Breakups are messy. Not only are you experiencing a roller coaster of emotions, but you’re dealing with the heartbreak and realization that your entire life has changed.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t come out the other side with your dignity and class still intact!
If anything, handling a breakup healthily will speed up the time it takes to move on, so read on to find out how…
1) Breathe and collect your thoughts
Whether you’re in the middle of a breakup or you’ve just come out the other end of it and are facing single life, the first thing you need to do is breathe.
Because right now your world has turned upside down. Your natural reaction might be to freak out at the idea that you and your partner are no longer together.
But the problem with freaking out is you may overreact, or react in a way you wouldn’t normally.
I know people who have had massive meltdowns during a breakup and things can turn nasty quickly – harsh words or throwing a tantrum don’t go hand in hand with acting dignified!
It’s not about suppressing your emotions (we’re going to get to that in the next step), but rather allowing your brain to process what is going on.
So, when you’re feeling overwhelmed or upset, take a moment to breathe calmly, close your eyes, listen to music, and gather your thoughts.
2) Let out your emotions…in private
So now we get to one of the most important steps in your breakup journey – releasing your emotions.
You’re going to feel crap. Let me just say that now, because there’s no avoiding it. No breakup is pleasant.
There’ll be times where you feel angry, other times so sad all you can do is cry yourself to sleep.
Let these emotions come and go. Don’t try to avoid them by making yourself busy or distracting yourself. It’s really important to acknowledge and accept how you’re feeling now, so these emotions are dealt with before they become too big to handle.
I’ve been guilty of this in the past – bottling up my emotions and then struggling to process them months down the line. It’s far harder the longer you leave it.
But there’s another key aspect of this:
Deal with your emotions privately or only in the company of people you love and trust.
Don’t go around to all your ex’s friends, revealing how horribly they treated you. This won’t make you look good at all.
Instead, keep your circle small, and “grieve” the loss of your relationship behind closed doors.
3) Resist the urge to text them
Ahhh, the 3 am drunk texts asking what you did to deserve this. “Why did you break my heart?” is a memorable text I sent to an ex once (and subsequently regretted the next morning).
Whilst it might seem like a good idea at the time, you’re not going to get the answer you want.
And even worse than an emotional text?
An angry one.
Don’t be tempted to send 5-page long texts ranting about everything your ex has done wrong, or how much they’re going to regret losing you.
Most people switch off after the first few paragraphs, and it’s just not as effective as having a face-to-face conversation.
Want to know a tip I use to combat this?
I write out everything I want to say and save it in my notes. Then I leave it and come back to it a day later. By that point, I’ll have calmed down and can see that sending the message would be futile.
This is also a good way to remain dignified during the breakup – you’re showing your ex that you’re bigger than petty texts or rants.
4) Don’t beg for closure
After a tough breakup, you’re bound to have tons of questions for your ex.
Maybe you feel like you can’t move on until you’ve got closure?
I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but closure doesn’t always bring healing. In fact, to rely on closure for healing is pretty dangerous.
Well, not everyone gets closure. Your ex may be unwilling to talk to you, or they might not have the answers you’re searching for.
If you depend on them for your own healing, you may find yourself in limbo forever.
Not to mention, begging isn’t very dignified. You have to rebuild your self-esteem and self-worth – you’re above begging your ex for an explanation.
The most effective way to get over your ex by yourself is to tap into your personal power.
I learned this from the shaman Rudá Iandê. He’s helped thousands of people align work, family, spirituality, and love so they can unlock the door to their personal power.
He has a unique approach that combines traditional ancient shamanic techniques with a modern-day twist. It’s an approach that uses nothing but your own inner strength – no gimmicks or fake claims of empowerment.
Because true empowerment needs to come from within.
In his excellent free video, Rudá explains how you can reconnect with your inner power and reclaim your life. Just what you need after a tough breakup.
So if you’re tired of feeling like crap, and you’re ready to start living life again, this time with the focus on yourself, it’s well worth checking out his advice.
5) Be open to a civil conversation but do it on your terms
And if your ex is willing to talk?
There’s no problem meeting them and hearing them out (if you want to). But do it on your own terms.
Don’t be like a love-sick puppy at the beck and call of your ex.
Don’t let them hold this power over you!
You’re the boss of your own life, so you decide the time and place. If the conversation starts going south, it’s your responsibility to yourself to call it a day and walk away.
At this point, you need to be your own best friend. If your ex (or anyone else) sees you standing strong in your personal power, there’s no way they couldn’t call you dignified.
But with that being said, a civil conversation to clear the air isn’t the worst thing.
