You've heard the old saying, “All good things must come to an end.”
Sadly, if this saying applies to your love relationship, and you aren't ready for that ending to come, it can be heartbreaking.
Nothing prepares you for the emotional punch in the gut when your one and only announces it's over, especially when you are still deeply in love with him or her.
Initially you experience shock and disbelief, and you desperately try to convince your lover that it can't be true, it can't really be over.
Can you ever stop loving someone?
As you're getting over someone you love, you might feel anger, jealousy, betrayal, and grief. All of these feelings are a normal part of the process of getting over a love relationship.
But you wonder if you'll ever reach the point of feeling acceptance and inner peace.
It seems impossible that the day will come when you can move past this person who still has your heart. You might think things like . . .
- Letting go feels like giving up and admitting defeat.
- Maybe there's still a chance it's all a mistake.
- Maybe he or she will see the light and come back.
- If your ex-lover sees how much you still love him or her, things can change.
Fortunately, time is a powerful anesthetic and healer. You will learn and grow from this painful relationship and eventually move on with your life.
Eventually, those feelings of love will fall away, and you won't feel so attached to your ex.
Once the exquisite suffering of losing a person you love deeply begins to dull, you will feel like yourself again, and your feelings of despair and longing will begin to fade as well.
So, what can you do to help the healing process so you can get back to your normal, happy self?
Here's how to get over someone you love and move on with your life:
Fully experience your emotions.
When your significant other breaks up with you, you just want to go crawl in a hole and die. It feels like an assault to your very being.
You might wonder, “Am I not lovable? Am I not desirable? What's wrong with me that he/she doesn't want to be with me anymore?”
Go see a counselor or talk to a trusted friend about how hurt you are and how much love you still feel for this other person.
Let it all out and don't be afraid to appear vulnerable with your counselor or confidant. If you bottle up or repress your emotions, you won't be able to process and release them.
They will linger for longer than necessary and eventually show up in the form of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
Don't deny that you are in pain and suffering from this heartbreak. Accept how you are feeling, and allow yourself to move through the pain rather than around it.
Find other healthy ways to release pent-up emotions, like going to the gym or taking a kickboxing class.
Don't be afraid to let yourself cry when you need to. Emotional tears have a different chemical structure than tears produced by eye irritation.
In fact, emotional “tears appear to play a significant role in detoxification of the body and enhancement of mental well-being” (Fooladi, 2005, p.250).
The tears of grief can produce endorphins to actually relieve the pain we’re suffering.
Take care of your other relationships.
Make sure that your feelings of hurt and pain don't make you so angry that you lash out at others.
You may end up focusing your anger about the break-up on other people in your life who are important to you and could be a support system for you.
In order to preserve your other relationships and obligations, be cognizant of when your pain and anger are boiling to the surface.
Be honest with the people you care about, and let them know that you feel hurt and angry, not at them, but about the loss of the relationship.
If you do lash out at a friend, apologize quickly and let them know you are having a hard time with the flood of emotions you are experiencing.
You can release some of your anger by journaling, writing a letter (that you don't send) to your ex-lover, or even punching your pillow.
If you feel consumed by your anger, meet with a therapist who can help you work through it and devise some additional coping skills.
Treat yourself with compassion.
It is also important to give yourself tender loving care during this painful time.
Allow yourself a few indulges like a day at the spa or that special splurge you've had your eye on. Go out with friends. Spend evenings with your family in the comfort of their familiar warmth and love. Take a long bath and watch your favorite movie or sports team.
Of course, you miss your partner, but acknowledge and try to enjoy the benefits of being on your own — choosing how you spend your time, what you watch on TV, and when you eat.
If you find yourself replaying your relationship in your head and berating yourself for what you could have done differently, force yourself to stop this thinking trap. It will only compound your misery and erode your self-esteem.
People end relationships for all sorts of reasons that have more to do with them than the other person.
You are not at fault for your lover deciding to leave, even if you look back and see things you could have done better.
Find the opportunity for growth and learning through this difficult time, so you can apply what you learn to the next relationship.
Seek out a new interest.
It is also a good idea to find something new that interests you.
Getting your mind off of the person you love will distract you from the constant thoughts about the break-up and help you move on with your life.
Try something new that you have always wanted to do but never found the time to fit into your schedule.
Take a cooking class, join a softball league, or begin a new exercise class. This is also a great way to meet new people who are not connected to your ex and won't remind you of old times you had with the person you loved.
Spend time with those who love you.
At first you may be in such painful shock that you can't do anything except stay home and nurse your wounds.
But push yourself to be around supportive friends and family. Even if you don't feel like socializing, try not to isolate yourself which can make your depressed feelings worse.
Limit time with mutual friends.
You will likely need to limit contact for a while with the mutual friends you had with your ex. It may be tempting at first to talk to these friends about your ex in the hope they can help bring you back together.
But this is rarely an effective strategy and is awkward for your friends.
Being around mutual friends will bring up old memories, causing you unnecessary suffering. They may mention your ex or tell you what your ex is up to these days.
This can be extremely hurtful and set you back in getting over him or her, especially if your old flame has found a new lover.
If this does happen, you may even feel the need to reach out to your ex or find a reason to contact them. As soon as you feel they have moved on with their lives and are not thinking about you, you will likely be even more devastated.
Cut off all contact with your ex and your former group of friends until you are completely sure that you are over your lover and have moved on with your life.
Cut back on social media and block your ex.
If you want to know how to let go, don't search through their social media accounts to see what they are up to or if they are dating again.
