The greatest lesson I’ve learned from my romantic relationships that didn’t work out is that there’s no way around the pain—only through it.
It’s natural to instinctively want to avoid, deny, cover over, and/or repress your pain when moving through a breakup, but I promise you, these coping mechanisms never work in the long run.
Editor’s note: Although this article uses male pronouns, the advice applies to all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Below are six more specific “what-not-to-dos” post-breakup:
1)DON’T CONTACT HIM.
This might seem like an obvious one, but when I tell my clients “no contact,” this includes blocking your ex on ALL channels. Social media. Email. Your phone. Venmo. You name it, block him on it! Watching his every move and letting him see yours on IG, TikTok, or wherever else only sets you up for more pain, longing, and unnecessary story-making that will disrupt and prolong your healing process.
2) DON’T OVERDRINK.
Hopefully this is an obvious one too, but a necessary reminder. Alcohol is a depressant. It might feel good to numb out in the moment, but it will only exasperate your suffering later. Take a walk. Make a mocktail. Treat yourself to something nice that you can comfortably afford, but don’t drown your sorrows.
3)DON’T PUNISH YOUR BODY.
Do you escape into over-exercising? Over-eating? Or go in the opposite direction and starve yourself?Your nervous system is in such a fragile state right now.Overworking your body or not giving it the proper love and nutrients it needs will only make your heartbreak worse. Keep in mind that your gut is connected to your brain. So fueling your body and taking extra good care of it is crucial as you navigate and process the heavy emotions you’re experiencing.
4) DON’T POLL YOUR AUDIENCE.
Your friends and family are awesome, but what they believe isn’t going to help you get over him—whether they think he’ll come back, or that he was dumb to leave, or “Good riddance!”Sure, it’s nice to lean on your loved ones—I strongly suggest you do—but you’ll make yourself crazy grasping on to their opinions and predictions.
5) DON’T PRETEND YOU’RE FINE.
You don’t owe it to your loved ones, to your co-workers, and for sure, to him. You’re not fine and you getto be not be fine. The greatest gift you can give yourself during this time is admitting how not OK you are to both yourself and those around you. You don’t have to make your pain anyone else’s problem, but you also don’t have to deny it. Remind yourself that grieving, honoring, and gently being with these difficult emotions is the kindest thing you can do for yourself right now. There’s no shame in being heartbroken … even if someone attempts to make you feel this way. Unapologetically own your pain, and when you do, it will pass quicker.
6) DON’T REREAD HIS LOVING MESSAGES FROM THE PAST.
This is self-inflicted torture at its finest, but I get it: “How could he have said these beautiful things to me just days before ending the relationship?” When we reread loving messages from the past, we’re holding on to hope that his words could still be true. Don’t do this to yourself. I say delete the falsehoods because someone who’s going to pull a 180 on his love-professing words, or has zero follow-through on his promises, for sure isn’t your person.
It’s easy to fall into confusion and overwhelm when we’re desperate to heal our heartbreak.
Instead of worrying about what to do, getting clear with these six “what-not-to-dos” will lead the way toward the clarity, peace, and closure you’ve been searching for.