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Page history last edited by Tantek 10 months, 2 weeks ago Saved with comment

Introduction

 

The PostBreakup wiki is a compendium of advice and tips for recovering after a breakup. See Origins for where it came from.

 

Even if we can't solve the pain, sorrow, and sadness that follows a breakup, perhaps with this wiki we can collectively make post-breakup recovery easier for everyone in the future.

 

Here are a set of suggestions that have worked for some in the past - YMMV. If something has worked for you, please contribute your advice. It's a wiki so it depends on you sharing your experience. Be nice, and be polite to others' contributions. Thanks. - Tantek

 

Timeline

Depending on the nature of the breakup (mutual, unilateral, amicable, with or without cause), be prepared to have different experiences in the days, weeks, and months afterwards. A few sparse observations

  • 0-14 days, possible withdrawal symptoms. Heartbreak pain so bad (physically intense) that is nearly debilitating. Waves of heartbreak pain, at first very frequent, and eventually long slow waves once a day. Possible moments of clarity and insight in the relative calm between heartbreak waves.
  • 15-30 days, emotionally thoughtful pain from separation, missing them.
  • ~30-?? days, separation of different feelings, use of some feelings as motivation

 

Steps To Take

 

Acknowledgment

 

Admitting to yourself that you're in pain is often pretty difficult, but as with any kind of problem, it's a necessary step. But admitting it is one thing. Letting yourself feel the full extent of acknowledging it is much harder. See the Acknowledgment page for some specific tips.

 

Rest

With any kind of "recovery", rest in many forms can help natural healing processes, such as meditating, sleeping and listening to mood appropriate music (ListenToMusic). See the Rest page for more specifics.

 

Constructive Distraction

Emotions up (or down) left alone tend to feed on themselves. It's important to distract yourself "stay busy", hopefully constructively, and certainly with fun. Keeping the mind occupied is key. Keep CONSTANTLY busy. Gotta be careful not to do it to the detriment of Acknowledgment.

  • New projects. Starting anything new after a break-up can be quite refreshing. New projects, new friendships, new tastes, new sounds. Perhaps it has to do with creating novel memories that have nothing to do with her.
  • Hobbies. Rekindle your interest in and stay distracted with hobbies that you may have neglected. Start a new hobby or finish up an old one.
  • Explore your creative side. Paint, draw, write, play music, take photographs. Write lots about what you did well, what you wish you'd done better, what your ex did well, and what you wish your ex had done better. Channel your newfound dark emotions (grief etc.) into poetry, song lyrics, and creative energy in general. See Acknowledgment for more to write about.
  • Go anywhere and do anything with anyone who asks (within reason). Crank up the spontaneity. That also means spontaneously changing plans and be thankful to friends for being understanding. Travel can certainly help provide a balm for the wounds. Getting out of your environment provides a chance to get away from sensory triggers associated with the relationship. Play hooky and go someplace that is all yours (perhaps the library you went to as a kid). Go out and doing lots of crazy stuff you couldn't do while attached, and then write a letter to ex, seal it and burn it.
  • The beach. Go to Ocean beach at 1AM. Walk along the Santa Monica Pier at 6am all by yourself. Quiet and peaceful. For a late night Ocean Beach outing you better dress warmly.
  • Explore and find new favorite restaurants and cafes. In a city with so many wonderful restaurants, that should not be too difficult. Eat sushi.
  • Visit bookstores and read a good book. Spend some time at City Lights.
  • Check out local DJ hangouts.
  • Focus on work. Diving deep into work an effective way of postponing dealing with pain when it is too fresh and too strong. And you get LOTS done. The key here is to be careful not to forget come back to the pain, and acknowledge/deal with it. For some, hours and hours of coding can work wonders.
  • Hang out with pets. Both dogs and cats. One of the shelters in SF has an entire room filled with kittens, and visitors are encouraged to go in and help socialize the cats. Some say it improves their outlook every time.
  • Cleaning. A solid "spring clean" can work wonders.
  • Open a high-yield savings account. Buy another.
  • Accept the kindness of strangers. It can renew your optimism about humankind.
  • Like someone else - for more on this see the After the game is before the game section below.

 

Memory overwriting

Go to your old haunts with friends and make completely new memories so that the association of the place becomes detached from your ex. I am a big believer in reclaiming what is yours. Of reappreciating the things you previously shared. Here are a few things that can do with new memories to overwrite the old.

  • bookstores
  • smells, like shampoo, oils, candles. Those these are difficult. Smell-based memories seem particularly strongly associative and challenging to overwrite.
  • outdoor places, like hills and mountains
  • favorite movies, music
  • buy some new music that doesn't remind you of anything
  • restaurants, whether burritos, sushi, or just coffee, speaking of which...

 

Tasty treats

There is something about enjoying good food that soothes the soul, and it certainly helps post breakups too.

  • dark chocolate, perhaps a huge bar of european chocolate
  • ice cream (perhaps for breakfast)
  • chocolate mousse
  • chocolate pudding
  • smarties for dinner.
  • sugar cereal. Lucky Charms. Fruit Loops for dinner.
  • creme brulee.
  • medium rare steak - stab the steak while cursing
  • chips
  • soup
  • homecooking
  • single malt scotch
  • ... more good post-breakup food suggestions welcomed ...

