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How to Heal from a Broken Heart

How to Heal from a Broken Heart

What you’re feeling right now is 100% normal and knowing how to heal from a broken heart and how to get over a guy will put you on the road to feeling better.

Regardless of what emotion you’re experiencing, I can guarantee you that somewhere in the world, someone else is feeling it too. Probably more than one someone. Breakups suck and they do a real number on your emotions.

When you first got into the relationship, everything was sunshine and roses. You felt great about yourself, and your ex probably validated those feelings by telling you how great you looked in a specific outfit or how much he loved you.

Then something happens and the relationship is over. What happened to him telling you he loved you? What about all those other nice things he said? And now, all of a sudden, he doesn’t want anything to do with you?

Turning your emotions upside down like this throws everything that was positive into a negative space. You might be more judgmental of yourself, believing whatever awful things your ex said to you in that last big argument.

But here’s the thing. Thoughts inform our feelings, and feelings play a role in how we act. When you feel down, you do things you normally wouldn’t consider, like skipping the shower…for three or four days or avoiding your friends and family.

It doesn’t matter if you initiated the breakup, or he did. You either feel guilty for ending it or you’re in shock, not believing how badly things spiraled out of control.

What you need to know is how to heal from a broken heart!

How to Heal from a Broken Heart at First

In the beginning, you feel like you’re all over the place. This is a great time to just stop and breathe. Breathe in for a three-count, then out for a three-count. Do this until you feel yourself calming down. Anytime you feel like you’re overly emotional, go back to this very simple, do-it-anywhere exercise. In and out for a three-count each way. Grieving the loss of a relationship isn’t much different from grieving the death of a loved one. You go through different stages of grief, but there is a defined set of stages that also inform how you act.

How to Get Over a Guy | The Stages of Grieving a Relationship

There are nine generally recognized stages of grieving a relationship.

Shock

The first stage for almost everyone is shock. During this phase, a few things hit you all at once, leaving you reeling:
  • You discover you’re replaceable in the heart of someone you love
  • You feel irrelevant in his life and possibly even disposable
  • You no longer identify as part of a couple, but as an individual
  • Everything seems foggy and you kick into survival mode to compensate
You’re no longer producing the hormones associated with love, so your body is facing altered chemical states. You may feel fuzzy and uncomfortable and not quite know why.

Denial

You tell yourself this isn’t real. This breakup couldn’t possibly have happened. He’s going through something, but he’ll be back. While this might be true, you must stay in the present and not fool yourself into believing he’ll be back. Instead of dealing with the breakup, you find that you’re still living as if you’re in a relationship. It’s a primal response to the breakup and part of your body’s way of denying the breakup. Your mind plays tricks on you in a desperate attempt to produce those love hormones again. Science shows that your mind is so strongly addicted to those love hormones that it’s easier to get over an addiction to cocaine than it is to overcome an addiction to love hormones (Fisher 2004). Denial can be tricky to recognize, but when you do, you slip into avoidance. During avoidance, which is part of the denial stage, you avoid facing the reality that you’re broken up. This is your mind’s way of protecting you from feeling the pain.

Desperate for Answers

This phase is just what it says. Now you’re looking for that one thing that you can do to fix it all. You’re looking for the why so you can undo it. This step is really an attempt to disprove all the why’s you can identify. If you can do that, you can prove to him that the reasons for the breakup aren’t valid and everything will return to normal. At some point, you’ll recognize that there are no good reasons for the breakup and you will slide into fixating on that instead. During this phase, you’ll drive your friends and family crazy!

You're a Survivor!

You might not feel like you can survive a breakup when it first happens, but if you look back in your life, you'll see that you've survived breakups before! This is a great article to help you, but there are others! Click the button below to check them out!

External Bargaining

This is one of the more creative phases. During this phase, you start bargaining with whomever it is you bargain to, and you promise you’ll do anything to get your ex back.

You are superwoman and can singlehandedly fix everything that was wrong with the relationship.

This isn’t a rational thought process. It’s completely emotional. If it were rational, you would realize that you can’t change the past.

The two questions to ask yourself during this stage are:

  • Are you the only person at fault, or does he own some of the blame?
  • Would changing things in the past really make things different today?

Those answers will become clearer as you proceed through the stages.

Internal Bargaining

Internal bargaining statements begin with “If only I had…“.

  • If only I had cooked his favorite meal more often
  • If only I hadn’t asked him to take the trash out when he was already stressed
  • If only I had done that thing in the bedroom that he kept begging for

You will drive yourself crazy imagining how things could have been different if only you had been different.

Of course, rational thinking tells you that you can’t go back and change the past, nor can you guarantee that if you had done something different, the outcome would be different.

Unfortunately, nobody I know has a time machine, so we can’t change what has happened in our past. All we have is our future.

Relapse

For some couples, breaking up and making up is just what they do. It’s more of a ritual than a special event.

Instead of making this a true breakup, it might make it seem as if this time is temporary too. He’ll be back as soon as he comes to his senses. Your main goal in this phase is to try to convince him to try one more time.

