It is always hard on either or both party when a good relationship runs out of its previous sweetness. It might make you do things that are different from your character. It’s totally normal to make some questionable decisions post-split—you’re feeling lost, hurt, and less confident than usual. So to help you navigate this tricky breakup world, we’ve rounded up some of the common landmines you’ll want to avoid.
Don’t Seek Them Out on Social Media
Moving on in the age of Instagram and Facebook can feel like an impossible task. Which is why, post- breakup, your ex’s profiles should remain off-limits. To keep you from wandering away from your feed (and onto their page), It’s just easier for you to not constantly see what they’re up to, who they’re with, and what their life is like without you in it.”
Don’t Compare Yourself to Their New Person
So you two weren’t a match. That’s totally OK! Just don’t beat yourself up if you see that they’re happy with someone else. Their happiness says nothing about your worth as a person — all it says is that they’ve found someone they are more compatible with, which you’re more than capable of doing, too.
Don’t Stop Taking Care of Yourself
When you’re depressed, cooking a healthy meal, heading to the yoga class you used to love, or hitting the sack by 10 p.m. can seem like giant undertakings. But those very necessary acts of self-care will — not may — will go a long way towards making you feel better. At the very least, the sense of accomplishment will give you a boost of confidence, which is something you need more than ever right now.
Don’t Pretend Everything’s OK
Wallowing for weeks or even months on end isn’t healthy or productive — but neither is minimizing or ignoring the very real pain you’re feeling. “Be compassionate with yourself,” Steadman says. “You can’t shortcut the grieving process. It’s real.” You don’t have to broadcast your emotions to the world, but Steadman suggests opening up to at least a couple of pals: “Feel your feelings and recruit a ‘Boohoo Crew’ — a small group of trusted friends who you know are there for you and who will help you get through it.”
Don’t Immediately Try to Be Friends
It is possible to be friends with an ex, Newman says — with a couple of major caveats. First, “be sure to give each other space at the beginning. You need to fully separate and move past the pain of the split,” she advises. Once you’re both in a healthier place, if you still feel the urge to reconnect, think as critically as possible about your dynamic before you jump into a platonic friendship. “This only works if you both meant well and were generally kind to each other throughout the relationship,” she says. “If you cared for each other but fundamentally weren’t a match or you grew apart, there’s no good reason to throw away a potential friendship.” But, Newman cautions, “if your relationship was a total shitshow, or if you brought out the worst qualities in one another, walking away with whatever lessons you learned is probably best.”
Don’t Let It Affect Work
If you find yourself slacking off because you’re either too distracted or too upset to focus on the tasks at hand, it’s time to take action. Opening up to a trusted colleague — or supervisor, if you feel comfortable doing so — can help. If your office support system isn’t enough, it may be time to seek professional help. Knowing that you’ll have a dedicated 45 minutes or an hour every week to hash things out in a safe space may make it easier to focus on the stuff right in front of you.
Don’t Let It Affect Your Social Life
Once again, show yourself the compassion that your friends will once you venture out again. Nobody expects you to emerge from your grief-cocoon as a full-on social butterfly; if they’re your friends, they’ll just want to see how you’re doing. Mutual friends are trickier, but if they’re making a clear effort to keep up the relationship — and you trust yourself to not bug them for intel about your ex — then by all means, go forth and bond.
Don’t Immediately Start Dating Again
After a breakup, you need to focus on you — your goals, your priorities, and your happiness. Getting right back into the dating pool might seem like a good distraction, but right now, it’s more important to give yourself the space you need to heal and reconnect with yourself as an individual. Oh, and whatever you do, do NOT start seeing someone new in an effort to make your ex jealous. By doing that, you’re just letting them dictate your actions from afar, instead of letting yourself live life on your terms.
Don’t Stay Angry
Wallowing for too long isn’t healthy, but neither is holding onto your anger. “Stamping out your good memories doesn’t help you get over the breakup faster,” Newman says. “Conjuring up feelings of loathing or contempt won’t resolve what happened between you and your ex.” That loathing will only set you back in the healing process — and it certainly won’t make you seem open to new love down the road.
Don’t Waste Time Wondering What They’re Up To
Don’t waste any more time thinking about what their life might be like now. Right now, your focus should be on you and you alone. “Spend time with the people who elevate you,” says Gandhi. “And seeing a professional always helps. Having them guide you through your feelings in an objective way can save you from beating yourself up and from making the same mistakes over and over again.