13 Things to Do After a Bad Breakup

13 Things to Do After a Bad Breakup

Because eating Ben & Jerry’s just won’t cut it.

Image for postPhoto by Allan Filipe Santos Dias on Unsplash

1. Glean wisdom from the other people in your life.

Remember them? Family, friends, and even coworkers often want to help, but may not know how. Not everyone is adept at empathy, and let?s face it. After a big heartache, we don?t always know what we want or need.

You can sidestep a whole lot of frustration and give folks a simple way to help you by interviewing them about their own bad breakups.

?How did you cope with your worst breakup??

?Is there anything you wish you?d done differently to heal??

?What did you want to know when you were still hurting??

Asking these kinds of questions accomplishes a few different things.

First, you get to bond and feel some human connection when you need it most. Second, it gets you out of your own head and sad story as you think about somebody else?s heartbreak. Finally, gives you a fresh perspective and possibly new ideas on how to get through your pain.

Image for postPhoto by Allan Filipe Santos Dias on Unsplash

2. Expand your horizons.

Many people have a propensity to forget about the outside world when they feel happily nestled within the bubble of a loving relationship. With a tough breakup, it may be equally hard to want to come out from under the covers? except that this time it?s sadness driving you.

Give yourself the opportunity to reconnect with humanity by trying something new that you?ve always wanted to do. You might try a new class at the gym. Or take art lessons. Take a cooking class and enjoy your solo status.

Learning a new skill or craft is always beneficial, but it?s especially wise to take advantage of group learning settings if you?re still reeling from a nasty split. You don’t have to stay stuck or sad, and you certainly don’t have to sit alone at home.

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3. Get physical.

Not every bad breakup is an angry one, but it?s perfectly natural to feel anger rise up at unexpected moments when you’re nursing a wounded heart.

Sometimes, one of the most healing things you can do for yourself is hash out your most violent and frustrating feelings in a physical way. Without actually hurting anyone.

Take it all out on a punching bag. Learn kickboxing. Throw a few Costco packs of eggs at your bathtub.

Do whatever you have to do to vent that anger in a harmless way.

Image for postPhoto by Banter Snaps on Unsplash

4. Take your timemovingon.

A lot of people will give you advice about how soon you should ?get back on the horse? and start dating again. The truth, of course, is that jumping back in too soon can feel like shit for you and anyone else who gets involved with you.

Most of us don?t want to feel like a rebound partner as you try to convince yourself that you don?t really miss your ex even though you can?t seem to quit talking about them.

If that?s you? Throw out all of the rules about how long you think it?s supposed to take to heal. Forget about the shoulds.

It’s your life. Give yourself permission to heal on your own timeline and not anyone else?s.

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5. Think twice about your responses and reactions.

Most of us know by now not to trust our reactions anytime we?re feeling hangry. But it?s not just physical hunger that makes us feel weirdly irritated and restless.

You have to watch out for emotional hunger too. That feeling you get when you want to leave snide remarks on your ex?s social media? Oftentimes, that?s just you being hungry and angry for attention.

Snickers is right. You?re not you when you?re hungry. Especially after a painful breakup. So as long as you?re still feeling a little bit hangry, try to think twice before acting out in ways which might attract negative attention to yourself.

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6. Get a grip on social media.

In a lot of ways today, social media makes the blowback of a difficult breakup much messier than it needs to be. With my own worst breakup, I had to quit using my Facebook profile at the time and deleted an email account.

Phew. It’s rough out there, but nobody can decide how to handle the post-breakup stuff online except you. Sure, there are guides, but at the end of the day, you’re the one who is going to need to be more chill.

A Guide To All Your Social Media Options After A Breakup

The love may be gone, but the digital imprint your ex left on your life lingers on. Some take the “rip the Band-Aid?


In my opinion, it’s not worth keeping your ex around if you know you’re going to be stalking their every move, or if simply seeing their updates does weird things to your mental health.

Cut the cord, press mute, unfollow, unfriend, or whatever. Do what you’ve got to do just to stay sane and positive.

Image for postPhoto by Eutah Mizushima on Unsplash

7. Do not engage in arguments with your ex.

I know this is especially hard in certain scenarios. Hello, my worst breakup by far has been the one with my daughter’s dad.

But if I learned anything from that truly nasty time period, it’s that no argument was ever worth it.

My ex dumped me when I was pregnant with our daughter, just one week after he gave me a ring. He woke me up from a sound sleep and said, “I don’t think I want to do this anymore,” and then suggested I fly back to Minnesota.

It didn’t matter to him that I left my job and apartment and um, life to be with him in Tennessee. It didn’t matter that he gave me no indication of being unhappy at all.

Instead, he lied and cheated until he wanted me gone just as much as he’d once wanted me there with him in Tennessee, and he spent the next couple of weeks prowling MeetMe in the other bedroom.

While I was pregnant.

Meanwhile, I was devastated by the breakup. We actually fought regularly for more than two years until I finally disengaged. Since he’s my daughter’s dad, I still can’t completely ignore him, but I certainly do pay him little mind these days and it feels great.

