe how you feel around different people.
As you’re going out on dates, again preferably with several different people, make it a practice in observing how you feel around each different person, and directly after the date is over. You could even call it a social experiment.
This is something my therapist recommended doing and it has helped me tremendously. While I’m going on dates but am not looking for anything serious, my task is to simply to pay attention. Pay attention to how I’m feeling and to how the other person is acting. Am I nervous? Do I feel pressured to fill silence with small talk? How open am I feeling with this person? Am I having fun or am I bored with the conversation? Is the other person being respectful? Do they seem nervous?
All of these questions are important to answer. For example, I’ve gone on just a couple dates since my last breakup. The first one was great; the conversation was easy, we had a lot in common, but I didn’t feel excited about it. I thought we could be great friends, but I didn’t want to see him again in a dating capacity.
The second one didn’t go quite as well. I felt pressured to fill every pause with chatter because I was getting bored; we had nothing in common, and we had opposite views on almost everything. And while we tried to make jokes out of it, it was pretty obvious it wasn’t going well. These are all important things to know and observe about your experience with different people.
How do you want to feel around people, and did you feel that way? Did you feel like you could be yourself? Did you feel confident? Playful? Natural? Both the positive and negative feedback with new people are important to take into account as you’re getting over a breakup so you are better equipped to be yourself and surround yourself with people who support the best version of you. This time is about YOU and finding out what you want and don’t want, so explore and take advantage of it!