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Surviving a Breakup in Your 40s

Surviving a Breakup in Your 40s

There’s no good time in your life to experience a breakup, but I chose to write this article for women over 40 because many times, the breakup was from a long-term relationship.

This means you’ve probably been out of the dating world for a while, perhaps as many as twenty or more years. Dating has changed a lot during that time and knowing how to get over a breakup has changed too.

We’re both older and wiser, and I can say that because I have a few years on you.

This breakup has sidelined you in a big way. When people experience a breakup, there are a few things that naturally occur:

  • Reduced self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth
  • Depression
  • Lower than usual energy
  • A feeling that you’re not strong enough to start over
  • Not wanting to start over at your age

In this article, I’ll help you address those things, but first, I have to tell you that your age is young so there’s no reason for you to feel hopeless in the face of your new-found singlehood. Instead, I encourage you to pull yourself up by your sneaker laces and read on! There’s good news ahead!

how to get over a breakup

How to Get Over a Breakup | Let Him Go

I’m guessing that since you’re here, this breakup wasn’t your idea. If I had to guess, I’d say your guy had some midlife crisis and thinks he can find a younger chippie to service his needs.

He’ll get an ugly surprise if that makes you feel better. Many men leave because they think they can do better than the woman who currently loves them. Many times, they’re wrong and realize it too late.

Your job for now is to let him go. Chances are, you’ve experienced worse things than this in your life and you survived them. Chew on that for a few moments because this tells you that you’re stronger than you believe you are (see bullet #4 above).

You have a lot going for you that younger women don’t. For example, you’ve experienced more of what the world has to offer. You’ve either built a strong career or you’ve worked hard to raise a family; both are important jobs. Perhaps you traveled or started your own business. You may have spent your years raising your kids and chairing committees and coaching soccer.

Younger women don’t have those experiences and that puts them at a disadvantage. If you’re facing the prospect of finding a job when you’ve been out of the workforce for twenty years, rest assured that you’re more employable than you think.

All of this is weighing on you and keeping your thoughts stuck on wanting him back or wishing things were different. Instead, it’s time to let him go. You don’t need a man to be important or to feel needed. You can do this!

Get to Know Yourself Again

Your identity might have several faces. You were your ex’s wife or girlfriend. You may be someone’s mother or even someone’s grandmother. You might be someone’s employee or someone’s boss.

But who are you? Without all those other aspects of your life, what lights you up? What gets you excited? Do you have any hobbies or causes you’re passionate about? Are there volunteer opportunities you never pass up? Are you active in your church or local community?

It’s time to get to know yourself again. Strip away all those other identities and decide what you like to watch, read, play, do, and be. Look in the mirror and examine the strong woman you’ve become over the years.

You’re only at the midpoint of your life. You’ve got at least 40 or 50 more years to go, so giving up isn’t an option! You’re too young for that nonsense! What are you going to do with those 40 or 50 years?

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!

How to Get Over a Breakup | Get Out of Your Rut

Did you know that when you turn the same negative thoughts over and over in your brain, they develop grooves that are harder to crawl out of? Your thought patterns make an imprint in your brain, positive or negative.

The more you think the same negative thoughts, the deeper the groove and the trickier it is to repave that spot and replace it with positive thoughts.

This means it’s time to end the negativity! I know it’s not easy but start listening to what you say to yourself about yourself. Are those nice thoughts or are you constantly beating yourself up over past mistakes and decisions?

Which groove do you want to carve in your brain? One with negativity or one with positivity?

Practice Mindfulness

I know mindfulness is sort of the buzzword right now, but that’s because there’s something to it. It goes along with the last point about getting out of your rut.

Essentially, being mindful means being aware of your thoughts and when you find them either anxiously tromping you into the future or mournfully trotting you through your past, bring your thoughts to right now.

What smells are there? What are the sounds around you? What’s going on around you that you can refocus on? If you’re spiritual, this is a good time to lean on that spirituality. It will help you stay present and focused on right now.

How to Get Over a Breakup | Be Grateful

Mindfulness and gratitude can work together for a very positive outlook. When you find yourself focused on what you recently lost, refocus your thoughts on what you have. Some possibilities might include:

  • Good friends
  • Children
  • Loving family members
  • A good job
  • A roof over your head
  • A car that runs without banging on the dashboard
  • A cute dog or cat who loves you unconditionally

You get the idea. There is a lot more to be grateful for than this short list and I’m sure you’ll come up with many more.

Get yourself a notebook and turn it into a gratitude journal. Before you go to bed each night, write three to five things you’re grateful for and challenge yourself not to repeat them from day to day!

