How To Move On After A Breakup: The Ultimate 10 Step Guide


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Knowing how to move on after a breakup is one of the hardest things I’ve had to figure out in my life as a young adult. It hurt. Bad! Especially when you shared a beautiful bond with someone (or even a toxic one).

You need time, patience with yourself, support from friends and family, a change in perspective and acceptance of the end to move on after a breakup.

Some of these things feel great and almost always have a positive effect on your mind and heart.

I can think of many moments when my family and friends made me feel really amazing right after I felt as if my world was falling apart.

That’s the power of relationships.

And others are difficult. Especially spending time alone trying to work through your feelings of separation.

They all have a place in the process of moving on after a breakup and should not be ignored or avoided.

As much as breakups may be painful and can cause a lot of suffering, there is much to be gained from this.

  • It teaches you the importance of being present in the moment.
  • You begin to appreciate the people in your life with a lot more compassion and effort.
  • It builds mental fortitude and resilience.
  • You understand yourself and the journey of life on a deeper level.
  • It refines what you’re looking for in a partner.
  • It pushes you to transform into a better and stronger person.

None of these things are apparent when you’re heartbroken after a breakup.

I wish someone was around to explain these benefits to me. It would have comforted me and given me a new perspective to think about.

But, one way or another, the majority of us will realize these benefits at some point or the other.

Every relationship and breakup is a chance for us to grow as a person. And eventually, if it’s what we desire, we will meet someone who will grow with us for a lifetime.

There’s a lot of hard work involved in relationships and breakups.

I’m well aware of that.

It can be exhausting and challenging.

However, instead of accepting defeat, we can rise to the occasion and use these tough times to become tough people.

I just want you to know that things will get better. You will heal and happiness will enter your heart again. I promise you.

With that being said, let’s take a more practical and deeper look into exactly how to move on after a breakup.

Step 1: Be Patient Through Highs And Lows

You’ll have moments of bliss and peace. And you’ll have moments when everything feels mellow and awful.

It sucks but it’s essential to go through these emotions because you have to feel everything to heal from it.

I remember coming home from a night out with my friends and this intense feeling of loss and loneliness hit me on the way back.

Not having my ex there really hurt and it ate me up.

But, I felt it and lived through it. That’s how you get over it.

If you work through these emotions now, you won’t have to in the future.

That’s why I recommend to my readers to live in the moment and truly appreciate it.

Everything comes to an end. That’s what makes it so beautiful. That’s what makes us appreciate things.

If it never ended, we’d never truly appreciate and love the things and people we have.

Take in these moments of highs and lows caused by your breakup because even that will not last forever.

If I feel extremely negatively motivated to do something, I force myself to wait 24 hours.

I use this technique to prevent myself from making any rash decisions when I’m emotionally charged up.

More often than not, after 24 hours, I’ve completely changed my mind and saved myself from embarrassment, pain, drama and more problems.

And if you need help dealing with negative emotions, I’ve written an in-depth guide on the topic that will definitely help.

Step 2: Be Alone

You’ve had someone by your side all this time and now you don’t.

It’s going to be a shock to your system. And you are going to feel an emptiness in your life that is the perfect shape of your ex.

Out of fear or from the desire to end suffering, our first instinct is to find someone to fill that void.

We go out looking for a rebound. We meet people who make us feel good again and they fill this void temporarily.

Unfortunately, with time, that void begins to appear.

That’s when all sorts of issues appear in your rebound relationship and you start missing your ex.

Eventually, this rebound relationship fails – leaving you with back to back heartache.

Now you have two people to forget and get over.

You just piled more baggage onto your baggage from the previous breakup.

And if you continue to do this, then you’re left with a ton of issues that take years of work to undo.

Trust me, I speak from experience. If you don’t embrace being alone after a breakup, it will destroy you.

Instead of running away from your fear of being alone, you have to embrace it.

When you embrace it, you are forced to face your heartbreak and the change in your life.

This is the most crucial step to healing from a breakup and moving on. It always results in Acceptance.

When you reach a stage of being happy again, especially after being single for as long as you needed to, that’s when you’re ready to embrace new romance.

Step 3: Break All Contact With Your Ex

When you’re alone, that’s when your mind has time to replay memories. And since you’re going through a drastic change, it’s going to take you back to those emotionally motivated memories of your ex.

You’ll fantasize and rehash events.

The narrative becomes less rational and more emotional.

Suddenly, you’re thinking about all the things you’re willing to do differently now and the sacrifices you could make to change this situation.

Before long, you’re on your phone going through your ex’s social media.

By that point, you are just a nudge away from reaching out to him or her. This happens with most people, especially the one who has been dumped.

