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43 Must-Knows to Deal with a Breakup & Move On From Your Ex Relationship

No one likes it when a relationship ends. So, use these steps to deal with a breakup and move on from your ex so you can get over it and be happy again.

deal with a breakup and move on from ex relationship

If there’s one thing that sucks about love, it’s the uncertainty of it. You could fall in love with someone, be happy for years, and then, just like that, the whole relationship could come crashing down. And then you will have to deal with a breakup.

If you’re the one who doesn’t feel like the relationship is working out, that’s great for you because chances are, you’ll get over your ex pretty soon after the breakup. [Read: Why getting over a breakup is easier if you’re the one who breaks up]

But what if you’re the sad and miserable one, the one that’s left crawling on the floor, shattered inside and trying to pick up the pieces of your broken heart?

Well, if you’re that lover, then love can be a real bitch for you.

No matter what you do or how hard you try, there’s a constant hammering in your head and a hollow pit in your heart that nothing can fill. [Read: Getting over a breakup is easy if you break up first]

Moving on is a long game

It’s not something that’ll happen overnight. If you’re looking for a quick fix, you won’t find that here… or anywhere else for that matter. 

Broken hearts are serious. You’re hit really hard emotionally and that kind of wound takes a lot longer to heal than you realize.

You have to plan for time. It takes a while to work toward getting over a relationship you were so invested in. [Read: 26 honest steps to let go of someone you love and move on and find peace]

Put that in your mind ahead of time and it’ll make the process of moving on a lot easier because you won’t be disappointed when you’re not over it in a single week.

How to deal with a breakup when you’re a mess

Nobody likes a bad breakup because it’s just pitiful.

A relationship where both lovers just drift apart or end up simultaneously meeting new lovers seems so much better than the traditional breakup. [Read: Interesting dating facts you really need to know!]

But almost all the time, if your lover leaves you, they may already have someone else in mind. 

After all, human beings are quite selfish; we like having a backup plan for everything we do in life. We need a purpose for everything, and for breaking up too, we need to believe that there’s something better out there for us. [Read: How to stop caring about someone – 23 ways to move on from the pain]

But leaving human psychology aside, the fact of the matter still rests. You’ve broken up. You’re hurting. You need to move on.

It hurts, but you really, really have no choice at all. But you knew that already, didn’t you?

How to start moving on after a breakup

Acceptance is the biggest hurdle after a breakup. Most of us constantly pine for a second chance or constantly hope that our ex will want us back. [Read: 20 effective ways to stop thinking about the person you still like]

But as long as you keep that flicker of hope alive and think of your ex often, you will always writhe in misery and pain. And you’ll never be able to move on.

To truly understand how to move on after a breakup, you need to have the strength to accept that the relationship is over.

And if your ex does ever come crawling back to you a few months down the lane, you need to convince yourself that you will not get back with them. [Read: 16 signs your ex really likes you and wants you back in their life]

If you live your life in the constant hope that your ex may someday realize how much they love you and need you, you’re only going to feel worse with each passing day. 

This is especially true if your ex starts to date someone else.

How to deal with a breakup and smile!

Your willpower and your determination are the only things that matter when it comes to moving on after a breakup. Nothing else will help you, not your friends and not a string of flings. [Read: Why can’t I get over my ex when I want to move on and forget them?]

Hold your ground, convince yourself that you’re ready to move on and get away from the pain. And use these steps to move on and deal with a breakup.

1. Stop communicating with your ex – cold turkey!

Being friends with the person you’re madly in love with may seem like a cheap joke. That’s because it is. 

You may try to reason, “I’d rather have him in my life as a friend than nothing,” but the truth is… you wouldn’t. [Read: Breakup sex and the few instances where it works]

Immediate post-breakup is not the time to be making nice with your ex. If this process ever happens, it shouldn’t be for a very long time. 

Trust us, you’re only looking to be an emotional punching bag should you choose to stay friends at this emotionally vulnerable time in your life.

