It’s not beneficial to live in the past but it’s hard to move forward while mending a broken heart. Whether you were dumped, did the dumping, or agreed to separate mutually, working out your next move after a breakup is never easy. You’ve heard suggestions from friends and read self-help books and such. Here’s how to get to the next chapter.
Find a Tribe
Just like finding a new love interest, adults do best when meeting people with similar interests as friends. You need to find your own tribe whether that means taking swims in the morning, doing yoga in the afternoon, or learning how to cook in the evenings. Being around people is healthy and it helps take your mind off of the past and a prior relationship that went sour.
Let Bygones Be
Depending on the nature of your breakup, you may need to maintain subtle to regular contact with your ex. For example, if you’re sharing custody of a child, you may see your ex throughout the week all year. In other situations, you may not share a child but work in the same building or live in the same small town. Regardless of your specific backstory, let bygone incidents live in the past and do your best to get along with your ex for the sake of a better future for you, them, and children who may be involved.
Don’t Talk Trash
A broken heart makes people do silly things such as post emotional rants on Facebook. A messy breakup can make moms and dads include children by saying mean things about an ex-spouse or lover when in front of young ones. It’s healthy to speak about your feelings with someone you trust, such as a best friend, parent, or counselor. Otherwise, don’t talk about your ex to your child unless it’s about something positive and leave sarcastic and nasty remarks out of your Twitter stream.
Take a Break from Dating
Some get right back on the horse so to speak but it’s ridiculous to think that you’re ready for a healthy relationship within the first six to 12 months. Exceptions do apply and there are no hard rules when it comes to true love, but it’s unlikely you’re going to have the emotional strength to create something special immediately following a breakup. There is nothing wrong with being around friends and feeling an attraction toward the opposite sex, yet take a short break from serious dating.
Some get stuck in a codependent relationship whether they were the ‘one in charge’ or the submissive one. Once separated from a bad relationship, take time to get to know yourself again, the new self after the breakup. You may be surprised that you’re not the person you were. A breakup can help a person evolve, mature, and gain wisdom and a new perspective. While it’s great to be around friends and family, take some alone time to reflect.
A severed relationship interrupts established patterns and creates disorder in the lives of moms, dads, and children. Make it a point to establish new structure while you’re healing. Structure is good for you as well as any children you may have who are thrown off by the separation. A breakup could mean sharing mom and dad as well as living in a new place. Do all you can to make new routines and associate happy things for the sake of children and your own well being. Read this page for information related to finding a family mediator.
Sweat it Out
Some gain weight after a breakup while others adopt unhealthy habits such as doing drugs or having sex with multiple partners. There’s going to be an insurgence of mental energy following a breakup. It’s up to each individual to channel the energy into positive action and a healthy lifestyle. Exercise helps reduce stress, makes us look and feel better, and can incorporate a revived or brand new hobby. For example, rather than sit on the couch and sulk, go to yoga each day.
Do you ever find yourself getting angry at other drivers on the road? Sometimes a level of frustration is warranted, but it’s easy to get nasty with others when we’re feeling sad about a breakup and immediate predicament. Do your best to be kind to strangers and especially those closest to us who may be used as temporary ‘whipping posts’ at worst moments. If you find yourself feeling down or frustrated, play reggae music, go exercise, or spend time with people who make you laugh.
Judith Goldberg is a certified, & very experienced divorce & family mediator in Boca Raton, FL.