At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how cool you are or how well you roll with life’s punches. A breakup is always hard, even when you know it’s the best thing for everyone involved. Decompressing takes time, and every guy has his own way of doing that.
Some methods are a lot healthier than others, though, so it’s important to know the difference. The choices you make right after a breakup can really affect how you feel about the whole thing moving forward. Here are some key things not to do.
1. Trying to “Be Friends” Right Away
On paper, this sounds like the healthy, mature thing to do when you’ve just broken up with someone who really mattered to you. But when the wounds are still fresh, all trying to force a friendship neither of you is ready for does is prolong the agony.
Eventually, when you’ve both properly moved on, you might be able to go there. But when you’ve only just broken up, it’s better to maintain your distance from one another – at least for a while.
2. Jumping Straight into a New Relationship
As with staying friends with your ex, rushing straight into another committed relationship with someone else might seem like the best way to fill the void. However, while the high of a new connection might feel good for a minute or two, jumping into something serious too soon can easily backfire.
A better approach if you just can’t deal with the loneliness is to just go the casual route for a while. It’s a great way to enjoy some companionship and intimacy without signing up for something too serious before you’re ready for it.
3. Rehashing What Went Wrong
When a breakup isn’t your idea, it’s only natural to want to understand where things went wrong and what you could have done differently. But it won’t solve anything and can easily turn into an emotional sinkhole if you aren’t careful.
Everyone has regrets when a relationship ends, but obsessing over them isn’t a healthy way to cope. If there’s something you know (or strongly suspect) you did that contributed to the situation – like cheating or lying – some reflection is definitely called for. But you can’t change the past, so it’s better to apply what you come up with to the future instead.
4. Stalking Your Ex’s Social Media
As tempting as it might be to lurk on your ex’s Facebook page or Instagram feed to keep up with how they’re handling your breakup, that’s not going to help either of you. To begin with, you can’t get over someone if you’re constantly thinking about them and obsessing over what they’re doing.
Also, it’s important to keep in mind that everyone curates their social media feeds, so they’re really more like highlight reels than anything else. A social media feed that makes it look like your ex is living the life without you may not accurately represent how they really feel.
5. Bottling Up Your Emotions
Although it’s generally a good idea to try to keep yourself from wallowing in sadness and other negative emotions, you don’t want to ignore what you’re feeling completely. Processing difficult emotions is an important part of healing after something as stressful as a breakup, but many men are socialized not to do this.
How you process what you’re feeling is up to you, but finding an outlet that works for you will help you get over things faster. Talking to friends (or a therapist) and journaling things out are great examples to try.
6. Talking Trash About Your Ex
If you’re angry at your ex for the way things ended (or the fact that they ended at all), that’s understandable. But don’t deal with this by badmouthing your ex-partner online or to other people you know as a way to save face or convince mutual acquaintances they were the bad one. It’s not healthy, nor is it a good look on anyone.
You should also avoid contacting your ex to tell them off. Making sure you get the last word on the matter of your breakup might feel good in the moment, but it could have consequences you might live to regret – especially if you ever do patch things up with your ex or decide to be friends.
Ultimately, breakups are awful and traumatic, no matter who you are or what the circumstances. But even the worst breakups eventually get easier to deal with. So focus on your friends and loved ones to help fill the void. Do what you can to work through what you’re feeling.
And don’t forget to try to have a good time when the opportunity presents itself. Eventually, you’ll be glad you did.