Until you’ve figured out how to move on from an ex and completely gotten over them, you’re not ready to take a stab at the *ill-advised* friendship route, so for now, it’s cold turkey for you! [Read: No contact rule – what it is, how to use it, and why it works so well]

2. Grieve

Some friends might encourage you to “get over it” in the best way possible, but the truth is, you need to take the appropriate amount of time to grieve your relationship when you are dealing with a breakup. 

You’ve ended not only a bond of love but a familiar routine that you were used to having in your life. Naturally, it’s going to take some time to get over.

In order to know how to move on from an ex you still care about, bottling up your feelings and pretending as if you aren’t going through an ordeal isn’t healthy and can actually slow down the healing process. [Read: Stages of a breakup and how to get through them]

That’s not to say that you should follow every impulse, no matter how spine-tinglingly orgasmic they might be. After all, running out and setting his car on fire while sending spite texts to his friends may err on the psychotic side. Maybe.

3. Let yourself feel it

There’s no use in hiding the pain away. Don’t try to bury it down deep because when you allow it to get that far down, it’ll just fester. 

You’ll end up feeling even worse in the long run. You need to let yourself feel the breakup. Live through the emotions and cry and scream and let it all out. [Read: Stages of a breakup and how to get through them]

4. Make your breakup playlist

Now that you’re deep into the grieving mode, it’s time to sift through your music and create the perfect playlist. 

Grab whatever embarrassing breakup music you’ll be ashamed to tell your girlfriends about several months from now, blare that shit, and cry it out. Warning: this may take days. [Read: How to survive the first 168 hours after a breakup]

Feel free to spice up the genre of your breakup playlist from sad to angry any ol’ time. [Read: 20 perfect songs to break down and get stronger again]

5. Replay your relationship

While you’re sitting alone and staring at a wall or an empty glass of wine, replay the relationship in your head. Pick the mistakes and the flaws in the relationship and try to see where things started falling apart.

But remember to pick the mistakes, not the pieces of the relationship. The love affair is over. What you need here is to try and figure out where you went wrong, and where your partner hurt you. 

Were you trying too hard to please, insecure, clingy, or were you just too busy with your own life? [Read: Why do I always choose the same guy and repeat the same mistakes?]

And about your ex, try to pick their flaws too, so you don’t fall for another person with the same flaws again.

6. Look for the good in your breakup

When you are dealing with a breakup, try to look on the bright side. Believe it or not, every breakup does have one. Maybe things were toxic between the two of you. 

Maybe now you have more time to focus on your own needs. Think about the great things that can come from this and it’ll help you move on in a healthier way. [Read: 52 happy habits and ways to find happiness within yourself and feel better]

7. Reflect on the good in your relationship

Just because you broke up doesn’t mean your relationship was all bad. There were great things. Focusing on remembering your relationship for the good will help you avoid slipping into a negative headspace.

But just because you’re remembering the good in your relationship doesn’t mean you should pine for your ex back. Sure, there were good moments in the relationship, but they clearly weren’t enough to hold you two together.

You should reflect on the relationship like it’s a bittersweet chapter in your past, not something you want to rekindle.

8. Recognize the problems you both had

You need to admit what went wrong. In order to fully move on, you need that closure. Both parties probably did some wrong. Think back to what happened and recognize the problems in the relationship. [Read: 10 of the biggest problems in a relationship]

Not only will this help you move on, but it’ll also assist in a successful relationship down the road since you’ll know what mistakes not to repeat.

9. Don’t write letters

There’s always a constant itch to get in touch with an ex when you are dealing with a breakup, when you feel down, when you listen to a romantic song, or even when you’re drunk. 

But hold that thought. Never try to get in touch with an ex unless you’re just bumping into them accidentally. It’ll weaken your resolve to get over your ex. [Read: Old love letters and memories – keep or throw them?]

If you find yourself writing a long email to your ex, write it if you must but don’t send it. Hold on to that draft copy overnight. 

