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9 essential steps to move on from a relationship

I’ll never forget the moment she broke up with me.

It was so incredibly painful.

I thought we had something special and were on the same page. Everything seemed to be going well.

Then she told me it wasn’t working. That she was constantly lonely even when we were together.

I thought it wasn’t a problem, that we could work through it.

But I was wrong. Nothing I could do would convince here to stick around.

That’s when I knew I needed to shift my focus from trying to win her back to successfully moving on from the relationship.

I needed to embrace the brutal reality that while breakups are painful, it’s essential to move through the pain to move on with life.

This is why I developed the 9 essential steps to moving on from a relationship. Follow these steps, and you’ll also successfully move through the pain and move on with your life.

Before we get to the 9 steps, let’s first take a look at whether you really are stuck in the pain of the breakup. Here are 6 key signs to look for that will show you that you haven’t yet moved on from your relationship.

  1. You think of the person almost all the time. This is a key sign that you’re stuck in the break-up mode. It’s even more difficult because you can’t tell yourself to stop thinking of them. It happens involuntarily.
  2. You keep on mentally going through all of the good times you had, and how you could have behaved differently during the bad times. This is a key sign that you’re blaming yourself for what happened, rather than seeing that maybe you two just weren’t a good fit for each other (more on that below).
  3. When you think of this person, you instantly feel down. Our emotions are powerful, and unfortunately the loneliness kicks in pretty quickly when we’re going through a break-up.
  4. The thought of him/her triggers other negative emotions, such as anger, anxiety, depression or frustration. Again, those pesky emotions. They’re tough to deal with. When this happens, you’re definitely in the break-up mode.
  5. You have a desire to spit him/her as a way to make them feel regret for what happened. We all have a dark side, whether we like to admit it or not. This shows your dark side. You want revenge on this person for making you feel this way.
  6. You have a desire to be in contact with this person, even though you know the relationship is over. This happened to me all the time. I was trying to find reasons to be in contact with her, even though I knew it was time to move on.

Okay, so you’re showing some of these signs. You’re stuck in break-up mode.

It’s time to move on from the relationship.

You can do this by following these 10 key steps.

1. Talk things out before making any steps

This first step actually comes before the final breakup.

Sometimes, couples breakup because of misunderstandings. They part ways out of sheer anger and frustration.

After all, people do crazy things when they’re angry.

On the other hand, couples sometimes breakup because they genuinely need to move on. They’re not a good fit and will be happier for finding someone who is a better fit.

It’s important to talk with your partner first and see whether you both really want to end the relationship, or whether you actually need some space.

Here’s a pro tip:

Don’t talk to your partner while you’re feeling angry or frustrated. You’ll just project that frustration into the conversation, and it won’t go anywhere.

Instead, take some time to reflect on the positive feelings you have for your partner, and get into a conversation from that place.

If you can’t help but descend into anger and frustration, don’t beat yourself up. It could be that the relationship is destined to end.

In which case, let’s move on to step 2.

2. It’s okay to be sad

So you’ve broken up, and you’re feeling pretty crummy.

Ending a relationship with someone you love can be disheartening –- quite literally, heartbreaking.

If you are sad and you find yourself tearing up at times, let your feelings show. It’s totally okay to be sad and cry if that’s what you feel.

Bottling up your emotions and acting as if you’re fine does more harm than good.

It’s part of human nature to feel sadness when you lose something that’s important.

Always remember — it’s okay not to be okay.

3. Get busy

Now that you’ve let those tears fall from your eyes, it’s time to start focusing on other aspects of your life.

Locking yourself up in your room as you mope and think of depressing things might sound tempting, but try to avoid that as it would only give you more time to think of the failed relationship.

Spend time doing things that you love.

You can go for a jog, read a book or two, or spend time with your friends and family.

Get busy and do the things that make you happy.

4. Avoid stalking him/her

If you find yourself checking out your ex’s social media accounts to know what they’re up to, stop. You’ll only make it harder for yourself to forget that person.

In fact, consider unfollowing them. You don’t need to know what they’re up to, and you certainly don’t need the constant reminder about what they’re doing in life.

Try to stay away from his/her presence and give yourself the time to move on and heal.

Stalking your ex to know their whereabouts will only make the moving-on process harder.

Try to get them out of your radar and soon enough, you’ll find yourself slowly forgetting them.

5. Forgive

If your ex did something wrong in the past and you’re still angry about it, try to forgive.

Holding on to anger does more damage than letting go.

There’s no better way to find peace of mind than letting go of things that can’t be changed and forgive, not because they deserve it, but because YOU do.

Forgiveness might not change your past, but it does change your present and future for the better.

6. Make sure you’re ready to move on and you WANT to move on

Ask yourself if you THINK you want to move on or you KNOW you have to move on.

There’s a difference between wanting something and taking action to get that something.

If you know you have to start letting go of the past, start by actually wanting it.

This way, you have a purpose for trying to move on and not just move on out of sheer anger and bitterness.

Want it before you start it.

7. Acknowledge the fact that they’re not the one for you.

People say that everything happens for a reason. In this case, it’s probably true.

If your relationship didn’t work, don’t be sad that it ended; instead, be happy that it happened.

Despite the pain and heartbreak the failed relationship caused you, learn from the experience and make yourself better.

Believe that there’s someone out there for you and soon enough, you’ll meet that person.

8. Love yourself

It’s impossible to truly love others if you don’t start loving yourself.

Start focusing on yourself more and discover new things about you and strive to become better. Learn from your past mistakes and treasure the lessons it has given.

Make yourself the right person before trying to find the right one.

Love starts with yourself.

9. Don’t be scared of relationships

After a breakup, you might lose hope in relationships and tell yourself “I’m never going to love again.”

Don’t. Life is full of surprises and breakups are inevitable.

Don’t be afraid of meeting new people and feeling that love again, because who knows? Maybe your true love is just around the corner and soon enough, they will enter your life and let you see that everything does happen for a reason.

Once that happens, you won’t feel the pain and sadness from your past relationships; instead, you’ll see them as a great memory that made you the person you are today.

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Written by Justin Brown

I co-founded Ideapod, a digital media platform that provides commentary on the ideas shaping our lives. To see my latest work, follow me on Facebook.

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