The old adage is true - breaking up is hard to do. After separating from someone you cared a lot about, at first it can be pretty difficult to look at life post-relationship, never mind trying to focus on the future. Whether or not you wanted the relationship to end, this is true for a lot of breakups.
However, time does not stop ticking and, while it often feels hard to feel optimistic about the future after ending a relationship, life after the breakup will go on. Despite the fact the initial period after the separation may be really hard, there are a few things you should avoid doing in the post-breakup period. These things only can make it much harder to move on.
Constant reminiscing of the past
While later down the road on it may feel nice to go back and reminisce, the time frame immediately following a breakup is not the time to do it. According to a 2014 survey, a "whopping 64% of people admit to having obsessed over a past relationship," reported Your Tango (and 70 percent routinely check their ex's Facebook page - 7 percent do it daily!) 1
If you spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about your former relationship it will be all that much harder to focus on the future. Also, put away all mementos. This includes pictures, letters, gifts and other meaningful items. These things are a part of your past and it is not healthy to spend so much time with them after a breakup because it will keep you reliving the past instead of looking ahead. Also try to avoid reminiscing through old emails, instant messages, Facebook posts or text messages.
For the time being it is best to not focus on the past but instead try to look forward. File your past in your memory bank to revisit at another time should you choose. If you spend all your time thinking about the person you've just broken up with, it will be difficult to move on. You never know what good things are ahead if you are stuck in yesterday.
Spending too much time alone
After a breakup it is easy to withdraw and shut everyone out, especially if the breakup was a painful one. While it is important to have some personal and private healing time, it can often help ease the pain if you let family and friends in to help get you through this time period.
This isn't to say you should not spend any time alone, but that too much time alone is not always a healthy way to move forward because you may find yourself too withdrawn after a while. This can contribute to depression or other health issues.
Calling your ex
Regardless of which partner called it quits it is almost always best to resist from constantly calling your ex. And, depending on the situation, maybe not call him or her at all. If you've made the break, then it will be harder for the person you broke up with to move forward and, if you were the one broken up with, calling your ex will only likely bring you more sadness and pain.
While it is entirely possible for people to stay friends after a breakup, usually in the immediate period of time after the breakup it is often best to let things sit for a while until the pain and heartache lessen.
It can be hard to say goodbye, but sometimes you have to let go for a while in order to have time to heal from the breakup.
Don't drop by to see your ex
Once the breakup has occurred it is usually a good idea to withstand from the temptation of dropping by his or her home, work or other hangout. Sometimes people after a breakup will intentionally go see their ex or they'll seek ways to "accidentally" bump into him or her. Either way, these scenarios should be avoided. Chances are your ex will see through any veiled attempts to meet unexpectedly, which also won't help things. If you constantly make attempts to see your ex it can either send mixed messages or bring up more pain for one or both of you.
Later on you can get together and talk if a friendship is in the cards, but the ability to build a foundation for friendship is usually not done in the time frame immediately following a breakup. At that moment there are still too many strong feelings (and possibly anger) involved and it has high potential to muddle any prospects for a friendship; things may be said which may be regretted later.
Time is truly a healer and does heal many wounds. Seeing your ex isn't necessary right away, so it is often best to not see him or her for a while. At least until some of the pain has faded.
Don't dwell on "what if's"
Sometimes people tend to wrap themselves up in "what if's" after a breakup and, while it is important to learn from past actions, this cannot change the past. All of those "what if I said something different, did something different or took another course of action", cannot change whatever it is that happened to lead to a breakup.
The one good thing about "what if's" are these can shape your future. If you learn from any mistakes you or your ex may have made in the relationship, this can help shape future relationships. However, this should not be the focus in the post-breakup period.
Turn to alcohol or other drugs
Chemical substances are not the solution to making a person feel better after a breakup. It may feel as if it is helping, but falling into a pattern of relying on substances to get you through this difficult time will only complicate the situation over the long-term. Especially if you think you might have a tendency to contact your ex while intoxicated.
Time heals most wounds and, if you've just experienced a breakup, it may be hard to see this at first. Over the course of time the pain does lessen, but you can help make that time come faster if you avoid living in the past and trying to maintain connections to it.
Oh and don't date someone related to or good friends with your ex. Or immediately hook up on the rebound - take the time you need to heal. The right person will probably come along just when you least expect it.