Breakups are never easy, and while most of us have encountered this experience in our lives, we all could make better decisions knowing the common Dos and Don’ts when dealing with the loss of a significant relationship.
All breakups are different, and even though there are no set rules that suit everyone alike, there are though common behaviours that can be harmful, preventing you to start recovering from it.
Therefore, it is helpful to know what you really shouldn’t be doing — especially in the emotionally confusing predicament your mind will be in when you lose someone you really care about.
Here are some common behaviours that might be setting back your breakup recovery:
Actively seeking out the other person / Social Media stalking
The end of a romantic relationship can be devastating for all involved, and the more we consider the implications of it, the more we understand that a split up is far more than the end of that interaction.
For some who have been in a romantic relationship for a while, the end of it can represent the end of an identity, from being part of a couple to now experiencing being single; the end of your comfort zone; the end of a shared life. These mean you will need to start over and if that wasn’t painful and scary enough, the beliefs we carry may pose a greater burden in an already painful experience.
Such beliefs include believing that one may never find love again, which only adds to the feelings of loneliness in this ordeal. In those moments of desperation, you may consider contacting your ex or even stalk him/her online, because you feel lonely and because the contact with this person feels familiar.
Besides, with today’s technology people don’t even have to leave the house… With access to social media is almost too easy to fall into that trap of pursuing, to get to know what the other person is doing or at least what he/she is posting on social media platforms.
Wanting something and actually pursuing it are two different things, one may cross your mind and the other crosses boundaries. To avoid giving in to these unsecurity feelings it is important to understand those boundaries of respect and more importantly self-respect.
Unless you share responsibilities with your Ex (like raising a child/children) and unless the communication is about those responsibilities, you shouldn’t really be contacting the other person. This isn’t to say exes can’t be friends, they can, with enough time, and if both people have strong boundaries. But people are impatient, and this can mean they don’t take enough time to reflect and really get over the relationship before trying to be friends.
Sometimes people don’t have the best intentions either, because they are impulsively reacting to the loss. This can make people behave quite strangely and/or purposefully trying to hurt the other person or each other (breaking into their exes property, destroying their belongings, creating false rumours, or coming up to them uninvited in the street).
Breakups can be toxic so it is worth just giving it some time and using it to refocus your energy and attention onto looking after yourself instead. I wrote another article that can help you steer away from contacting your Ex with some valuable tips on how to do just that (Fighting the urge to contact your Ex).
Comparing your experience with everyone else’s
Our experiences vary, and therefore so does the way in which each one of us deals with them. Please avoid comparing your situation or your time to heal with everyone else’s, because we all need our own time to recover.
When we compare ourselves to others in a breakup context, we create standards and expectations based on others’ experiences and not on ours. Additionally, we never know for sure how others are feeling, if they appear well, we assume they are well, however, we can all be very good at hiding our real emotions, after all, we all hurt, but transpire our pain differently and we just don’t know what is really going on in other people’s minds.
Instead of comparing yourself to others, be kind to yourself, acknowledge your pain and start looking after your individual needs. Look after yourself by doing things for you, even if small things, because even small changes can make a huge difference.
When you stop comparing your experience with others’ you start recognising your own suffering and your own story for what it is and not for what you believe it should be, and as difficult as it is to acknowledge one’s own experience realistically, it is very empowerful, because that’s when your journey to recovery really starts.
Minimising risks after the breakup
Those who have been in an abusive relationship (verbal, physical, emotional, psychological), the time straight after the breakup (usually up to a year) can be dangerous for the survivors of such relationships.
Many who survive abusive relationships are convinced that the worst is over, but unfortunately that is not always the case.
Oftentimes, the abuser sees this as a loss of control, and many survivors are relieved they are no longer in this situation but do not realise the extent to which this person will try to regain control. If you feel your experience fits these set of circumstances, then you need to take caution.
However, that is not to say that only survivors of abusive relationships can be at risk of threatening behaviours from their exes, but the risks are higher for those whose exes already showed signs of abuse during the relationship.
The best thing is to find support and share your story with people you trust, so you are as safe as possible. There are also organisations (look for organisations in your country of residence) that can offer advice in these difficult situations.
Whenever there’s any kind of difficulty in a relationship, and a breakup is about to happen, people need to strategise about how they’re going to cope with this situation. Keep your safety prioritised at all times and share your concerns with those you trust.
Starting dating again too soon
It’s not just the relationship you left behind that takes time, if you don’t wait long enough before dating again, you’ll probably be doing yourself a massive disservice.
A lot of people, the minute they break up with someone they are back ‘out there’ again. That is not recommendable, because you haven’t given it any time to sink in.
If you jump back into the dating scene too soon, you haven’t given yourself a chance to learn from the experience, or mourn the end of your relationship, and even though you’re not mourning a person’s life, you’re mourning part of your own life that is no longer there.
Take that time (take your time) to actually get back to the equilibrium of who you are, to adjust to your new reality, to heal, or to figure out what you have to offer again, or what is it that you like to do on your own – get to know yourself again.
So take a deep breath and allow yourself to take that time.
People will always be looking to date, so you’re not missing out on anyone if you don’t re-download Tinder the next day!
It’s hard to get over an ex and I think there are several components to getting over someone, mainly:
- Time (which is subjective to each one’s experience);
Focus (concentrate your attention and energy in rebuilding your life);
- Self-love (Look after yourself with compassion)
Only then you will be ready to meet others romantically.
Comparing new people/ relationships to your old relationship
If you have waited long enough to get back out there that your wounds are healed, and you’re no longer full of resentment, that’s great. But even if you think you’ve done everything right, you might find yourself comparing the new people you meet to your ex.
Many compare new relationships to the last relationship, and it is understandable as that’s the most recent memory you have.
Nonetheless, people as well as relationships differ and it is not fair on you nor on the other person to have these comparisons made.
You are living a new chapter of your life, so give yourself the chance to welcome the ‘new you’, also, give others the chance to show you who they really are, after all, you are spending time with new people, the least you can do is to try to get to know them.
Before you get yourself involved with another person romantically, maybe start by enjoying the new people in your life and I mean really enjoying them for all they are and for the uniqueness in each one of them.
Getting over an ex is never easy but is possible and you too can recover from this painful ordeal.
Wishing you a kind recovery.