How To Get Over A Break Up In 20 Steps

If you were ever truly attached to the guy you’re no longer with, you’ll know that breaking up stinks – it doesn’t matter whether you broke up with him, he broke up with you or the breakup was mutual. You used to have a guy to go out with (or stay in with) – a guy you loved – and now you don’t have that. It sucks any way you look at it!

How To Get Over A Break UpWhatever you do, there will be a kind of grieving process to get through, while you come to terms with your new single status. The strength of your attachment and the length of your relationship will affect how long that goes on for, but you can help yourself get through it and avoid prolonging the period of misery and regret by following the steps below.

Of course, not all of them will apply to your circumstances and you don’t have to do them in any particular order to get over someone. Just don’t dismiss any of them out of hand, because you are afraid to move on. Moving on is exactly what you need to do, if you are going to come out of this stronger and enjoy a happier stage in your life.

Also, don’t worry if it feels like two steps forward, and one step back some days. We all know that feeling where you think you are getting over someone and then you see he has someone else, or they play your song and you feel your heart breaking all over again. But those periods of misery will get shorter and shorter. You can get over this!

How To Get Over A Break Up


Don’t Expect Too Much

Give yourself time to be miserable immediately after a breakup. It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to see anything in a positive light right after losing someone you truly loved. And sometimes you will be right down in the depths of despair. That is normal. You need time to wallow in your misery. Rage at the unfairness of it all. Cry until you can’t cry any more. Just know at the back of your mind, while you go through this period of hopelessness, that you can’t go on like that forever and you’ll have to drag yourself out of it. And know too that it won’t hurt like that forever.


Accept It’s Over

While you have the idea that you can still get back together, you are never going to move on.

This is where you need a straight-talking friend to help you see whether it is truly over or not. Sometimes guys think they are being kind by giving you a gentle brush off and making excuses like they need space, or they are not right for you, when what they mean is that “It’s over and that’s the end of it, but I’m a coward and I can’t tell you that to your face!”.

Even if you think there’s a chance you might get back together in future, treat the breakup like it’s final. That way you don’t waste emotional energy on something that might never happen.

Also, once you are able to get into the frame of mind that the breakup is permanent and move on, it makes you that much more attractive not only to other guys, but also to an ex who may be thinking he made a mistake.


Purge Your Space

At some point (the sooner the better) decide to stop wallowing in misery. Make sure you get rid of all reminders of your ex from your space. They are like sandpaper on sunburn. You can keep your photographs – they are part of your past – but put them away (far away) where you can’t get a hold of them until they lose their power to affect you. Also, now is not the time for wearing the outfit he loved you to wear, or anything of his, he left behind. Hide those clothes out of sight too, along with any music that reminds you of him. If you can’t trust yourself not to haul them all out and get miserable all over again, give them to a friend who will not let you near them until you are over him.


Don’t Contact Him

You will be used to being in constant contact with your ex by phone, text, and email as well as on Facebook and other social media, even when you were not seeing him. Right from the point of breaking up, avoid getting in touch with him at all, unless you have to contact him for practical reasons (difficult to avoid if kids and joint financial responsibilities are involved). If you do need to contact him, make sure it is when you are feeling strong, and know exactly what you are going to say. Then stick to your script.

If you don’t absolutely need to contact your ex, delete his number from your phone. (Keep a copy somewhere else if you must). Avoid the places where you might see him. And get him out of your social media accounts. You don’t need an easy way to say anything you will regret – especially after a drink or two or in the middle of the night, when you are at your lowest.

Stalking his movements, whether online or off, is not the way to forget him and move on. You don’t want to forget him? You don’t think you do – but really, you need to get away from the thought of him as your partner, if you are ever going to feel good again.


Don’t Take It Personally

A breakup can make you feel lower than low, but remember, just because he doesn’t think you were right for him, does not mean that there is anything wrong with you. In fact, it may even just mean, he was not at the stage in his life where he wanted to be in a long-term relationship with anyone, and the break up may be more to do with him than you. A breakup is never about you not being good enough, it’s about a relationship that did not work for one or both of you.


