Love, Lindsay

'What Are Some Healthy Ways To Move On From A Breakup?'

All your relationship questions answered — right here, right now.

Dear Love, Lindsay,

My ex and I mutually decided to end things seven months ago because we didn't want to be in an LDR [long-distance relationship] anymore. We had been together for about five years. I feel like the breakup is as fresh as ever, and I cannot get him off my mind. He seems to be handling everything just fine, however, and has even started seeing someone else exclusively.  Most days, I experience feelings of jealousy. abandonment, and betrayal that he's not feeling what I'm feeling. How long does it normally take to get over someone, and what are some healthy ways I can help myself move on?

- Kiera 

Dear Kiera,

No matter how alone you may feel right now, I want you to know that you're not. So many people understand what you're going through because they've experienced it themselves. It's important to remember that others have not only survived a breakup, but have turned it into a growing experience. If they can do it, so can you. 

Of course, that's a lot easier said than done — because whoever said 'breaking up is hard to do' was painfully accurate. No matter how mutual, amicable, or even inevitable the breakup, it can still be hurtful and even traumatic. So it's no surprise that figuring out how to move on from a breakup is so difficult. But you know what it's not? Impossible. You can do it, and I (plus two experts) can help with some healthy ways to get over a breakup

1. Cut off contact.

At least for the first 30 days of the breakup. Breakup expert Kate Galt recommends this minimum timeframe to give yourself some time to assess and process your feelings about the breakup with a clear head. "Of course, the reason that works is out of sight, a little more out of mind," she tells A Plus. "The heart is very busy trying to figure out how to feel now because there's a void there and so ... just let the heart relax a little bit." 

That includes giving yourself a break from seeing your ex's social media. There's no shame in (temporarily) blocking them to protect yourself from seeing something that will make you feel like you're not moving on as easily as he is. By cutting off contact with an ex, you're doing what's best for you, even if it might not seem like it at first. Stay strong — and silent— so you can begin to see what everyday life is like without your ex. Eventually, you'll not only get used to the lack of communication, but you might even realize that you enjoy it. 

2. Refocus on yourself.

Now is primetime to make you your top priority. Because you've spent so much time making your personal schedule fit into a relationship, "The Breakup Coach" Natalia Juarez recommends shifting your mindset to focus on yourself. "So what if your ex is dating someone else? It's not about him anymore!" she explains to A Plus. "Once you start working on yourself, your negative feelings will begin to disappear."

Do your best not to dwell on the past so you can look forward to all the positive possibilities singlehood opens up for you — and only you. Maybe there's a hobby you've always wanted to try or a passion project you've been putting off, or a solo trip you want to plan. Think of all the things you love to do by yourself or with yourself, and then get out and do them.

3. Write down the reasons you broke up.

When we're dealing with the fresh pain of a breakup, it's easy to look back on the relationship with rose-colored glasses, especially when you're feeling lonely. This can slow down the healing process, even if you're challenging yourself to meet new people. None of them will measure up to the idealized memory of your ex, which is why it's important to remind yourself why you broke up — and why it's a good thing. 

Juarez suggests, "Write down the top 3-5 reasons this breakup is for the best, and read it as often as you need." One of the most difficult parts of processing a breakup is trying to understand why it happened. Just putting words down on paper will give you something tangible and logical to help make this emotional process a little bit easier.

4. Lean into healthy habits.

You asked for healthy ways to move on from a breakup, so of course, that includes taking care of your physical and mental health. Think of your breakup as an opportunity for self-reflection and self-reflection. No, that does not mean you need to go get your "revenge body." It simply means taking the healthy habits you already have and kicking them up just a notch. 

"Commit to healthy living, including regular exercise, eating well, and resting sufficiently," Juarez advises. Besides your physical health, take care of your mental health by trying some mindful practices like yoga, meditation, or journaling to create a positive mind-body connection. You'll not only start to feel more like your old self, but you'll become the best version of yourself.  

5. Take your time.

You asked how long it "normally" takes to get over a breakup, and my answer is: there isn't one. While many people are told it's supposed to take half the length of the relationship to move on, it's not that simple. So don't worry about trying to "be over" a breakup by a certain date. 

To that end, don't try to compare your breakup journey to someone else's — and that includes your ex. People rarely fall in love at the exact same time, so it makes sense that it'd take them different amounts of time to fall out of love. There's no need to rush the healing process. As long as you feel like you're making progress every day, you can take as long as you need. "This is your time, embrace it," Juarez concludes, and I couldn't agree more. They say, "Time heals all wounds," but that's not always true. It's what you do in that time that will heal your broken heart. 

Love, Lindsay 

Cover image via  g-stockstudio I Shutterstock

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