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How to Recover from a Breakup: 11 Lessons to Move Forward in Life

Having your heart broken is not something you will overcome quickly. You can learn how to recover from a breakup so you can move forward with your life.

how to recover from a breakup

I hate to quote the cliche that time heals all wounds, but it is true… at least partly. Time does have a lot to do with it, but there are plenty of things you can do to learn how to recover from a breakup as well.

When you go through a rough breakup, no matter the circumstances, it can feel like the pain will last forever. You can’t even see a time where you will be okay. But it is there and it will come.

Your mindset and desire to recover from a breakup is what will get you there. As much as time helps, without the desire to move forward, you could get stuck in the aftermath of a breakup for a long time, too long. [Read: 10 stages of a breakup and how to get through each of them]

Why you need to learn how to recover from a breakup

Whether you are coming off of a fresh breakup, anticipating one, or are single, learning how to recover from a breakup will only do you good.

If you learn how to recover from a breakup now, you will take what you learned with you forever. It can help you now, in two months, or even two or ten years from now. These are the lessons you never forget.

Going through something as painful as a breakup and coming out the other side stonier is something you will always carry with you. It will help you with any potential breakups and can even lead you to advise anyone close to you who may be going through the same ordeal.

How to recover from a breakup

When a breakup is fresh, the wound from it is still raw. You are in shock and can’t even imagine recovering. That is fine and totally normal. You need that time to grieve, but it cannot last forever.

Recovering from a breakup comes in stages. Deal with all the feelings as they erupt and continue to live your life. Your relationship ended, your life didn’t.

#1 Cry. Let out the bad stuff. You know how before you redecorate a room you need to get rid of the bad stuff that no longer brings you joy? Well, you do the same right now. Cry all those tears. Think of it as purging the sadness, the anger, the shock.

Let it all out. Stuff your face with junk food. Stay in bed all day. Let yourself have that time. You have been hurt and lost something, you deserve it. But, just don’t let this last too long. A weekend should be more than enough time to let out the initial stuff. [Read: The right way to survive the first 168 hours after a break up]

#2 Vent. This is when you go to your friends and family and just complain. Talk about the breakup. Vent about your ex. Share your shock and how you feel betrayed. That is what your friends are there for.

Have some wine, order a pizza, and just dish. They are there to support you when you’re down and help lift you up once you’re ready. Get out all those feelings whether they are short-lived or things you have been holding onto for a long time. Finally being able to let that out will be a big relief. 

#3 Purge. I know I said the crying was purging, but that was emotional purging. Now I am talking about purging stuff. Get rid of your ex’s toothbrush, their sweatshirt, the stupid shows they recorded on your DVR. Anything that negatively reminds you of them can go.

It is up to you whether or not to return it to them, but keep it away from your healing space. I also recommend muting them on social media. You do not have to go all out and delete them. You never know if you’ll be able to be friends in the future. So just mute their activity so you don’t see what they are up to when you aren’t expecting it.

This will help you keep your mind on track and off of them. [Read: How to heal after you’ve been hurt by someone you loved]

#4 Refresh. Give yourself a boost. Do something for you. Go shopping, go to the spa, have a weekend away with your friends. Pamper yourself. That means something different for all of us, but do something you enjoy.

Maybe that is something your ex didn’t approve of or maybe it is something you just never got around to. Whatever it is, do it.

#5 Look on the bright side. I know this is hard to do when you’re trying to learn how to recover from a breakup, but it will help. Rationalizing and looking at your situation pragmatically can actually help. At first, the practicalness of it all will make you roll your eyes. Your emotions are often much more powerful than facts.

But if you continue to remind yourself of the positive aspects of this breakup, those thoughts will influence your emotions in time. Make a pro list of the breakup. Maybe you don’t have to deal with your ex’s annoying friends. Maybe you can watch The Bachelor without complaints.

Your relationship was not perfect, no matter how much you are dwelling on the good and missing it right now. Think about what you always complained about. If your mind can’t go there, talk to a close friend that you vent to. They will be more than happy to remind you that there are benefits to this breakup.

#6 Keep busy. This is one of the most helpful ways to recover from a breakup. Taking time off of work and moping around the house is not going to do you any favors. When you are not preoccupied with something, your mind will go right back to the breakup.

Instead, focus on something productive. Whether that is work, cleaning the house, doing your taxes, or even binge-watching the show everyone has been telling you to watch, just stay busy. When your mind isn’t free to go over every day of your relationship and the breakup, you will start going days without thinking about it.

Before you know it, you’ll go weeks without your ex even coming across your mind. [Read: 15 important steps for how to feel better after a breakup]

#7 Do something for others. Now, you have already done something for yourself. But, doing something for others will make you feel even better. It will also give you perspective. Whether you help your neighbor move furniture, pay for the person behind you at the coffee shop, or donate to charity, this is a great way to use your breakup energy for something good.

Breakups can give us a surge of energy. In a lot of situations that is used for pettiness or revenge. But instead, focus that rage or sadness into a more positive outlet.

#8 Write it down. If you have done all of this and still feel like this breakup is eating away at you, let it out on paper. Write down all of your feelings no matter how ridiculous or pathetic you think they are. And then burn it, shred it, toss it out. Getting it all out and getting rid of it can be so cathartic.

If that isn’t enough for you, try therapy. I know it sounds like a lot if you aren’t used to it, but having a professional ask all the right questions and guide you in the right direction is invaluable.

#9 Enjoy yourself. You are single. Instead of dwelling on the negatives of that, enjoy the benefits. You have a freedom and independence that you didn’t have before. You can pick up and go on a weekend trip. You can go on dates for fun, not for the future.

Enjoy this time. You can learn a lot about yourself. [Read: How to be happy being single and explore the freedom of singledom]

#10 Analyze. Once the sting of the initial breakup is gone, you should be able to look back on that relationship and how it ended and learn something. Appreciate that time in your life for what it taught you.

Think about what you want in the future and what you don’t. How you can change your behavior in the future based on what happened here? [Read: How to stop ruminating over the past and live the future]

#11 Let go. Once you can take positive lessons from that breakup and move forward, you know how to recover from a breakup. People we were close to once will always have a place in our hearts and memories. But, the pain of a breakup does not have to sour you forever.

You can let go of the bitterness and move forward.

[Read: Letting go of someone you love – minus the bitterness]

Congratulations! You now know how to recover from a breakup. Go forth and take this knowledge with you.

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Samantha Ann
My name is Samantha Ann. I am 28 years old. It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding...

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