As tempting as it is to obsess about your past love, force yourself to unfriend them and block their social media accounts. You are only prolonging your suffering by maintaining this connection.
You don't need to see your ex's recent pictures from a party over the weekend or the dinner party with their family that you were supposed to attend. You are out of his or her life, so your ex should be out of yours.
Clean out any physical reminders.
Clear your living space of any reminders of your relationship or your ex-partner.
Maybe you are holding onto an old tee shirt, your ex's toothbrush, or the book of poetry you read from together. Or you are still displaying some pictures of the two of you together from a recent vacation.
Get rid of these items so you are not constantly reminded of your past relationship. Replace the items with new things that you are excited to decorate your space with and that reflect your new life.
Get some exercise.
Nothing relieves stress, anxiety, and depression like good old-fashioned exercise — especially aerobic exercise. Go out and run, take a fitness class, jump on a rebounder, play basketball.
Do anything to get your heart rate up and your body moving and sweating.
Work on your self-esteem.
You may feel jilted and unlovable after a breakup. Why did this person stop loving me? What's wrong with me that he/she didn't stay?
Whatever the reason for the breakup, if the relationship wasn't working for one of you, then it wasn't working for both of you. You can't maintain a satisfying, happy connection unless both partners are equally committed.
Dating is a process of discovery. It takes time to figure out whether or not two people are meant to be together for the long term.
He or she found you to be wonderful and compatible for a period of time, but ultimately something didn't mesh.
That's not an indictment of your character or your lovability.
Don't allow yourself to sink into negative self-talk and self-doubt. The mature way to respond is to acknowledge that things simply didn't work out with this person, but there is a new person out there who is the right match for you.
Stay strong in your resolve.
If you happen to run into your past love, and you catch him or her at a moment of weakness or loneliness, don't buy into your ex's feelings (or your own) and become intimate with him or her.
You may hope that this brief encounter will ignite the love and commitment he or she once had for you, but the odds are not in your favor.
Reconnecting this way may reignite your feelings for your ex, but it may not do the same for him or her. Your former flame may be intimate with you, but then regret it and want to forget it happened the next day.
This will cause your heart to break all over again, and set you back many weeks in the process of healing. It will undermine your dignity and make you feel used and foolish.
Learn from the break-up.
Loss is a natural part of life, and even though it is incredibly painful, it can teach us many lessons if we choose to accept them.
It's hard to see those lessons during the initial tsunami of emotions that come with splitting up. But once the emotional chaos calms a little, you'll do yourself a favor by approaching this painful life passage with mindfulness.
Relationships are laboratories for personal growth. We learn so much about ourselves and about what we do and don't want in a partner with every relationship we experience.
Ask yourself what you learned from this person, both good and bad. What would you do differently in the next relationship? How do you need to change and grow?
Address any legitimate issues.
If your partner broke up with you because of a legitimate issue (ie: verbally abusive language, cheating, anger management problems), this is a great time to explore and work on the issue.
No one is perfect in relationships. We all bring in baggage from past loves, old wounds, and childhood experiences. Our love relationships are the places where we attempt to heal all of that baggage. But sometimes we don't express our wounds in the healthiest ways.
Think about the issue or complaint your ex communicated as a reason for the split, and examine for yourself if there is any truth in it. Be open to acknowledging what you need to change in order to be a healthier partner in your next relationship.
This might involve counseling, coaching, or reading self-improvement books that focus on the issue.
Prepare yourself for the next relationship.
Getting over a heartbreak is painful and difficult, and it will take a significant amount of time to feel like yourself again.
Allow yourself to have this time to sort through your feelings, grieve the loss fully, and move on with your life.
If you are able to do this in a healthy way, you will be ready when your next relationship comes along. You'll not be emotionally detached and available and willing to give that person all of your attention and love.
And who knows? The next person might be the one you've been waiting for all along.
Date with caution.
You may have friends and family encouraging you to jump back into the dating scene. It certainly can help your self-esteem to have a new person show interest and attraction to you.
However, if you've recently been through a breakup, you are still dealing with so many emotions — emotions that you will carry into any new relationship.
The best socializing after a breakup is with people who allow you to be yourself, without having to worry about impressing, flirting, or being “on.” Dating can be exhausting, and you need all of your energy focused on feeling better and getting stronger.
If you do decided to date, communicate to this new person that you are still in recovery mode from the ending of a recent relationship. Let him or her know that you'll need to take it slow.
Try not to unload all of your pain and anger about your ex onto this new person, especially at the beginning. That's a surefire way to put a quick end to this connection. Save those conversations for your friends, counselor, or family member.
How long does it take to get over someone?
You now know the steps for releasing yourself from this relationship, but you may not know how to move on and how long it will take.
Why can't you just feel better right now and stop thinking about your ex?
That's a fair question as no one wants to suffer the pain of a heartbreak one minute longer than than they must.
Getting over your ex is similar to going through the stages of grief. You first go through shock, disbelief, anger, and depression, until you finally reach acceptance and hope.
This process is different for everyone, and sometimes it can take months to feel like yourself again.
The longer you were together, the more time it may take to see the light of day. You loved this person. You had hopes and dreams about your future together. He or she was your companion, confidante, and lover.
There is a chemical bond that occurs between two people who are romantically connected, and it's hard to dissolve that — even if it's the best thing for both of you.
Healing from a breakup is never easy, but in time, you'll find your heart has mended, and you are ready to find a new love.
Follow the steps outlined here, and be kind and compassionate with yourself as you grieve the end of the romance.