A break-up is devastating, and it hurts more when it’s a complete surprise. Here’s how to ease the sting of heartbreak after an abrupt break-up.
When a relationship ends, it can feel like torture in a variety of ways. You’ll likely go through a process of grief, which can bring up feelings of loneliness, anger, depression, and emotional pain. What’s worse is when a relationship ends without any warning at all. It can be all the more painful, and because you never saw it coming, you weren’t prepared, and you may not even have sufficient closure.
While getting dumped out of the blue may feel like the world has hit you with a pile of bricks, it’s not the end of the world. You can even think of it as the start of a new chapter in your life, wherein you’ll rise up and start anew. But of course, before you find yourself getting stronger from your experience, you must first deal with the aftermath of an abrupt separation.
How to get over being suddenly dumped
As with any breakup, you need time to heal. But the healing process can be harder when your relationship ended without any warning. Here’s how you can manage that.
#1 Give yourself time to grieve. It’s more than okay to feel devastated and in shock after an important relationship has ended. Remember that you are not weak, and that it is normal and healthy to feel sad. When people avoid the grieving stage, they can become either incredibly closed off to love or become desperate for love in an unhealthy way.
Give yourself enough time to grieve, and this time means being alone to process the breakup and analyze how it wasn’t good for you in the first place. If you were dumped suddenly, ask yourself if you really want to stay with someone who had so little respect for you that they ended things in a snap judgment, without trying to work it out first.
Spend time feeling your feelings, instead of stuffing them down or numbing them in unhealthy ways, such as turning to drugs, alcohol or unhealthy company. Comfort food can be a good thing, but not in excess. Lean on friends and family if your grief borderlines on depression or hopelessness. You should never forget that you are a whole, healthy individual aside from a relationship that just didn’t work out.
The right person is out there wondering when they’ll meet you. Make sure you’ve properly grieved the loss, so that the next person you meet will get the best of you, without any lingering baggage or hostility towards a past relationship. [Read: How to get your self-esteem back after a breakup]
#2 Regroup. Spend time with your own thoughts. If you weren’t given closure, you have to claim it for yourself. Process what happened and assess your feelings. Do you really want to be with someone who left without warning? Remember that your sadness is likely due to other feelings, such as rejection, loss of a friend, loneliness, change of routine, etc. Your feelings stem from a variety of places, so don’t take them as a cue that the deeper your grief, the deeper your love for your ex.
While that can be partially true sometimes, remember that even people who’ve been abused by a partner still feel grief and despair after they cut ties with their unhealthy relationship. Don’t beat yourself up if your partner left without warning. It says more about their nature than it does about you. They were too cowardly to give you closure or try to work it out, so it’s their loss and not yours. [Read: 9 reasons people still stay with the wrong partner]
#3 Take care of yourself. When going through a breakup, it might seem like the natural thing to binge on pizza and beer, but you’ll only end up feeling worse and grow larger in the process. Don’t forget to take care of yourself by exercising, eating healthy, watching your stress levels, and getting enough sleep. Of course, this can seem hard to do, especially in the early stages of the breakup, but these things will actually help you feel better.
If you feel fatigued and lethargic from eating junk all day and laying on the couch, you’ll only continue to feel bad for yourself. Exercise also produces feel-good chemicals in the brain that can help shake your depression and make you feel better about yourself.
#4 Make a list. Take a good, hard look at your life. What do you like about it, and what don’t you like? Now is the ideal time to make changes in becoming the person that you want to be. One of the best ways to prioritize your goals and wants is to make a list. Actually, make two lists! On one piece of paper write all the things you hated about your last relationship, or things that you had wished were different about your ex-partner.
On a second piece of paper, write a long, detailed list of all the things you want to experience in your future. This includes your goals and desires, both in a partner and in your life in general. Put the list of the things you didn’t like in a box, and only look at it when you find yourself slipping and thinking of the good times with your ex, or wanting them back. Keep the wants list in your wallet or purse, and look at it frequently to remember that you’re moving towards better things.
#5 Embrace being single for a while. Don’t jump back into a new relationship or search for a rebound fling to combat your feelings of rejection and loneliness. Being single can be a refreshingly liberating experience. If you look at it in a positive light instead of as a depressing lonely time, you can really enjoy singledom while it lasts.
When you’re single, you can go where you want, flirt with multiple people, and work on doing what you want without seeking the approval of a partner. You don’t have to worry about gift giving, shared responsibilities, or dealing with your partner’s family *which can sometimes be overwhelming*. You can spend more time with the loved ones who can also help keep you positive during your time of grief. [Read: Why it’s so great to be single in your 20s]
#6 Try new things. Experiencing things that you’ve always wanted to try is a great way to discover new talents or hobbies that you otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to discover. Since your breakup happened so suddenly, you may need to keep yourself distracted with activities that will fill up the time that your ex used to take up.
Try a new workout class, dance class, rock climbing, Muay Thai, wine making, pottery making, whatever floats your boat. You’ll have fun and keep your mind off any bitter or sad post-breakup feelings.
#7 Sign up for a dating website. Word of caution: This is the last step for a reason. This comes after you feel complete as a person before seeking a partner. I’m also not suggesting that a dating site is where you’ll meet the love of your life, but it could be a great way to help rebuild your confidence.
If you’ve been in a previous long term relationship, you may feel like a fish out of water in the dating world. Dating sites are great for chatting with other people without having to spend the time or the money on physical dates before getting to know someone.
You can flirt and get back in the game before meeting a potential prospect. Plus, all the compliments won’t hurt your self-esteem either. Don’t forget to be complete within yourself before seeking a serious partner. That way, you’ll attract someone you really want, and not just a remedy for loneliness. [Read: 9 social media sites to use to get yourself a date]
#8 Don’t be too hard on yourself. Abrupt breakups can be devastating, but don’t forget that you’re not the only one to ever suffer the dreaded experience. Many people claim that their past breakups have made them stronger, allowed them to re-evaluate their life, and ultimately helped them find the person they were meant to be with.
Mentally thank your ex for saving you from more years wasted with the wrong person, and for doing so with the Band-Aid method of severing ties without stringing you along on a hopeless relationship.
Follow the above advice, and believe that one day you’ll look back at this breakup in a more positive way, knowing that it helped you get to a better place in your life. Breakups are tough, but by taking note of these helpful tips, and being patient with yourself, you’ll have what it takes to bounce back!