Post Break Up Dos and Don’ts
I have a friend who just broke up with the love of her life again. I read the news and could just feel what she was going through. She's handling things pretty well, but I've seen some friends get very, very lost after a breakup, so here are a few good post breakup dos and don'ts.
Do Step Away from the Scissors
When something traumatic happens like a breakup, the first thing some of us want to do is drastically change what we look like, and that’s a bad idea. I had a girlfriend come to me after her divorce with three pictures of women with hair that looked nothing like what she currently had and one that was mostly the same, but different enough that it looked like a change and that's the one I urged her to go for. Don't take out your anger, sadness or frustration on your hair. There's nothing wrong with getting a makeover, but do it in a responsible manner and wait a little while after the initial split before you do anything drastic.
Don't Hang On
Did he win you a teddy bear at the county fair? Throw it away. Did he lend you a tshirt once after you spilled on your blouse? Give it back. Getting rid of the physical things that tied you together can help you get over things and move on faster. Delete emails, text messages and voice mails, too. Accidentally seeing or hearing them can be a really bad trigger. I was lending someone my phone/answering machine combo and was listening to see if there were any messages on it, and sure enough, there was my ex-fiance. Oof. It's best to just delete them right away.
Do Find Something Else to Do
Now that you and your partner have gone your separate ways, you’re probably going to have a bit of time on your hands. Maybe you got away from your hobbies when you started dating Mr. Fantastic. Now is the time to rediscover them. Maybe you didn’t really have a hobby, but are looking for something to occupy your time so you don’t dwell on your singleness. Check out a community education class like cooking or learning a foreign language. It keeps you busy; you’re learning a valuable skill and who knows? You may meet someone else or make new friends in the process.
One thing I was cautioned about when I stopped drinking is overindulging in other activities and behaviors like eating, smoking, shopping and gambling. So, just because you and your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife are no longer together, it’s important to not go off the deep end and fill that hole with eating, drinking, gambling, shopping or any other type of destructive behavior. Ice cream and crying is fine, but only for a certain amount of time; like a week. After that it’s time to take off your sweats, wipe the chocolate sauce off your chin and take a shower.
Do Get Out of Town
Some alone time to gain clarity and distance is a good thing. If you can, pack a bag and find a place where you can just sleep, journal, hike, swim, or whatever else it is that you do to relieve stress. Turn off your phone, leave your laptop at home, disconnect and just be.
Don’t Try and Stay Friends
Chances are, once you break up, everyone always agrees to be friends, but it rarely happens. I’m still friends with a few of my exes, but we were friends before hand. However, post breakup, it took a while to get back to the friend zone. It’s going to be very hard to move on when they’re still in your life. A clean break is best. Once the initial split happens, take your time apart, gather their things and arrange for a date and time to make the exchange. After that, cut your ties and go your separate ways. Maybe down the road it will be OK, but right away, it's best to just stay apart.