 

Other sensory fun

  • bubble baths, wine, and lots of candles, preferably lit. If you don't do bubble baths, just substitute with your favourite 'just for you' activity.

 

After the game is before the game

  • Dress up and go out again.
  • Strengthen and expand your social circle. Seek out new fantastic people who share your interests, and hopefully rediscover many likes and culture that you haven't had time to nurture.
  • Cultivate twinges of attraction. Teach yourself to be ok with being attracted to other people. Let yourself feel attracted to others. Beware of possibly feeling oddly reflexively guilty that you shouldn't feel that way because you're with so-and-so, which of course makes no sense because you're no longer with her or him. After pushing past that false echo, there's definitely plenty of happiness and just a sense of being alive in feeling attracted to other people.
  • Rebound makeouts and hookups. You know others are thinking the same thing. Be transparent, compassionate, and respectful to the other person(s). No one should be strung along or proceeding with mistaken expectations (or lack thereof). Don't get attached / fall in love etc. The 7 rules to avoiding this are to follow. Keeping all that in mind, let the fun begin.
  • Do it slightly before you're ready. Because you'll never be totally ready. It's difficult but it is possible. Outside of dating, you may find that doing other things slightly before you're ready is both exciting and a good way to grow.
  • Lots of dating. When you're ready going on lots of dates can be helpful - just be sure to always be upfront, transparent, and honest about where you are.

 

Get Physical

Release those endorphins and pound the stress out. Endorphins from workouts will make you feel great.

  • dance. Paul Van Dyk is good for this.
  • more highly aerobic activity. Bike riding. Rollerblading. Running.
  • swimming
  • yoga. it can help you look within. Once you learn to make yourself happy with the now, the here, today, the way you are alone, nothing can shatter you.
  • run. running is particularly poetic. On your run, shout, scream, cry, etc. Adrian! (substitute your ex's name here).
  • exercise at the gym regularly.
  • go on walks or runs with friends.
  • play a game of pick-up basketball if that's your thing.
  • A bit of the ol' rolling around as suggested by a few. While certainly it can make for fun times, how much does this actually help get over the breakup? Some say that sex can make things complicated, even if there's the pretense of no-strings-attached. Some say however that playing the field is a great way to have fun with your singleness and ease into future relationships. Caution against doing this with your recent ex. And be safe out there!

 

Drinking in moderation

Some say a bit of drinking can help take the edge off the pain. When done with friends, a little drinking can certainly be entertaining, especially on a boat or in a limo. Always drink responsibly. Be safe, and never drive after drinking.

 

Let go and heal

  • Let go of the emo. At some point you have to start letting go. Letting go of the emotions surrounding your ex. Letting go of all those sad feelings you've acknowledged. Don't rush this, you'll be able to tell when you've felt enough and can walk away.
  • But remember the good things and don't lump them together with the bad. Carry the reasons with you out of the abyss while you leave the sad feelings behind, and somehow, when you do, the weight of all the others is lifted.
  • Focus more in the moment. Try everything - know and embrace the freedom so that you can take it into the next relationship.
  • Work on the causes. If you don't, you'll repeat the patterns over and over and over and over and over and over and over...and they don't make that many candles.
  • Invite over friends who are in similar situations and commiserate together. Perhaps discuss and collectively share techniques for getting over breakups. Perhaps invite folks over for a dinner or a gathering and have a face to face roundtable discussion about it. Take notes and add suggestions to this wiki.
  • Recall and restore your identity. Remember what your goals and hopes were before you ever started the relationship.

 

Articles about letting go and healing:

  • 2019-12-12 8 Tips for Forgiving Someone Who Hurt You / Forgiveness is the ability to regain peace when part of your life didn’t work out the way you wanted. Who doesn’t want that?
  • 2020-01-14 How to heal a broken heart (IG multipost) - summary of points:
    1. Memory. They were not perfect, you will be better if you choose to be
    2. It’s not about worth or (not) being "enough". It’s about compatibility.
    3. Letting someone go liberates them
    4. Being left is being liberated
    5. Capture lessons, what did you learn you want and don’t want from a relationship?
    6. What do you want to give moving forward, what unique value do you bring to a partnership
    7. What do you love to do that you neglected? Do that
    8. Appreciate the beauty and success of what you had. Growth happens differently for each person.

 

Time

As cliché as it is, time will be what really helps to heal. If you follow the steps above, time will probably be your last limiting factor. But at least when enough time has passed to heal your heart, you'll be able to do so, instead of feeling like hanging on or dwelling because of a feeling of lack of closure.

 

ProfessionalHelp

When should you get professional help? Sometimes you need the advice and guidance of a trained psychologist/psychiatrist/counselor/therapist. Resources and information on the ProfessionalHelp page.

 

LookOutFor

Things to LookOutFor, not really steps you can take, other than to beware. See the LookOutFor page for things to beware of.

 

Not sure about

Some suggestions we're not so sure about. See NotSureAbout for details.

 

Avoid

Some have made suggestions that I think are best avoided, see AvoidThese for details.

 

Contributors

This wiki is a mere summary of heartfelt advice. See Origins#Contributors for more details.

 

Previously

You can also see what used to be on the WelcomePage.

 

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