When you wake up in the morning, you’ll realize that it was just a weak moment and you don’t really want to send the text anymore. 

By waiting a while, you’d be able to feel stronger about your own resolve. The same rule can be applied to phone calls too. [Read: The humiliating and cruel experience of unrequited love]

If an uncontrollable urge to call your ex overwhelms you, don’t stop yourself. Instead, just convince yourself that you’ll call the next morning if you still feel like it. 

Each time you put away a phone call or text, you’ll feel more confident about getting over your ex and moving on.

10. Write down how you feel in a daily journal

In order to learn how to move on from a relationship, you have to figure out how to get your emotions out. A great way to do that is through writing. [Read: Why am I so emotional? Emotional stability and 27 secrets to balance life]

Jot down how you feel and why in a daily journal. It helps track your progress in a healthy way and seeing your emotions written down can often help you process them more.

Getting your thoughts and feelings out in any capacity *diary entries, writing short stories* can be cathartic for getting over someone you love.

11. Deal with the addiction

Exes are an addiction, just like any other serious life-threatening addiction in the world. And the worst part here is that you can’t really cut down a little bit at a time. [Read: The art of getting over an ex by hating them]

You have no choice but to go cold turkey and avoid all contact. It will hurt and you will feel terrible, but you’ll feel better a week later, and even better another week later.

Treat your ex like a bad addiction, and learn to deal with the breakup. It’ll help you when you start to see your ex as something that’s bad for your life.

12. Don’t force yourself

For the first week or so, don’t bother trying to convince yourself that you’re over your ex. Just let life take its course. [Read: I miss him but I don’t think he misses me]

Do your best to get over your ex by keeping yourself occupied, but don’t force your mind to forget your ex. 

You may be successful in bottling the thoughts, but they’ll always come back now and then in surges that will hurt you more.

13. Don’t stay miserable for too long

Allow yourself to feel miserable and hurt when you deal with a breakup. But time yourself and keep an eye on the calendar. [Read: How to be happy alone and 20 reasons why relationships are overrated]

Give yourself about three weeks to mourn the breakup. Mark the date on your calendar with a big red marker.

Think about your ex for those three weeks, but constantly remind yourself that at the end of these three weeks, you’ll wake up the next morning and reshift your focus onto productively moving on.

Keeping a date marked on the calendar can psychologically prepare you to get over your ex. And at times, your wound may heal even before those three weeks! [Read: How to be happy in life – 12 hacks to find real happiness instantly]

14. Take the high road 

There are two types of fantasies you can think about after a breakup, the I-wish-we-could-get-back fantasy, and the I’ll-get-even-with-you fantasy. 

Don’t try anything below the belt like spreading naked photos or cheap comebacks like that. It’s not fair and you’ll never forgive yourself for years if you even have the slightest semblance of a conscience.

Take the higher road. Convince yourself that you’ll put your focus and energy into other positive things, so that one fine day, many years from now, you’ll do something spectacular with your life. [Read: How to be happy and change yourself into a better ‘you’ in 12 steps]

And fantasize about scenarios where you’d run into your ex. 

It’s not fair, but it helps for the moment. And odds are you may forget all about this a few years later. [Read: How to be mature – 25 ways to grow up and face life like an adult]

15. Laugh like a crazy person

For the first few weeks when you’re dealing with a breakup, don’t convince yourself you’re happier. Just wallow in your self-pity and depression. But once you wake up one day and feel better, a few weeks later, laugh! 

Feel the happiness well within you. Realize how good you feel. It takes a while, but you’ll feel it when you’re ready. Listen to happy songs, watch funny movies, and laugh out loud. 

When you’re ready to move on from your sad state, your mind will be more than happy to help you have a nice time. [Read: The things you HAVE to do after a breakup to feel awesome again!]

16. Don’t cyberstalk 

The no-contact rule is really important when you’re dealing with a breakup. You can use all the other steps and follow them to the tee, but if you screw up here, you’ll be back on square one in no time. 

