It’s Over: How to Move On

Moving on from a failed relationship is one of life’s hardest experiences.  

When relationships breakdown, those involved often feel not only heartbroken but humiliated and rejected as well. And yet this pain can be withstood, no matter how bad it may seem. Approached in the right spirit, you may even emerge stronger and wiser.

1) You must grieve. 

The emotions triggered by a relationship breakdown often resemble those of grief. As with the death of a loved one, you will need time to adjust to their absence. Don’t repress the emotion; cry, scream, and yell. Do whatever you must to release the pain.

2) Learn to be alone.

For some, the end of a relationship brings opportunities for self-exploration and self-growth. Those least able to cope often find it difficult not because they miss their lover but because they cannot face being alone. That is not healthy. Inevitably, such individuals throw themselves into new relationships, often with unsuitable people, simply to avoid loneliness. Instead, try to see this as a chance to grow. Embrace your new life. Get to know yourself before you meet someone new. If possible, get away somewhere different for a week or two; perhaps you could call up old friends, take up a new hobby, or explore a spiritual practice.

3) Learn to like yourself. 

When a relationship falters, people immediately ask themselves “was it me?” or “what did I do wrong?” or “did they see some flaw in me?” Of course, sometimes people do need to work on their faults. Maybe you are too selfish or lazy! But once you have identified your faults, stop there. Do not allow yourself to be defined by your partner; he or she was just one of 7 billion.

4) Remember his faults. 

When a relationships ends, people tend to remember only the good things about their ex. Take a moment to write down all their faults instead. Were they lazy? Arrogant? Boring? Selfish? During a relationship, people often blot out the things they dislike; this then becomes a habit. Now is your chance to get them off your chest. Once you start, you should find the process wonderfully cathartic.

5) Remember the bad times.

After you have listed their faults, try listing the worst moments in your relationship. Think hard and you may find all sorts of long-forgotten incidents come bubbling to the surface. Maybe he was grossly insensitive when your grandmother died. Or perhaps you took a vacation together during which he did nothing but moan. Try to recall exactly how you felt.

6) You have a future. 

If you do not believe this, depression is probably clouding your vision. You can choose what to think. Never forget that. If you allow your mind to run riot, to imagine a barren future of lonely desperation, your mood will plummet. You may believe there is no one else for you, no one else like him, but you also know, deep down, that that is nonsense. Have faith. One day you will laugh again. One day you will have the thrill of meeting someone new, of the first date, the first kiss, and that first shared bottle of wine.

Recovering from a failed relationship is never easy. Above all, do not torture yourself. Relationships are difficult, as evidenced by divorce rates. With effort, patience, and time, you will heal. By Allnatt