You may leave the meeting feeling slightly better about the breakup, especially if you were able to express your thoughts and emotions.
It can be a step toward healing if the conversation is productive and not a shouting match, but as I mentioned in the last step, don’t count on this to bring you the closure you’re seeking.
6) Take the high road
The best way to handle a breakup with dignity is to be the bigger person and take the high road.
This doesn’t mean allowing your ex to disrespect you, but rather handling their disrespect in a classy way.
Here are a few examples:
- If they start an argument, calmly remove yourself from the situation until they’re able to calm down and speak rationally
- If they insult you, let them know you won’t stand to be spoken that way and avoid contact with them (instead of insulting them back)
- If they act petty and demand things back that they’ve left at yours, resist the urge to throw their stuff on the street. Arrange for a friend to drop off their belongings.
Taking the high road requires maturity.
There may be times when you want nothing more than to have it out with your ex, to scream and act petty back, but ultimately you won’t come out the other end feeling any better about yourself.
So, act in a way that’ll make your future self proud. Act with maturity and don’t give your ex a chance to hurt you more than they already have done.
7) Take some time for yourself
One of the best ways to avoid the breakup sending you loco is to make sure you’re practicing a lot of self-love and care (yes, male readers, even you guys need this).
Your thoughts are probably consumed with the breakup, and I understand that it’s hard to get your ex off your mind.
But channel that energy into yourself.
Do one thing every day that brings you a little bit of joy. That could be meeting up with good friends, going to your favorite nature spot, or throwing yourself into your hobbies.
Why not take this opportunity to go on the trip of a lifetime? Or attend that concert you’ve been thinking about for ages?
Whether you do it with friends or alone, it’s important to carve out some time for yourself, to start getting used to living life without your (ex) partner.
And finally, make sure you’re eating and sleeping well. The more you invest in yourself, the quicker you’ll start to feel better.
8) Face reality and accept the breakup
One of the main reasons that people come across as undignified during a breakup is by refusing to accept the situation.
I know it can be hard to face reality. I know a lot of your future plans have been destroyed, and this can be hard to come to terms with.
But you aren’t doing yourself any favors by denying the breakup.
And even worse?
When your ex moves on (which they will eventually), you’ll find it even harder to come to terms with their new relationship if you’re still clinging to the past.
So how can you accept the breakup?
Well, the best way is to follow the tips in this article!
- Let your emotions out
- Talk to good friends and family about the situation
- Invest in yourself and put less focus on your ex and the breakup
- Take a break/disconnect from your ex until you’re in a better place mentally and emotionally
9) Only open up to those close to you
If you really want to handle a breakup with dignity, be careful who you share your heartbreak with.
Do you know what this means?
Social media is a big NO!
For your sake, please don’t post about your breakup on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t share cryptic memes on Facebook – everyone will know exactly what you’re referring to.
I know the temptation – there are a few reasons why you might take to the internet to vent:
- It’s a good way to get sympathy
- You might want to tarnish your ex’s reputation
- You want to let other people know you’re single now
But the truth is…
95% of people on your socials don’t really care about you.
They’re interested in the gossip and the drama, but very few will genuinely have concern for you or your wellbeing.
Plus, you won’t come across as very mature, let alone as handling the breakup with dignity.
Think about the future. You won’t regret opening up to your loved ones, but you will regret a post written in anger, which you can’t take back or delete because everyone has already seen it (and properly screenshotted and shared!).
So, save your emotional releases for those you truly trust. A couple of good friends or family members are more than enough to support you through this tough time.
10) Respect your ex’s wishes
Your ex doesn’t want anything to do with you since the breakup?
Let them do their own thing.
Your ex wants their things back from your place?
Don’t be petty and hold on to their stuff. Give it back and say to yourself, “Good riddance”.
The point is, don’t try to force your ex to do anything they don’t want to.
You’re not in a relationship anymore, and while basic respect should still be there, they don’t owe you anything anymore.
So make your own life easier by letting them get on with their lives, and you get on with yours.
Not only will this help you move on, but you’ll feel much more dignified in the process.
You’ll be able to walk away with your head held high, knowing that you’re no longer involved with someone who doesn’t want to be with you.
11) Set your own boundaries
But just as you should respect your ex’s wishes, they should respect yours.
If you don’t want to be in touch but they do, make a firm stand and don’t give in.
Right now you’ve got to think about what will help you heal and move forward.
If your ex wants to do something that hinders that process, you need to firmly state your boundary and stick to it.
The same goes for other people in your life.
Maybe a concerned friend wants to set you up on a date, to help take your mind off things?