Here’s the thing – the only way to move on after a breakup is to cut all communication until you have completely adjusted to being single.

This could take an indefinite amount of time.

But it is important because if you don’t, the chances of you creating a new drama-filled conversation become extremely high. Worst of all, you could start begging your ex for another chance only to appear desperate and unattractive.

Imagine how lousy you’re going to feel being rejected again after you’ve laid out your heart on a silver platter to get them back.

It’s awful!

You can completely avoid this by simply avoiding them on social media and removing their number from your phone.

Here’s a deeper look into what you should do when someone doesn’t text you back.

Step 4: Avoid New Relationships Too Soon

Perhaps you’re over the fear of being alone and are considering the idea of dating.

But, the problem is that you have all these hangups and unresolved feelings for your ex.

You may not even yearn for them anymore. And yet, I still recommend you wait before entering a new relationship too soon.

Why?

Because you need to meet more new people. You’re not the same person you were pre-breakup.

Despite what you may think about romance, you’ll find yourself feeling slightly or majorly different about things you once liked or hated in a partner.

The only way you can narrow down your new and improved taste is to spend time with new people until you’ve figured out what you’re looking for right now.

It’s completely okay to take things very slow.

Ease yourself into it and avoid jumping into a serious relationship unless you are prepared to deal with the work that comes with it.

In the meantime, you can start drawing up a list of the kind of partner and relationship you want to have in the future. This little activity will help you avoid getting into an unhealthy and toxic relationship.

Step 5: Create A New Routine For Yourself

After one of my most devastating breakups, I started to embrace a new philosophy in my life.

Don’t run from the change, be the change.

I was so shaken up by how soulless my life felt after my breakup that it ruined any moments of joy.

Things that I loved became a reminder of what I had lost.

It was awful.

All I wanted to do was to feel happy and hold on to the lifestyle that I had for all those years.

But it was gone. It ended. I just kept beating a dead horse hoping to breathe some life back into it.

Even if I succeeded, all I’d be left with is a zombie. A deception of what I once had.

For many months I struggled with this.

It was only until I suffered a devastating loss in my family that I caught the wake up I so desperately needed.

A breakup doesn’t compare to the loss of life.

And that’s the thing. Life is not infinite for us. We all have a set amount of time designated to us.

When our time is up, we can regret living in the past or we can be in peace knowing that we tried to live appreciatively of every single moment we were gifted.

So instead of trying to hold on to what was gone, I started to look for what could be.

I let go of a routine that was tied to the past and started afresh. Some things still remained but I embraced a new and better routine as much as possible.

With time, the discomfort of change faded and I found myself in a better groove.

The passion that left my craft returned, coursing through my veins again.

I started to imagine a new and improved future for myself.

This fueled me on.

With time, I felt happy again. There were still some moments of sadness but I had built myself up from scratch all over again.

That was enough to shake off the sadness and remember what I have to gain by living my best life.

Can you imagine how empowering it is to know that you are capable of such a feat? You will regain any lost confidence and develop a strong sense of self-love.

Start making some small changes in your life. Do things for you. Take care of yourself.

Step 6: Step Out And Make Some New Memories

If you’ve followed the advice set out above for an extended amount of time, chances are, you will be in a much better space than when you just broke up.

You may even be feeling like you’re on the verge of being a new person.

That is amazing and I’m so happy for you. But if you haven’t gotten to this point yet, trust the process because you will get here.

Things will get better for you but there’s a point in the process where you’ll find yourself in a very comfortable position.

So much so, that you’ve gotten used to being alone. You’ve embraced the good times and you also found solace in the bad times.

I remember being at the beach one night, feeling kind of low and sad knowing that I was alone and went through a tough breakup. And I kind of fed off that.

Suffering and feeling this pain in my bubble was almost like a drug.

It scared the hell out of me because I started to wonder if I was falling into another trap.

I’ve seen some people go through a tough breakup or divorce, they start to heal after a few months or even years but then they hit a plateau.

The mind’s eye stops looking beyond the breakup and to the future. It accepts now as the final moment.

If you feel like this is something you’re experiencing, get out of this funk. Put yourself back out into the dating world and meet some new people.

Leave that comfort zone or safety bubble and do something unexpectedly fun and memorable.

Whatever it may be, let it be something that is not existing within this newfound comfort zone.

It must scare you, challenge you and expect you to step out.

To get over someone you love and lost, you must remind yourself that there is new love waiting to be found and cherished.

Step 7: Feel Everything

I consider these steps to be supplementary and yet mandatory by nature. If you do everything listed above, you’ll inevitably feel everything.

That’s the beauty of life.

There are so many things going on at the same time and if your mind is one that believes in the power of the universe, then you know that it’s conspiring to give you what you want.

