5 steps to actually moving on after a severe breakup

One of the most emotionally taxing experiences anyone can have is moving on after a breakup.

People can say things like, “You’re better off,” which is convenient when you’re trying to forget about your ex, but when you’re grieving, those comments can seem really basic.

Here are 5 steps to actually moving on after your soul-crushing breakup:

Cutting ties with your ex is the most important thing you can do to get over them for good. Keeping them around will keep you solidly stuck in the past, so ending contact with them is key to giving yourself the closure you need after your breakup.

If you have a business or kids with your ex, these are shared responsibilities that remain (whether or not you try to cut ties). Try to minimize contact that doesn’t revolve around your children or business.

If you tend to dwell on interactions with your ex, distract yourself as much as you can before and after meeting up to drop off the kids or handle business. Reward yourself for handling things as civilly as possible.

Young man feeling sad after arguing with his girlfriend on sofa at home.
5 steps to actually moving on after a severe breakup

2. Save the friendship for later.

Just like in grade school, keep your eyes on your work. One significant way people sabotage themselves after a breakup is by trying to stay friends with their ex.

It sounds mean to say “thanks, but no thanks” to a friendship with someone you spent so much time with, but when you’re hurting, trying to keep them in your life is one of the worst things you can do for yourself.

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If you still really want this person in your life, you can reconnect with them (much) later — once you’ve both truly moved on from your failed romance.

3. Stop monitoring what your ex is doing (or who).

Sometimes, the only way someone feels forced to move on is by accepting their ex has gotten serious with someone new. It’s as though the unfortunate reality that the relationship is over only dawns on them the second their ex gets engaged or married to someone else.

This is just another way people stay stuck.

The best way to gain the emotional space you need is to break the remaining ties with your ex. If they are out of your life, make sure you’re not still up to date on theirs.

4. Start dating.

Dipping your toes in the dating pool is essential for moving on from a failed relationship. So many people delay dating other people while thinking, “I’m not ready,” or “Maybe I’ll get back together with my ex.” The problem is both mentalities keep you stuck because you’re still living in the past.

Dating is simply a natural part of moving past a breakup. Meeting new people and trying to make new friends is enough to give you some perspective and help you start creating a new life — without your ex.

5. Stop comparing your new relationships to your old ones.

Say you’ve done the rest of these steps to move on. You’ve cut ties, deleted them from social media, and started dating. One way people keep the pain of their breakup alive is by comparing all new relationships to their relationships with their exes.

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Comparing new people to your memory of your relationship with your ex isn’t fair to you or anyone you start dating post-breakup.

Unless you had a terrible relationship, you haven’t made enough positive memories with someone new to compare a relationship to an ex. By not comparing, you’re giving someone else the chance to win your heart.

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