When you are going through a break up, the prospect of getting on with your life seems completely impossible.
You are alone, in pain, missing your person and you have no hope that you will ever be happy again. Your life is horrible and you aren’t sure how you are going to get through it.
I can promise you that you will get through it. Broken hearts don’t last forever and there are some things that you can do to hasten their mending.
An important piece of getting over your broken heart quicker is to set expectations for yourself when you are going through a break up, expectations that will allow you to be strong in the face of everything that is happening and have hope for the future.
Let me share some excellent expectations that you can set so that you can get well and move one.
#1- You will not reach out.
What I tell my clients who are going through a break up is that the number one most important part of surviving a break up and getting past it is to go ‘no contact.’
Many of us seek to be friends with our ex or stalk them on social media or ask their friends how they are – generally just going about our lives as if our ex was still a part of it.
And this never works.
A client of mine, whose boyfriend broke up with her after 8 years, was obsessed with following his Instagram and Facebook feeds. She saw him looking happy, going on with his life and getting a new girlfriend. The hurt that she felt looking at his life was so much that it stopped her from moving on. She stayed obsessed with him and the pain wouldn’t fade.
What I reminded her was that social media didn’t necessarily present the truth of someone’s life and that the information that she saw wasn’t necessarily real. If she could let go of her obsession and not need to know everything about his life, she would be able to move on.
Unfortunately, he started calling her and she started talking to him. They never got back together but they talked with each other regularly, stoking her hopes that they could reunite. A year later, she was still attached to him and in pain.
So, if there is one thing that you take away from this article it’s the importance of not being in contact with your ex – it will only extend the hurt and prevent you from moving on.
#2 – You will not seek closure.
If there is one thing that I don’t believe in it is closure.
I believe that closure is just one more excuse to see your partner again and to try to convince them not to break up with you. When people seek closure it rarely works out the way they want it to and, if it does, the relationship usually ends again somewhere down the line.
If your partner breaks up with you, accept it and move on. They may or may not have told you reasons that satisfy your need to understand why but the reality is is that they no longer want to be with you, for whatever reason.
So, don’t seek closure. Go no contact on day one and you will heal quicker that way.
#3 -You will not play the victim.
For many years, after my ex-husband and I divorced, I played the victim.
I told people that he left me for another person, that he walked away from me and destroyed our family. Woe is me. I was the good guy and he was the bad guy. Please pity me.
The truth of the matter is is that our marriage had not be healthy for a long time. I was unhappy but not yet ready to give up on it. He decided to give up on it first and I was devastated – devastated at being abandoned and at the prospect of my kids being the children of divorce like I was.
What helped me most was when I stopped looking at myself as the one who had been abandoned and started looking at myself as the person who was lucky to get out of a marriage that was making me unhappy. I had been given an opportunity to have a new life and I started relishing it.
By not playing the victim I was able to view myself as a strong woman, one who could live a good and successful life, in spite of the cards that I had been dealt, marriage wise.
#4 – You will take care of yourself.
For many of us, when we go through a break up, we curl up in our beds, eat ice cream and binge watch 1980’s romance movies. And, while this can work for a while because it comforts us, in the long run it will only make the pain of going through a break up worse.
Just yesterday, I was talking to a new client going through a break up and she said that she was going to take the rest of the week off of work because she was sad. I suggested to her that she shouldn’t take those days off. Being at work, which she loved, would keep her busy and with people she cared about, it would give her an opportunity to not reach out to her ex because she would be occupied and it would make her feel good about herself because she wasn’t walking away from her job during this busy time. She loved that idea and off to work she went today, feeling pretty good about yourself.
So, when you are going through a break up, I encourage you to spend a few days wallowing in your pain but then get up and start taking care of yourself. Exercise, eat well and get some sleep. Spend time with the family and friends who love you. Do something that you love to do but that you couldn’t do when you were part of a couple. Dig yourself into your work. Whatever you can do to make you feel better about your place in the world and not mired in sadness about the person who walked away.
#5 – You will keep the faith.
For many clients of mine who are going through a break up they believe that they will never love and be loved again. They feel so badly about themselves that they can’t see any person ever loving them and they can fathom that they could ever truly love someone the way they loved their ex.
I am here to tell you that this never happens. Without exception, every client of mine who has gone through a break up finds someone again. And, more often than not, the person they find is far better than the one who broke up with them. If you do your work after a break up, if you identify what happened and what your role was in it, then you will seek someone who is good for you, nicer to you and a better fit.
So, don’t give up on the fact that you will love and be loved again. Wallow for a bit and then start taking care of yourself. When you are healed, you will put energy out in the world that will attract you to the person you are meant to be with.
Setting expectations for yourself when going through a break up is the best way to get through the pain and out the other side intact.
Just lying on the coach wallowing in pain will get you nowhere. But if you make conscious decisions about how you are going to proceed with your life, decisions that you would make around work or exercise or goals, then you are way more likely to have success getting past your break up and moving on.
Go ‘no contact’ immediately, don’t seek closure, don’t play the victim, take care of yourself and don’t give up hope for the future.
A broken heart is one of the worst things that you can go through in your life but you, and only you, can heal it so set yourself some goals and expectations to do so and you will succeed.
You can do it!
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.