So many people start to fear feeling things again because the possibility of being heartbroken again is so scary.

You may want to take the safest and least painful route to life but that is no way to live.

The only thing that guarantees is a whole bunch of regrets in your later years.

There’s no guarantee to anything in this life but at least you can walk around knowing that you have the courage to still believe in love, happiness and companionship despite fear.

Be proud of that.

Soak up as much of these feelings as you possibly can because they belong to you.

They’re all earned by you.

They will mold you. And guide you for the rest of your life.

As humans, we aren’t designed to feel just one thing forever.

So if you keep yourself open to feeling everything, even if it’s heartbreak, then be sure to remember that even those feelings will end and you’ll experience happiness, bliss, joy, excitement and peace again too.

I think of myself as a sponge.

I soak up all these feelings from experiences in my life.

Good and bad.

The sponge fills up to its capacity and then I wring it out. I let all of those emotions pour out of me in a healthy way by feeing them and working through them.

Eventually, the sponge is empty again, able to soak up as much liquid as it possibly can.

I become like that sponge.

Empty.

Able to soak up emotions an experiences all over again.

As a side note, don’t play the blame game. Just forgive your ex and most importantly, forgive yourself.

Step 8: Make Peace With The Past

If you look in the dictionary, suffering is described as being or remaining in pain or misery.

After all this effort and time, if you continue to suffer over your breakup, then it would be time to look at your actions from a different perspective.

You see, suffering is also described as wanting reality to be other than it is. When you can let go of what you previously wanted, you don’t have to remain in pain or misery.

Now I understand how difficult this is. But you can’t avoid it.

At some point or the other, you have to make peace with the past.

More specifically, you have to make peace with the reality that your relationship is over irrespective of how much you want it to be otherwise.

It sucks.

Letting go is hard. But, we don’t have much of a choice.

No amount of self-torture and misery is going to bring back your ex. And maybe that’s a good thing.

Because you really have no choice other than to move on with your life.

So what’s the point of suffering over this breakup if it achieves nothing and doesn’t bring back your ex or a new love?

It’s okay that you got to this point. It’s great you are doing everything possible to face your pain.

Just do all of these things with the objective of making peace with the past and letting it go.

There are a few things you can do to let go and move on after a breakup.

  • Remove your ex from all social networking accounts.
  • Eliminate all contact.
  • Remove all pictures and videos from your phone – either delete them or store them on an external device you won’t use often.
  • Pack away any letters or mementos. Some people go so far as to throw them out or burn them. Do whatever feels right for you.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Let’s start getting rid of everything physical or visual that reminds you of her and over time your mind will do the same too.

I’m a very sentimental person so I just keep letters and mementos in my closet. Eventually, I get to the point that I can look at these things without feeling upset or anything.

It takes a lot of time to get to this point but it works for me. Whereas my best friend finds it therapeutic to get rid of all these things once and for all.

He considers this to be a clean break and I actually think this is the most effective way to leave the past in the past.

Step 9: Let Time Work It’s Magic

I did everything in the book to get over my ex and the breakup as fast as I could but it eventually dawned on me that there’s no set time period to move on after a breakup.

It could be a few months to a few years, there’s really no definitive period but that’s okay.

A year from now will still be a year from now. The time will move irrespective of what deadlines you set.

So don’t push yourself or hate yourself for taking longer than you hoped it would take.

Just allow time to work its magic and be very consistent with the above-mentioned steps.

With each month, you’ll find yourself improving in ways that are often unexpected.

Whenever I’m having a bad week, I always remind myself that these feelings will pass very soon. Even if I’m riddled with doubt or a bout of depression, it always passes.

I want you to actively remind yourself that tough times don’t last. In fact, you know what actually lasts?

Tough people!

And that’s what you’re becoming. Someone tough and capable of bouncing back from rock bottom even when the odds were stacked against you.

Honestly, we are amazingly resilient creatures. As long as we continue to hold on to hope, good times will come!

Step 10: Stop Talking About Your Ex Or Breakup

For the first few weeks, it’s probably going to be the only thing you want to talk about.

You’ll relive every detail again and again with your closest mates and family.

As time goes on, you may not talk about your ex or the breakup all the time but it will remain a constant fixture in your conversations.

At a certain point, you have to draw the line and stop talking about it.

After a certain period, it becomes more of an obsession than an event in your life.

You can’t undo the fact that it happened.

And yet constantly talking and thinking about it achieves nothing other than creating a pattern of conversation that drags you down a bad hole.

The next time you’re thinking about how to move on after a breakup, just keep in mind that you need to actually move on and not stay attached to the relationship or breakup.

If you remain within the headspace of someone who just got dumped, you’ll stay stuck there indefinitely and continue to battle those hurtful emotions.

