One moment you’re with someone you trust, and then, just like that, they’re gone.
You’re heartbroken, even if the relationship was awful. And feeling lost, lonely, and in pain.
Maybe you’re also in denial, hoping they’ll change their mind. But usually there’s no going back.
Perhaps you’re angry. Or promising yourself you’ll change and everything will be OK. Probably you’re feeling depressed. But you will recover.
How long that will take depends on your past, how long you’ve been together, and how things ended. But it could take months.
Even years. So don’t expect to be back on track in a few days. Accept that you will feel miserable for a while.
And don’t be tempted to numb all your feelings with rebound sex, drink or drugs.
Instead, acknowledge what you’re feeling. Talk to your friends and family. Tell someone at work.
Stick to a daily routine but also start to develop some new habits to re-establish yourself as an individual.
Missing someone is triggered, like a craving, so getting rid of potential prompts will help you avoid feeling unhappy.
So make your home feel different from when your ex was around. Move the furniture. Buy a different soap.
Avoid their music. Pack photos away. Unfriend them on Facebook. Unfollow them on Twitter. Don’t send drunken e-mails.
Or text even though firing angry messages feels so good. Make new friends who don’t know your ex.
Learn a new skill. Imagine building a new life with someone new. Exercise and listen to your favourite tunes. Both will improve your mood.
TIME TO FORGIVE
Avoid places you used to go together. And simply be courteous if you do bump into one another.
Say ‘Hi’ as if they were an ordinary acquaintance, have a short impersonal chat, and say goodbye.
Deciding to feel some empathy towards your ex — and when you’re ready, forgiving them — will also help you move on.
Because if you don’t, you’ll never stop obsessing over them. Becoming more and more bitter.
But how can you forgive an ex? Start by putting yourself in their shoes. Try to understand why they did what they did.
Maybe it’s not possible to find a definite answer, but at least try to come up with some theories.
Figure out what went wrong without worrying over whose fault it was. Focus on the things you should change in your next relationship. See a professional if that’s difficult or if your grief is ruining your life.
PLENTY OF FISH IN THE SEA
Everyone’s different, but most people feel ready to start dating again after a few months.
So don’t think that your ex is the only person you could ever love. There are plenty of people out there who can make you happy.
And don’t be afraid to love again. Of course there’s a risk they’ll hurt you. But the risk is worth it.
Give yourself time to heal, at your own pace, and then give your heart to the right person. And life will be normal again.