Practice Self-Care

Use self-care as a coping mechanism when you feel blue. You’re going through something challenging and taking care of yourself might not be something you’ve done for a long time.

When you practice self-care, you’re sending a signal to yourself that you’re worthy and lovable. It’s a great way to boost how you feel about yourself while at the same time doing something that you can enjoy.

If you struggle with allowing yourself this time, put it into perspective. If you feel beaten down, worn out, and overwhelmed, what good are you to anyone? Taking this time is necessary for your ability to be there for those who rely on you.

How to Get Over a Breakup | Recall Your Coping Strategies from the Past

This isn’t the first thing you’ve gone through that was difficult. What healthy coping strategies have you used in the past to overcome difficult or tragic situations?

Coping strategies are a lot like self-care but can also include sitting down to enjoy a meal filled with comfort food or engaging in activities that make you feel good.

You may find that there is a hobby you’ve enjoyed in the past that helped you take your mind off of something difficult. Get back into that hobby or find another one.

Is there a good friend who is willing to lend an ear? Friends can often see us better than we see ourselves and a good friend will tell it as she sees it. She won’t be mean, but she will be honest.

Whatever works for you, it’s time to call it into action!

Accept Where You Are Today

It’s easy to sit and wish for a different outcome. You can get bogged down in something like that, but it’s not healthy, nor is it productive.

The truth is that no matter how hard you wish for a different life, this is the life you have. The sooner you accept it, the sooner you’ll feel your strength, energy, and power return. I recently read an interesting analogy.

Dealing with where you are today is like walking up against a wall. Our instincts say to claw at the wall and try to get at it, but we’re often better off stepping back from the wall and looking for another way. Let go of the need to work at only that wall as a way to move forward.

In other words, the wall is your broken relationship. You’re clawing at it right now, trying to bust your way into what you want. If you step back from that wall, which also represents the pain and anguish of the breakup, you can gain clarity and see other ways to move forward.

Surrender to the fact that everyone experiences loss in their lives, usually multiple times. This is one of those times. By accepting that you can’t change it, you let go of the need to claw at it.

how to get over a breakup

How to Get Over a Breakup | Develop a Workout Routine

Working out is an excellent way of alleviating the many hormones that are flowing through your body. When you feel anxious, it stirs up your fight or flight mechanism, which releases hormones that make your heart race, your blood pressure increase, and your stomach feels a little queasy.

But when you launch into a workout, all those hormones dissipate and send a signal to your brain that all is well. The chemicals subside and now, if your heart rate is increasing, it’s because of your workout.

Working out is also a way to boost your confidence and self-worth. You’re sending a message to your brain that says “I matter.” That’s never a bad thing!

Finally, workouts produce endorphins, which are happy hormones. You’ll be on a natural high for a while after your workout.

Assess the Breakup for What it Was

If I had to guess, I’d say you blame yourself for the breakup. Your ex may blame you too. Instead of taking his word for it, or believing your negative self-talk, do a true assessment of the breakup. Look at your role and his.

The article I just linked to is on the sister site to this one, and it’s Step Two for women who want to get their ex back. It tells you everything you need to know to assess your breakup and come up with real answers that aren’t all about blaming you!

How to Get Over a Breakup | Allow Yourself to Feel What You Feel

Denying your feelings is never a good thing to do. Instead, allow yourself to feel your feelings without becoming bogged down by them.

Too often, we’re afraid that if we allow ourselves to feel the pain of something, that painful feeling won’t ever leave.

To combat this, imagine your feelings as if they’re leaves floating down a stream. They come up to you, they linger with you for a moment, then they pass on by and out of sight.

Those negative feelings are the same. They come up on you, sometimes out of the blue, then they linger with you for as long as you allow them to, and when you let them go, they float on by, leaving you as you were before they arrived.

Don’t let someone else tell you how you should be feeling. You’re entitled to what you feel. I just ask you not to either stuff those feelings down without dealing with them or letting them linger too long.

Be Prepared for Triggers

This will get you every time. Once you’ve moved past this feeling of ickiness, you’ll decide to date again, and when you do, the guy you’re dating will probably push a hot button that you didn’t even know existed.

He’ll say something your ex used to say all the time, or he’ll wear a cologne that reminds you of your ex. He might suggest a movie you watched all the time with your ex or enjoy a similar type of music.

Your gut reaction will probably be anger, but I beg you not to lash out at the poor schmuck who unknowingly pushed that button.

These things will happen. I can guarantee it. If you’re mentally prepared for it, you’ll be able to deal with it more healthily, and the next time it comes along, it won’t be nearly as bad for you.