This isn’t really about that, though. It’s about trying to alleviate the pain of the breakup. If you can get him back, you won’t feel so icky.

The problem with this line of thinking is that you’ve broken up and gotten back together, now finding yourselves broken up again for one reason.

Nothing has changed. You’re the same two people still making the same mistakes as last time. Neither of you has tried to improve or change anything.

Therefore, the cycle will continue until one of you stumbles onto someone else during an off-again phase of your relationship.

Initial Acceptance

Once you find yourself here, you’re making progress. You experience moments of clarity when you can see a life without your ex. Unfortunately, those moments are sprinkled in amongst the other stages.

But there is good news. Each time you cycle into initial acceptance, you spend more time here and less time in the other phases. The higher your confidence becomes, the longer you’ll hang out here.

Anger

You knew anger had to be one of the stages and here it is, but it comes in two forms, depending on how fresh the breakup is.

At first, you’ll turn the anger onto yourself. You’ll pour over all your shortcomings, blame yourself for everything that went wrong and be angry with yourself.

You’ll see all your perceived flaws as reasons for the breakup:

  • I’m too fat
  • I’m too ugly
  • My nose is too big

This phase of grieving the breakup is all about placing blame. When you stop trying to blame someone, you’re moving out of this phase. The trick to this phase is learning to be responsible for your own emotions, including anger. Then, you can control it and once you can do that, you can start pulling your life back together.

If the breakup is older, you’re probably angry with your ex. Either way, the goal is blaming someone for what happened.

Hope

The only time humans truly feel hopeless is when they’re facing death. Otherwise, the feeling of hopelessness has a shining light somewhere. There is a glimmer of hope to grasp onto.

Hope shows up in many ways during the grieving process. At first, you’ll hope for reconciliation. Later, if you decide you don’t want him back, you’ll hope to survive without him or to find someone else.

Once you reach that point, you’re well on your way to building on your accomplishments and confidence. Hope will be closer at hand.

And So…

All of that text was to basically say that what you’re experiencing right now is normal. By understanding the phases you’re going through, you can recognize any risky behavior you might be considering as related to a phase and make a course correction.

These stages aren’t linear. Everyone goes through them differently. You might stay in one for a few hours, days, or weeks. There’s no right or wrong, and don’t let someone tell you otherwise.

Each time you experience a phase, it will be better than the last. Of course, the fun part is that since these stages aren’t linear, you never know which one will hit next, so it’s important to know what they are so you can quickly figure it out.

Building your confidence will help you feel much better.

how to get over a guy

How to Get Over a Guy | Honor Your Emotions

Too often, we try to stuff our emotions down and not feel them. We judge all emotions as wrong, especially if we really get caught up on them. But they aren’t wrong and it’s very important to feel them. If you’ve read some of the other breakup articles on this site, you may have seen this analogy before. Emotions are like leaves floating down a stream. They approach you, then hang out in front of you for a while, then they float away. Of course, the fear many people have is that they won’t float away. There is a fear that if you allow yourself to feel sad, you might not ever feel happy. But look at that statement – if you allow yourself to feel sad. That’s the key! You are in control of what you feel and for how long. Envision that sadness floating away from you, just like it floated in. You can control when it leaves.

How to Heal from a Broken Heart | Do Something

I know you might not feel like going to lunch with a friend but do it anyway. Push yourself to re-engage in life with the people who love you. This is especially important if you’ve set aside those relationships in lieu of your relationship. The odds are that when you get back home, you’ll feel better than you did before you left. Getting out and trying new things, meeting new people, and experiencing life again helps you start to feel as if life might become normal again.

How to Get Over a Guy | Take Good Care of Yourself

As you journey through the stages of grieving your relationship, remember to take care of yourself. It’s so easy to let yourself go, especially if you’re feeling really depressed. Keep your hygiene up, get up and get dressed every day, and take time to appreciate things around you, like the birds chirping, the beauty of falling snow, the smell of fresh rain, or whatever else is around you. Be sure to eat a healthy diet and get some sort of exercise, even if it’s just a walk around the block. The walk will help dissipate some of those stress hormones and a healthy diet will keep your motor humming. Take a bubble bath or go get a massage. You deserve to be taken care of, and there’s nobody better suited for the job than you. Practicing self-care reminds you that you are important too, not just those you love. It improves your self-worth and helps you feel less overwhelmed and anxious.
how to heal from a broken heart

How to Heal from a Broken Heart by Letting Go of the Past

It’s so easy to get stuck in the past, especially during a breakup. As you learned in the stages of grieving, there are times when your mind will naturally go back there. If you and your ex get back together sometime in the future, it will be a new relationship. The old one was broken and it’s time to let it go. It’s time to let go of all the mistakes you feel you made, and it’s time to let go of the mistakes you believe he made too. Nothing good comes from staying stuck in the past. In fact, it disables your ability to move into the future. Take off the rose-colored glasses you’re wearing. See your ex and your relationship for what it was, whatever that is. He wasn’t perfect, and neither were you, but for a while, you seemed perfect for each other. That doesn’t mean you’re perfect for each other forever, though. The key to acknowledging those thoughts is to treat them like those leaves going down the stream from before. Don’t judge them or apply any importance to them. Acknowledge them and let them pass. Witness them, but don’t apply any importance to them. See the thought and let it go. When you judge something, it brings negative emotions because your expectations weren’t met, so don’t judge. Just let it go on by.

