All types of relationships involve forming what mental health professionals call attachments. In romantic relationships, where the sense of intimacy is heightened, the process of building attachments can be particularly intense. For some people, romantic attachments seemingly happen overnight. For others, it takes years to reach a deep level of connectedness with their partner.
Strong attachments and deep connections involve not only our hearts, but our minds and bodies as well. Over time we grow accustomed to our partner’s presence in our lives. We begin to turn to them daily for love and support. The more time we spend with our partners, the more implanted they become.
Insight around the intensely personal nature of building a romantic attachment is key to understanding the process of moving on, should the relationship fall apart. Just as forming a strong connection with your partner requires time and effort, it takes time and effort to detach from a partner. In fact, the longer your partner was implanted in your routine, the longer it will take to move forward, no matter how “over it” you were the day it ended. Be patient with yourself after a break-up. Allow your heart, mind, and body time to adjust to their “new normal” and to create fresh routines, sans your ex.
With all of this in mind, I’m sharing a few do’s and don’ts that I hope prove helpful for anyone actively trying to move forward after a break-up.
Redirect some time and energy to the healthy relationships in your life. Share how you’re feeling with trusted friends and family so they can support you. Beyond encouragement, socializing in both small and large groups offers helpful distraction as you’re working to reorder your life post- breakup.
Lean into your hobbies. If it’s been a minute, reconnect with what you love to do. Embrace your newfound free time and use it to focus on a welcome return to the passions you cherish most. Play a sport, paint, exercise, or take up something entirely new. Now’s the time to focus on YOU.
Although break-ups can be deeply painful on an emotional level, do not isolate yourself. Allow the people who know and love you to provide support through this difficult time—you may be surprised by the coping strategies they share. Of course, some amount of solitude is beneficial, but full-on isolation is a definite don’t. Your trusted community of friends and family want to be there for you; let them be.
Limit your social media intake! Constant reminders of your ex and the urge to compare what you’re going through with others who are “living their best lives” on Instagram will degrade your emotional wellness and your mental state. I promise you’re not missing anything. Disconnect and focus your newfound free time and energy on the relationships, interests, hobbies, and passions that bring you joy.
Do you have any tips for moving on after a break-up? Drop them in the comments below!