A very simple guide explaining how to get over a breakup and all the tips you’ll need to get over a guy.
If you’re going through a breakup or just trying to get over a guy who doesn’t reciprocate your feelings, then I feel for you. I know how alone and isolating the experience can be. It feels like the pain is yours and yours alone and no one could possibly understand.
But I understand! I’ve been in the depths of it, the real ugly, dark, twisty, gut-wrenching depths and I climbed my way out many times and have helped countless others do the same.
Before I share my tips, I want to tell you how I used to handle breakups, or at least, how I handled a few of the most major breakups I experienced.
What I did was obsess and replay everything that happened and what I wish I had done differently. Then I would get lost in an endless array of distractions. I was going, going going, keeping myself busy, run away from the pain before it could find me.
Unfortunately, pain doesn’t go away just because it goes unacknowledged. In fact, the longer you let it fester, the worse it will be for you. I took it all way too personally and these feelings of inadequacy bled into almost every relationship I had after.
I let a lot of faulty beliefs about myself get deeply wired into my psyche and it took many years to undo it all. Don’t be like me!
They say time heals, and in some ways this is true, but it takes more than time. You also have to process the situation, you need to feel, you need to make peace, you need to get in touch with your inner strength, and you need to move on as a better, stronger person than you were before.
Let’s talk about how to do that.
1. Accept what is.
You have to accept reality as it is right now. That’s not what most people do after a breakup. They either get stuck in the past and how great everything used to be. They think about the fun times, the happy memories. Or they think about the future, they wonder endlessly if he’ll come back and plot ways to get him back. They think of how amazing it will all be if it all works out, if he comes back and they live happily ever after. They desperately yearn for this fantasy future.
Get out of the past and get out of the future, be in the present. Be in the right now. You can’t go back to the past, you can’t force a future, just be with what is.
Right now you and he are not together and that most likely won’t change anytime soon. Accept it and embrace it. Embrace that your time is your own right now, that you get the chance to work on the relationship with yourself. Embrace the fact that the future is unknown, you don’t know what comes next and that can be pretty exciting.
Also, do not contact him. The no-contact rule is essential after a breakup.
Give it some time and space right now- don’t contact him, don’t look for closure, and definitely do not beg him to take you back. I would also advise against trying to stay friends because this only works if both of you have zero romantic feelings left, and it takes a long time before that can happen.
Accept that this is your reality- and he’s not in it.
2. Don’t take it personally.
I know it feels personal, I know it feels like you weren’t good enough, that you should have done something else, been some other way. But it’s not.
It’s not what happens to us, but the stories that we tell ourselves about what happened that cause all the pain. So he breaks up with you… and you tell yourself it’s because you were unworthy, you’re unlovable, and you’re going to end up alone.
This becomes imprinted in your psyche and you go through life looking for evidence that proves how you already feel about yourself. So if you’re seeing a new guy and he takes a while to text you back, your immediate instinct is to believe it’s because he’s losing interest… because you’re unworthy. You don’t even entertain the idea that he could just be busy. These faulty beliefs will continue to sabotage you at every turn, so be mindful of what narrative you’re spinning about what happened.
And please realize, it’s not because you weren’t enough.
Sometimes the timing just isn’t right and sometimes two people just aren’t a match.
It isn’t because you weren’t enough. I know this is how it might feel, but that is a destructive belief, and also a false one.
Everyone has different things they want and need in a partner. There might be some things about you that one guy doesn’t want, and those qualities may end up being what the right guy loves more than anything about you.
3. Feel your feelings.
This can be the hard part, but it has to be done. Whatever it is you’re feeling, feel it. Don’t bury it, don’t hide from it, don’t ignore it. Feel the awful, brutal feelings.
Mourn the loss, because a breakup is a loss. It’s the loss of potential, the loss of what could have been.
In the beginning, I’m sure you had grand visions of where this would go; that’s because the beginning is always a euphoric time. But things didn’t pan out the way you had hoped and you need to accept that.