Have you ever looked for your ex’s Facebook or Instagram account sometime *just to see what they’re doing*?

The first time you take a peek at your ex’s account, you won’t think too much about it. [Read: 12 reasons why the no-contact rule always works and helps you get over your ex]

But as time goes by, you’d end up visiting their accounts more and more often, until you realize you’re addicted to the idea of wanting to know more about your ex. 

There’s no escaping your ex once you get wrapped up in the curiosity of knowing more. Avoid it. Don’t stay in contact, and don’t go looking for information either.

17. Get better and sexier

Have a life, go on out there, and enjoy yourself. Sitting by yourself in the corner of the room will never make you feel better. [Read: How to be hot – Tips to revamp and reveal the hot and sexy you]

Date others or at least meet a few interesting dating potentials that catch your fancy. 

Remember, you’ll have a very difficult time moving on if you find out that your ex is dating someone new, especially if you aren’t getting flirty with someone else already.

Work out and get fit. You’ll look better, and the endorphins released in your body will make you feel more upbeat and look sexier. [Read: The kinds of love you’ll experience in your lifetime]

A heartbreak isn’t the end of the world. Sometimes, as hard as you try to prevent it, breakups are inevitable. 

What you do next and how you pull yourself together to deal with the breakup makes all the difference between a person who experiences a breakup, and a broken lover who gives up on a chance to have a happy life again. [Read: Do you have what it takes to be friends with your ex ever again?]

18. Don’t go for a rebound

It’s tempting to want to let someone else take over instead of dealing with your own emotions. And as much as finding a rebound is recommended for a quick fix, it’s not exactly the healthiest option.

You’ll just have to deal with your emotions when that rebound is no longer there anyway. May as well not waste your or their time. [Read: Healing steps to help a friend get over a breakup]

19. Work on your mental health

You need to care for yourself. Don’t just let your mind fill up with negativity. 

The more you let those thoughts fester, the worse you’ll feel. Think positively and focus on relaxing techniques that’ll help you get rid of negativity. [Read: How to be a more positive person]

20. Keep yourself busy

You might want to sit there and wallow, but what good is it going to do you? After a certain period of time, there is no room for wallowing right now, you must keep yourself busy and let things start to move naturally. 

Throw yourself into work, start writing a book if you want to, or simply spend more time with your family and friends. Busy, busy, busy is the way forward when you’re dealing with a breakup! [Read: Steps to un-faking your life and love being you]

21. Enjoy more of your hobbies

Remember what you loved to do before you got with your ex?

Do more of those things. Engaging in hobbies and activities that make you happy can help keep you in a positive mindset so you can move on easier. [Read: Fun ways you can start all over]

Or get into a new hobby. This is common when you’re dealing with a breakup because it helps take the focus off your breakup and onto rebuilding yourself and your interests. 

Show off your Photoshop skills and open an Etsy shop to showcase your prints. Take up an instrument. Learn how to cook. Do anything else than wallowing. [Read: How to stop caring about someone who once meant the world to you]

22. Don’t hang out with your ex

Unless you want to interpret every stare as a sign of wanting to get back together, every touch as an urge to rip their pants off, and every conversation about their life as a personal stab to your heart, stay far away. For now, at least.

23. Keep that number and social media account blocked

Hopefully, you will have done the blocking early on, and when you start to feel slightly better and you want to start moving on from the breakup, you might start to think about unblocking. Don’t do it! 

If you want to learn how to move on from a breakup in a dignified way, keep everything blocked! You will only get drunk one night and send a text that you seriously regret. [Read: How to let go of someone you love]

24. Do not assume that you need to cut your hair

We’re all told that when you’ve been through a breakup, you need to cut your hair or dye it a completely different color. You do not need to do this! 

Of course, if you want to, go for it, but make sure that you’re thinking straight. Pink hair might look great on, well, Pink, but it might not suit you!

