Breakups can be traumatic.
If you’ve recently experienced a breakup, you might find it’s hard to stop crying. You might feel lonely, despondent, and like nothing matters anymore. You might even experience cravings for your ex, much in the same way people with addiction problems crave drugs.
When you ask your friends what you should do, they’ll probably be sympathetic. After the consoling and commiseration, though, most of them will end up saying something like this:
“You just have to get over it and move on.”
But getting over a breakup is easier said than done. No matter how much you want to stop thinking of the person, and no matter how much you want to stop being sad about the end of the relationship, it’s difficult.
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Here are some tips to help make getting over a breakup a little bit easier.
- Discard – or put away – all the pictures, letters, and gifts your partner gave you. Or, if you can’t bring yourself to throw them out, do your best to avoid looking at them. Put them in a box and leave them be. They’ll remind you of your ex and make it harder to move forward.
- Listen to music. Music is a great healer. And though there are thousands of sad breakup songs you think might just make you sadder, music has the power to do the opposite. Music can uplift spirits and soothe the soul. Check out breakup playlists on Spotify, find songs that resonate with you, and play them on repeat.
- Avoid snooping. Yes, that includes Facebook. Research shows that teens and young adults often experience obsessive thoughts or cravings about their ex after a breakup. Unfriend or block your ex on social media so you’re not tempted to keep checking up on them. This will help give you the distance you need to move on.
- Make yourself busy. Throw yourself into activities. It could be things you used to love doing or activities you always wanted to try but never did (learn Mandarin, join a new art class, start a baking club, pick up Pilates, etc.). Exercise is particularly beneficial: try going to the gym as often as you can, or even just go running around your neighborhood. Or you can find a job. On a similar note, you can start volunteering to fill up those empty gaps in the weekend that you used to spend with your ex. Most therapists agree being busy helps distract you from your sadness and can help you feel more productive.
- Get support from friends. The day of the breakup might feel like the worst day of your life. If it helps, ask a friend to come over and help you grieve. Feel free to cry on their shoulder. Ask if you can call them anytime you’re feeling sad. If they’re a good friend, most likely they’ll be happy to be your go-to person. You can also make it a priority to spend more time with your friends: like staying busy, this will keep you distracted, and keep your mind off your ex.
- Avoid places you know your ex will frequent. Though you might be tempted to show up at that party you know he’ll be at, it’s not a good idea. Showing up “coincidentally” might just make it harder for you to get over your boyfriend or girlfriend. The same goes for places you two used to hang out in: if you spent a lot of time at a particular eatery, try to avoid it for a few months. Visiting locations that used to be favorites of yours can create painful feelings of withdrawal.
- Remember the bad. Yes, we know everyone always says to remember the good times. But the opposite is true when it comes to hurtful breakups. Try to think of all the reasons you’re happy now that you’re not with your ex. If the relationship was toxic, it helps to think of all the times you were hurt by their unhealthy behavior. Though it’s difficult to realize in the moment, this breakup might have actually been a good thing, keep reminding yourself that it is.
- Have patience. Though you may think you’ll never get over this, we’re here to tell you that Time is a great healer. Yes, we know everyone says this to you, but that’s because it’s true. Even if you’re still not over your ex by next year, or the year after, there’s a good chance you will feel better by the time you start college or have your first salaried job.
Like we said above, all this is far easier said than done – but listen to number eight, especially: have patience. This too shall pass – we promise.
Am I Depressed – as in Clinically Depressed – Over This?
Many times, teens who undergo traumatic breakups end up falling into depressive spirals. They could be so sad over the loss of their partner that they will cry in bed for days on end, avoid pleasurable activities, and even find it difficult to function on a day-to-day basis.
Some teens will find it hard to eat, sleep, go to school, or interact with others. If you’ve been experiencing this for more than several weeks, you might have clinical depression. Ask to speak with your school counselor or parent about your breakup and your resulting mental health issues. If, after an assessment, the mental health professional determines you do have depression, you might need therapy or even a teen mental health treatment center.