How to Get Over a Breakup | Recognize That This One Relationship Wasn’t Your Entire World

I know it feels like the rug was pulled out from beneath you and your entire world came crashing down.

The truth is you have other facets to your life outside of this relationship. You have friends, hobbies, a job, things you’re passionate about, maybe a dog or cat, and who knows what else.

While it feels like your entire world crashed down around you, it wasn’t really everything. It was the relationship and only the relationship.

Pick up the pieces of you that came apart with that ending and put them back together into a stronger woman. You can find the steps to do that here.

I don’t mean to minimize your pain, but to help you put it into perspective. It feels like everything, but it isn’t. That feeling will lessen with time.

how to get over a breakup

Take it One Day at a Time

It’s so easy to become anxious about the future. Your negative self-talk might have you living alone for eternity, but reel that back in.

For now, live one day at a time. Don’t look too far into the future because your future is still to be determined.

Get up tomorrow morning and go to work or do whatever it is you do during the day. Take care of the kids, look into your goals, and plan for the day if you haven’t yet.

Move through the day, one step at a time, remembering to be mindful and stay present in the moment, instead of spending too much time looking forward or back.

Allow yourself to feel what you feel, then shove it down the stream. Before you go to bed, journal about the day. What was good? What tripped you up? How can you work through those things that are tripping you up?

Tomorrow will be a little better!

How to Get Over a Breakup | Get Rid of His Stuff

You’ve still got all his stuff taking up space in your closet. He took what he wanted and left the rest for later. His books are still on the shelf. His travel coffee mugs are in the cabinet, and his winter gear is stowed in the hall closet.

It’s time to pack it all up and get it out of your house. If you don’t want to deal with him, deal with his stuff. Get some boxes at the local home store, along with a couple of rolls of tape and some bubble wrap, and go to town.

Pack his things in the boxes and then send him a text that says, “Your stuff is all in boxes now. I’ll set it outside this Friday after work and you can come to get it.”

Then, follow through. Set it out where someone won’t steal it but he can still get to it. If you want to be gone, go. You don’t need to see him to allow him to gather his things.

Hopefully, your breakup isn’t contentious, and you don’t have to worry about him coming into the house.

Be careful to give him his things as they were. In other words, don’t bust up his stuff. Just pack it up and give it to him. Resist the urge to rip his shirts if you’re still feeling angry. And no, it’s not a good idea to keep just one shirt.

Inject Loads of Fun!

There’s nothing wrong, and everything right about enjoying a fun night out or two. Gather your besties and head out for a night on the town! Go to a funny movie or go hang out at a favorite hangout spot.

Go to a comedy show or have a Netflix night where all you watch are movies that make you laugh. If you don’t want to hang with your friends, read a funny book or watch those funny movies by yourself.

Laughter truly can be the best medicine!

How to Get Over a Breakup | Forgive Him…and You

Laughter is great medicine, but forgiveness runs a close second. People often balk at the idea of forgiveness because they think forgiving someone for what they did means it’s now okay.

Forgiveness isn’t for the person you’re forgiving. It’s for you. There is peace and solitude in forgiving. You don’t even need to tell him you forgive him.

When you harbor anger and hurt feelings, it eats away at your soul and keeps you closed off to future relationship possibilities.

It also keeps those feelings at the surface where they’re raw. It’s like having a scab on a wound. The scab keeps coming off, reopening the wound.

If you forgive, the wound heals, and the scab disappears. It’s often said that harboring anger or denying forgiveness is allowing someone to live rent-free in your head. Do you want to give this guy any space in your head?

No? Then forgive him, even if you only say it to yourself.

But while you’re forgiving him, forgive yourself for what you believe was your role in the breakup. Remember, neither of you is perfect. You did the best you could in the situation and now it’s time to let it go.

Learn Something New

It’s important for you to get busy and redirect your thoughts, as you’ve already read. One great way to do that is to take a class in something. If you enjoy cooking, take classes in different ethnic regions. If you enjoy art, take lessons in something new.

Whatever it is, it will help you get back out there and give you something to look forward to. It also helps you meet new people and make new friends.

You’re never too old to learn new things, especially if you’re only in your forties!

How to Get Over a Breakup | Wrapping Up

You might feel old right now, but to me, you’re a young woman who has a lot of life left to live. Don’t allow this breakup to sideline the wonderful woman you can be.

Take some time to process the breakup, then get out there and engage with the world again. Pursue some hobbies. Make new friends. Learn something new. Join a gym.

Whatever it is, do it.

You have the capacity to be the woman of your dreams. All you need to do is set your mind to it and then hit the go button!

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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