Step away from the scissors and the hair dye until you’re feeling a little more like yourself. Hair regret is a serious thing. [Read: Rebound sex questions to know for sure if you can handle it]

25. Reframe your negative thoughts

At some point, you’re going to start looking back and wondering what you could have done differently *if you haven’t already*. The fact is you can’t go back, so there’s no point wondering. 

Yes, you can learn lessons, but it’s totally different from wishing things were different.

If you want to learn how to move on from a breakup, you need to start reframing those negative thoughts and move towards a more positive space. [Read: How to live a good life you’ll love and cherish]

For every negative thought you have about the breakup or your ex, come up with a positive and repeat it until it becomes second nature. 

For instance, if you keep thinking “I wish I could change things,” reframe that to “the past has gone and I’m going to make the future bright.” 

You won’t believe it at first, but over time you will. [Read: How to hone and increase your positive emotions in a negative world]

26. Change your routine

When you do the same things every day, it can easily drag you down when you’re dealing with a breakup. If you want to learn how to move on from a breakup, distract yourself.

Focus on making positive changes in your life. Change your routine and see how you feel.

For instance, instead of getting the bus to work every day, why not walk? Instead of sitting at your desk for lunch, ask a co-worker if they want to go for a walk to the coffee shop. 

Small changes can make a huge difference in your happiness. [Read: How to enjoy being single and live the life you really want to live]

27. Do one thing every day that challenges you

In addition to changing your routine, challenge yourself with something new every day. This doesn’t have to be something huge. It just needs to distract your mind.

For instance, challenge yourself to make the perfect meal. Challenge yourself to walk to work faster than the day before. 

Challenge yourself to tick every item off your to-do list. With every challenge you face and succeed, your confidence will grow. This is a great way to move on from a breakup in a productive way. [Read: How to broaden your horizons and get out of your comfort zone for good]

28. Take the time to focus on yourself

All too often, we focus on everyone else but ourselves. When you’ve just come out of a relationship, you’re so used to doing everything for your partner. 

Now is the time to focus on number one! Do all the things you love to do and do not feel guilty about it. Dedicate one day per week to total self-care and do not cancel it for any reason. 

Learn to nourish your soul, and you’ll start to feel better in no time. [Read: How to get over a breakup and move away from Poutyland faster]

29. Treat yourself

Go on, you know you want to! This doesn’t mean you should turn to retail therapy as an emotional crutch over the long term, but it does mean that you can treat yourself to something nice on this one occasion, just because you can. 

If it makes you feel better in the here and now and it’s a one-off, then buy that new iPhone or book that mini-break!

30. Say ‘yes’ if you would normally say ‘no’

Now, there are a few rules here. [Read: Powerful steps to break out of your comfort zone]

Don’t go around saying ‘yes’ to things that you know you shouldn’t do, but if you’re always saying ‘no’ to party invites or days out, it’s time to start saying ‘yes.’ 

You never know where these opportunities might lead and that’s why you have to start seeing them as – opportunities! 

If nothing else, it gets you out of the house, and you might even enjoy it! [Read: How to be more playful and flirty and open when you meet someone]

31. Get rid of anything which reminds you of your ex

Be ruthless if you are dealing with a breakup. When you’re ready, get rid of everything that reminds you of your ex. 

Take down the photos, delete the playlist, and stop watching the film that reminds you of the good times with them. It’s time to make new memories. There is no time for looking back.

32. Complain to your friends

Not too much. You don’t want to be one of those girls whose every word post-breakup is your ex’s name. Besides that, feel free to rant the night away with your closest friends. [Read: Great reasons why the no contact rule always works]

That’s what they’re there for. In fact, one study found that verbally reflecting on your past relationship can actually help speed the healing process and bring you closure.

33. Don’t beg them to get back together 

It’s hard not to fight for your case to stay together when you’re in love with someone. But try to step back and see the bigger picture. 

Your ex doesn’t want to be with you. Begging isn’t going to help the situation. No matter how good you think you were together, forcing your ex to be with you isn’t healthy.

