Oh Love, you beautiful son of a b*tch. In an ideal world, a break-up would be a happy occasion: you’d both agree with a hearty laugh that having s*x with each other makes your respective skins crawl, you’d each get all the things you wanted from the flat you’re both moving out of (him: the Xbox, you: the flatscreen TV), give each other a big grin and a firm handshake and walk away in opposite directions, never to be seen, heard or thought of again.
Unfortunately it never, ever works out that way, and you find yourself yet again crying on the floor at 3am, scream-singing to Ed Sheeran’s Give Me Love with your hand deep in a jar of Nutella.
And whilst it feels right to keep a picture of the two of you buried in your underwear drawer for when you’ve sunk a bottle of red and are feeling ‘nostalgic’, holding on to old relationships isn’t the healthiest of habits. (Probably worse than your 3am-Ed-Sheeran-and-Nutella habit. Just saying, girlfriend.)
There’s no surefire way to get over the death of a relationship. Some of us find anger a useful tool, whilst others over indulge on drunken nights out with our girlfriends. But nothing quite answers that ever-present question: “When am I going to be OK?”
Here is eHarmony’s relationship advice expert, Jules Filsell’s, top five tips for moving on from your last relationship.
1. “Don’t bottle up your emotions”
In the wake of a break up, the only person you’re trying hard to convince that you’re fine is yourself. And it doesn’t work. Break ups are terrible – there’s no two ways about it, so don’t pretend that yours wasn’t.
“Feelings of anger, sadness, loss and grief are all normal, so instead of beating yourself up about them, the best thing you can do is just go with them,” Jules says.
Trying to keep everything inside is a short term solution. Like slowly filling a balloon with too much air, soon you’re going to pop; before you know it you’re being asked to come out of the M&M store by police with your chocolate-coated hands in the air.
So don’t be afraid to let all your emotions out – just cry if you want to. Scream even. Crying hysterically is a rite of passage during a break up. It doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human.
2. “Don’t torture yourself”
In most messy break ups you often feel like you’ll never really know what happened. Even if your ex tells you the exact cause of the breakdown in your relationship, you’ll still be thinking, “yeah, but what was it really?”
Sometimes it’s hard to accept the truth of the situation, but Jules tells us the WORST thing you can do is “waste your time soul searching over why the relationship ended.”
Don’t fantasise about alternative scenarios where you “could have been better,” or lie awake at night wondering how you could have made it work. Sometimes it’s best to accept that it’s over, and move on. Find something else to focus your energy on: perhaps reconnecting with friends, or trying to meet new people. Trust us when we say that no good can come of those torturous thoughts.
3. “Be cut-throat when it comes to contact”
Sometimes tough love is the only way forward, even if it is with yourself. As Jules says, “the only way to get over someone is to try and live your life normally without constant reminders of them around.” Living with the remnants of your broken relationship is only going to conjure up unwanted memories, good and bad. Jules’ advice? Cut them out of your life.
This may be a temporary or permanent fixture, but remove all reminders of your ex from your home and work space, as well as anywhere in between. If you love wearing a certain piece of jewellery that he bought you, why not put it in a drawer for the first few weeks after your break up and bring it out when you’re feeling better about the whole situation?
Constant prompts of your relationship will keep you fixed in one headspace, whereas a relationship cleanse will not only clear your mind but also free up some space in your home (remember when you couldn’t use your desk because it was covered in Xbox games and old cereal bowls? Well, you just got your work space back!)
Also, it’s probably best to delete their number from your phone, remove them from your Facebook, and wipe your email account of their address. No good can come of keeping even an inkling of contact with them, because we all know what happens once you’ve had a couple of drinks on a Friday night, or when you’re feeling super emotional, vulnerable, and you’ve just watched a romantic film. “It couldn’t hurt to send one text…right?” WRONG, GURL. WRONG.
Furthermore, keeping an ex on social media is pretty much a 21st century torture device. Whole days can be spent looking through pictures of him on holiday with his “new girlfriend”. Eurgh! Just delete them, it’ll save you a lot of time and energy, trust.
4. “Rediscover the best parts of being single”
So, you’re starting to get over your break up. Great! Jules says it’s time to “start saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity that comes your way.”
It may feel like Jules is forcing you out of the front door and back into the harsh light of the real world alone when she says you need to rediscover singledom, but she’s right: you need to embrace your single side.
It’s time to take off your tracksuit bottoms and slippers and put on something a bit more glitzy. Get yourself back out there! Getting dressed up and going out with your gal pals will not only make you feel better, but may put you in the right place at the right time to meet someone new. Have a cheeky flirt, we dare you!
5. “Remember to take your time”
But whilst throwing yourself out there might really work for some people, for others it may be best to just take your time.
So Jules says at the end of the day, “ignore your friends and their “helpful” advice, and make sure that you move on at your own pace.”
One night stands can be fun and exciting, but can also make you feel unwanted and exceptionally lonely when you’re not really ready for one. It’s up to you to evaluate your own head space and determine what is right for you. Make sure you move at your own pace and, most importantly, that you keep moving forward.