smallHowever, heartbreak is something many of us experience at some point in our lives, leaving us scrambling to learn how to get over a breakup.
As much as we want to live happily ever after with our partner, the reality is that some relationships will end. In fact, the number of divorces in England and Wales increased by almost 10 percent in 2021 compared to 2020.
Getting over a breakup is never easy. It can be especially difficult if you still love your ex and it hurts to think about life without them. If you have suffered recently, you may be wondering how long it will take to move on to the next chapter of your life.
While there is no magic cure for a broken heart, there are practical things you can do to protect your physical and mental health. Nina Kundi, Certified Relationship Coach, and Christiana Maxion, International Relationship and Dating Coach offer the following 12 tips.
1. Cut off communication
Nina says cutting off contact with an ex is an important first step. “It’s important to protect yourself and your sanity – even if it’s just for the first few weeks. This will help you move through the healing process faster.”
If you are co-parenting, Nina advises against trying to control the relationship between your ex-partner and the child. “It is not your responsibility to protect the relationship between your ex and your child. That’s up to them, so you don’t have to try to control it. Every time you open the communication channel, the wound opens and the pain becomes real again.”
2. Spend time with family and friends
After a breakup, you’ll feel more vulnerable than usual and probably not alone. The best people to be around during this time are the ones who know you best and love you unconditionally. Make plans to see family and friends, especially at times when you would normally be at home with your ex, such as Saturday nights or Sunday afternoons.
3. Make yourself a priority
When you were in a relationship, you may have found yourself compromising your own needs. A toxic relationship may have made you feel guilty about doing things for yourself or isolated you from loved ones.
So use your newly discovered single status as an opportunity to put yourself first. “Create your ‘happy list’ of at least 10 things that make you inherently happy,” says Christiana. “For example, bubble baths, a good book or podcast, your favorite sport or socializing. Make that list visible, whether it’s posted on the back of your front door or on your phone screen, and promise to do at least one or two of these things every day.”
4. Take a break from social media
While there are many positives to social media, it can be a source of stress and pain when you’re going through a breakup. It’s not helpful to know what your ex is doing at all hours of the day or to obsess over who he spends his time with.
Unfollow or mute their account for the foreseeable future or take a complete break from social media while you navigate this vulnerable time. This is even more important if they have moved on quickly with someone else. While it may feel strange, you will only cause yourself more pain.
5. Stay in shape
The NHS advises you get 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week, which can be anything from a run in the park to a spin class at the gym. Getting your heart pumping will release endorphins, the feel-good chemicals that lift your mood. Exercise can also boost your self-esteem, give you energy and help you sleep better.
Sports like boxing provide a safe place to let out your anger while helping you get fitter and stronger in the process. Even a dance or yoga class can get your heart rate up and give you a new skill to learn while you’re at it.
The other benefit of joining a sports club or regular fitness class is the sense of community it can provide, a real comfort in a potentially lonely time.
6. Book a trip
Having something to look forward to during a difficult time can make a big difference to your mental health. So talk to some friends or family members and organize a long holiday or just a weekend together.
A spa retreat could be just what you need after a stressful divorce, or a trip to an exotic or adventurous place could help you gain new perspective. Dine at great restaurants, book a massage and indulge in some retail therapy on your travels. It’s time to treat yourself.
Anyone to go with? Just take a trip on your own or go on a solo traveler vacation.
7. Do something for others
Volunteering our time to help other people can take our minds off our own worries, including getting over a breakup. In addition to benefiting others, kindness can reduce stress and improve our emotional well-being. Volunteering can help you approach difficult situations with more empathy, which can be helpful if you’re feeling angry with your ex.
You could volunteer at a charity shop once a week, find a local befriending service for the elderly or even walk a neighbour’s dog. It’s all about those little acts of kindness.
8. Cook and eat well
Mental health charity Mind says eating nutritious food is integral to our wellbeing, improves our mood and helps us think more clearly. So gather some of your favorite recipes, write a shopping list, and spend an afternoon cooking.
Put your meals in the fridge and freezer so you always have a nutritious home-cooked meal. This will also prevent you from ordering takeout every time you’re feeling down or having a bad day.
9. Talk to a therapist
The end of a relationship can leave you with unanswered questions and open wounds that may take time to heal. A professional therapist will help you work through some of these issues and allow you to talk freely and confidentially without worrying about burdening a family member or friend too much.
Therapy appointments can be done face-to-face, or even online or via text if you prefer. Organizations like Better Help can help you find the right professional for your individual needs.
10. Read before bed
You may find that your worries surface just before you fall asleep. This can prevent you from falling asleep.
In a difficult time, it can be beneficial to relax properly. Turn off all technology, stay away from social media and immerse yourself in a good book. Reading has the power to take our minds to a different place and give us a momentary respite.
11. Think about what you really want in a partner
Instead of dwelling on what went wrong with your ex, make a list of what you want in a future partner. “If we take the ‘five worlds’ of spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual and financial, ask yourself what characteristics, qualities and values you want in a partner in each of these worlds,” says Christiana.
“Narrow them down to the top 10 must-haves and the top five non-negotiables. Keep this list on your phone, in your wallet, or posted somewhere in your home. You can even turn it into a vision board with photos and make it your phone backdrop or desktop screen.”
12. Join a dating site
When you feel ready to move on, signing up for a dating site or app can be a great way to meet new people. The first step is to find a dating site that will match you with like-minded people.
For people in their forties, fifties and sixties, Telegraph Dating is the ideal service. Among its members are single parents, divorcees and those looking for someone mature and successful.
If you haven’t been out in a while and you’re feeling nervous, mention it in your profile. Chances are you’ll find someone who feels exactly the same as you.
And do not forget:
There is no quick fix for heartbreak, so give yourself time to recover. At the end of a relationship, you may feel an element of sadness as you mourn the loss of the person and the circumstances. As with grief, time is a great healer.
Getting over a marriage that ends when you still love them
“Divorce is painful, messy and often protracted with many more layers of ‘red tape’ stress alongside the emotional cost,” says Christiana. “I would advise seeking professional help to enable you to build a toolbox of successful solutions to get you through this time.”
Surround yourself with a strong support system to help you with your emotional and mental needs as well as the practical. “Divorce and separation are a real concern of who your true cheerleaders and friends are. Your physical and emotional well-being is a key priority here, and not rushing into a new relationship, even in retaliation or recovery.”
Getting over a breakup you caused
“Usually, the person who initiated the breakup is the one who gets over it the fastest, because they’ve already come to terms with the end of the relationship long before the other party, to whom it may have been a total surprise,” she says. Christiana.
However, you may feel responsible for your ex and guilty for letting them hurt. While it may be tempting to keep communication open, the kindest thing for both parties is to minimize it as much as possible. Let the other space move on without you.
How long does it take to get over a breakup?
How long is a piece of string? The time it takes varies from person to person depending on the length of the relationship and the depth of emotional attachment.
What not to do after a breakup?
Don’t jump into another relationship before you heal properly. Starting a new relationship too soon can be detrimental to both you and your new partner, as you will have patterns of behavior from the previous relationship. Take time to recover, even if you were the one who ended it.
If you’re single and interested in meeting like-minded people, join Telegraph Dating. With over 220,000 single people, Telegraph Dating is the best place to find romance.