34. Don’t try to be friends with benefits

Doesn’t matter how good the D or the V was. They went off-limits when they decided to be a D-bag. That is one strict rule when you’re dealing with a breakup! [Read: How to get your self-esteem back after a breakup]

35. Meet new people

That’s not to say you should run into a rebound relationship at light speed, but breakups give you the opportunity to rediscover yourself and new people. Get to know who you are by meeting new people. 

Start saying yes to new opportunities and invitations, and you may just remember your post-breakup months as a time of new experiences instead of a mind-numbing blur. [Read: Rebound sex questions to know if you’re actually ready for it]

36. Make good habits

Wallowing and self-pity are totally acceptable after a heartbreak. It’s part of learning how to move on from an ex when the breakup is still fresh and hurting, honestly. 

Post-breakup, you are officially allowed three drunken nights of pink margaritas, one public emotional outburst, and one night of binging raw cookie dough and Cheetos. Just don’t forget to take care of yourself.

Focus on making good habits, especially as you come out of the initial wallowing phase. Read: Things to keep in mind when you bump into your ex]

37. Re-decorate

Instead of falling to the old standby of dying your hair post-breakup, why not focus your creative juices elsewhere? Start re-decorating your house room by room.

This is a great way to distract yourself and work your frustrations into productivity. This is extra beneficial if you previously shared your home with your ex. Erase all traces of your love nest.

Fresh paint for a fresh start to life!

38. No making your friends choose sides

If you had mutual friends with your ex, don’t make them choose one of you over the other. They can still be friends with both of you, you’ll just have to set some guidelines during the awkward phase. [Read: 15 lessons you can learn from your own breakups]

Also, be the bigger person and refuse to participate in a “throw each other under the bus narrative.” 

It may seem tempting, but let your mutual friends know the subject of the breakup is personal and off-limits for gossip.

39. See a therapist if necessary

Not all of us can work through our emotions alone. Some of us need help. If you find that’s the case for you, see a therapist.

There’s nothing wrong with seeking help professionally if you can’t get through it alone. In fact, it takes a lot of strength to recognize where you fall short on your own and reach out for help. [Read: 34 steps to stop being sad and break out of the comfortable misery of sadness]

40. Give it time

“Time heals all wounds” didn’t turn into a life lesson staple for no reason. Give it time and you *will* start to feel better. 

Sometimes, that’s the only way to really learn how to move on from an ex when you’re still hurting for now. [Read: How to move on and deal with a breakup with a smile]

Once you start to feel back to normal, you may find it helpful to reflect *with an open mind* on why your relationship didn’t work. It didn’t work because you weren’t meant for one another.

Were you really happy in that relationship, or did you just want to be? What did you learn from everything that happened between the two of you? 

No matter what answers you come up with, it’s going to better your understanding of who you are and what you want. [Read: How to move on after a breakup and overcome the pain]

41. Accept it and let it go

You have broken up with your ex and now you are single. Harsh? No. It’s the truth. If you want to learn how to move on from a breakup, you need to stop avoiding the truth and face it head-on. 

What is so bad about being single? You don’t have to compromise anymore, and you can watch whatever you want on TV! You can starfish in bed, and you can spend as long as you want in the bath.

Accept the truth and let it go if you want to move on. It takes time, but it’s a watershed moment you need to work towards. [Read: How to behave during a breakup and leave with your head held high]

42. Get back out there

Don’t be in the recovery phase for too long. The more you stay inside and avoid intimacy, the more difficult it’s going to be to get back out there. 

Once you’ve done all the steps above, focus on moving forward with your life in a romantic sense, too.

43. Remember that not everything is meant to last

It’s a harsh reminder but it’s necessary. You need to remember that not every relationship is meant to last. Sometimes it’s better to end things in order to move on and find something better for you.

[Read: Steps for getting over someone you love]

Use these steps on how to move on and deal with a breakup. Following these steps may seem easy at first, but it isn’t as easy to follow as you think! But if the journey to get over an ex is a tough one, then you’ll come out a stronger person on the other side.

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...