Turning a Breakup Into a Positive Experience

If you are facing, or have just gone through a break-up, whether that be with your long-term partner or a spouse, it can be difficult to know how to keep moving forward.  Your day-to-day life can feel like a pile of pieces that do not fit together anymore and putting them back together can feel like a daunting, or even impossible task.  In this, our fifth of six articles about fulfillment we examine advice about how to work through a break-up.

Avoiding Empty Advice

After a break-up it can feel like there is advice coming from everyone you know.  Well-meaning friends will suggest a vacation or shopping or haircuts or a new “side-hustle” and it can all just feel like noise.  TV and movies have suggested sitting in a dark room binge-eating ice cream but you probably don’t actually need to be told that’s just going to make you feel much worse.  With the following 3 point plan (with a fourth point option) hopefully you will find your way out of the post-break-up blues and back on the road to fulfillment.

Intentional Grieving

We are conditioned to think that grieving is always a bad thing but it’s a very necessary piece of the process of getting through any type of loss in a healthy way.  The original article suggests that we “Consciously choose to remember why it hurts to no longer be in the relationship, and validate the suffering” she goes on to suggest that “it’s helpful to think of your former relationship as a part of what makes you who you are”.  So instead of scrolling through old photos (on your phone or in your own memory) and thinking of these experiences as things that have been taken away from you, see them as experiences that have shaped who you are now.  That meal was great, that laughter was genuine, that adventure was brave; those experiences that shaped you can still exist even without your partner.  The goal is to take an inventory of both what is lost, and what is not, which can be helpful when the voice in your head is telling you that you lost “everything”. 

Re-Focusing Negative Energy

It’s a bit cliché, but “hitting the gym” after a break-up doesn’t just allow you to flex that #PostBreakUpBod on Instagram.  A daily (or a few times a week, whatever works for you) exercise regimen can make you feel better about yourself and also has physiological benefits that can give you a boost.  You don’t have to join a club or start hanging out with Cross-Fit people to accomplish this.  Get yourself a decent pair of shoes and start walking two or three miles a day.  The more accessible your exercise outlet is, the more likely you are to stick with it and reap the benefits.

Devise a Plan, and Take Notes

Just in the same way that making a to-do list can help you keep track of what you need to do and what you have already done, taking notes on your emotions can help you track your progress.  It’s easy to think “I’m still a mess” after four weeks or months.  However, if you document your emotions through journaling you can look back and see what progress you’ve made, or set goals for the future. 

Trying Again

Ah, the bonus optional fourth step.  In the original article, this is a reference to getting back together with the same person.  They offer these three questions:

  • Are they open to making changes?
  • Are there things You can change?
  • Are they open to couples’ therapy?

But whether it’s “getting back together” or “getting back out there” in general, make sure that you’re ready and doing it for the right reasons. 

Break-Ups Aren’t Easy, and that’s OK

The reality is, a painless break-up is probably the conclusion to not a very worth-while relationship.  It’s OK to not feel bad, but working through the process in as healthy of a manner as possible can help you avoid falling into a lasting depression when the best thing for most people is to simply find a way to keep on moving forward.