6 Steps to Joy After Breaking Up with Someone

6 Steps to Joy After Breaking Up with Someone

Posted on June 19th 2019 by Letara Buckley

Breakups are something that a lot of us have to go through. Perhaps it can be called a rite of passage in some aspects? The ending of a relationship, no matter what the length or level of commitment, can be incredibly difficult to accept and overcome. This article suggests six steps that you can take in order to create joy in your life during this tough time.

1. Realize That It’s Over

The first step is to truly accept that it is over. It sounds blunt, I know, but it’s important. After the initial words from either side or both, such as “I want out”, “I want a divorce”, “This isn’t going anywhere”, “I don’t love you anymore”, or whatever it may be, there tends to be a flurry of emotional rollercoasters and not knowing where you both stand.

It can be extremely hard to actually digest those words and accept that the relationship is over. Part of you may want to keep fighting no matter what they say, or perhaps you both have a slight hope that things could change and you could overcome any obstacle.

However, you can most often tell that it is truly over when either partner falls out of love with the other, or if you no longer have the energy or care to argue. Feeling a sense of not caring anymore is a huge red flag.

An article on Refinery29 quotes Angela Skurtu, M.Ed., LMFT, a relationship therapist from Missouri: "Both partners have to have a little bit of a passion to fight for things, so when you see people getting to a point where it's like, 'I really don't care anymore' that's a red flag.

There's a big difference between saying you don't care because you're lashing out and truly feeling dead inside when you think about your relationship. And when you feel that happening, you know the relationship is close to an end.”

Another sign that it’s truly over is when you resent and constantly criticize each other. That feeling of contempt can take over very quickly and it turns from a sad breakup into an anger-filled, tit-for-tat game.

2. Put Yourself on a Pedestal

Putting yourself first after being used to putting your partner or relationship first can feel weird and unnatural at first. However, it is vital that you practice self-care at this hard time and make sure that you are your number one priority. The reason being is that in order to be

 happy and to spark joy, you must love and take care of yourself. After a breakup, it’s the perfect time to reconnect with yourself and do things that make you happy.

An article on Medium lists five ways that you can practice self-love after a breakup:

  • Get Space - Love yourself by doing less and resting more.
    Having the space will allow you to take steps to return to wholeness and rediscover yourself anew. Make it a sacred time to tune into your natural rhythms. Journal, reflect and reunite with your dreams. Deepen your breath and do a detox if that resonates with you. You will be amazed how much energy you can get back and progress you can make in just a month of no-contact! 
  • Connect with Your Essence - Love yourself by celebrating your uniqueness.
    This practice can be very effective at helping you get in touch with your identity that likely got bruised, if not entirely shattered, after the breakup. It will bring you closer to your authentic core and wellspring of inner power. It will ground and center you. It will reawaken your confidence.
  • Connect with Your Needs - Love yourself by honoring what you need.
    Many of us compromise too much in relationships. It’s easy to mute our needs and desires to not make waves. Some of us may even become less authentic to make our partner like us more. As children, we are trained to believe that serving others while putting ourselves last is an honorable thing to do. This is not true.
  • Practice Sharing Your Vulnerability - Love yourself by choosing authenticity over perfection. 
    Vulnerable sharing is the ultimate cure to loneliness. But to have true vulnerability, you need authenticity, which requires self-acceptance. Here is where the breakup can serve as another opportunity―your identity is no longer bound with your partner. At this time, you are 100% free to be you.

The paradoxical thing is that what’s most attractive about you is also what’s most vulnerable. Speaking from your truth makes you more trustworthy and attractive. When you are comfortable with your so called ‘flaws,’ you come across as real, confident and relatable. You become a living example of what we are all striving for―to love ourselves more fully.’ 

Marisa Peer believes that we should all sing our own songs as individuals. In her bestselling book ‘I Am Enough’, she explains why:

‘What are your unmet needs and who do you think is going to come along and meet them? Is it a lover, partner, employer, parent, friend, or having your own child? If you believe that someone else must take on the job of making you better you will always be disappointed and you will always be needy, whereas if you believe you can meet many of your needs yourself, you will do better in life and be a more attractive prospect to others.

Responsibility means an ability to respond. We are all responsible for our happiness; we can’t give that job to someone else and after all, if someone else has the power to make you happy then they have the power to make you unhappy. Happiness is an inside job. It’s also not the destination you arrive at, it’s the journey you are on now and every day.’

Check out this article by Marisa on the importance of Self-Love.When you know that you are significant, worth love, praise and time, others will know it too.

3. Be Thankful

Try not to look at the relationship as being a waste of your time. Look at it as an experience that you have learned from. Be thankful for how strong and resilient you are; do not wallow in self-pity and doubt. Remember that once it’s over, you are likely to be over the worst part. 

No more fighting, no more negotiating, no more not knowing where it’s going. You can now choose to do things that your partner may have hated, so be happy about that. You can spend more time with friends and family without feeling like you’re neglecting your partner anymore. You are a free spirit and should be very thankful for your new lease of life.

An article on Elite Daily explains why being thankful is important in greater detail:

‘To live is to learn, so as long as you’re doing that, you’re doing a good job. You need to try and find some comfort in that. I know that experience can’t keep you warm at night, but it’s the hardships in life that make us the best we can be. Of course, it’s these same hardships that so often lead us down a dark path in life, but what good is a life without any adventure?

Be your story’s superhero. Be your champion. Do the things you want to do, and live life the way you want to live it. In the end, it’s up to us to make something both of ourselves and of our lives. Romantic love is a beautiful thing, but it’s really only the icing on the cake.’

4. Decide Whether Rebound Sex is Right for You

There’s a saying that goes, ‘The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else’, and there is evidence to suggest that a rebound encounter can indeed make you feel better, although it is not for everyone. It can be hard to tell whether it is right for you, but perhaps you can have fun trying.

