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Ultimate Guide for Handling a Breakup

Andrea has a background in Myers-Briggs and Western astrology. She mostly writes about relationships.


Moving On

The following guide is designed to help you get over someone, not to win them back. As we all know, breakups aren’t the easiest thing to handle. They can leave you with unwelcome feelings and thoughts. You might believe lies, like that you’re worthless. You may have to deal with logistical issues like where to live, how to pay bills, how to avoid the person, and sorting through gifts/items/property associated with your ex.

I am here to help you get on the best route possible for your recovery. I’ll help you navigate this time, so you can secure the future you desire. The following guide is based on experience, not from a therapist or counselor.

First things first: Throw away all your old notions on breakups. Instead, focus on healing and getting back to your wonderful self. You don’t need your ex or a replacement for them. Don’t aggressively get back into the dating game.

Don’t contact your ex: You may have a lot you want to say to your ex. You may feel like you need to tell this person EVERYTHING that’s on your mind. But I would suggest that you don’t tell them anything unless it’s absolutely necessary. If you want closure, you’ll have to wade through some uncomfortableness for a time. When it comes to relationships there are two ways that you find closure: (1) a clean-cut break with no strings attached, or (2) a slow fading into silence.

Focus on clearing your head. When you’ve mentally sorted yourself, you’ll be more prepared to enter a healthy and sustainable relationship. You cannot date and make it really work until you’ve said adieu to your past.

It can be hard to label a relationship as the past, especially if the breakup is still fresh. It’s okay to be emotional about a recent parting of ways, whether it was a good or bad relationship.

Go through your emotions and process them rather than run away from them. If you don’t address the feelings, they will pop up in funny ways. It’s best to journal, cry your eyes out, and meditate until these thoughts and feelings have run their course. Eventually, you’ll get bored of your breakup feelings, and you’ll move on with your life.

Dealing With Your Thoughts

I guarantee you the best thing to do right now is cut off communication with your ex. You need to cut off communication for a few months. Wait until you’re absolutely sure that you’re coming from a good place before trying to open up a conversation with them.

The first thing that you need to do with all those thoughts is to put them in a place that’s safe for you, like a journal. When you write out your thoughts, you can read them back and analyze them. It might also give you some relief to dump out your thoughts somewhere rather than keep playing the same conversations and ideas in your head.

Another strategy that helps: Write an angry letter you’ll never send to your ex, or write a letter to yourself saying the kind things you wish they’d said to you.

Write out your thoughts, make videos of yourself, speak to an audio recorder. The thing here that’s absolutely necessary is for you to understand what you’re going through and process it.

Clarity will come if you make room for it. If you avoid addressing your thoughts and feelings, you may feel like you're just floating around in a haze.

Tired of journaling? I have a strategy that might make things more fun for you. Instead of meditating on your ex all day, think of a celebrity you think is crush-worthy. Redirect your focus to someone that you don’t have to worry about because they'll never respond to you because they don’t know you exist — but don’t do this to some total stranger and then turn into a stalker.

Fall for a humanitarian, a crazy good-looking actor, an author who has a penchant for putting semi-colons in beautifully long sentences. It’s good to displace your withdrawal-energy onto a celebrity because, again, you won’t meet this person, and you can’t make them a rebound… so you’re not going to end up hurting someone else.

Forget your ex. Binge-watch the first season of Bridgerton. Get lost in Leonardo DiCaprio movies, the heartthrob kind. Watch Taylor Swift music videos until you fall asleep cuddling a pillow and drooling on your couch.

I ended up having a crush on a Korean drama actor the last time that I had a breakup… it’s silly, but I intentionally watched all his TV shows. I liked his perfectly trimmed and groomed hair with the added bonus of a chiseled jaw. Watching his heart-wrenching performances actually made me feel a lot better. Time was better spent fantasizing about someone I had never met than brooding about someone I no longer cared to see. Instead of journaling… I wrote a fan letter (I know, embarrassing) to the celebrity who lives overseas.

It’s kind of wild, but watching Korean dramas helped me to better connect with myself and revisit my expectations. Of course, the fantasy romance and cards falling into place TV shows aren’t reality. But believing just a little bit in fairy tales helped move the needle to get me to want a healthy relationship.

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Pros of writing a fan letter:

  1. You can say whatever you want to say, as long as it’s not too creepy.
  2. It’s not going to be addressed. It may never get read.

I definitely encourage you to find a celebrity that you can crush on for a little while.

Find Ways to Be Happy

You may feel really sad right now, but instead, remember that no one has the right to take your joy away. No one has the right to take your smile away. No one has the right to take your sunshine away. So what you need to do during this time is to find ways to make yourself happy, laugh, and do things that you love. Don’t let “the demons of heartbreak” get to you. If you like baking cakes, do it. If you want to ride a Ferris Wheel, do it.

I highly recommend watching the TV shows that make you laugh. I highly recommend laughing at yourself. I recommend calling all your friends that make you laugh and hanging out with them.

