If you’re visiting our website, there is a good chance that you’re wondering how to get over a bad break up. You were recently dumped or felt that you had no alternative but to finally dump your significant other. Or perhaps it was a mutual, but very painful, split.
Now you are stuck in the aftermath. It hurts…badly. And you’re wondering what to do next.
While there is no single answer for getting over a broken heart in every situation, there are some guidelines that you can use in approaching the situation. Let’s take a look at some of these.
**Don’t Focus on “Getting Over It”** – As we talked about in our piece “How Long to Get Over a Break Up?”, one of the worst things you can do to get over a break up is, paradoxically, to try to get over it. Just like the watched pot never boils, healing from a breakup doesn’t happen optimally when you are focused on the endpoint. So if you shouldn’t focus on getting over the breakup, what should you focus on?
**Focus on Processing the Break Up One Step at a Time** – Though you may not think of it this way, healing from a relationship is a process. You can sometimes rush through the feelings and bury them, but if you do you will likely pay a price down the road. It is much more healthy in the long run to allow yourself the time to go through the process step by step and come out on the other side stronger for the long haul. So what should you focus on? Focus on what you need to do at each step. And the first step is…
**Survive the Pain without Running Back or Doing Damage** – Early on, the most difficult struggle will be to simply handle the pain without doing anything that will be more detrimental in the long run. If the relationships is clearly over, or if you know deep down that it should remain over, then your first task is simply to withstand the pain. It is difficult because, for most of us, everything in our being tells us to run to drown out pain as fast as we can. But think of the pain as a sort of exercise. You’re building your ability and confidence in your capacity to tolerate your feelings without running from them. For some of you, this will be the first time you’ve ever truly done this.
Now if you were just going to sit in pain and suffer, that would be masochistic. And this is not about masochism. So what do you do once you are surviving the pain?
**Seek Insight into what the Pain is Telling You** – The pain of your breakup is a messenger. It has within it lessons about your past and who you truly are. Once you are surviving, the next step is to mine the pain for its wisdom. This is best done with guidance from those who have experience at interpreting this kind of pain. I highly recommend you check out the books that we recommend and read them while the pain is fresh. They will teach you things you will carry with you for years to come. You may also, at this time, seek guidance in support groups online or in person or by finding a therapist, possibly one that specializes in relationship issues, who can advise you personally on how to get over a bad break up.
**Begin to Gradually Participate More in Other Activities** – There will come a point where you are able to return more proactively to your work, hobbies and social life, yet may not want to do so. It is a good idea not to push yourself too hard, just as you don’t want to jump into a rigorous exercise program while you’re still injured. But you also should push yourself a little bit, a step at a time, to get back into the action again.
**Make the Changes Called for By What You Have Learned** – Having mined your pain and started to return to life again, it’s time to grow. If you’ve read the right books or sought help from the right people, you will surely have some new ideas about how to change some of your character traits or behaviors to get out of the patterns that led to this particular breakup. When you make those changes, you are using the lessons of this breakup to improve your future life and relationships. Everything comes full circle.
At this point you are ready to throw yourself back into life, hopefully even stronger than before.
What you’ll notice is that the more you focus directly on getting over the break up, the harder it will be to move on. When you instead simply focus on each step of the process, after a while you’ll sort of lose track of time and notice more and more spurts where you forgot to think about your ex or to feel the pain. It’s a tricky, magical sort of thing.
And now you know a little more about how to get over a bad break up….by not trying to get over it at all.