Surviving a breakup

Surviving a breakup header image

When a relationship comes to an end, it is often very difficult to go out and face the world again. Here are some practical tips to help you get along.

Focus on the bad

All too often we romanticise the relationship when it is over and we miss certain aspects of the relationship as well as the person. If you know it is well and truly over, it will do you good to focus on all the negative aspects of the relationship and things about the person you disliked. Every time you get a yearning to call them up, focus on that one annoying habit that broke the camel’s back or on the reason why you broke up.

Work through the hurt

It hurts a lot! All that time, effort, hopes, dreams and ideals have come to nothing. Give yourself time to work through the hurt, the feelings of rejection and failure. You are entitled to all the emotions of grief you will be going through - anger, denial, the list goes on. Sway between ups and downs. For every year you were in the relationship, you should give yourself a month to try and recover. And during this time, it is good to stay away from new relationships in order to heal and give a new relationship a fair chance.

Get help

You now have the time to catch up on good times with your friends whom you might have been neglecting. Speak to friends, get their sympathy and support. Speak your heart, clear your mind. Be warned though, select your friends, not hers or yours combined. Choose guys you could always be yourself with. Also, don’t badmouth her all the time – you get to be the idiot for dating her that long. Speak your sorrow, but know when to stop. It’s not the only thing your friends want to hear or talk about.

Have fun

Your new-found freedom is now also your key to doing things you have been wanting to do for a while, but couldn’t. A hunting trip, a fishing weekend, a crazy night out, a one-night stand – be spontaneous and seize the moment. Get horribly drunk, sleep out at a friend’s (do this with your single friends, please). Go for it. This includes taking up a new hobby like cycling or skydiving, something you’ve always wanted to do. You have all these extra hours to fill – perhaps start studying or build that model aeroplane or drone?

Find a balance

You’re free, but hurting. You miss her but don’t want to be with her. You will vacillate between opinions, feelings and actions, times of activity and inactivity, times of feeling free, of feeling dead inside, and of dying a little. Take one day at a time, but find a balance between wallowing in self-pity and skulking around and times of exuberant joy. It’s okay to visit both ends of the scale, but even better to find the happy medium.

Find yourself

Depending on how long you were in the relationship for, you might have to spend some time rediscovering who you are as a single person, and who you are. One gets used to thinking of yourself as a couple, as the other half of a partnership. One learns new habits to accommodate and accept your partner, you might have given things up or changed habits willingly for the sake of the marriage or relationship. It’s not only habits and mannerisms though, it’s also about your new identity as a single person. This takes time, and one often must heal before you can find the old, or even improved you.

Give yourself time and energy – it is, after all, the two things you currently don’t need to share. Good luck!