Beginning the journey of healing after a breakup can be a shock to the body’s system, especially if the breakup wasn’t your idea. It can feel like the world as you knew it was ripped away from you and you’re left trying to figure out how to start over. This process can be difficult for anyone, but one thing’s for sure: burying your feelings or moving on to someone new too quickly aren’t the quick fixes they may seem.
“When a relationship comes to an end, we will inevitably experience a sense of loss,” Ernesto Lira de la Rosa, psychologist and media advisor for Hope for Depression Research Foundation, tells Bustle. “It is normal to feel anger, sadness, disbelief, and loneliness as you begin your healing,” says Dr. Lira de la Rosa. It’s understandable that you may want to just numb all feelings as quickly as possible to stop feeling them, but to truly heal, you need to feel and work through what comes up during this time. Here are some more tips for getting over someone you may have dated for a long time, just had a fling with, and everything in-between.
How To Get Over Someone You Love
If you loved someone, the relationship may have been serious, which can make healing a challenge. But first thing’s first: “It’s important to define what we mean when we say ‘getting over’ someone you love,” says Dr. Lira de la Rosa. For many people, he notes, “getting over someone they love means taking the time to process the relationship and the many memories and experiences.”
To do this, Dr. Lira de la Rosa suggests journaling your thoughts and feelings as they arise, talking it out with trusted friends or loved ones, and seeking therapy to help navigate your feelings.
It may be tempting to move on to a new person quickly because the influx of new and strenuous emotions can be overwhelming, but, Dr. Lira de la Rosa explains, “people who give themselves the time to heal, process, and sit with their difficult emotions surrounding a breakup tend to do better than those who avoid these experiences.” Basically, you may heal a little faster in the long run if you can acknowledge all the hard feelings instead of suppressing them.
How To Get Over Someone You Dated
Just because you only went out on a handful of dates with someone doesn’t make it hurt any less when you decide to part ways. To help get over the relationship, try to be gentle with yourself if you’re hurting, even if you never labeled them as a boyfriend or girlfriend. That can look a lot of different ways. “I think about the words compassion and self-soothing in this process,” he says. “We may need to talk to ourselves in a way that is caring and supportive. We may also do things that bring us comfort such as watching a favorite show or movie, drinking tea, treating ourselves to something we like.”
This way of thinking is so important after a breakup because it lets you deal with discomfort in a tough situation, explains Dr. Lira de la Rosa.
Another key to getting over someone you dated is simply reminding yourself this is the way dating is supposed to work. “It is important to recognize that when we are dating, we are putting ourselves in a vulnerable position,” says Dr. Lira de la Rosa. “This means that we may get hurt in the process or may end up developing feelings for someone who may not feel the same way. Often, just knowing that dating will come with many experiences can be helpful in getting over someone you dated.”
How To Get Over Someone You Never Dated
“It is easy for us to get lost in the emotional mindset after dating someone or sleeping with someone,” says Dr. Lira de la Rosa. After all, sex can do weird things to the brain, like releasing chemicals that make you feel bonded and connected to your partner. “These emotions will eventually subside after some time. Once these emotions subside, our logical or rational mindset may kick in and we may then make sense of these experiences.”
Instead of judging your feelings, try to feel proud of yourself that you put yourself out there and took a chance. It’s obviously not easy to be rejected, but looking for positive takeaways can help when something like this happens. “You may have learned the type of person you would like to be with, what values are important to you, or what type of connection you are looking for,” says Dr. Lira de la Rosa. All of those learnings are something that should be celebrated. You’re gathering valuable intel for your next relationship, not failing at dating.
How To Get Over Someone You See Every Day
A breakup with a co-worker or with someone with whom you share mutual friends can be especially tricky because it can be hard to get distance from the relationship, making it harder to process. This is because, as Dr. Lira de la Rosa explains, “You may be confronted with emotions and thoughts every time you see this person.”
Don’t feel ashamed or uncomfortable setting boundaries when you need them. Setting a boundary could look like asking your co-workers or mutual friends not to update you on what’s going on with your ex. It might also include going home after work for a bubble bath instead of going to happy hour with a group that might include them.
If you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed in a situation you can’t avoid, like at work, Dr. Lira de la Rosa suggests breathing exercises. It doesn’t have to be complex; it can be something as simple as taking four deep breaths whenever you see the person. “Additionally, you may also splash some cold water on your face after you see the person as a way to ground yourself,” he adds.
Try to remind yourself that slowing down is a good thing. “When we try to move on too fast, we are denying ourselves the opportunity to experience all the emotions that come with the ending of a relationship,” explains Dr. Lira de la Rosa. “When we allow ourselves to heal, we give ourselves opportunities to learn from our mistakes and learn to listen to ourselves,” he adds. Ultimately, feeling the pain of a breakup means you’re kick-starting your journey into healing.
Dr. Ernesto Lira de la Rosa, psychologist