What To Do After A Breakup: 33 Dos And Don’ts

These tips will help you navigate the healing process, move on, and regain control of your life.

Reviewed by Joseph Moore, Certified Relationship And Life Coach Joseph Moore Joseph MooreCertified Relationship And Life Coach
Written by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MA (English) Subhrojyoti Mukherjee MA (English) Experience: 4 years
Fact-checked by , MA Sangita Goel MA linkedin_icon

Breaking up with someone you love is not easy. Coping with the void they leave behind is tough. Wondering what to do after a breakup to mourn the loss and move on? Well, as they say, grief has five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The first few months could be devastating. Losing an important person in your life can make you feel clueless and angry. It almost feels like grieving the death of a loved one.

The recovery from a breakup is never linear. It does not matter if the breakup was one-sided or mutual – it is always painful. But, life goes on. Taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do right now to come back stronger.

No matter how bad the breakup is, with the right approach, you can become happier and end up in a better place. This post lists 33 steps to take to cope with a recent breakup. Check them out below!

What To Do After A Breakup – The Dos

Exploring new hobbies, socializing, and engaging in self-reflection can help with healing and personal growth after a breakup. Practicing forgiveness and being open to starting over can lead to the possibility of a stronger, more fulfilling relationship in the future. Here are some things to do to after a breakup:

1. Try Keeping Yourself Busy

Try keeping yourself busy after a breakup
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You are going to be tempted to contact your ex. Make sure you minimize that temptation by trying to focus on yourself. You need to keep yourself busy for the first few weeks. It will get better with time. Get your dose of feel-good chemicals by spending time with friends and family and focusing on self-care. Increase your endorphins by exercising.

2. Reach Out For Support

You are going to miss your ex. But instead of reaching out to them, reach out to family and friends. You may also visit your therapist. Get an accountability partner, because discipline is not going to come easy during this stage of recovery.

3. Go For A Digital Detox

Stop checking the social media accounts of your ex. More importantly, delete their presence from your mobile phone. If you are reluctant, remember that you can always befriend them later, when you have truly gotten over the heartbreak.
Delete photos, old messages, and unfollow all their accounts. Take a complete break from social media. Block their number if you have to so that you don’t obsess about them not contacting you.

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Pause (or deactivate) your social media accounts, reset your keyboard, uninstall apps, and turn off push notifications. Doing a digital detox will allow you to spend time with your loved ones and focus on your hobbies.

4. Redesign Your Physical Space

Changing your physical space can help you reset mentally. If you stay together, move out as soon as possible. Change your space as much as possible. This can be as little as changing your bedsheets and putting away that framed picture of the two of you.

The more you can lessen your exposure to your ex’s memories, the more you lessen your chances of a relapse. Move your furniture around and metaphorically make space for new experiences to come in.

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Fill your personal space with objects of personal significance to you, paint your corner, and add fresh flowers to fill your place with bright and positive energy.

5. Plan Something Fun Without Your Ex

Create new memories that don’t include your ex. This can help you move on faster. Book a self-love holiday so that you can have something to look forward to.

6. Reflect On The Relationship

Look back on the relationship and analyze after a breakup
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After the initial pain has passed, look back on the relationship and analyze it. A breakup is sometimes the shakeup required when you want to redirect your life.

Breakups are a good time to go inward and evaluate what lessons you can learn. These things happen so that you grow, evolve, and become more conscious. Pain is an amazing teacher. Use this pain to fuel your fire and create the life you want to live.

If you need assistance with this step, how about taking a course designed to experience healing and closure after a painful breakup? How To Heal From A Breakup is an online video class brought to you by mindbodygreen.com. The instructor, Sheryl Paul, is a relationship expert who can teach you methods to let go of an old relationship and move on. The course features a detailed look at ways to help you pick yourself back up after a breakup. You will learn how to explore the relationship objectively and make sense of the breakup. Check out the course here.

7. Cut All Contact

This is an absolute must after a breakup. Maintain distance and don’t text, call, email, or meet your ex. You may otherwise end up in a fight, causing further anxiety and hurt. Cutting all ties for good when the relationship is over puts you on a quicker path to healing.

