Moving on from any relationship you had with another person can be one of the most challenging times of a person’s life. Disappointment, hurt and sadness are a normal part of this painful experience. Remember that this is a chapter in your life story and you have the opportunity to learn from this experience in a way that will positively influence your future. As a licensed clinical psychologist, I’m here to help you navigate that process. Here are a few tips for moving on from a relationship that has ended.
Take A Step Back To Evaluate Your Thoughts
Our thoughts are not always rational when we are emotional. Recognizing these emotionally-driven thoughts is important so you can see things more accurately. Unhelpful thinking patterns include being self critical, predicting the future in a catastrophic way, and emotional reasoning. A key component of cognitive behavioral therapy is emotion regulation, which involves evaluating the accuracy of your thoughts and understanding how they impact your emotions.
Embrace Your Feelings
Avoiding your feelings is unhealthy and leads to more and bigger problems. As a licensed clinical psychologist, I encourage people to share their feelings with others or write them down and read them so you can gain a better understanding of what you’re feeling. Set aside some time every day to understand and know your feelings, but don’t let those feelings consume the rest of your day. Make a real effort to focus on other important areas of your life.
Understand Every Break-Up Is Different
Try not to compare your situation with someone else’s because every person is different and every situation is different. In addition to understanding how you can improve and grow, figure out if you are choosing to date and commit to the wrong people. Participating in online teletherapy or in-person cognitive behavioral therapy sessions can help you understand both positive and negative patterns in that relationship as well as gaining an understanding of how you view, approach, and relate to other people.
Begin Writing Your Next Chapter In Life
As difficult as it may be, you have the strength to move on from this chapter of your life. Use past experiences to become a stronger person and learn from mistakes you made. After enough time has passed and you are less emotional, reflect on your previous relationship with the goal of learning what went right and what went wrong. When you have the determination to improve your personal growth, you’ll also improve future relationships at the same time.
Other Important Tips Include:
Engage in healthy self-care. This doesn’t mean not taking care of responsibilities. However, it is important to carve out some time to be kind to yourself such as taking a yoga class, reading a book, or attending a social event.
Be careful that you do not increase or start the use of unhealthy coping strategies such as drinking alcohol and using substances. This is a way to avoid feelings and has the potential to lead to much bigger problems.
Do not stalk your ex on social media. There is no benefit to this as it can increase negative thoughts and feelings and it does not allow you to close that chapter and move forward.
Some experts believe that you should never have contact with, nor ever be friends with, an ex after a breakup. I don’t think that has to be a hard and fast rule. There are ex-couples who realize that they were better friends than romantic partners and are able to set and respect appropriate boundaries. Of course, divorced parents do not have this option and should be mature enough to put aside their emotions to have a civil relationship with the other parent in the best interest of their children.
In abusive situations, whether physically, sexually, or emotionally, all contact with the abuser must end. Maintaining contact with an abuser can be dangerous and at the very least confusing when they are manipulative.
I understand the unique challenges of dealing with an ended relationship. I’ll be with you every step of the way, so don’t hesitate to contact me when you’re ready to move on.