How to Get Over a Guy | Turn Your Negative Thoughts into Positive

Breakups bring on a whirlwind of negative thoughts and negative self-talk. Instead of wallowing in all that negativity, make a list of good things you’ve done, either in your relationship or on your own.
  • I volunteer once a month to pack meals for Meals on Wheels
  • I made his breakfast when he was planning to have a big day at work
  • I always reminded him of important dates, like his mom’s birthday
  • I take time to help others when needed
You are more than your relationship experiences and your perceived mistakes. Some other things you can inject include:
  • I am enough
  • I’m perfect just as I am
  • I am not my mistakes
Work on letting go of the negative thoughts that are swirling around in your beautiful brain. You’re not that person.

How to Heal from a Broken Heart | Avoid Contact with Your Ex

The best thing you can do to heal and to get him back if you so desire is to break contact with your ex. There are a few bonuses to breaking contact, such as:
  • Allowing you time to put the relationship into perspective
  • Giving him time to get over his negative feelings about you and the relationship
  • Diminishing the importance of the relationship and breakup so you can heal
  • Focus on your own needs
  • Sever the bond between you (even if you want him back this must be done)
  • Give him time to miss you and appreciate your relationship again
There are other benefits as well, but those hit the highlights. If you want your guy to return to you, this is a must. If you want him to leave you alone, breaking contact gets the ball rolling. If you and your ex share children, this can be tricky. If the communication between you is antagonistic, ask someone else to manage the handoff of children. It isn’t good for your kids to see this in the two of you and it isn’t healthy. If you do have to see him, keep the conversations to the kids and not your relationship. The same is true if you work together. Don’t discuss anything other than work and don’t allow any bitterness of the breakup to seep into your workplace. It’s unprofessional and will only hurt you in the long run.
how to heal from a broken heart

How to Get Over a Guy | Fall in Love with the Life You Have

It’s so easy to want a different life. Everyone wants more than they have, but why not be happy with where you are and what you have now? Your life isn’t really all about this loss, even though it feels like it is. What is there in your life that’s good? Your job? Your dog? Your connection to family? What do you want to accomplish? What goals do you have? Where would you like to go? Who would you like to be in your career or your personal life? What hobbies interest you? Are there causes you feel strongly about? How can you help? Embrace life as a single woman. This empowers you to do whatever you want whenever you want. There’s nothing wrong with being single. In fact, it’s when you’re single that you can best prepare yourself for a new relationship. At the bottom of the page is a great book to help you do this. Riding Solo is the book I wrote after hearing from so many women about being ashamed of being single or wanting to shed the stigma of being single.

How to Heal from a Broken Heart with Forgiveness

Forgiveness is something people often misunderstand. They say they don’t want to forgive someone because it makes what they did okay. That isn’t what forgiveness is about. In fact, you don’t even need to tell your ex that you forgive him. When you forgive someone, you release the bitter feelings you are holding onto. You stop focusing so much energy on the negative feelings you have toward that person and you get all of that out of your head. Being angry with someone takes up a lot of your energy. When you release them with forgiveness, you free up a lot of mental energy and wasted time. People often say that when you hold onto anger, you’re allowing someone to live rent-free in your head and I think that’s a great way to think about it. How much longer are you willing to allow this person to poison your thoughts? Whether you realize it or not, it’s negatively impacting your life. If you struggle to forgive him, write him a letter. You don’t even need to mail it. Just write it. Pour it all out onto the paper. Just be sure that you finish with “I forgive you.” Once you’re done, tear it up, shred it, or burn it in the fireplace. You’ll feel better!

How to Get Over a Guy | Wrap Up

Knowing how to heal from a broken heart helps you move forward into a healthier relationship. Once you’ve healed from the past, you can begin to see and experience a new, happier future. Allowing yourself to feel the emotions that come along without judgment, and to let go of the past are two great steps that will take you a long way in your recovery, as will forgiveness. These can each be difficult steps to take at first, but the more you practice, the better you’ll get, just like with anything else. Get back out there and life your life. Find things to be passionate about and dig in. Develop or rekindle hobbies and practice regular self-care again. Your next great relationship is out there waiting for you to sort it all out, but don’t worry, he’ll wait patiently!

Knowing how to not date a jerk includes embracing your single life and taking the time to become a confident, independent woman. Riding Solo, a book written specifically for women who want to do just that, walks you through overcoming the stigma of being single on to becoming that independent, confident woman. This places you in the best possible position to find and date wonderful, great men who are not jerks.

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