It’s okay and therapeutic to talk about your ex and the breakup for a while after the breakup but after some time, you have to dial it back until it is no longer a topic of conversation.

Bonus Step: Just Live Life

There you have it. Everything we talked about up until this point is to set you up for this crucial step.

Don’t allow anything or anyone to navigate your journey through life. Take ownership of your life and do the things that are significant to you.

When my ex broke up with me years ago, I lost the desire to pursue my passion for writing.

I felt like it was not a suitable path to follow because my ex felt it was not viable at all.

Something I loved was now infected with doubt and hopelessness because I allowed myself to be navigated by someone else.

After years, I rebuilt that passion and love for writing and now it’s the very same thing that puts food on my table and gives me a good life.

I’m living life on my own terms and that is the most empowering feeling I’ve ever experienced.

The point of the story is that you should never give up your desire to live life for anything or anyone.

Even if you’re having a rough time after a breakup, keep living to the best of your ability.

Follow your dreams and work towards building a future that is what you envision for yourself.

You can start over in life. That’s the beautiful thing about being a human being who gets to wake up to a brand new day.

Don’t Punish Yourself After A Breakup

Mistakes happen. You’ve probably screwed up. But that is perfectly okay. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s an integral part of being human.

I punished myself for months. My obsession with where I went wrong drove me crazy.

It was all I could think about. Time passed. Months passed. And I was so consumed by this form of self-torture.

My positive and optimistic attitude was infected. Everyone close to me noticed this change.

Had my family and best friend not sat me down for a serious conversation, I probably would have continued down that unhealthy path.

You are allowed to cut yourself some slack. Yes, you can’t undo the mistakes of the past but you’re not supposed to punish yourself over it. What is important is growth and understanding.

Let these mistakes guide you into becoming a smarter, kinder and better person.

Learn from those mistakes. It will serve you well.

Trust The Process Of Moving On

I always try to remind myself that if something was truly meant to be, it would be.

If it isn’t, then I can be happy that it happened and hold those memories close to my heart.

And for all that love in your heart, channel it to yourself, your family, friends and send it to your ex.

Allow that romantic love you have leftover to evolve into a different kind of love. One that sends out good energy to your ex.

Under the circumstances, it’s the healthiest thing we can do.

Oh and just remember, you aren’t alone.

For support, turn to the ones who care about you. Also, feel free to visit this blog or get in contact with me.

As far as possible, hang in there.

Even if it’s hard and painful to deal with, just keep on persevering. Don’t give up on the system.

Do everything I’ve listed above, if not more. Do it when you’re motivated and do it even when you aren’t.

That’s how winning is done.

I hope by this point in the article, I’ve given you enough advice on how to move on after a breakup.

More importantly, I hope you know that this pain you’re experiencing is something most people on this planet can relate to. Including me!

You are not alone.

2 thoughts on “How To Move On After A Breakup: The Ultimate 10 Step Guide

  1. I’m just 3 weeks out from no contact. I am broken and miss him desperately. I was dumped after a year of what appeared to be a fairly tale romance with a widower of 3 years. People always commented on how we seemed so perfect together. He treated me like he was madly in love with me but never said the words. I brought the subject up one time and he said he has deep feelings but wasn’t sure it was love. His actions showed me otherwise so I let it go. Three months later I bring the subject of love up again and I’m dumped because he felt it wasn’t fair for me to have stronger feelings than he did and I deserved to be with someone who could love me. I swore this man did! We never fought and he was attentive and doting to me until THAT day! I hurt more after a year of being with this man than I did after getting a divorce! I’m trying to move forward but my heart and thoughts are still with him as strongly as the day he left me. I know I will never meet another man that will show me the ‘love’ he did. Actions speak louder than words and I cannot believe he’s no longer in my life.

    1. Hey there,
      I’m terribly sorry to hear that you’re going through such a difficult time. I can assure you that it’s normal to feel that way and to have those thoughts.

      Regardless, I understand your plight. Based on what you’ve told me, it might be more complicated for him than it was for you. Losing a spouse to death can often feel like losing a limb. You learn to live without it but it’s presence is forever missed.

      He may have actually loved you but it may have conflicted with the love he may still hold for his deceased wife.

      In these situations, you can’t force the person to completely open themselves up to the possibility of loving in that way again until they are ready. The fear of opening his heart up to that extent and losing you could be the very reason why he held himself back in the relationship in respect to his feelings.

      As you said, actions matter more than words. So, if he’s actually meant for you and his love for you was genuine, there’s a strong possibility that he will be back.

      If not, find comfort in knowing that true good love exists out there and you got another taste of it. Hang in there and be strong. It gets easier. I promise you.

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