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Top Ten Tips for Surviving Breakups

What would it say about you if you were able to move on immediately?

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try certain connections are just not meant to be. Breaking up is hard to do, but it's healthier than staying in an emotionally vacant relationship out of the fear of being single. Here are some tips to get you through the rough times and help you to enjoy this temporary juncture in your journey through life.

  1. Adjust your attitude. "Single" is not a bad word. Celebrate your new status by changing your focus and doing things for yourself.
  2. Take a personal inventory. Write down all the great things about being you and then make a list of all the things you want to do.
  3. Don't make any major changes. Quitting your job or moving is not going to heal the hurt. Instead, take a vacation to somewhere wonderful.
  4. Don't isolate. Spend time with people who think highly of you. Being reminded that you are cared for will help you to rebuild your self-esteem. You will need some solitude, but loneliness is not your friend.
  5. Do some rehearsal dating. These aren't real dates, they're just practice for getting back into the world. Be up front with the person you're going out with and let him or her know it's just for fun.
  6. Remove reminders. For some, visual memories of the past make it harder to heal. Take down pictures and put your mementos away for awhile. Once you are able to take a deep breath again you can choose to look at the past.
  7. Remember that rejection is protection. If you are the one who was left, accepting that breaking-up may be the best thing is hard but sometimes it's a blessing in disguise.
  8. Don't chase your ex. Put a label on the phone that says "DON'T" to remind yourself not to call more often than necessary. Don't ask mutual friends how he or she is doing, don't go to your old haunts and delete old e-mails.
  9. Get involved in your community. Support groups, service organizations and education are just some of the activities you can do that will make you feel better and help you gain the proper perspective you need to move forward with your life.
  10. Don't get into another relationship right away. Give yourself a few months to heal from the past and learn from your mistakes before trying to build the future.

Grieving is important. What would it say about you if you were able to move on immediately? Feeling your emotions at this time may be uncomfortable, but it's an important part of being a whole person. Breakups can cause depression, so if you find that you can't stop crying or get out of bed for more than two weeks you need to seek professional help.

My favorite books on breakups are How to Survive the Loss of a Love by Peter McWilliams and I Used to Miss Him…But My Aim is Improving by Alison James. Remember that you won't be alone forever so do your best to enjoy the moment.

More from Barton Goldsmith Ph.D.
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