After the initial breakup and after some time has passed, many people will have sexual urges after being used to having a regular sex life with their ex-partner. Sex is important for our wellbeing as it’s a natural form of exercise, it releases happy hormones, boosts our immune system, and reduces stress.

An article on Huffington Post discusses the evidence to suggest that rebound sex can be good for us:

‘In a new study, researchers from Queens College and the University of Illinois surveyed 313 young adults―some single and other in relationships―to determine how rebound relationships affect personal recovery following a breakup. Their results were published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

What they found is that participants who had stayed single for a shorter amount of time recovered faster from their breakups than those who waited longer to enter into another relationship or had not yet found another partner. Specifically, those who rebounded with other people reported higher self-esteem, higher dating confidence, higher confidence in their romantic desirability and were not as hung up on their ex.

"This suggests that having a new partner may effectively serve the purpose of allowing people to more quickly get over their ex, even when the breakup occurred recently," the researchers wrote in the study. "Compared with those who remained single, people who had begun dating again were generally better off... Because dating individuals already demonstrated that they had the ability to attract another partner, their confidence may have been higher than singles who could have more uncertainty about their romantic future and ability to find a mate."’

On the flip side, having sex with someone new after a breakup can run the risk of regret, or catching feelings too soon while you are vulnerable. An article on Vice explains why:

‘It’s sometimes said that the best way to get over someone is to get straight under someone else, but 30-year-old Londoner Freya disagrees. “My worst sexual experience was when I completely ignored all my complicated breakup feelings, downed four tequilas to pretend I was totally fine, aggressively pursued a friend-of-a-friend I didn’t even fancy on a night out 48 hours later, and then cried all over her, fully clothed, in a bed I hadn’t made since l last slept with my ex in it,” she grimaces. “It was the most tragic thing I’ve ever done, and it still haunts me in the middle of the night.”

Breakups are tough enough without giving yourself night sweats too. Protect yourself, advises relationships and intimacy coach Dr. Lori Beth Bisbey, by trusting your instincts, and knowing when you’re ready. How do you know when you're ready? “When you’re able to think about having sex without thinking about what sex was like with the partner you broke up with, you’re ready,” Dr. Bisbey says.

Dr. Bisbey advises against a one-night stand while you’re still grieving for the end of your relationship. “The first time you have sex after a big breakup, the tendency is to want to make it into a relationship,” she explains, adding that the choices we make in the immediate aftermath of a breakup are often unhealthy ones.’

While it’s a slippery slope to decide whether to jump into bed with someone else, one thing is for sure, stop having sex with your ex. This will only mess with your emotions and prevent you from moving on.

5. Seek Support if You Need it

Whatever is happening, try to vocalize it. Lean on friends and family for support and just keep talking about how you’re feeling. People who have been there or know what you’re going through can offer advice, but remember that ultimately it is your decision on what

 you should be doing for yourself. Use friends and family more as a shoulder to cry on, rather than letting them instruct you on what you should be doing with your life.

An article on Psychology Today explains why after the end of a relationship, friends and family don’t always know best:

‘One of the hardest aspects of ending a romantic relationship or marriage is listening to others tell you what you need to do. Many people don’t know what to say or how to comfort you, or they take on the responsibility of “fixing” you and your situation. In reality, all you really want (and need) is a kind and supportive ear.

You may find yourself with mixed feelings about how to cope with the shock and heartache that the loss of a relationship brings. When you grieve the loss of a relationship and feel intense heartache, it's likely that some people close to you will say that you should quickly move on. They may want you to do this right away. Perhaps you hear the following statements: “You’ve just got to move on.” “Get over it." “It is what it is.” You may even tell yourself these things. It’s completely unrealistic to expect that you will immediately move on. You need time. The more you beat yourself up by telling yourself you should be moving on at a quicker pace, the longer it will actually take. Your brain and your body need time to come to terms with the loss.

Well-meaning friends and family may get angry on your behalf when you recall incidents of mistreatment and experience intense heartache and pain. Your friends and family love you, and they don’t want you to be mistreated. They may get to a point where they tell you (or you even tell yourself) that your ex never really loved you. This opinion just adds to your list of reasons to feel bad. The elusive question, “Did he ever love me?” invites a downward tailspin. At the end of a relationship, even if you didn’t feel loved, it doesn’t mean there was never anything meaningful between you and your ex. Why else would people commit to someone for the long term? Love is complicated, and people are complicated, but this doesn’t mean that your ex never saw anything special in you.’

An alternative way to seek support is through professional help from a counsellor or therapist. This can help you rationalize your feelings. Marisa Peer has spent over 30 years working as a therapist and is an expert in her field. She can reprogram your mind to generate high self-esteem, attract the right kind of love in your life, and increase your sense of self-worth. Discover her personal development audio recordings here. You can listen to them in the comfort of your own home and experience her unique therapy method of Rapid Transformational Therapy™.

6. Write a Pros and Cons List

This can be done before the breakup or after. Get yourself a pen and paper and write out all the pros and cons of your partner/ex. If you find it difficult to get the pros to outweigh the cons, you know that you are making or have made the right decision to split. You can also write 

out your non-negotiables in the relationship. “Whatever your needs are, figure them out and compare them to what your current/ex significant other is able to give you,” says psychotherapist Jennifer Weaver-Breitenbecher LMHC, CRC.

While breakups are a hard thing to go through, so much good can come out of them if you handle them the right way and focus on your own happiness. Breakups can help you to grow as a person, build your self-esteem, and act as a catalyst for going and getting what you want in life. I hope you enjoyed reading this article, please share it with anyone you know who is going through a breakup.

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