Breakups are hard. You feel heartbroken with no future in sight. But if you are the one who has caused the breakup, the guilt is almost crushing. In this article, we have segregated 11 steps that take you forward on the path to healing and alleviating the guilt.
Relationships are complex, and breakups are more so. While you are living your life with your partner, you may realize that the direction your relationship is taking you in is not the one that you want. One can easily get advice on how to get over a breakup online or through friends and family, but what to do when you are the reason behind the breakup?
Relationships and breakups, like everything else, are very situation-centric. What, why, where, who, when, and how are the questions that decide how the parties involved will come out. You might emerge happy and triumphant out of a bad relationship, or you can be crushed on losing a good one.
Everyone has their reasons for doing things. But even if you are the one who has decided to end the relationship does not mean that you are coming out unscathed. The recovery can be hard for you. Also, getting back to establishing your identity as a single can be one of the hardest things you would do.
You could have broken up because you are changing cities for your career or studies. You could have broken up because you cheated or were cheated on. You could have broken up because you just do not want a relationship at the time. But in any case, it can be hard for you to let go of your partner. Reality is complex, but with simple determined steps, any problem can be solved.
1. Learn to Enjoy Your Own Company:
Our generation is not comfortable with the idea of being alone. It is scary even for some of us. But no matter how difficult it is, do not jump into another relationship immediately after breaking up. You need to be comfortable to live your life alone and re-evaluate your decisions and goals. Once you are out of a relationship, you have more time to spend on grooming yourself. Getting into another relationship immediately would only suppress your personality further until you realize that you are in a rebound relationship and have wasted more time.
It is okay to want companionship to help you cope up with the loss, but the boundaries should be set. If you are unable to give yourself time to introspect, things will start turning sour and it is not good for your mental health. Start with spending time with yourself. Go to a park, read a book, plan a solo trip to gain new experiences. The idea is to expose yourself to the world around you and realize the endless possibilities that are there for your life.
2. Practice Mindfulness:
Your social life gets impacted after a breakup. There are questions in everybody’s eyes. People judge you for your slightest actions. And if people get to know that you are the one who initiated the breakup, you will need to handle a barrage of questions and awkward conversations.
The rumor mill is fed by such breakup stories that people often love to gossip about. Needless to say, your every social media post, every comment to a friend about your ex, everything will be added to exaggerate the tale of deception, deceit, and heartbreak. If you are thinking that I am going overboard, you would be surprised to hear such gossip.
Post-breakup, you need to practice mindfulness at all times. From the thoughts that are going through your mind to the things you are revealing about your relationship with others, everything should be carefully thought through. It happens sometimes that the passions are high, and you end up paying too much in front of the wrong person.
Learn to handle imposing questions with a bit of agility and elegance. Refrain from posting relationship-related stuff on social media and stay from people you know to be gossip mongers.
3. Take Responsibility:
This is one of the most difficult things that you would ever do in your life. But to move on, taking responsibility for your actions is a must. By only telling yourself the truth and accepting it can you move forward with life. How people perceive you after a breakup depends on a lot of things. From what position you were into how you got out; everything will be scrutinized.
People often have shared friends with their partners and know each other’s parents and acquaintances. And each person has their views on your life, relationship, happiness, and breakup. Be brave and take responsibility for your actions. No matter how right your decision is, it has affected lives. The least you can do is take responsibility, apologize, handle the consequences, and move on.
This does not mean that you have to lower yourself down to anyone. It is more about accepting your mistakes yourself and letting people know that you are considerate of their emotions.
4. Keep Distance from Your Ex:
It often happens that we realize our mistake a bit too late. If you are thinking that what you did was just a mistake and can be sorted out easily by talking to your ex, you need to stop. You have done something to provoke them. You have broken their trust and left them for whatever reasons you had. And now they are somehow trying to get on with their lives and move on.
Contacting your ex because you are “missing them” and “realize your fault” and trying to mend things is foolish. Do not pester them with apology texts, drunk calls, and inappropriate gifts. Stalk them, neither on social media nor in real life. Let them be and introspect why is it that you want to go back together now.
