If you’re reading this, you’ve probably endured a breakup — and it sucks. Besides that constant sinking feeling in your chest, there’s no specific time frame in which you’ll heal and no specific steps to follow in order to get there. It doesn’t matter how many times your best friends say you’ll find someone who deserves you, you can’t help but obsess over what went wrong and why it happened the way it did.
Amongst the breakups we’ve survived, there are still some people we can’t seem to get over. Your mind lingers on them when you wake up and your eyes wander for them in every dim-lit bar. These moments seem to go on forever — it’s been months (or years) and you can’t seem to shake the memories. Although time and acceptance are key to any breakup, here are some ways you may be making it harder on yourself (and how to get through).
1. You’re checking social media
Nothing will remind you of your ex like literally seeing pictures of them smiling on Instagram and hearing their laughter on Snapchat. We’ve all heard the reasons for why exes follow each other on social media — they don’t want to burn a bridge, they want to stay friends, etc. The truth is, it may be a relief to see a photo at first, but the obsession of where they are and who they’re with will always be there in the background — and it’ll last a lot longer than the relief. You aren’t running from the situation by any means, you’re simply shielding yourself from exposure to more potential hurt. By doing this, you’ll have more time and energy to focus on someone more important: yourself.
- Remove them from your accounts
- Tell your friends to stop sending you screenshots
- Stay strong in your decision to not snoop
2. You’re scared to let go
The thing about not being over a breakup is that the sense of dwelling is still a form of holding on. Although tempting, letting the person live in your mind is not the solution to them not being in your life. Change is terrifying and sometimes our defense is to cling to familiarity — and in this case, cling to the memory of someone who isn’t there anymore. Even though finding the courage to want to let someone go is easier said than done, it’s one of the initial steps that are needed. You may not realize you aren’t ready to let the relationship go, but it could be a reason for why the memory of it doesn’t seem to be leaving.
- Re-evaluate why you’re scared — and then accept it
- Allocate yourself time to grieve
- Pick up a hobby and enjoy your new free time
3. You’re comparing
Whether you’re comparing yourself (and how you’re doing so much better… or maybe the other way around) or a new date to them, you’re still putting them in the picture. It’s funny how people always seem so much greater in our minds than they were in our lives — but it’s also unfair of us to use the best parts of the person as a measurement for ourselves or someone else. There’s a reason the relationship ended so allowing it to meddle in your current life is a toxic energy that will leave you feeling upset, frustrated, and unable to give your mind (and heart) a break.
- Remember this is your life and the decisions you make are based on yourself
- Be conscious of your thoughts if you feel yourself comparing
- Remind yourself why you want to move on
4. You’re still in contact
Blame it on wanting closure or wanting to remain on good terms, but this is one level higher than stalking them on social media. Instead of following their lives through your phone, you’re actually speaking to them and/or texting them. Unless you’re a robot with zero feelings (you aren’t and your soul isn’t black even if you keep saying it is), staying in contact with someone you can’t seem to get over is a recipe for vulnerability… and the constant wonder of whether or not you’ll get back together. Or maybe you don’t want to get back together but are still in contact — regardless, the simple contact is enough to have you hesitate, compare, or linger on them while you’re trying to move on.
- Surround yourself with loved ones and make the effort to spend time with them
- Be honest and ask yourself why you remain in contact
- Realize that closure comes from your acceptance and not answers from the other person
5. You’re distraught over how it happened
Sometimes it isn’t even the specific person we can’t get over, but the event(s) that led to the breakup. As humans, we feel the emotions of remorse, guilt, and hurt at different levels — but some relationships make us feel our feelings to maximum capacity. Whether you can’t seem to accept the betrayal of him cheating on you or you can’t face your own guilt over something that may have caused the breakup, that feeling could be the culprit for why you can’t let go.
- Forgive — yourself and/or the other person
- Take comfort that there will be a lesson to learn from this
- Confide your feelings about what happened to a loved one
6. You’re Lonely
There’s a reason why we seem to forget about our personal issues when our schedules are full with work, friends, and that new pilates class. But even with all these activities, you’re bound to have down time. The moments that were spent with your significant other are now filled with you sitting on the sofa by yourself and your favorite show — and sometimes that gets lonely. Thus, it’s natural to begin reflecting on when you were in a relationship. It’s not so much the person you miss, but the idea of the comfort that came with the relationship. Sometimes our minds begin to fixate on this and we end up thinking of the relationship more than we mean to.
- Remain busy with your schedule
- Call your best friend at night to catch up
- Recognize that the feeling of loneliness will come and go — and that’s okay