Coping with heartbreak is hard.
After years of being a Psychologist as well as dealing with my own relationship stuff I’ve learned that some ways of coping can really put the brakes on healing.
Here are 5 things you should never do after a break up.
1. Stalk Him
I understand. With the advent of social media like facebook, twitter and instagram you can stalk your ex- and never leave the couch. But to what end? This obsession with his whereabouts will do your head in.
If you want him back, following his ‘status updates’ and popping up to his locale will make you seem creepy at best, at worst it will land you a restraining order.
Instead of focusing on him, unfriend, unfollow or turn off the computer and direct your attention towards taking care of you.
2. Sex his friends
Yes, I went there. I cannot tell you the number of times friends, both male and female, have embarked on the “sex my ex-partner’s friends” mission.
Full disclosure, I’ve been guilty of this behavior and victimized by it. It’s normal to want to hurt someone who you believe has hurt you. But even if you complete your mission to sex his friends, the hurt you feel does not go away. All you’ve really done is make it look like you have no self-respect. Trust me; avoid this behavior at all cost.
And while we’re talking about sex; no promiscuity. I’m not saying don’t have sex with anybody, just don’t have sex with everybody.
At this point you’re using sex like your drug of choice to escape the hurt you’re feeling. But like any drug, the emptiness returns not long after your “high”. Instead of using sex to mask your emotion, try facing the underlying anxieties you feel. The sooner you confront your feelings the easier it will be to heal from the break up.
4. Publish sex videos, nudity pictures & provocative emails
This is wrong on many levels. It’s illegal so you’re risking imprisonment. Also, presumably you’re in the videos, so unless you’re in pursuit of the Kim Kardashian method of obtaining success it’s not worth the trouble. Think of how you would feel if this was reversed.
Besides, holding on to this type of material will only make you miss him. I personally find this behavior devious and under handed, if you’re the type of person who would stoop so low then no wonder he got away.
5. Make Major Life Decisions
A relationship break up can be one of the most painful things that anyone can endure. It’s not uncommon to experience mood swings or prolonged periods of sadness. This means that you’re more likely to have a difficult time making a major decision that is healthy and balanced.
In other words this is not the time to join a convent, or get that forehead tattoo. Try making smaller but creative decisions. For example, talk to friends about your feelings sharing your story especially with those that care about you. Talk with a professional if at all possible does not matter if it’s a social worker, life coach, spiritual guide, church leader, talking to a trained professional can help you make sense of your feelings. Try something new or something you’ve always wanted to do. This is a great time to take that ice skating, salsa dancing, or arrow shooting lessons. Spend time with those you care about such as family, friends, and mentors.
Look break ups are tough. But there are things you can do to cope with the loss which can assist healing and reduce stress. In contrast, seeking revenge after you have been hurt from a romantic relationship will only prolong your suffering. Every second you spend embroiled in some vengeance scheme is taking time away from your recovery.
Focus on healing and becoming a stronger, wiser you. If you were treated poorly then he certainly does not deserve the energy you’re giving him. Your time is better spent moving on which starts with taking care of you.
Dr. Bill Johnson II is a Psychologist and author of “Intimate Partner Violence: A Culturally Competent Approach to Clinical Training and Treatment”. He writes about domestic violence, racism, mental health and the the impact of traditional masculinities on men and boys.
“Dr. Bill” is dedicated to becoming a more compassionate, loving, and forgiving human being. In his spare time he is working on his dance moves!