After a long relationship, it can be difficult to restart your life again. Over the course of several months or years, you became used to being a part of an “us”. From what you did on the weekend to the types of restaurants you chose to eat at, every aspect of your life changed while you were in a relationship. Once the relationship ends, it can feel traumatic. You are not alone. Everyone who has ever suffered from a break up has had to learn how to be single after a long relationship. It takes time, but you can start to move on again. To get started on your journey, read on.
1. Stop Trying to Get Him Back
After a long relationship, you start to rethink your entire life. You spent so much time invested in that relationship, and it feels like you are just throwing everything away. Worse still, you still dream about him and think about him all the time. It is normal to want the relationship to go back to normal, but you have to realize that it just is not possible. Trying to call or text him and convince him to come back won’t work. Once the relationship is over, you have to recognize that fact so that you can start to choose your next step in life.
2. Don’t Blame Yourself
When a relationship ends, it is normal to start questioning yourself. What did I do wrong? Was it my fault? These questions are normal. In moderation, these questions can be a good thing. This is a good opportunity to look at everything you did or did not do in the relationship and learn from it. If mistakes were made, then you can learn from them and move on.
You cannot take these questions too far though. It is not your fault. There is nothing wrong with you. A break up happens because of both partners, and it is often just because of the chemistry between the two. There may be things that you can learn from, but your ex is equally responsible for the break up. You cannot just blame yourself and dwell on the past. Spend some time crying and grieving for your relationship, but then start to focus on moving on.
To have a chance of enjoying your life as a single person, you have to let go of the past. Your negative emotions and self-criticism have to go away so that you can learn to love yourself. It sounds cliche, but you have to love yourself before you can have a good relationship or be happier. If you can learn to let go, you will be more confident and happier in general.
3. Find Things to Do
Time is your enemy right now. If you have a lot of free time on your hands, it is far too easy to dwell on the past. Now that the relationship is over, it is easy to think about the happy moments and the feelings you miss. It is even easier to start a downward spiral of questioning yourself, the relationship and your future.
The easiest solution is to find something to do. While the break up is still fresh, you need to start finding something new to do with your mind. Find a new hobby, take a cooking class or learn a language. Remember all those friends you hung out with when you were single years ago? Look them up and renew those relationships. Go to places where there are other people around who can talk to you and spend time with you.
We are not saying that it will be easy. At first, your smile will probably be fake and your enthusiasm will be just a pretense. Right now, you just have to fake it until you make it. At some point in the next few weeks or months, you will start to realize that your smile is no longer fake and your enthusiasm is actually genuine. Until then, stay busy and distract your mind from the break up.
4. Learn to Be Comfortable on Your Own
This is another step that is not easy, but is extremely important. There are people who live their entire lives without being comfortable alone. They are unable to look at their own feelings without being uncomfortable, so they stay constantly busy or around other people. Now that you are single, it is an opportunity to learn more about yourself.
Other than just learning about yourself and being happy on your own, you also have to learn how to actually be on your own. Living in an apartment by yourself can be lonesome at first. When I went through a break up, I developed the habit of playing music as soon as I walked in the door. With happy music in the background, the apartment seemed cheerier and less lonely.
The next problem was learning how to eat at restaurants on my own. When you are in a relationship, you only have to call your partner to have someone to eat with. When you are single, there aren’t always friends available to go to your favorite restaurant. It took time, but I finally became comfortable eating by myself when friends weren’t available. I started by bringing books or paperwork to work on while I ate. Over time, I stopped using this pretense and just enjoyed my meal. It sounds lonely, but eating at a restaurant alone can be fun—and great for people-watching.
5. Start Journaling
Research studies show that people who write in a diary or journal each day tend to be happier. This habit is also good when you are just getting out of a relationship. Before, you could share your deepest, darkest secrets with your partner. Now, you have no one who knows you as well to talk to. Plus, it can get tiresome for your poor friends to hear over and over again about the relationship and the break up.
The simple solution for this is to get a journal. You can say whatever you want in the pages, and writing will help you work through all of the feelings that you are experiencing. Once a feeling is on paper, it is almost magical to see how it changes the way you feel. You might still be stressed or upset, but just writing down your feelings can make it easier to manage your emotions.
6. Hang Out With Other Singles
While you are still grieving your break up, the last thing that you want to see is a bunch of happy couples. It only reminds you of everything that you have lost. One way to handle this is by deliberately seeking out single friends. This gives you people who are in the same life stage as you. Plus, single friends often have other single friends, so it increases your odds of finding a new relationship when you are ready or it in the future.
7. Become Emotionally Independent
Thousands of years before psychologists figured out how the mind worked, Buddhist monks already had a decent handle on the topic. They realized that everyone suffers and tries to avoid suffering. It is our attachment to things or events that leads to our suffering. In relationships, people have a tendency to base their individual happiness on their partner. It is far too easy to allow your day to revolve around seeing your lover and being with them.
The only problem is when you can’t see your lover or when you break up. By basing your happiness on someone else, you have made it harder to function on your own. Luckily, you are stronger than that. Now that you are single, you have a chance to learn how to be emotionally independent. You can learn how to base your happiness on your self instead of others.
To make this process even easier, try meditating. In meditation, you can watch the way your mind cycles through certain thought patterns. Before long, you start to realize that your perspective is what matters. Individual events or people do not cause you to be happy or unhappy. It is only your reaction to those people or events that leads to unhappiness. If you can understand your feelings and your reactions, you will be an emotionally independent person as well as a happier person.
What If I Initiated the Break Up?
If you were the one who initiated the break up, moving on can still be hard. For yourself, the previous tips still work. For your partner, you need to be understanding. Whether they expected the break up or not, this will be a difficult time for them.
MRI studies show that the human mind actually mirrors mental illnesses when it goes through a break up. Basically, people are temporarily insane when they break up with someone. You need to be understanding about what they are going through. Don’t encourage them or get back together, but understand why they texted you 20 times over the weekend. Break ups are hard, and healing takes time.