Try To Understand

Try to work out why the relationship went wrong, but don’t get obsessive about it. It wasn’t perfect if one of you wanted to finish it, that’s for sure. If you know what went wrong, it’s something you can look out for and potentially avoid in a future relationship. You learned something!

If it felt perfect to you, you’re stunned by the breakup, and you can’t understand what you did wrong, just accept that it was not right for him, even if it was right for you, and you might never know why. Did you miss the signs that he wasn’t as committed as you? Perhaps, looking back, you will recognize times when he was not happy. Again, you learned something. Hard lesson but it’s all valuable for the future.

Perhaps the reason why you broke up, is that you messed up in some way. You were too possessive and jealous or you were pushing him too hard for commitment before he was ready. Maybe you even had an affair and he found out. Whatever made him say enough is enough, you can say sorry, but you can’t change the past or how he feels about it. Only he can change how he feels.

If you’re beating yourself up because you destroyed something good, then you are wasting your time. You are getting punished enough by living with the consequences. Forgive yourself. You’re not a bad person. You just made mistakes. All you can do is to learn from them and move forward.


Don’t Abuse Your Friends

You need a good shoulder (or three) to cry on especially at the beginning, but don’t be a complete pain and go on and on about your ex ad infinitum especially not by calling up in the middle of the night several times a week a month after you broke up. If things are that bad, then you really need professional help to get over this, so look for a therapist, rather than relying on friends. A trained counselor can help you see things with a fresh perspective.

If your buddies suggest things to do to cheer you up, like a night out on the town, before you feel completely ready, try and put on a brave face and go with it, unless you really just can’t face it. Act as if you’re having a good time for their sake. You never know, you just might enjoy it and it beats sitting around thinking gloomy thoughts. If it’s a complete disaster, at least you tried. Your friends will respect you for not wallowing in misery too long and trying to be positive.


Write It Down

Try writing down all your thoughts and feelings as an outlet for your emotions. It can offer a sense of relief to get it all down on paper and say exactly what you want to say without having to tell any other human being. You can even write a letter to your ex (one you will never send) and that can help you put your side of the story especially if you feel you never had a chance to say what you wanted to say when you broke up. Once you have written and had your say, tear the paper into tiny pieces or put it on the fire.


Remember The Bad

Make a list of the bad things about your relationship or your guy. (If there were none, you are truly delusional or you didn’t have a real relationship!) Keep adding to it over the days until you have a nice long list. Whenever you start thinking about your relationship through rose colored glasses and remembering what you are missing out on, read your list.


Remember The Good

Once you’re feeling a little stronger, it should be possible to think back on your relationship with a bit more of a balanced view and remember the positive things about your time with him, without it being painful. If you are far from that stage at the moment, just remember not to tell yourself a story about how you wasted x months or years of your life. You didn’t. You surely had some good times together if you regret the end of your relationship, and all experience is valuable even if it’s just that you know what not to do again!


Avoid The Rebound

Because your self esteem has been damaged, you’ll be open to all sorts of flattery from inappropriate men including the kind that want to make you the latest notch on their bed post. Mix flattery with alcohol (see below) and it’s a recipe for regret the next day. And your self esteem will not be helped by sleeping with a string of guys who don’t care for you (or even one). It’s only confident women feeling at the top of their game that can pull that off without feeling more wretched than before they started.


Don’t Get Drunk

Alcohol might dull the pain temporarily but you are going to feel worse than ever when it wears off, if you have too much. You are also likely to do things you regret under the influence of drink, including calling your ex and acting like a deranged woman, or having rebound sex that you swore you wouldn’t. Don’t do it. Avoid drugs for the same reason. Don’t add the misery of shame to the misery of the breakup.


Don’t Try To Make Him Jealous

Using someone else to make your guy jealous is so not cool. Would you like some guy to use you to make his ex jealous? I thought not. Just because you had your heart broken does not mean you have to act heartless. Finding someone else you DO care about is fine, but by that stage you probably won’t care too much about making your ex eat his heart out!


Get Out And Move

Moping around at home in your pjs, stuffing your face with ice cream is a recipe for feeling like hell. No matter how bad you feel, fresh air and exercise will make you feel better. Once you get outside, you’ll see that the world has not stopped turning, even if you feel like it has. If you can hack it, go out for a run and the endorphins in your system will give your brain a boost.


