Life without your partner may be tough, but you can take steps to make the best of what can be a difficult situation.
Whether you have been together for 5 months or 5 years, breaking up isn’t always an easy task. You may have developed friendships together, moved in together, or shared finances. That’s not even getting into the emotional effects that a breakup can have on you.
But it’s not all bad news. Being newly single allows you to get to know yourself again, try new things, and potentially meet new friends.
Still, if you are having trouble getting past your breakup, you may find you need some extra help or guidance to get you through.
If you recently found yourself single due to a breakup, you may be at a loss for what to do with yourself. This section can help you identify some activities that may help you:
- reconnect with who you are
- move past the breakup
- notice improvements to your emotional, mental, and overall health
Get up and active
One of the most common pieces of advice is to get up and move more, typically in the form of exercise. Exercise has many health benefits,
- improving your mental health
- helping with weight management
- reducing the risk of disease
- increasing bone and muscle strength
When it comes to a breakup, exercise can both improve your stress level and give you something enjoyable to do.
You don’t have to spend hours at the gym either. You may find that simply going on walks, running, getting involved in a sport, or other activities may help you feel better and get some exercise at the same time.
Consider getting artistic
The arts can provide a great avenue to express your creativity and help you channel your emotional energy. You can try different activities, including:
- learning an instrument
- community theater programs
- taking a class at a local community college or art center
These activities can help you channel your emotions and help you meet new people or connect with existing friends since you can see if they want to join you.
Surround yourself with friends
Your friend network may be able to provide some extra support to you following a breakup. They are great people to go out and do things with (like an art class) or hang around with.
If you don’t have many exclusive friends following a breakup, you may find that going out and trying new activities may help you make new ones.
Revamp your space
If you were living with your ex and they moved out, you may find that changing the look and feel of the place helps you cope and move on.
You don’t have to do any major renovations, but changing paint color, adding something you’ve always wanted but your ex didn’t, or other simple changes can help make the space feel new again.
Changing your space may help separate you from the feelings of your ex.
When you enter a relationship, you’re — implicitly or directly — making changes to accommodate having another person in your life. Making sacrifices and compromises is a typical part of relationships.
But no matter how much your life intertwines with the other person’s, maintaining some level of independence is important.
Personal independence doesn’t mean you don’t commit to your boyfriend or girlfriend. Instead, it means you maintain who you were when you first met. When you maintain your independence, it can benefit your relationship because you may find you’re:
- less defensive
- more honest
- more flexible
- able to open up and take things into perspective more easily
This is generally true for anyone in a relationship, whether dating, experiencing their first love, or marrying.
If you find that you “can’t live without” someone, like your ex, you may find it helpful to reconnect with who you were before you got into a relationship. This can include starting activities or hobbies you gave up, trying new things, or spending more time with friends or family.
Sometimes, you may find that you’ve crossed a line into a codependent relationship with your ex. A codependent relationship occurs when one of you feels the need to plan your entire life around the other, and the other needs to feel needed.
If you’re dealing with more than usual emotions following a breakup, you may find it helpful to seek counseling to help you identify and move past a codependent relationship.
Benefits of professional support for codependency
If you’re in need of help, consider visiting Psych Central’s How to Find Mental Health Support resource. A mental health professional can offer support with:
- recognizing key signs of codependency
- overcoming people-pleasing tendencies
- addressing related mental health symptoms, including feelings of guilt, anxiety, or depression
- reconnecting with your sense of self
- setting healthy boundaries
Finding acceptance after a breakup can take some time. You will likely be dealing with many emotions ranging from sadness and loneliness to anger and confusion.
If you find you’re having trouble accepting the breakup, here are a few tips you may find helpful:
- Seek counseling: There is never shame in seeking professional help to review your emotions. A therapist can help you process your feelings, learn new coping skills, or suggest additional activities that may help you feel better.
- Set firm boundaries with your ex: Seeing your ex can be difficult. While a clean break — cutting off all ties and never seeing them again — may be ideal, the reality is that you may not be able to accomplish this. You likely have mutual friends or may run into each other in the same spots. You may find that setting boundaries will help. This can include avoiding being alone together, separating finances, not cuddling, sharing a bed, or doing any other activity you would not do with a friend.
- Use social media with caution: It may be tempting to write about your breakup or change your relationship status immediately, but you may want to hold back on doing this. Instead, you can unfollow your ex and try to avoid going on social media for a bit of time following the breakup until you are ready for it.
After a breakup, you may find it hard to live without your girlfriend or boyfriend. While this can be difficult, you can take steps to help you move on, including:
- look for new activities to do by yourself or with friends
- avoid social media
- get some more exercise
- channel your energy into the arts
- seek counseling if you feel you need help processing your emotions