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Ten Things You Should Never Do After a Break-up

Because there are an endless list of things you should do after a break-up, so make sure these aren't on your post-breakup list.

Break-ups are painful, whether you were the one to break things off, or the one who was left. You go through different phases of stress, withdrawal from your regular daily activities and the people in your life, and you probably cry a lot; that's OK. It is a moment for emotions and life changes to run high, and a time for you to ask yourself all the questions: what went wrong? Did I do something? Were we really not meant to be? 

Yes, break-ups are painful, but there can be a light at the end of the tunnel if you truly want there to be. Whatever it is you are feeling is normal, and you're going to want to do a lot of things you are bound to regret. Thankfully for you, you're reading this right now and I'm here to help prevent you from making that one mistake down the road you'll wish you hadn't done. It won't be easy, but here are a few tips on how to overcome the sadness you're feeling and help push you into this new chapter of your life.

1. Do not keep reminders that will trigger your memory.

If you can stomach it, get rid of everything. The sooner you can let go of the memories from the various aspects of your life, the faster you will be able to get back on your feet. Stuffed animals, gifts, jewelry, letters, articles of clothing: if having it around makes you want to break down and spoon through a bucket of Ben and Jerry's, then set it free. It might be hard to picture now, but years down the road when you think back to this moment you will realize that all the best memories of the two of you are within yourself, and that material things are superficial in comparison to your own well being. In the end, possessions will only bring you more pain than joy.

2. Avoid stalking them on social media (and in real life!).

This might seem pretty self-explanatory, but with the accessibility of social media in our day and age, it can be very easy to get curious about what they have been up to since you've stopped spending time together. Maybe you find a recent photo of them spending time with their family during the holidays, or laughing with friends at a new restaurant. The best case scenario here is to utilize the unfriend and/or block buttons to ensure you put the focus back onto yourself instead of on them. The only thing those images will do is prolong your pain, and that is the last thing you're going to want to do at this stage. Watching as they rebuild their lives tends to say more about you than it does about them. The less you know about what is going on in their lives, the easier it will be for you to get back to yours.

3. Do not immediately try to stay friends.

In the beginning, it is always best to give each other space in order to move past the split genuinely. While some couples are able to reconnect in a platonic way after a break up, this is always better done when both individuals are in a healthier place in their lives. The time frame could range from soon to never, but only the two of you know if this is inherently possible or not. If your relationship was generally kind and you grew apart or just weren't such a great match after all, perhaps a friendship could work over time. But if you brought out the worst qualities in one another, then a clean break might be a better option. (Read more about whether or not I think exes can be friends again here.)

4. Avoid reconnecting with an ex.

After a break-up, you'll most likely want to lean on something familiar, and an ex you might still chat with every so often will probably seem like the best way to unwind from the stress. But with emotions still running high from your most recent break-up, an ex is never a good idea, even if you may insist that you are 'just friends' as you're only sabotaging your own recovery. Words are only words, and if your ex still has feelings for you, there is always a chance that you might be communicating something to your ex that you aren't completely certain about yourself. If you are able to—delete their number. And for all those nights where you're out with friends, there are plenty of apps that have been created for the sole purpose of making it difficult for you to access certain contacts on your phone, especially if you've had a few to drink.

5. Do not go out every night or stay in every night.

Going out to the bar every night just to null your pain for a few hours can very quickly lead to that one drunk dial you've been avoiding this whole time, and that could be a very disastrous move for you. And despite this suggestion, it doesn't mean you shouldn't go out and spend some quality time with friends, or even open yourself up to new possibilities. Monitor yourself, and remember to balance your time between meeting new people, sharing your time with friends, and taking good care of yourself as much as possible, because no one needs you more than you do right now.

6. Avoid pitying yourself.

Having a pity part for yourself is absolutely OK. Hide under your covers and cry it out. Curl up onto the lap of your best friend and pout about it for a while. Let them tell you how much they love you and that you're so deserving of someone who loves you. Allow yourself some time to let everything out so that your emotions get a chance to say their piece. But once you know that your mourning period is over, get up and dust yourself off. Go for a walk or a run and spend some time to reflect and appreciate all the great times you had so that you can think through everything that didn't work and add them to your 'lessons learned' list.

7. Avoid trash talking your ex to your friends.

This one seems to come naturally to most of us, and sometimes we often forget that our ex is still friends with some of our friends too and vice versa. Pushing out good memories and thinking up feelings and frustrating moments in your relationship won't help you get over your break-up any faster. This sort of loathing can only set you back in the healing process—and it definitely won't make you appear open to new love down the road. Work out the kinks on your own, or find a way to re-channel any anger or 'trash talk' by consulting a professional or someone who is not emotionally involved in your relationships.

8. Avoid snagging the next eligible bachelor/bachelorette to hit on you.

When you become used to being in a relationship, it can be hard to focus on you—your priorities and happiness, as you're used to thinking for two. While it might be a good sign that you're already putting yourself out there and getting to know some new folks, it is also important to give yourself the space to heal, and to remember where you want to go with your next relationship before jumping into another one. Try not to let the distraction of finding someone new prevent you from reconnecting with yourself as an individual first.

9. Do not try to get them back.

You broke up for a reason, whatever that reason may be, and begging for them to come back to you won't do you any good, except for make you look bad. Consider that reason that you broke up about, and figure out how to best avoid that in the future. Maybe down the road you might be able to talk things through and try again, but this is best done when both of you are in the right space and have given each other some time to sort through your feelings. But until you know for sure what you're truly looking for, stay away from them as much as possible.

10. Avoid not taking something away from this experience.

Every relationship, good and bad, has a learning experience attached. You learn a little bit about them as a person, and best of all, you figure out what you like, don't like, can learn from and should fix for next time. Taking the right steps to get to this stage can be a bit challenging, but over time these lessons will give you the foundation that you need to find the right person for you.
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