Get A New Look

A breakup is often a great place to start working on a new look – at least once you stop bawling your eyes out. Any exercise you do will help improve your mood (see above) and give you a great new shape. An updated hair style or a makeover from an expert makeup artist can have you seeing yourself in a new light. Even when you’re feeling down, make the effort to wear clothes that you know look good on you. This is not the time for baggy sweats and stained sweaters – at least not after the first week of wallowing.


Pamper Time

Start caring for yourself to help make yourself believe that you are worth caring for. You are! It’s time for extreme pampering, whether you take the do it yourself route or get yourself off to a spa for the day. Long soaks in the bath with aromatic oils, soothing lotions, face masks and massage are all a great tonic for feeling down. And while you’re about it, don’t neglect the little beauty tasks like shaving your legs that make such a difference to your looks. By caring for yourself and making yourself the best you can be, you are giving a boost to your self esteem. You may not be ready for the dating pool yet, but it will make you feel better to look like you are.


Throw Yourself Into Work Or Hobby

One thing about relationships is that they take time – time for dating, time for doing things with your guy. That can leave a huge gap in your life after the break up that can leave you lonely and twiddling your thumbs. You may wonder what to do now in the evenings and weekends when your friends are busy with their families and boyfriends. After the initial grieving period, don’t continue to fill the gap with thinking about him and wishing you were back in a relationship. Do something worthwhile. Take a class. Volunteer. Throw yourself into your job. Take some qualifications. Start a new hobby. Plant a garden. Anything you had an inkling to do in the past, you suddenly have time for. Make the most of it!


Treat Yourself

All the money you would have spent on dates with and gifts for your ex, should be redirected right away on treats for you. Enjoy your new shoes (or whatever you choose – I vote shoes)!


Clean Up

If you have to move because of your breakup, make your new surroundings as cheerful and as comfortable as you can. At least you will have no reminders of him there (provided you lock away those photos etc!) If you are still in the same place, no doubt your home is a mess after weeks of wallowing. As soon as you can face it, have a thorough spring clean and get your place looking and feeling good again ready for a fresh start for you.


Don’t Go Back

If he gets in touch and wants to see you again, after you are just getting over him – beware. Who knows what little game he has going on there. What has actually changed since you broke up? Are you a different person? Is he? I don’t think so.

Chances are (if you felt the breakup deeply) he misses being adored and wants more of that to feed his ego, but usually it’s because he misses the sex.

Just remember, if he dumped you for another girl, he is the kind of guy who would do that again. Do you want that kind of guy? How desperate is he to see you again. If he truly realizes he has made a mistake, he will be desperate. If he’s not desperate, don’t bother having your heart broken again.

This advice will probably fall on deaf ears. You’ll see him again for old times sake – and you’ll be back at square one. We’ve all been there too! I just thought I’d mention it in case you are having a sensible, grown up day when he gets in touch, and you can dig the thought out of your brain that ex sex is a bad idea.

What about you? Are you going through a bad break up and wondering if you’ll ever feel good again? Or have you gone through one in the past? Do you have any tips to share to get over someone?

16 Responses to “How To Get Over A Break Up In 20 Steps”

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  1. Evie says:

    If 2 people decide they don’t want to be in a relationship. Is it possible to stay friends and seeing each other with someone new? But still stay friends?

    • Ana says:

      It’s not easy but some people manage it. It only ever works when the split is amicable in my experience. If one wanted to split and the other didn’t, it never works, and that’s almost always the case. And even if it is amicable, it is still difficult to see a partner with someone new.
      Ana recently posted…Should You Use Mobile Dating Apps?

  2. Norah says:

    currently working through the depths of a confusing and difficult break up so this was perfect for me. so many relatable things with such great advice. THANK YOU!

  3. Lee says:

    Thank you for this. I’m going through such a hard break up right now. We were together in high school and the first half of college. Then, I left her for a guy and we didn’t speak for several years. Then, when I decided to break it off with him, she and I had started talking again. Long story short, she ended up moving out here and wanting to be with me, but she still had ties to her ex. She just told me that she is leaving me because she still loves her ex. It’s been tearing me apart.