A breakup can almost feel like a death. This person was once a major part of your life and now they’re just gone. And this is sad no matter what, even if you realized that he wasn’t the right man for you.
Give yourself time to grieve and be kind and gentle to yourself. Don’t get mad at yourself for feeling what you’re feeling; accept it as a part of the process. But don’t let this drag on for too long.
Life must go on and you’ll never move forward if you keep mourning this loss. I would say give yourself a week, max, to let it all out, and then try to pick up the pieces.
4. Write him a letter you don’t send.
This can be a part of the grieving process, and while it may sound pointless, it is incredibly therapeutic and can assist in helping your feelings process.
Your emotions are all over the place after a breakup. Rage, sadness, longing, anger, nostalgia, emptiness – you could feel it all in the span of just 30 minutes.
No matter what state you’re in, write a letter with all the things you want to say to him, whether you’re feeling fury and want to let him have it, or you’re feeling nostalgic and want to reflect upon the happier times.
Journaling can also be very therapeutic and a great way to get to know the most important person in your life: yourself.
5. Do a self-check.
Everything that happens in life, especially when it comes to breakups, has the potential to tear us down or take us to a higher place.
As brutal as breakups are, they are a great time to do some reflection and inner work. Rather than stewing in feelings of hurt and pain, try to find a way to come out of this better than you were before.
A study called “Changes in Self-Definition Impede Recovery from Rejection” published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin examined the link between rejection and a person’s sense of self.
The researchers discovered that participants with a fixed or static view felt the pain of rejection more intensely and for much longer. Those participants saw rejection as more of a revelation of who they really were, which then caused them to be more closed and defensive in future relationships. So much so, that they were still being negatively influenced by rejections that had happened over five years before.
In contrast, participants with a growth mindset, though still hurt by the breakup, were ready to let it go and could see a bright future for themselves.
The way to grow is to learn the lessons and try to repair and heal.
Here are a few good questions to ask yourself:
- What did I learn from this relationship that I can use in my next relationship?
- What did I do in this relationship that I won’t ever do again in another relationship?
- What qualities do I truly need in a partner? (Think of qualities your ex had that you appreciated, as well as areas where he was lacking that you realized you need.)
- Why did I stay even though the relationship wasn’t working?
- What did I learn about myself through my time with him?
6. Separate the need from the person.
Anytime you catch yourself thinking of him or missing him, ask yourself: What do I miss?
Maybe you miss the connection you shared. Ok… now you’re going to separate him from the need. The problem is a lot of us attach a need to a person. You felt connected and seen when you were with him, and you erroneously believe the only way to feel that again is to get him back. But that isn’t true.
So when you have that thought, log it in as a data point: “I’m someone who needs to feel connected.” And then look for ways to increase your feelings of connection, maybe you call a friend or family member, or maybe you spend time connecting to yourself.
7. Get excited about your next relationship.
Once you have felt your feelings, found ways to love yourself, and learned the lessons that will help you be an even better person, get excited to use these newly acquired tools to have an even better relationship with a man who is even more suited for you.
I know how daunting it can feel to dive back into the dating pool, but don’t focus on the annoying sides of dating, think of the exciting parts. Think about how thrilling a new relationship can be…that first date, the first kiss, the excitement that comes with the unlimited potential that lies ahead.
Think about how amazing it will be to start fresh with someone new. Think about what it will be like to be with a man who truly gets you, who appreciates you for the sum of all your parts, who cherishes you and would do anything to make you happy. He exists; he’s out there.
You’ll just have to have faith on that one because until he shows up, it can feel like you’ll never find it, and then when you do, you’ll wonder how you ever could have been worried about not finding it because what you have is just so right and it’s so clear.
Here is a manifestation exercise for you to try: spend some time every day visualizing what you want your next relationship to be like. Picture how it feels, how he treats you, how he looks at you. Feel it as if it’s happening right now. And get excited for what’s ahead.
I promise you won’t always feel the way you feel right now. Just keep going and growing and trust that everything will work out as it is meant to.