1. LIMIT YOUR INTERNAL COMPLAINING
Venting and expressing your feelings after a break-up is just par for the course. It’s effective when it’s cathartic and provides a channel to feel things and let them pass through you. The time it will take in this first phase varies but one thing is for certain. After a week you need to limit your internal break-up complaining. You can complain to all your girlfriends (keep a list of them handy and cycle through them on different days). My point is, if you want to be replaying questions and regrets over and over that’s fine. Just don’t do it quietly. Get it out. And if your best friends are spent listening to you then find a therapist. Speaking out loud is a productive type of expression and it allows for movement of negative feelings. There can be progress made. The problem occurs when people sit quietly to themselves and tell themselves the same story over and over again. If you isolate in your room you will probably find if we recorded your thoughts you had the same 5-10 thoughts over and over again. Hearing your voice out loud is where change occurs. The next best thing to speaking out loud is writing. Since you won’t have a friend handy at all times you can use writing to complain and sulk. But no sitting in silence.
2. LEARN SOMETHING NEW
If you’re not feeling good about your break up then you’re probably recalling all the good times that you had with your ex. He was the main way you experienced joy and happiness, right? You may even know that’s logically not true (if it is then we have another problem). Now it is your task to find new ways to experience joy and happiness. Although you may not instantly enjoy trying new things, your brain is responding to new stimulation and novelty. Trying new things, seeing new things, and doing new things is an excellent way to get over your ex.
3. START DATING. SOON.
Dating may not always prove to be instantly fulfilling because there may be plenty of duds that don’t compare to your ex. At the very least you will again be experiencing novelty and stimulation. And at the very best, you will be reminded of what it feels like to be hopeful again. Hope is your ticket to freedom from the loss associated with your last relationship.
4. STOP STALKING
Hopefully you’re not REALLY stalking. But I’m talking about social media here. You need to start by setting short-term goals. Decide to not check any social media, ask mutual friends about your ex, or talk to your ex for a day. Then make a goal to do so for a week. To hold you accountable, ask a friend to help you with your goal and agree to send her a text message of a number (hopefully zero) of times you broke this rule that day. Overtime, hopefully, your number will decrease. If you relapse you know you have the next day to try again.
Everyone needs to learn the healthy mechanism of compartmentalization. For some people going to work can be the best thing after a break up. If you have a job that is engaging and interesting it may be the best thing for you. You can watch shows with friends, or become involved in creative projects you’ve been putting off. One of the best types of distraction is calling a friend and asking really specific questions about their lives (not related to relationships) such as how to help them resolve a family or work issue. Make a list of 10 ways that help you to distract yourself and include at least 3 that will bring you out of your house.