  4. Shae says:

    These tips are very helpful to me because I am having a REALLY hard time getting over my breakup. But if I can give ANY advice to anyone, (1) don’t get involved with anyone your ex is friends with (intimate, friendship, etc.) because there is still a link there and you want to get as far away as possible. This happened to me (not in an intimate manner) and I am back to square one. It had been two weeks and I was already having more good days than bad. Now I have to start back over and honestly it feels like it hurts worse than the first time. (2) Surround yourself with people who care about you. I have two nephews and being around those sweet boys fills my heart so much. It reminds me that I have something to live for. (3) exercise. I can’t express this enough. I quit eating the first week my ex and I were truly done and I dropped 8 pounds immediately. That’s not the ideal way to lose weight but it motivated me. For some reason, at first when I got back into the gym, I would start crying when I ran. As time went on, my days were getting better, and I ran harder. I especially remember one day I was running on the treadmill at the gym, I ran the hardest I have ever ran. I felt nothing short of amazing when I was done.

    I hope everyone who is going through the pain I am going through come out stronger and more confident than ever before.

  5. danielle2012 says:

    Hi Ana I just recently broke up with my boyfriend of three years, it’s very hard because we work together, do you have any tips or advice on how to deal with this situation?

    • Ana says:

      Ouch! Awkward – any the main reason not to date anyone from work but I did it myself and worked with my husband so I can’t exactly advise against it entirely! There’s no doubt about it, it’s going to hurt more because you can’t ignore the person while you heal. The main thing to protect at this time is your professional reputation. Focus on that to get through it as smoothly as you can. Keep any drama away from work to avoid becoming the source of gossip and agree to treat each other professionally without any animosity so that people feel comfortable around you as you move your relationship from personal back to being co-workers. Focus on your own work, don’t deliberately seek your ex out and don’t bad mouth him or confide in your office friends – find a friend away from work to talk to. I hope that helps. Best wishes in getting over it quickly. Ana x
      Ana recently posted…Should You Use Mobile Dating Apps?

  6. Secret says:

    He just said he’s not happy anymore with our relationship. What could be the meaning of that?
    Secret recently posted…Should You Use Mobile Dating Apps?

    • Ana says:

      It depends how long your relationship has been going on and how serious it is. If it’s a long serious relationship, it’s time for a good talk to set things back on a good path if that’s what you want and it can be done if it’s something that can be fixed. If it’s a short relationship with no move ever to make it more serious, I’m sorry but it usually means he wants to break up but he doesn’t want to say it. It’s best to clarify what he means though so you know for sure and it doesn’t drag out forever if he means to break up. Some guys equate having told you “I’m not happy anymore” as “So it’s alright if I go after other women now because I’ve told you that. I can’t be blamed for straying now but I’ll stick with you until I find someone better.”
      Ana recently posted…12 Ways to Beat Boredom in Your Relationship

  7. Meg says:

    So, I’ve been dating this guy since November. I knew he was absolutely perfect. Than in one day he decided to leave me for someone else. I see them everywhere and I’m so angry and hurt. How do I get over this???

    • Ana says:

      Hi Meg, I’m so sorry you have been hurt like this. It takes time to get over it but you will eventually move on and meet someone else. It may not feel like it just now but one day you won’t think about him at all. You will feel better faster if you stop telling yourself he was perfect. He wasn’t. Far from it. If you thought he was perfect, you didn’t know him well enough because perfect does not exist when it comes to human beings. Perhaps you thought he was a good match for you but he wasn’t because a good match would not leave you for someone else. He would not leave you angry and hurt. A good match loves you forever. That’s the guy you want. Not the one who has left you. The guy who left you is the worst guy in the world for you because he left you feeling like this. The sooner you stop thinking of him as perfect the sooner you’ll find the guy who is really perfect for you. Let me know when you find him. I hope that’s very soon. Ana x
      Ana recently posted…Should You Use Mobile Dating Apps?

  8. Deljon says:

    Thanks for the tips. I knew the relationship was bad for a long time. I convinced myself that I was ok in it. I couldn\’t do it anymore. I trusted him. He broke that. We were friends long before we took the next step. I miss that the most. I can\’t be his friend again. Thank you for the tips. I hope a year from now the sting will have lost its power.

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