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How to Get Over a Breakup and Pick Up the Pieces of Your Heart

Learning how to get over a breakup and pick up the pieces of your heart takes time, but it is possible. Don’t give up hope!

How to Get Over a Breakup

Understanding how to get over a breakup is easier said than done. It isn’t just the shock, the adjustment, or the pain, but the idea that so much of your life changes in one instant.

Most of us don’t like change, and a breakup from a serious relationship alters so much. Your daily routine, habits, where you eat, where you shop, so much of that is ripped away with a breakup.

Dealing with all that while facing the emotions that go along with a breakup makes picking up the pieces and moving forward unbearable.

So, how to get over a breakup and enjoy life again?

[Read: What should you do after a breakup to feel awesome?]

The struggle with getting over a breakup

One of the hardest parts of facing a breakup head-on is your support system. No matter how understanding they are, they aren’t feeling your pain. They don’t see the situation from your perspective.

It isn’t their fault. They aren’t bad friends for wanting you to move on and be happy. They want what’s best for you and wallowing in your pain isn’t that. You know that too, or else you wouldn’t be here searching for the answers.

When you first experience a breakup, you’re in shock. You may cry, be angry, and you definitely vent to those who will listen.

[Read: How to survive the first 168 hours after a breakup]

Where you go wrong and start taking steps backward

You overanalyze your last conversation in the weeks or even months leading up to the end. Your friends and family listen and sympathize. But after some amount of time, you repeat yourself.

Your theories and questions aren’t solving anything. That venting goes from being therapeutic to obsessive. That is when getting over a breakup takes a step back.

Instead of moving forward, you’re moving backward. You’re focusing more on what was, than on what can be.

[Read: How to stop thinking about your ex before it ruins your future]

This is what makes the struggle so much worse. When you focus on all that went wrong or why it went wrong, you lose focus on other things like work, friendships, and your future.

These things become less important and figuring out the break becomes a priority. Does this sound familiar? I’ll bet it does.

Understanding what matters to get over a breakup

A close friend of mine recently went through a bad breakup. A six-year relationship ended explosively after two months of living together.

There was so much that made no sense. At first, the mourning period of crying and moping happened. Then there was denial and anger. But months later, my friend is still replaying moments in her head.

She is still thinking about the things they would have done together. She thinks about what their plans were and how they won’t happen. This is stopping her from moving forward on her own. She isn’t letting go of their plans or what happened.

The thing is, even without answers, closure, or a firm plan for the future, the breakup happened. And that is the first step to learning how to get over a breakup. Accepting that it is reality.

[Read: 15 ways to make letting go of your ex a little easier]

How to get over a breakup 

Getting over a breakup feels impossible, especially in the beginning. You wonder how you can go from being so in love to being single and on your own.

It is a big change. I get that. You get that. It is true. There is nothing easy about getting over a breakup. But, even so, it is possible and you will do it.

There are some things you can do to help learn how to get over a breakup and some things you need to learn to accept and work on internally, but you will pick up the pieces and be stronger than ever. [Read: 15 lessons you can learn from your own breakup]

1. Grieve

This is something so many people are shamed for. Grieving the loss of a relationship, whether it was a bad one or not is totally justified. Even if you were unhappy in the relationship, this is a loss and adjustment, and you have to reconfigure your life to it.

Taking time to cry, and vent, and just be sad is perfectly healthy. You may have friends that urge you to go out or move on quickly likely because they aren’t comfortable with your discomfort. It isn’t their fault, but do what feels right to you. If you grieve by taking the weekend to cry it out or by reorganizing your closets, do what you need. I give this sadness stage where your routine is uprooted a week or so. This is the shock period, after that, it is time to try to regain control of your life and get back to your responsibilities. [Read: The five stages of grief in a breakup and everything in between]

2. Try something new

Your routine is being scrambled during a breakup, so trying new things can get you excited for these changes. When you are dreading going to your laundromat because your ex goes there, getting excited about something new can balance that out.