I now refuse to waste time or energy arguing with him and it’s been that way for a couple more years. Our daughter is 5, I know my rights as a mother, and I remain respectful of his rights as a father.

But there’s no point in letting him get to me, and the freedom in that choice has been amazing.

Image for postPhoto by Amos Bar-Zeev on Unsplash

8. Forget about asking loved ones to choose sides.

It’s so tempting to do this anytime we have a really bad experience with another person. Imagine having a bully. Someone who seems intent upon bringing you harm. Some folks might argue that it makes sense to tell all of our your friends so they quit interacting with that person as well.

But I say don’t do it. Don’t do it with your bullies, and don’t do it with your breakups.

Relationships and their breakdowns are complicated. Most of us have a few friends who in any given situation will have our backs and we don’t even need to ask them to pick sides because they’re already on our side anyway.

But it gets morally murky when it comes to telling everyone else what happened and why they should be our friend rather than somebody else’s. We’re adults, right?

The breakup happened between you and your ex. Even if your ex behaved badly, it doesn’t mean they are all bad. Nor does it mean that they are doing others wrong.

It’s not up to you to police the interactions between your loved ones and your ex. Trying to do so can make you look petty. Let folks form their own opinions, and you just handle yourself in a way that makes you feel proud.

Image for postPhoto by Ernest Brillo on Unsplash

9. Talk it out with a professional.

If you’re having a hard time knowing how to handle yourself after your breakup, it’s probably time to see an actual therapist.

Sometimes we use our friends and family for free therapy sessions when we shouldn’t. As much as they love us and want the best for us, they also really want us to move on.

Most folks don’t want to hear about your ex the minute you sit down for lunch. And that’s not because they don’t care about you. They care, but it’s a lot. Frankly, breakups are hard on everyone, including the witnesses.

So, give yourself a chance to talk it all out with someone who will not only listen but help you walk through and past your pain.

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10. Consider pet therapy.

If you don’t already have a pet, but you’ve always wanted one, post-breakup may be a good time to seriously consider pet ownership.

Pet ownership is a serious responsibility, so keep in mind that adopting a pet is not a temporary thing to try. But don’t dismiss how helpful a pet can be when you’re recovering from romantic disappointment.

There are times when words are not enough. You need companionship, but having another human around may not always be practical. Pets can help give you a sense of affection and connection, even when you need to be alone at home.

Plus, the responsibility of having someone or something rely upon you is very therapeutic after the pain of a failed relationship.

Image for postPhoto by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

11. Take care of your health.

Breakups are among the most stressful events of any person’s life, and some breakups are inherently harder. It’s important to combat extreme stress with practical self-care tactics.

Give your body healthy fuel, plenty of rest, and adequate water and exercise. Keep in mind that stress makes you more susceptible to illness. A day of comfort food isn’t likely going to kill you, but avoid the urge to fill your feelings with ice cream, chips, or other junk food.

If you can look at this post-breakup time as an opportunity to invest in yourself and heal, you can come out even stronger in the long run.

Image for postPhoto by Levi Guzman on Unsplash

12. Listen to the right kind of music. Repeat.

If you’ve ever sat alone in your room replaying the same sad songs after a breakup, it turns out that you’re not alone. For some folks, angst-filled tunes are therapeutic and an important part of the grieving process.

But maybe you prefer power ballads to help get you through a heartbreak? Those work too. The reality is that there are benefits to using virtually any kind of music to help you get through your pain.

Is It Time To Stop Listening To Sad Breakup Songs?

Following a breakup, many people seethe with desire to listen to music that will help them process the new void in?


Music is a powerful form of expression and even when we listen to songs other people have created, those lyrics and melodies can help us figure out how to voice and eventually reframe our own experience in a healthy way.

So go ahead and put ?Heart of Stone? on repeat. And don?t be embarrassed if whatever was your song still elicits some deeply personal reaction. Our feelings and music are naturally entwined, and I?ve learned over the years that any song which haunts you right now after a breakup may one day return to your playlist sting-free.

I?m looking at you, ?Say Something (I?m Giving Up On You).?

Image for postPhoto by Stephan Seeber on Unsplash

13. Learn your lessons well.

There’s a saying that we’re all doomed to repeat our mistakes until we finally learn something from them. I don’t know about you, but there are some experiences I’d rather not repeat, so I’m trying to learn my lessons well.

If there were things that you could have done better in your relationship, come to terms with that now and make a plan to do better in your future connections. If there were red flags you ignored, work on whatever it is that you need to do to respond differently next time.

I once read that the best way to get over an ex is to work on yourself until you are no longer in the same place where you would even want to bring them back into your life.

There’s a sort of wisdom in that: when you focus on creating a life you love, your world no longer feels empty from a past partner.

None of us are doomed to repeat our past mistakes, at least not if we look at our post-breakup periods as a time to learn and grow.

Take heart, Tiger. You’ve got this.

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