Thank you to Kristin O’Brien for this guest post about winning after a break-up. Take it away!
When a relationship comes to an end, it can be hard to keep from over-analyzing the situation and worrying yourself over what went wrong. If you’ve just gone through a tough break-up, the best thing you can do is to take the opportunity to get reacquainted with yourself. Find ways to remember all the reasons you love yourself and all of the reasons you are independently fantastic. Of course, it’s hard not to constantly check in on what your ex is doing through mutual friends and social media. Being newly single isn’t easy, especially if it’s close to the holidays. But in your quest to “win” the break-up, you have to remember that winning is all about how you benefit, not about how the other person perceives you.
1) Be Honest With Your Emotions
The worst thing you can do after going through something tough like a break-up is to fail to allow yourself to process your emotions. Don’t try to act tough like you don’t feel it. Don’t try to immediately go out to cheer yourself up. You will most likely end up allowing yourself to be over-served and you may call your ex as a result.
A break-up, especially if it was a long-term relationship, can feel very much like a death, as in fact it is the death of a relationship. It’s normal to feel all of the same emotions you would expect with a similar loss including grief and anger. Give yourself space to mourn, but make sure you have surrounded yourself with a supportive network of friends and family who can help you pick yourself up out of your slump if it goes on too long.
2) Take a Day or Two to Pig Out
Going through a break-up is hard work, and that’s the way you should treat it. Whatever you like to do on vacation or whatever you like to do to reward yourself after a particularly tough week at the office, do that for yourself now.
Binge on your favorite Netflix show or watch a new show you’ve been wanting to check out. Get yourself some wine and Shari’s chocolate covered strawberries and have dessert for dinner. Buy yourself a few nice items you’ve had your eye on for a while, or if there’s something you feel like your ex never wanted to do or never wanted to give you, do that! Did he never send flowers? Pick out a nice bouquet at the grocery store. Do you love perfume but he never gave you any? Take an afternoon of shopping around for a particularly nice scent.
One important thing: make sure you only take a day or two to totally spoil yourself. Break-ups are hard and humans are pleasure-driven creatures. If you too frequently distract yourself from processing your emotions by spoiling yourself, you may find it hard to successfully work through the break up.
3) Do Whatever You Want to Do
No doubt you and your ex had your differences, and there’s a good chance that those differences may have prevented you from doing some things you might like to do, at least as frequently as you might have liked. Make time now to do as many of those things as you can. Give yourself a mini vacation to just have fun. Get some friends together and take a Saturday or a long weekend to do whatever you like. Get outside, go surfing, try a new restaurant or brewery, go on a winery excursion, throw a party – whatever you want to do! This will help you remind yourself who you are outside of your relationship and it will help you start rebuilding the confidence you need to get back to living your life as a confident single person.
4) Start on Self-Improvement
Relationships are time-consuming, and it wouldn’t be at all unusual if you found that you started to slack on some of your own measures of self-improvement while you were in your relationship, especially as it started to get tough towards the end. It may be hard at first to motivate yourself but it will be very much worth it once you get into a routine. Start going to the gym or get involved with a club sports team that has regular meetings. Get more serious about reading, and make it a regular part of your day. This will also encourage you to disconnect from your smartphone and face the temptation of checking in on your ex. Try out some new hobby you’ve been interested in. Take a class at your local community college or trade school, attend a lecture, or go to a group meeting that relates to a hobby or subject that interests you. Get a professional or volunteer certification. Learn how to do something useful like CPR or first aid medicine. Give your time volunteering for a cause or organization that matters to you.
As a newly single person, you may find that you are worried about finding ways to stay occupied and busy so that you won’t brew and stew about your relationship. Forcing yourself to get out there to do new things is a great way to start the motivation process running. It’s a self-feeding cycle: once you’re motivated the first time, your motivation will keep on building and you’ll do better and better.
If you follow all of these steps to the break-up process, you will be feeling better and more confident in no time, and that truly is what it means to “win” at the break-up. Winning a break-up isn’t about going out there and immediately finding another boyfriend to parade around your ex. A true winner is someone who is happy with who they are. Bonus points if you can allow yourself to be happy for your ex too!