Recovering from a broken heart is no easy feat. Whether you knew the end was near or didn’t see it coming, the pain of splitting up is real and intense. Heartbreak can actually impact you physically, as severe stress can negatively affect your sleep, digestion and immunity.
Eventually, you’ll start to hear from friends and family that it’s time to “move on” from your past relationship. But that’s easier said than done. To that end, we’ve compiled 16 helpful reads for anyone struggling with heartbreak.
No. 1. Listen to sad music. There’s a reason Adele is so magnetic after heartbreak. Research shows your brain is drawn to sad music. A 2014 study found that listening to sad music can prompt positive emotions like peacefulness in the listener, which could explain why you’re drawn to it after a breakup. Go on, press play.
Resilient people don’t allow themselves to mentally replay details of the breakup over and over again and they certainly don’t waste time Facebook stalking their ex. They recognize there’s a need for closure and try to get on with their lives.
It’s inevitable: At some point after divorce, a well-meaning friend or family member will suggest that it’s time to “just move on” from the split. The advice is meant to be constructive but it’s totally unhelpful; getting over the end of a marriage is easier said than done.
With that in mind, we reached out to divorce coaches and therapists to share small pointers on getting through the hardest, most emotional days post-break-up.
“After my divorce, I decided to make a ‘happy list.’ I had such a hard time focusing on things that made me happy at the time so it was important to remember that there were things in my life that brought me joy. Some of those things were important, like my son and my family, but some weren’t, like chicken wings and opening my windows during a thunderstorm. I had to dig deep, but it was amazing to see the improvement that came into my life when I recognized that not everything was a negative just because my marriage didn’t work.” - Chelsie Dort
“Set a timer: devote a solid 15 minutes a day to experiencing that rainbow of sadness, anger, grief and pity. Feel it all and then make a concerted effort to proceed with your day. Over time, the minutes you devote to mourning the relationship will dwindle and you’ll slowly begin to move on.” — Nicole Lavery
“Don’t let the person who didn’t love you keep you from the one who will.”
In an ideal world, getting over a breakup would be a much swifter process. (And the stage spent crying alone to Adele songs and hiding your red, puffy eyes at work the next day would be entirely optional.)
“I learned that I was 50 percent responsible for the breakdown of the relationship and that I needed to first take full and unconditional responsibility for my 50 percent before I could move on. You need to do the necessary personal work before you can manifest your best self and be an equal to the person you’re meant to share a committed, healthy, fulfilling relationship with.”
Don’t get too hung up on the theory that it takes half the length of the relationship’s duration to process a breakup. You’ll feel more empowered once you accept that you’re in charge of moving on, not a calendar, divorce coach Emma Heptonstall said.
“Being single is often portrayed negatively but if you haven’t found your significant other yet, why should it stop you from having the best time and being totally awesome?”
No one walks away from a breakup completely blameless. If you’re still cataloguing the mistakes your ex made and haven’t begun to consider your own missteps, you’ve still got some work to do.
“Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore.” ― Cheryl Strayed
“The step from lover to friend is an eternally humiliating demotion,” one British philosopher explains. “Every sighting of the ex is guaranteed to reignite hope, and then, further insult. One isn’t acquiring a friend, more an unwitting torturer.”
“It was a good reminder to keep myself on the high road but stand my ground when it was necessary.” - Jennifer Iacovelli
No. 9. Forgive your ex for your own good. “You have to learn to forgive them, and yourself. It’s easy to hate the exes, but hating them will only lead to hating yourself for failing to see the signs, for slipping, and for letting yourself be so wounded. Life is too short to hate anyone who’s no longer in our lives.”