Biggest understatement ever: breaking up is hard to do. Whether you get dumped or do the dumping, the whole thing sucks. Even if it was for the best, you can’t stop thinking about it. For all that time, there were cuddles and kisses, battles and makeup sex, and now, it’s all behind you – but not really, at least not yet. Not while you feel like roadkill.

After a particularly rough breakup, where hearts feel beat up and bruised, what do you do to make the road ahead a little smoother? How do you move on with a gaping hole hanging out in the centre of your life?

The first step is to keep a guide nearby, some expert tips to help you stop perseverating and start reclaiming yourself, head held head high and heart intact.


Change your thinking

It’s time to stop reliving the relationship and replaying the negative aspects of it in your mind. Doing so takes a huge toll on your self-esteem and confidence and will prevent you from living in the moment, never mind meeting someone new. Start by spending at least 10 minutes each day reciting positive thoughts or affirmations. Who cares if you sound vain? It’s all in your head. Repeat: I am strong, confident, attractive and make a great life partner.

Take a break

Give yourself as much time as you need to recover. Don’t let anyone pressure you into believing you have to jump back into the sack or the dating pool. This isn’t a race and only you will know when you’re ready.

Seek support

There is no reason to ride the emotional roller coaster alone. Talk to friends, family members and your therapist – anyone you feel comfortable with and supported by. Find a local support group, join online forums, and get out there and  talk about your experience. You’ll be surprised how many people are going through the same thing.

Do something fun

Immediately following a break up, do something you really enjoy doing. It could be mountain climbing, exercising, bird watching, taking that trip to Europe with your best friend – whatever sounds like your idea of heaven. In the beginning stages of a breakup, when you’re most raw, do whatever you have to in order to make yourself feel better.

Don’t play the blame game

Whether you feel the breakup was a result of his actions or something you did, stop blaming. You can’t focus on moving on until your perspective changes and you can see the relationship as a learning experience for the next one.

Stop the contact 

When you’re fresh out of a relationship, and especially if you were the dumpee, you’ll be tempted to connect with your ex in any way you can. You may find yourself re-reading old emails and love letters. You may even try to, oops, run into him by accident. You can’t move on until he’s relegated to the past, so do yourself a favour and do the hardest work: Delete old emails, remove him from your call list, and whatever you do, don’t stalk him on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Don’t contact an old ex

When you go through a breakup, you can’t help but long for that feeling of being wanted and needed. All of a sudden it’s missing, so you just may reach out to a long lost ex who knows you well and knows how to make you feel attractive. Don’t. Going backward almost always prevents you from moving on.

Focus on the future

Visualize what you want your life to look and feel like next year at this time. What do you really want? Write down what your ideal mate looks like, what his characteristics are, and how you want to be treated. Even picture yourself as part of a couple again, doing all kinds of fun activities. It’s funny how you will attract what you’re focused on.

Colin Christopher is a clinical hypnotherapist certified by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners, and author of Success Through Manipulation: Subconscious Reactions That Will Make or Break You. He works with many men and women who have experienced a breakup, helping them move forward with their lives.

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