If you think that your reasons are valid, discuss them with a responsible person. If and only if you are sure of your feelings can you go and discuss with your ex. But if they decline your request, do not pester them. You made a mistake, and you have no choice but to let things go and move on.
5. Plan a Trip:
The most profound experiences are encountered during travels. Not only does it give you a change in scenery, but it also resets and refreshes your mind. After my first breakup, I took a week-long solo trip to another city so that I could start feeling something again; I had grown numb. Travels make you meet new people, visit new places, and learn new things.
And while your brain is gaining and absorbing new experiences, it is giving rise to new and happy memories. Travels also help you broaden your horizons by showing the various shades of life that exist just a few hundred miles apart. You can also choose to travel with an NGO and help people in need and express gratitude towards others.
Travel takes you away from things that are keeping you low and helps positive energy flow through you. New experiences in life will help you come out of old miserable memories. Be it a stag holiday with your friends, a solo trip to the mountains, or a journey towards self-discovery in an ashram, keep yourself open and free.
6. Share Your Thoughts:
People often close themselves up and confine their thoughts to themselves after causing a breakup. This is mainly due to negative emotions like guilt, fear, and embarrassment. People often keep replaying the events in their minds and overthink the situation. But you have to realize that whatever happened is now in the past. The more you keep it to yourself, the more it is going to hurt you.
Share what you are going through with your friends or someone who is close to you and will understand. Validation is not a bad thing when you are down. If you are too afraid of what your friend will think about you, you can always go to a professional for a consultation. A therapist or counselor might be the best person to reach out to. Not only can you share your thoughts freely, but you are also sure to get some sound advice.
7. Make Your Life Your Priority:
You will not realize it soon enough. But this is the time that can help you shine. Post-breakup there are a lot of things that you stop doing. Be it hanging out with ex and their friends to indulging in social activities. Now that you have a lot of time on your hands, it is the perfect opportunity to start working on your short-term and long-term goals.
There are many things that you have always wanted to do but could not. Well, now is the time. Pick out some interesting activities and projects for yourself and throw yourself head-first into them. Learn a musical instrument, train for a marathon, or take up new classes. Take part in constructive activities that can help you grow in both personal and professional life.
When you are focused on your goals and want to be your best, things start moving in the direction of your will. Take small steps, set realistic goals, and keep moving forward, slowly but surely.
8. Let it Go:
It is not as simple as it sounds. Letting go is one of the most difficult things a person does in their entire life. There is a good chance that you are feeling extremely guilty as you are the one who caused the breakup. But obsessing over it is also not going to take you anywhere. What has happened cannot be changed. What can be changed is how you move forward.
If you are obsessing and overthinking the breakup and the related events, you are in dire need to change your mindset. Grief and guilt have overtaken your mind and it is now playing tricks and showing you as the worst person alive. But, my friend, you are alright. And you are going to get through this. There are millions of couples that go through a breakup every day. Getting stuck on something you can’t change will only hinder your growth as a person.
9. Stop Using Social Media:
Using social media is not a good idea after you have caused a breakup. The thing is social media is a place of happy lies and intruding people. You will be continuously pestered by people who would want to know what happened. Simple questions that you do not know answers to will make you grow crazy. Also, you will feel worse when you see posts from other couples and cutesy videos on social media.
Cutting off social media will keep you out of unnecessary drama and help you focus on moving forward with your life. Give yourself room for positive thoughts, read a few books, and live your life in real.
Believe it or not, the workout is the best answer to heartbreak. You get to vent out all your negative emotions like anger, grief, guilt, fear, and embarrassment. Gym converts mental pain into physical gains. A better physical appearance not only boosts confidence but also improves your overall health and stamina.
You can take your pick on the choice of workout as per your preference. I prefer yoga and morning jogs over gyms and high-intensity workouts to get my thoughts and emotions in balance. Try different workout regimes, figure out what works best for you, set small goals, and work towards achieving them.
11. What’s Next?
Ask yourself this question again and again till you find an answer for yourself. Breakup puts an end to all the previous goals and plans that you made. Now that you are no longer with your partner, you need new goals to keep you moving in life. Set short-term goals according to how you are feeling and slowly shift your focus towards long-term goals. There is no need to rush, but be vigilant, thoughtful, and prepared to persevere through difficulties.