Drowning your sorrows in alcohol or binge eating will only burden your health. You should drink alcohol when you’re happy, not when you’re sad. Alcohol can trick you by making you feel like it can help you tolerate your feelings, and then you might get addicted and codependent on it as opposed to learning and processing your emotions in a healthy way.

Now is the time to pick up your favorite hobbies. Change things up and try something new that you wanted to try for a long time. If you thought about taking dance classes, or going rockclimbing, or doing poetry…. this is what you should do now. It’ll bring a new refreshed sense of energy to your life.

Accept Your Progress

Some people get through their emotions faster than others. It’s okay if it takes you months to get over someone. It’s okay if your friend gets over someone in a matter of weeks or days.

I don’t recommend deleting your ex off social media unless you feel it needs to be done for security reasons. Deleting someone could send the wrong signal.

You may need to contact this person in your life at some point, so deleting them can actually backfire on you. Deleting someone is a very emotionally charged move. And it can come off more unappealing than you may desire. If he deletes you off Facebook, don’t jump to conclusions.

They may need to do this. They may believe this is the best choice for them. If they still text you and talk to you if you need to confront them about stuff…. excellent. But don’t expect him to take the same guidelines that you do for the breakup. Everyone has different strategies. That doesn’t mean that all strategies are good, that means that people are going to use the best resources they have to comfort themselves when dealing with loss.

On the flip side, you may find that it’s comforting to know how they’re doing. But you should avoid looking at their Facebook profile daily. It will help you if you don’t look at it all the time.

My social media recommendations: Look for ways to unfollow, snooze, or mute rather than flat-out cut or delete.

It’s important to accept yourself where you are. Put yourself in an environment where you can nourish your emotions. Don’t be afraid of what emotions creep up on you when you’re in your private time. Try self-comfort or self-soothing. Try not to judge your emotions. It’s okay if you’re angry, scared, or have other emotions that you don’t normally like dealing with.

We all have to deal with grief, conflict, and negative things from time to time. It’s better to handle a breakup with grace than sourness. This is an opportunity to be mature.

You can still be a kind person after a breakup. There is no reason in breaking up with anyone that you have to sink down to their level. What I’m going to tell you is the best strategy for getting over a person: kill it with kindness. Seriously, the best revenge is kindness.

Killing It With Kindness

Yes, it feels great to have a witty comeback. It’s a kneejerk reaction for most people to stab someone who has stabbed them in the back, metaphorically speaking.

Instead of sending them weird gifts, destroying their property, or making a big scene in front of their house, approach them with honey and sweetness, not because you want them back but because you’re awesome. Remember they are still a human, and in that regard, you still want to respect them.

By respecting this person, you are giving them a better chance at having a better relationship in the future. Let them know that no, you don’t want them back, but you do want them to have successful relationships in the future. The only way you would want them back is if they became a different person. And you’re not just going to wait around to see if that happens.

Don’t key their car or remove buttons from their shirts. Show them you can survive a breakup and not go postal over it. Don’t sink to the level of a child in the middle of an explosive tantrum. If you are going to have tantrums you need to do that in your own territory, in your own space, where you can be private.

Love yourself as fully as you possibly can. It's really important that you kill bad relationships with kindness. Do all the research that you possibly can into kindness.

Revenge is best served when you are friendly and coming off successful. Don’t be overbearing. Don’t be nice to win them back. You’re being nice because you’re cool. You may have to be frank with them that you’re not interested in them, you just want to master good manners.

Clean Everything

Meditating can clean up your brain and give you more space to think about other things. You can also feel better in your head when you clean your physical space.

I suggest cleaning your whole house/apartment/den/shack. Throw your clothes in the washing machine. Scrub your dishes. Mop the bathroom floors.

Having these things clean will help you to move on. Fresh laundry can be a small victory. An organized fridge can take away stress.

Clean out your closet. Get rid of clothes that don’t fit anymore. Go through and donate those clothes to people who might actually need them.

Clean out your car, throw away things hiding under the seats, and take your wheels to a car wash. Get rid of the clutter that’s in your life. You don’t need to hoard so many things! Reduce the number of material objects you own.

You don't need to clean every nook and cranny to feel better. Baby steps are perfectly fine when tidying up.

You may want to clean up your digital footprint. Go through your computer and get rid of old files that you don’t need anymore, cull your social media, and delete apps. This will give you more space and a new lease on life.

All this cleaning and tidying will help you to exfoliate your emotions. It’s time to make yourself feel pretty from the inside out. Go to the store and try new beauty products. Give yourself a spa treatment. You should definitely eat the nicest chocolate you can find.

Get your body moving. Swim, dance, run, do yoga. With a breakup, you might be experiencing a lot of adrenaline. It’s a good idea to put that energy into cardio exercises and weightlifting. Work your muscles rather than sitting somewhere for hours sulking.

When you take care of your body, your emotions, and your hygiene, you actually could make yourself look and feel younger.

Also, by pushing yourself to be healthy, you will more than likely align yourself with better opportunities. And when you’re presented with better opportunities, you’ll pick a better partner for yourself.

© 2016 Andrea Lawrence


Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on September 20, 2016:

Interesting perspective.

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