Did you just go through a breakup and now are wondering how to get over the long-term relationship?
This is hard to do when you’re used to having this person by your side for years. But now, you might be feeling a little lost, confused, sad, or even regretful. This is normal. What you need is a step-by-step strategy for how to get over a long-term relationship and rebuild your life. And that’s what I’m going to share with you in this article.
You might be tempted to get over your ex as quickly as possible, but relationships don’t work this way, especially with someone you loved and cared for deeply (and maybe still do). Moving on will take time, patience, and conscious effort on your part. Research in The Journal of Positive Psychology says it takes 11 weeks to feel good again after a relationship ends, while another study found it takes around 18 months to heal after a marriage. So expect to experience an array of emotions and highs and lows long after you’ve parted ways.
I don’t know the intimate details of your relationship. I don’t know if it was a healthy relationship or a toxic one. And I don’t know if you still loved each other fiercely by the end or whether you fell out of love a long time ago. What I do know is you will have grown in some way. The relationship will have taught you powerful lessons, highlighted your flaws and your strengths, and led you to where you are right now—and this is exactly where you’re meant to be.
Here’s how to get over a serious long-term relationship
1. Block him (everywhere)
You might know a girlfriend who is friends with all her exes, which might convince you that you too can be friends with your ex. And maybe you can be, someday, waaaay down the line. But right now, while your breakup is fresh, you CANNOT (and should not) be friends with your ex.
Okay, Mr. Love Strategies, why are you going military on me right now?
Because if you continue to talk to your ex, grab dinner with your ex, or have breakup sex with your ex when you’re feeling lonely, he will continue to stay on your mind. You’ll be maintaining a connection with him. Everything will become super blurry and messy super fast. And neither of you will be able to move on.
Think about it this way. If I’m starting a diet because I want to shed 20 pounds, what I’m NOT gonna do is hang out in the car park of McDonald’s, stock my freezer with gallons of Ben & Jerry’s, or get my fat friend to draw up a food plan for me.
That would be CRAZY, right?
The moral of the story?
You have to help yourself by making choices that actually support you.
Cut all contact with your ex. Don’t call him, don’t see him, and definitely don’t hook up with him.
2. Take time to mourn the loss of this person
When someone you love is suddenly gone from your life, it can feel like someone has died. This isn’t you or me being dramatic; it’s the reality. And what happens when someone dies? You have to give yourself time to grieve.
The truth is, you’re going to want to do anything to push a button to get over your long-term relationship and skip through this stage, but if you don’t feel your sadness and let it move through you, it will continue to linger and grow until you face it.
Accept that your relationship ended. That person is no longer a significant part of your life. Process what happened. Let yourself feel heartbroken. Allow yourself to feel all the emotions that arise during this time. This is the only way to heal.
3. Screw the timeline
As the weeks and months go by after your breakup, you’ll start to have thoughts like:
I should be over this by now.
Why am I still thinking about my ex all the time?
I have no right to be sad because I’m the one who broke up with him.
I ended things because I wanted to be happier, but I feel f*cking miserable.
And what I want you to know is these thoughts are normal. They are.
First of all, regardless of whether you were the dumper or dumpee, you will feel sad (unless your ex was an abusive, misogynist PSYCHO, but even then, you might still feel sad). And you have a right to those emotions. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Second, there is no timeline to get over a long-term relationship. Every breakup and every person is different. So it will take however long it takes. Avoid trying to rush the process and tell everyone you’re fine. Because when you do this, you’re only going to slow your recovery down even more.
4. Learn the valuable lessons from the relationship
When a relationship ends, one of the best things you can do is sit down and reflect on it.
Why did things end?
What did you learn about yourself and relationships in general?
How did you grow as a person?
What would you do differently next time, if anything?
Most relationships have good times and bad times, just like all of us have a mix of strengths and imperfections. And reflecting on what happened in your relationship can help you bring awareness to all of this and give you greater insight into yourself and the kind of people you attract. You might notice similar themes or patterns cropping up in several of your past relationships, whether they’re positive or negative.
Taking time to learn the valuable lessons from your relationship will prevent you from repeating mistakes and shape you into a stronger and wiser person. This is key if you want to attract the right man and relationship into your life.
5. Remember, you haven’t lost yourself
It can be incredibly tough to get over a long-term relationship when you’ve lost so much.
Not only have you lost a man, but you’ve also lost a partner and probably a best friend all at once.
But what you haven’t lost is yourself.
Instead of feeling sorry for yourself and thinking about what you’ve lost, think about what you’re gaining. Look at this breakup as a golden opportunity to rediscover yourself, reclaim your independence, and fall deeper in love with you. Learn to love life again, and life will love you back.
6. Celebrate the little things you’re doing on your own
For a while after your breakup, it will feel alien being on your own again. Certain things will remind you that you’re alone (no one there beside you when you wake up, no one to cuddle you when you’re having a bad day, no one to change your tire when you get a puncture), and you might feel a fresh wave of sadness hit you in the heart.
