Whether you’re the one who was left heartbroken or the one who ended the relationship, breaking up is hard to do. Immediately post-breakup you may feel angry or lonely, but try to stay positive. Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Breaking up is hard to do
Breakups hurt, and they can take more time than most of us would like to admit to get over. While there’s nothing wrong with taking all the time you need to heal, there is a myriad of things you should not do while on that road to healing, according to relationship experts. “Because of the swirling of emotions and intensity of them, it is critical to react to the breakup in purposeful and healthy ways,” notes Juliana Morris, PhD, marriage and family therapist and licensed professional counselor. “Avoid unhealthy coping skills, as even though they may bring temporary relief and release, it will not be permanent and often adds new problems to the emotional roller coaster you are on.” Here’s a look at the things you should never do to get over a breakup.
Don’t beg for another chance
Of course, you miss your ex and may still be in shock about the breakup, but getting over a breakup means not pleading for a do-over. “If you feel compelled to do so, examine your motivation,” says Jonathan Alpert, a psychotherapist, Huffington Post blogger, and author of Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days. “Do you miss your ex specifically, or do you miss the idea of having a partner? The two are very different,” he adds.
Any contact with your ex reinforces and strengthens your attachment, and impedes your recovery, according to Lisa Marie Bobby, PhD, LMFT, dating coach, founder, and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling & Coaching, author of Exaholics and host of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast. “An important step in healing is to remove your ex from your physical and digital world,” she says. Aim to go at least 30 days without contacting your ex if you want to start getting over a breakup. Thirty days will become 40, then 50…and by then, chances are you’ll be feeling much better and have some additional clarity.
Don’t seek revenge
It’s natural to feel the desire to lash out at your ex, directly or indirectly, explains, Ili Rivera Walter, Ph.D., LMFT, and professor of marriage and family therapy, but it’s not smart to actually do so. “When those feelings arise, take a deep breath and ask your higher self: 1) Is it worth sitting in the negative energy of revenge? 2) Is revenge consistent with who you want to be? 3) How will this serve me, now, or in the future?” she says. “Revenge is a two-edged sword that can leave feelings of shame and remorse.”
Don’t date (or marry!) the next person you meet
With revenge still on the mind, and in the heart, it’s very easy to want to replace the missing limb but resist, advises April Masini, a New York-based relationship and etiquette expert. “After a painful breakup, being single for a while is the best way to ensure that your next relationship is not impulsive, haphazard, and doomed for a repeat breakup,” she says. “Take some time to process what happened and where things didn’t go as you had hoped—and what you want to do differently next time,” she says.
Overdo it on the partying
Sure, it’s tempting to drown your sorrows to get over a breakup, but that’s a mistake. “Some people are looking for validation that they’re still attractive or sexy,” says Jenn Mann, PhD, author of The Relationship Fix: Dr. Jenn’s 6-Step Guide to Improving Communication, Connection & Intimacy. But right after a breakup, if you start drinking, flirting, or partying, well, all those things are distractions from the grieving process. “If we don’t take time to grieve and don’t work on ourselves, we are doomed in our next relationship,” she says.
Don’t catastrophize it
Breakups are not fun, but they’re also not the end of the world. When times feel tough, Morris recommends giving yourself a little tough love. “Don’t let the intensity of the feelings make you start doubting yourself, using ‘never’ statements and swearing off dating and love ‘forever,'” Morris says. “It is hard and heartbreaking but you will get over it and move on and you will soon feel better.”
Don’t avoid the pain
To get over a breakup, you may try to avoid your hurt and pain because it’s just too devastating. But you can’t recover from the relationship when you avoid it. Morris warns not to tamp down or avoid your feelings. “Do not expect your emotions to happen in some kind of organized, cookie-cutter way—they will arise at unexpected and perhaps inconvenient times and ways,” she says. “Allow the range of sadness, hurt, anger, frustration, celebration, fear, even hate come to you; face them, experience them and move through them.”