When a long term relationship ends you don’t just feel rejected, but so much of your life changes. You are used to having this person around regularly. It is why so many people need to learn how to get over a long term relationship and move on from the sorrow. Because you made plans together, you have friends together, and going through all that change at once would be hard on anyone.
Whether you did the breaking up, were broken up with, or if it was mutual, facing the end of a long term relationship takes patience, time, and acceptance.
Facing the end of a long term relationship
The initial shock that comes with the end of a long term relationship may just be the hardest part of the whole process. You haven’t even dealt with the sadness or the adjustment. Just facing the fact that this big part of your life is over is a hard pill to swallow.
I have been there. The shock right after that final fight, the words, “we’re over,” or any combination of that is a feeling nearly impossible to describe. [Read: A guide to help you through your heartbreak]
At this point, you probably aren’t even thinking about moving on or finding someone else. You are just facing the facts. From my experience, getting over this hump and moving into the acceptance phase is easiest with a support system.
Right after my last break up, I called a close friend and just vented about the whole ordeal. I shared how I felt. She just listened. Having someone you know and trust to let it all out to is a great way to face how you are feeling instead of keeping it all inside.
Once you shared the news with your closest confidants and worked through your initial emotions, you can move into the getting over a long term relationship stage. [Read: Letting go of someone you love – Minus the bitterness]
Start getting over a long term relationship
Just like anything worthwhile in this life, understanding how to get over a long term relationship takes time. It will not happen overnight. You will have good and bad days. At the end, you will accept it all.
But for right now, work through your feelings and the practical parts of ending a long term relationship. This is not the same as ending a fling. You probably have personal items at each other’s houses, maybe joint plans for the future, or you may live together.
This can all make getting over this long term relationship slower and more painful. You can’t just cut the person out. You have to deal with all the fallout. You don’t want to burst into tears every time you see a text from your ex or see them face to face.
I would recommend bringing along a trusted friend to help you move out or pick up your stuff. Having that moral support can really help keep you stable.
Something else that’s a little cheesy, but can help sort out your feelings right in the beginning, is writing a letter to this person who you have shared so much with for so long. Let out all your feeling. Let out your sadness, your rage, the feeling of betrayal. Then toss it out. Light it on fire. Tear it to shreds. It sounds so cheesy, but it works. [Read: 10 lessons your own experiences in love can teach you]
How to get over a long term relationship
Now that we have explored the first few steps to learn how to get over a long term relationship, let’s get into the next few weeks or even months.
Again, it is cliche and a bit cheesy, but time does heal all wounds. You will slowly stop thinking about them, missing them, and eventually, your life will feel full and normal without their presence. Until then, these tips will help you get over a long term relationship with less heartache.
#1 Face the pain. I know this sounds like it sucks. And it does. But losing a long term relationship is a huge loss. Even if it was your doing, it is a huge adjustment. Take the time you need to mourn.
You can’t just be expected to go along as if nothing happened. It did. Take a mental health day at work. Watch rom-coms and cry for a weekend. Binge on Ben & Jerry’s and scroll through your old photos. I will admit this is not the most positive way to move on, but facing the loss is how it all begins. [Read: The 7 stages of heartbreak when you become an ex]
#2 Vent. Talk to your friends. Whether you are questioning what happened, making sure they don’t let you text your ex, or are ready to talk trash, reaching out to your support system is the best thing to do.
Sure, having someone tell you there are plenty of fish in the sea may seem pointless right now. However, being around people that love you and want you to be happy will reflect on the rest on your getting over this long term relationship.
#3 Look at the bright side. I am not saying to make a pro and con list about your ex or the relationship, but try to be positive. Sure you put effort into this relationship for years and it is over, but you do have something to show for it. You learned a lot.
Even if you and your ex ended on good terms, remind yourself of what you won’t miss. Of course, after a break up you convince yourself the relationship was perfect. If you truly take a look at your memories, it wasn’t. You fought. You hated how he peed with the door open. Or you hated how she left her hair in the drain, etc. [Read: How to be more positive and make your life better]
#4 Be rational. When you are in the throes of a breakup, it can be hard to take off the irrational hat and put on your rational cap, but just try it. Facing your emotions is important. Reminding yourself of what the rest of your life is about will keep you moving.
The worst thing you can do right now is stop focusing on the other priorities in your life. Your family, your job, your pet, and your friends are all things that make your life worthwhile. One loss does not define your personal success. To get over a long term relationship, remember that that was just one part of your full life. [Confession: A 9 year love and the pain of ending the long term relationship]
#5 Stay busy. Again, do not let this break up take over your life. If you focus on stalking your ex’s social media and keep replaying the breakup over and over in your head, you will never get over this long term relationship. Additionally, you will probably drive yourself nuts.
If you can’t help but stalk and worry and wonder, keep yourself busy. Go out and try new things. Take on more responsibility at work. Yes, face your feelings, but don’t let them override the rest of your life. The more you do, the less you will focus on the breakup. Eventually, it will stop popping into your mind altogether.
#6 Be single. Personally, I think being single is something everyone should appreciate. Sure, relationships are great, but enjoying your time being single is so important. Life is not about your success in relationships, but your confidence and happiness on your own.
So enjoy this time. Don’t dwell on the loneliness. Enjoy your me-time. Go out with friends, do all the stuff you put on the back burner while you were in your relationship. Maybe even take up a new hobby. [Read: How to recognize your relationship is over and move on]
#7 Consider getting closure. You will notice I said consider getting closure and not get closure. Yes, some people need that last conversation in order to move forward, but that is not always necessary.
You may even convince yourself after that last meet up that you will be able to move on, but really it is that one last string of hope you grip. Think about whether or not that closure talk is actually something you need or not. It can keep you attached when you are already on the path to moving on. It can also reignite feelings you have been moving past.
#8 Appreciate what was. At this point, you should be able to look back at that relationship without bitterness, anger, or sadness. Sure, I still have a touch of eye-rolling I do when I think about certain exes, but I also look back and appreciate the good times.
Whether you were cheated on, lied to, or things ended smoothly, you learned something from that time with them. Once you reflect on it with appreciation rather than wishing it never happened, you know you are just about getting over your long term relationship. [Read: How to stop holding onto a relationship that is over]
#9 Look ahead. You don’t need a five-year plan, but think about what you want in the future. Do you want marriage and a family? Do you want to enjoy your single life for a while? Are you open to anything that comes your way?
Stop looking at the past so potently. Think about living right now and how your future will benefit.
[Read: How to be single after a long relationship – 16 steps to start over]
It can feel like learning how to get over a long term relationship is impossible, but try not to dwell and follow these tips to move on without too much pain or sorrow.
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