Create an Emergency Contact List with all your BFFs’ numbers. When you feel like calling your ex and begging them to come back, call your friends and bitch (on a lighter note) about them. Select an activity that you can do instead of texting, calling, or stalking your ex.

8. Let Out Your Emotions

Cry, scream, sob your eyes out, and yell. As long as you don’t hurt yourself or somebody else, it is absolutely fine. Find ways to release the pain you may be feeling. All breakups are hard. Don’t take the healing process away from yourself. Otherwise, the resentment will grow within you.

You will feel some negative emotions initially. Honor your feelings and understand that they will get less intense with time. You can try listening to sad songs. This can actually make you feel better. Find a private place, let your tears run, and provide yourself some relief.

9. Accept That It Is Over

Coping with a breakup is tricky. You can reach acceptance way sooner by staying away from your ex. This method relies on time more than anything else. Try to analyze the situation objectively even if you don’t agree to the breakup. Don’t obsess over what you could have done differently. There are infinite could-haves and should-haves, and thinking about them will only cause you more pain. It really doesn’t matter anymore.

Your only mission now is to get to a place where you are not battling with yourself. Do this with love and compassion and don’t beat yourself up about anything. It may take some time for you to catch up with reality, but you have to accept that the relationship is over.

10. Find Yourself

Chances are that you lost a piece of yourself after the breakup. Now is the chance to find yourself again, and this can be a fun process. This is one of the positives points of your breakup, so embrace it wholeheartedly!

Try a new hobby you always wanted to do or try taking scented baths. You can eat chips and chocolate bars for dinner if you feel like. Just chill. There are a lot of things that made you YOU, and you just have to find them again.

Alternatively, you can try and discover new things about yourself. The journey to finding yourself is hard because most of us don’t even have the time to just sit down and think about what we actually want. It can be a long journey, but you can take your time. It will be worth it.

11. Explore

Hangout with your friends after a breakup
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When you are ready to have some fun again, get all your girlfriends together and go hang out. Go dancing, shopping, or on a roller coaster. Do something that makes you laugh, smile, and feel good from within. Be spontaneous and crazy. Enjoy life. Reconnect with some of your long-lost friends. Develop new habits or learn a new language!

12. Pay Attention To Your Thoughts

As you move forward in life, don’t deny or grasp on to the memories of your ex. They may pop up suddenly into your mind. Acknowledge them, smile, or shed some tears. Then, let the memory go.

Don’t look at pictures intentionally or at old texts you got from them. It is now just about you and your present. Your ex is a part of the human being you are today, and you can be grateful for that, but the chapter is closed. Let it go. Don’t try to escape your feelings – face them and declutter your soul.

13. Become Stronger

Ask yourself some hard questions. What kind of relationship do you want? Understanding what you are seeking before getting into a relationship is very important because this can protect you from experiencing another heartbreak. Meet new people when you feel you are ready. Make sure you take your time to get to know these people before starting a new relationship.

14. Live A Mindful Life

It is good to gradually develop a mindful life. This way, your mind will stay peaceful and calm, no matter what. Being mindful will help you understand what makes you happy. You can try adding 10 minutes of meditation to your daily routine to clear out all the unnecessary feelings and thoughts.

15. Give Yourself Time To Grieve

No matter why you broke up, your feelings are valid. Processing your feelings is a journey in itself. You lose a big part of your life when you break up with a loved one. The person was your friend, your lover, your confidante, and maybe your roommate.

They have probably been a daily presence in your life for a long time, which is why you need to grieve their loss almost like you would grieve the death of a loved one. It is absolutely okay to feel lonely one day, angry the next, in complete denial the day after, and back to feeling lonely again.

16. Delete Your Ex’s Number

Delete your ex number after a breakup
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Maybe you both decided to stay friends. Friendship may happen later, but now is not the time. Very few ex couples make a seamless transition into being friends immediately (and if you think you have, see what happens when you start dating someone new).

If the breakup was initiated by your boyfriend, delete his number from your phone so that you are not inclined to contact him anymore. It will help you avoid the embarrassing drunk-dialing or texting emojis.

Distance is hard, but crucial. Stop trying to drop by to get that one sweatshirt you “absolutely need.” It isn’t going to help with your healing process at all. The quicker you can adjust to living your life without your ex, the better it will be for you.

17. Schedule Plans

In the initial days after your breakup, you are likely to not feel so great, so try to distract yourself. Make plans with colleagues, friends, or family so you don’t get the time to wallow in sorrow. Go for a dinner date with your bestie. If you have been neglecting non-romantic relationships when you were in a relationship, be ready to apologize (and never do that again). You may also try forging new friendships.

Before you dash off to find new friends, remember to strictly stick to friends who make you feel good, instead of those who bring you down. Your heart is a wounded baby right now, and you need to pamper it!

18. Do Those Things You Loved Doing But They Didn’t

Remember how Chinese food used to be your favorite cuisine, but your ex was so against it? Order some noodles tonight, and enjoy the taste of freedom! When we meet someone special and start spending time with them, some of our favorite things get overlooked.

It is time you start practicing yoga, board gaming, bike riding, or whatever it was that used to make you happy – things you may have put on the shelf while you both were together.

19. Read A Good Book

Is there any better and a more affordable way to escape your reality than an absorbing book? Put one in your bag and head to a park or a coffee café. It will get you out of your house, and you never know who you will end up meeting.

20. Keep Yourself Moving With A New Workout

Exercise can help your body get a dose of mood-uplifting endorphins and serotonin. If you have never worked out before, it is okay. Make sure you start now. Because it is quite difficult to sob through an entire Zumba class.

21. Travel

Explore new places after a breakup
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Get a new experience by exploring a new place. It doesn’t need to be a lavish solo trip either. Simply start by going to a new park or go hiking.

22. Rethink Your Definition Of Closure

There is such a thing as closure. However, too many DMs, calls, and “last talks” only reopen a wound. True closure can only be achieved with time. After a while, you achieve enough time and emotional distance to look back and analyze why it didn’t work.

23. When You Are Ready To Do So, Forgive

Forgive yourself for the mistakes you have made while in the relationship, and forgive your ex. We don’t forgive for someone else’s advantage; we forgive for our own benefit. Letting go of the hate and bitterness will help you find that peace with an ex eventually. It will also help you move forward.

24. Avoid Common Places

Do you two go to the same mall? Do you have a favorite lunch spot that you both used to hit up together? Even if you avoid running into your ex at your favorite bar, the chances of getting emotionally affected by these known sights and sounds are very high. Cross off these go-to places and try mixing up your daily routine. Avoid the obvious heartache-inducing places. This will help you sidestep the unnecessary brooding and depression.

25. Accept That It Is Not Your Fault

Remember this – you are not responsible for the thoughts or behaviors of anyone else. Convincing yourself that you can “win” them back will just elongate your mourning period. It will also make moving on way harder. Reflect on how you can take steps forward, not backward.

26. Accept Your Emotions – The Sad, Bad, And Blank Ones

Grant yourself permission to feel wonderful, terrible, indifferent, and everything in between. You need the self-love to grieve and heal. Also, don’t just throw yourself in the arms of other people to make them jealous. That would be quite childish. You deserve better.

27. Begin A New, Different Kind Of Relationship

Begin a new and different kind of relationship after a breakup
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When you are swept in a romantic relationship, it can be hard to remember that relationships do come in all shapes and sizes. They aren’t always just about making out and holding hands. Forge a new type of relationship with a dog, a plant, or even a book – anything that fills up your heart with joy.

28. Go To Therapy

Talking to a trained professional may expedite your healing process and help you accept the tough emotions. Also, signing up for therapy does not mean committing to it for a lifetime. Sometimes, you just need a couple of appointments to get the necessary coping tools. Being open to receiving therapy can have a great impact on your healing process.

What To Do After A Breakup – The Don’ts

29. Don’t Have Breakup Sex

You are going to crave breakup sex, but don’t do it. While it is only natural to seek the comfort, if you do have it, you are only recreating an emotional bond whether you want it or not. If you are trying to get over someone, do not get on top of them! Sex with an ex will not let you get over them. It will instead keep you further attached.

30. Don’t Stalk Their Social Media

Although it is tempting to Insta-stalk your ex, resist that temptation. Before you check their Insta, stop and ask yourself, “Am I being kind to myself?” Yes girl, you know the answer to that!

Replace that urge with a positive action that makes you focus on yourself. This may mean going for a jog or writing a letter of gratitude to someone. The first few times you try to do this, you will find it extremely challenging, but the more you practice self-control, the easier it becomes.

31. Don’t Rush Into A Rebound Relationship

Don’t get into another relationship too quickly trying to make yourself feel better. In the long run, if you haven’t really gotten over your ex, you will always find yourself secretly comparing your current partner and your ex. Also, you will just prolong the inevitable pain.

32. Don’t Get A Breakup Haircut

Or wait for a while before getting those bangs or coloring your hair green for the first time in your life. The same advice goes for getting that tattoo, quitting your job, and any and all other major life changes. Your emotions are likely to be going on overdrive, and you most probably are not sleeping or eating well. These factors can affect your judgment.

33. Don’t Obsess And Fume Over What Went Wrong

Find peaceful ways to let go your anger after a breakup
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We learn a lot about ourselves and others through our relationships — both the happy ones and the not-so-happy ones. However, going around in circles and feeling resentful and angry isn’t going to let you learn about yourself. It may keep you stuck in the past.

Try to acknowledge that the relationship ended for a good reason, and focus on what you would like to give and receive in your next relationship. Therapy and meditation are two peaceful ways to let go of hurt and anger about the ways you were wronged.

Harsh, a blogger, shared his personal experience of dealing with anger after a breakup. He said, “It all changed when I decided to change. I finally chose to turn my attention on things I had control over. I changed myself, and then, everything changed (i).” He also outlined steps to overcome post-breakup anger and channeled his anger into productive outlets.

Infographic: Essential Dos And Don’ts After A Breakup

A breakup can come at you like a sudden storm, leaving you feeling emotionally devastated and lost. However, it is important to take care of yourself and focus on healing completely. Check out the infographic below to find out the essential dos and don’ts after a breakup to help you through the process.

essential dos and donts after a breakup (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

A breakup can strike you like a storm, leaving you feeling shattered and all over the place emotionally. However, it is important to understand that no amount of pining, crying, or regrets can bring back the relationship that has already run its course. Instead, you should focus on recovering from this phase by keeping yourself busy, rediscovering yourself, and engaging in activities that do not remind you of your ex. Furthermore, do not thoughtlessly get into a rebound relationship or worry over what went wrong. Remember, you need to love and respect yourself before investing in another person.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do you heal after a breakup?

Every person takes their own time to heal after a breakup. Some people heal faster than others, while others need months or even years to heal completely. It also depends on your connection with your partner and how the breakup occurred.

How long should I cry after a breakup?

There is no set time for how quickly people heal from a breakup. Some may cry for months, while others may recover within weeks. However, you should give yourself ample time to mourn a breakup. Then, try to move on. Don’t dwell on the past; look toward your future and all the exciting adventures and opportunities you can have.

What is the hardest stage of a breakup?

Letting go of the person you once loved, cherished, and spent almost every second with, can be very hard. Realizing that the partner you considered “your person” isn’t there to talk to and share things with can be particularly hard.

Key Takeaways

  • Breaking up with someone you love is not easy, and the recovery from it is never linear.
  • You can vent out your feelings, reflect on what you learned from the relationship, and keep yourself busy to move on.
  • Don’t obsess over them or rush into a rebound relationship as these are unhealthy ways of coping.
what to do after a breakup

Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

Breakups can be emotionally, physically, and mentally taxing. However, they are not the end of the world and life must go on. Check out this video for some helpful advice on how to move on from a breakup and rebuild your self-esteem.

Personal Experience: Source

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