That’s exactly why you need to make a point of celebrating the small things you’re doing on your own. Even if it’s putting together some flat-pack furniture (without SCREAMING), going to the gym (it still counts if you chow down on pizza after), or cooking dinner on your own. These things might seem insignificant and mundane, but they’re not. Every little thing you do and achieve on your own is a total WIN, so make sure you pause to celebrate how well you’re doing.
7. Say YES to new experiences
You might want to give Yes Man a watch for inspiration. You can’t watch that movie without wanting to do more, experience more, and be more.
Now that you’re single and still grieving a loss, it’s essential to put yourself out there and say yes to social invitations—even if you feel like staying home on the sofa and eating an entire box of chocolates on your own while watching The Notebook and balling your eyes out.
Think about what will make you feel better and help you move on: new experiences and new company, or wallowing in your sadness?
Is someone throwing a rager at their house? Are your friends having a barbeque at the beach? Is there a music festival that some co-workers are heading to for the weekend? Did someone ask you if you want to join them for a hot yoga class at the weekend?
Even if it sounds like it might not be your cup of tea, reserve judgment until you’ve tried it.
8. Be active and do the things you love even if they remind you of being a couple
When you’re one-half of a couple, over time, certain things end up becoming your thing that you always do together. Like go volunteer during the holidays each year, or walk on the beach and watch the sunset, or travel all over the world and soak up new cultures.
If there’s anything you never truly enjoyed and only did to make your ex happy, dump it. But if you love doing these things, don’t rob yourself of that joy just because you’re single now. Reclaim these things for yourself. You don’t need someone by your side to enjoy them.
9. Nourish your body
If you want to get over a long-term relationship, you need to help yourself in every way you can. One of the most significant factors in how we feel daily is how we treat our bodies.
Plan out some healthy meals for the week. Buy a recipe book you’ve had your eye on. Try a meal kit delivery service. Batch-cook some dinners and freeze them for when you’re feeling lazy. Visit your local farmer’s market and stock up on seasonal fruit and veg. Start your day with a nourishing green smoothie. And don’t forget to treat yourself to things like chocolate, ice cream, or grilled cheese when you’re craving it.
But don’t stop there. Move your body every day. Begin with a stretch each morning. Go for a walk in the park at lunchtime. Try a new exercise class. Join a gym or a running group in your town. Give meditation a go. Focus on breathing more consciously and deeply.
These are small ways of showing yourself care during a turbulent time and can be incredibly empowering and healing. Take control of what is in your control.
10. Reconnect with your girlfriends
Getting over an ex requires outside help from people who love you. And the thing about relationships is they often mean you unintentionally spend less time with friends and maybe even drift away from people you were once super close with.
So call your girlfriends. Reach out to anyone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Have grown-up sleepovers or boozy brunch dates or even plan a vacation together. These women will be a shoulder to lean on while you heal. They’ll help you laugh again and remind you just how awesome you are. Most importantly, they’ll give you hope that everything will be okay; you will be okay.
11. Focus on your career
After the end of a long-term relationship, you’ll find you have more free time and energy to devote to all the other areas of your life. So why not channel this into your career? Whether that’s going for a promotion, starting a side hustle, or growing your current business. Not only will this be a welcome distraction, but it will also help you work on your goals and dreams.
Better still, you don’t have to consider anyone else’s. Move cities, states, or even countries. Quit your job and find one you really love. Take a sabbatical. Do whatever you want to do—the world is your oyster.
12. Start dating again
The final step is to start dating again, but only when you’ve fully healed and you feel ready.
The best way to figure out if you’re genuinely ready is to think about your motives. Why do you want to start dating again? Is it because you don’t want to be alone anymore, or is it because you’re excited about meeting new people and having new experiences? If fear is what’s driving you, give yourself some more time before getting back out there to avoid rebounding.
Remember that when you do start dating again, it might feel strange. It will have been a while since you last did this, and the last person you did this with was your ex. So be prepared to feel a little weird, and give yourself a few weeks to adjust.
And if the thought of dating again TERRIFIES you, why not enlist the help of a dating coach? Having someone by your side, walking you through every step of the way, can relieve you of a ton of anxiety and pressure and help you enjoy dating (yes, not only can it be fun, it’s meant to be).
Getting over a long-term relationship and someone you love will always be hard—more challenging than you think it will be. But know that you’re strong enough to make it through to the other side. Even when it feels like things won’t get better, trust that they will. Whenever you have a moment of doubt or regret, remind yourself why the relationship ended. Fill your life with wonderful people and experiences and take things one day at a time.
What has helped you get over a long-term relationship in the past? I’d love to know, so drop me a comment.
PS. If you’re ready to start making men pursue you for love, then join me on this free webinar to discover the 3 steps to building emotional attraction – Register here to get started (it’s 100% free).