If you’re not ready, don’t give in to it. Politely decline but stick to your guns.
Your boundaries are there to protect you and to let others know how you wish to be treated. You should never feel bad for putting your well-being first.
After all, if you don’t, who will?
12) Don’t try to be friends too soon
Straight after a breakup, you might think it’s a good idea to be friends with your ex.
This is pretty normal – you think that it’ll be easier to deal with the pain if they’re still in your life, even just as friends.
But here’s the thing:
Trying to be friends too soon can backfire, for these reasons:
- You won’t fully disconnect from them and this makes it harder to process your feelings and move on
- You may end up becoming friends with benefits, which again, doesn’t help you get over them
- You could end up in a hurtful situation if your ex starts dating again and tells you about it since you’re “friends” now.
Give it time.
I do believe exes can be friends eventually, depending on their relationship and how the breakup went down.
But you both need space and time first before you can try to build a friendship.
Not to mention, if you’re chasing your ex to be friends or entertaining their idea of friendship too soon, you’ll feel less dignified in the process.
That’s because you’ll know deep down that you aren’t putting your healing first. You may get temporary happiness from being in touch with your ex or meeting up, but in the long term, you’re hurting yourself even more.
13) Invest in self-care
I touched upon self-care earlier on, but I’d like to go into more detail about it.
For both men and women, self-care is essential.
Not only will it boost your self-esteem and confidence, but it’ll put you in a better emotional and mental state. As a result, you’ll be less likely to look undignified during the breakup, and you’ll make better choices for your future.
So, how exactly can you practice self-care? It’s simpler than you might think!
- Listen to music. Get your dance moves on and boost those happy hormones by letting it all out (even if it is in the privacy of the bathroom!)
- Read. Let your mind wander and get lost in someone else’s story for a while
- Exercise. Again, you’ll release good hormones but you’ll also look good too!
- Spend time with your loved ones or reconnect with old friends
- Cook. Even if you’re not good at it, find a simple recipe and try it out, you might surprise yourself!
- Practice yoga or meditation. This is great for mindfulness and de-stressing
There are many self-care tips online, so don’t be afraid to explore and find what works for you.
And finally, don’t underestimate the power of investing all this time into yourself.
I know I’ve mentioned it a few times throughout the article, but at the heart of handling a breakup with dignity, how you treat yourself will determine how gracefully you’re able to move on!
14) Avoid the rebound dates
Okay, this one is a little tricky.
A few weeks after your breakup, you’re probably going to feel a bit more optimistic about life. You may even decide to head out to a local bar or check out a few dating apps.
This is normal – you’re still not over your ex but you feel ready to explore other options.
And although you’re free to do what you want, I’m here to remind you that a rebound won’t help you handle the breakup with dignity.
You may end up hurting whoever you rebound with, especially if they’re looking for something serious. Or, you’ll upset yourself when you realize the one-night stand didn’t bring you any closer to moving on.
And the main issue?
A rebound can quickly turn into a distraction.
A distraction from processing your emotions or from investing in yourself. You’re not ready to throw yourself into another relationship, so hold off for a while.
Allow yourself to fully get over your ex before getting involved with someone else. And more importantly, allow yourself to rebuild your life before letting someone else in.
15) Reflect and learn from what went wrong
And finally, if you want to handle your breakup with dignity and self-respect, learn from it!
Put the effort into reflecting on what went wrong. It may bring up upsetting memories or emotions, but that’s okay.
It’s super important to do this. If you don’t, you could end up making the same relationship mistakes the next time around.
And then find yourself back in the same situation.
Plus, reflecting on your relationship and breakup will allow you to process what happened, and you may conclude you’re better off without your ex anyway!
Maturity isn’t about never making mistakes (we’re all human after all) but it’s about learning from those mistakes.
So, how can you effectively reflect?
- Journaling can be a great way to get your thoughts and feelings out
- Speaking with trusted loved ones can help you sort through your emotions
- Taking long walks in nature alone where you can think clearly
- Speaking to a therapist. If you’re really struggling to move on, the help of a professional will do you a world of wonders.
And finally, exploring the relationship you have with yourself will ultimately allow you to sift through everything you’ve been through and come out stronger on the other side!
It’s something I learned from the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandê. He taught me that the way to find love and intimacy is not what we have been culturally conditioned to believe.
As Rudá explains in this mind-blowing free video, many of us chase love in a toxic way because we’re not taught how to love ourselves first.
So, if you want to ensure you never have to go through a messy relationship and break up again, I’d recommend starting with yourself first and taking Rudá’s incredible advice.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.
If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.
In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.
I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.