Try a new coffee shop and grocery store. This will give you something to get used to in a good way and help you avoid too many fresh memories.

3. Take the hint from friends and family

Venting to friends and family is a part of any breakup. You tell them how much your ex sucks or how much you miss them. But after so much time you become a broken record. This isn’t about annoying your friends but about your state of mind.

When your friends try to change the subject from your breakup, they may be a little sick of hearing about it. But mostly they know you should be further along in getting over it. When your friends are over hearing about it, it is a good time to reestablish where your feelings are.

Are you still not over the breakup or are you just stuck? [Read: How to come out of a relationship fast and stronger than ever when it ends]

4. Do something for yourself

Breakups shrivel your self-esteem. They ignite feelings of failure. Rebuilding that takes time, but focusing on the breakup and your ex won’t help. Instead, do things for yourself. Rekindle a past talent or hobby. Start painting, singing, or building.

Take time to pamper yourself or get a massage. These treatments remind you that you’re worth that extra time.

5. Find a new normal

Whether you were together for six years or six months, there are things you need to adjust to. Maybe there are no more morning texts or no one to endure your family dinners with. You need to stop focusing on what you’re missing and think about what you’re gaining.

Can you learn how to handle your family alone? Can you boost your own mood in the morning with a fun playlist or favorite TV show? [Read: The things everyone should know to live a happy life]

6. Don’t replace them

Clinging to human connection is normal. When we lose someone we relied on so heavily for reassurance, support, comfort, and simple company, we can look for that somewhere else. But, doing this before you’re ready to make a new connection rather than forge one in the shadows of the breakup can be unfair.

Don’t replace your ex with a rebound or a friend. We tend to cling to a friend or family member after a breakup. It is wonderful to have that support but remember your friends still have their own life, friends, relationship, and more. They cannot fill the space the breakup left. [Read: The 7 stages of heartbreak when you become someone’s ex]

7. Reconnect with friends

Reconnecting with old friends can be one of the healthiest ways to get over a breakup. By nurturing a new bond, you can feel supported and comforted but without the breakup being the main cause.

When you rekindle old friendships for the right reasons, you reform an old bond that was based on a shared sense of humor, a fandom, or something else. They are not from the time in your life when this breakup took over.

8. Distance yourself

Once you feel a bit more positive, the breakup seems less fresh. It seems to be drifting from your mind a bit. That is a good sign, but what can immediately draw you back in is seeing your ex on social media. You don’t have to block or unfriend them if you see a friendship or even acquaintanceship somewhere down the line, but do hide their notifications. This isn’t avoidance. It is about putting your health and mental state before social media cues. [Read: What are the signs your ex has moved on? 15 clues to know for sure]

9. Refocus your energy

All the energy that went into sustaining your relationship and then all the energy that went into mourning is still inside of you but without a proper outlet. Take that energy and focus it on something productive,

Donate your time by volunteering, reorganize your space, or even plan a vacation. Find something to occupy your time that is good for you. [Read: The psychology of deleting pictures of your ex and what it says about you]

10. Accept it

No matter how much time passes after a breakup, getting over it is mostly about your mind. We think we need closure. We think we need some answers or reasons as to why things went the way they did. In reality, all of those things won’t change the facts.

A breakup happened, and you need to accept that fact in order to keep moving forward in your life. [Read: Your one and only guide for how to get over a broken heart]

11. Write down what you’ve learned

Learning from relationships is a great way to appreciate the time you shared without bitterness. Taking lessons from the relationship or the breakup moves you forward in life and keeps that relationship in your mind as memories that you can carry with you but not depend on.

[Read: Letting go of someone you love minus the bitterness]

You can learn how to get over a break and pick up the pieces with time and mindfulness. Start small. Even if it seems insignificant at first, those small steps will lead you to the point where you don’t feel an emotional tug in your heart each time you think of your ex.

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Samantha Ann
My name is Samantha Ann. I am 28 years old. It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding...