Breakups can be tough at any time, let alone during lockdown. And while some people might be able to simply move on without getting all sad, many of us will take some time to get over an ex and actually deal with a breakup. So if you need help knowing how to get over someone, whether you dumped them or they broke your heart, here's how. Especially handy when you can't go out dancing with your pals or swan off on a mates' holiday.
How to get over someone and move on
Cut off contact
One of the first rules when it comes to getting over someone is to cut off contact with them, as it can be really hard to fully move on from someone you're still speaking to.
This includes on social media too, and you might even want to delete them as a friend or at least making a commitment not to check their page (though that's easier said than done), says Annabelle Knight, sex and relationships expert for Lovehoney. "Also be careful of mutual friends on social media, as you might catch a glimpse of what your ex is up to," she adds, which can be difficult to see.
Remember to take this in small doses, rather than feeling overwhelmed. "Think that if you can manage 30 days without contacting them, then after that you might be able to build it up to 90 days," says Cate Mackenzie, a COSRT registered psychosexual therapist and couples counsellor.
"This includes resisting the temptation to 'bump' into your ex," Annabelle adds, especially if you still go the same bars or gym—so try not to actively sabotage your own moving on process by turning up just when you know they've got a hot yoga class.
If you've cut off contact with your ex, you still need an outlet to process your emotions, and a "closure ritual" can help. Try writing a letter to them that you don't send, suggests Cate. This doesn't need to be angry, and can even be a time to thank and acknowledge them for the good things they gave you, she adds.
"Try reading the letter aloud to yourself to get your final thoughts off your chest, and even rip it up afterwards," Annabelle adds. This kind of "closure ritual" can be especially useful if you're the one who broke up with them but still need space to process.
We sometimes underestimate how much meaning we place on material items, so when it comes to your ex you want to take away anything that might trigger negative emotions. "These might even be small, like inexpensive gifts, mementos, cards and letters, or clothing that belonged to your ex," explains Annabelle.
However, "if you don't want to destroy things like photos, archive them in an isolated file, whether real or digital, so you're not faced with them every day," suggests Nia Williams, relationship counsellor and founder of Miss Date Doctor.
Allow time to think about them
If you're not someone who can completely erase your ex from your mind (who can?) then allocate yourself just two minutes when you want to think about them, and then stop, suggests Cate. This way you're processing your feelings about them, but not letting them constantly take over your mind.
"If it helps, schedule in time each day to process your emotions around the relationship, and over time this should feel less necessary" adds Lily Walford, a relationship coach and founder of Love With Intelligence.
Try a breakup app
It's true when they say there's an app for everything. Yes, even breakups. Breakup apps like Mend can offer personalised guides to your breakup journey, and if you respond well to structure, this could be for you.
Visualize your future
Seeing yourself happy in the future without your ex can be a great way to leave them firmly in the past. This can be really easy to do but the more details, the better, says Annabelle, whether it's planning a holiday or a new social routine.
It's also important to remind yourself of what makes you happy, says Cate. "Start a pleasure diary and list your favourite things to do, eat, wear, look at or listen to and consciously engage with them," she explains.
You might even set a date in your mind that you'd like to be over the person by, says Cate. But don't stress about sticking to this.
Start dating again
Don't feel pressured to rushing into dating or a new relationship, but eventually finding somebody new that you really like can be a great way to move past your ex.
"Write out a list of traits you don't want in a new partner," Lily suggests, to give you a clearer idea of what you're looking for. Plus, if you realise your ex ticked a lot of these traits, it might reassure you knowing they definitely weren't for you, Lily adds.
Don't blame yourself
If your ex cheated on you, or has done something to cause the relationship to end, it's important not to blame yourself for their actions, says Annabelle. Likewise, if circumstances like one of you moving away or a core disagreement like whether you want kids was the reason for the breakup, remind yourself that there's nothing you could have done to change this.
Remember not to blame yourself if you simply fell out of love, or if you're the one who broke up with them. It's still completely natural to feel sad in this situation, but reassure yourself that your rational mind knew it was the right thing to do.
Let go of anger
It's easy to be angry after a breakup, especially if they cheated or betrayed you. "However, anger will only hurt you and keep you in the same place," says Nia, so to fully move on it's something you need to let go of. Anger is a normal part of the grief process, explains Cate, and a breakup is a kind of grief, but letting out anger with things like meditation and journaling can be positive steps forward.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.