If you’re trying to get over a breakup, it can feel like an impossible task. A bad breakup can leave you feeling confused, lonely, and even bitter. Sometimes you see the breakup coming, and other times it can completely blindside you. But either way, it’s important to come to terms with the breakup in order to move on.
“Oftentimes, breakups are very painful, and it is important to process that pain,” Jessica Schroeder, LCMT, registered play therapist, and certified emotionally focused couples therapist, of the JS Therapy Group, tells Bustle. “It is critical to get over your ex — not only to become emotionally healthy, but also to prevent carrying experiences forward into new relationships.”
But it’s easier said than done. If you feel like you’e reeling from a breakup and not sure how to move forward, it can help to check in with yourself and take stock of the relationship — the good and the bad — in order to help you move forward. Often, sitting down with yourself and asking some tough questions can help you think things through and ultimately process the breakup. So if you’re feeling lost, start with asking yourself these questions — they might just help you let go.
1. What Do I Want?
If you’re coming out of a breakup, it can help to look forward: what do you want out of a relationship? Maybe you want what you had with your last partner, but maybe the relationship made you see that you want something totally different. Take a moment to imagine what your ideal relationship might look like and what you have to look forward to.
2. What Was My Role In The Breakup?
After a breakup, it can be tempting to feel bitter and blame everything on your ex. But what’s more helpful (and probably more realistic) is to look at your own behavior too. Not to judge yourself or beat yourself up over anything, but acknowledging your role in the relationship breaking down can stop you from feeling like a victim of circumstance and give you a sense of agency, so you know you can be better in the future.
3. What Have I Learned?
No matter how difficult a relationship was or how badly it ended, there’s normally something you can grab hold of — a learning experience. If you can take something away that’s positive, it can be easier to come to terms with the relationship.
4. What Worked?
Look at what was good in the relationship, because maybe you want to find that again. If both of you laughed a lot or communicated well — or even just really nailed the amount of time you spent together — those are all things you can bring forward into other relationships.
5. Am I Repeating Myself?
A lot of the time, we repeat the same mistakes in relationships over and over. “Ask: Am I having trouble moving past this because of something in my past,” Dr. Elizabeth Cohen, clinical psychologist, tells Bustle. “Often, we project or act out experiences/losses/issues from our past in our current relationships — i.e., if we always longed for a closer relationship with our father, we might repeat this behavior by pursuing a relationship even if it is clearly over.”
If you can figure out whether there’s a pattern in your dating history, you’ll be in a better place to move forward with healthier relationships.
6. What Can I Do For Me?
If you want to move on from a relationship, it can really help to take some time and be kind to yourself. Ask yourself what you need and what will help you move on. Practicing self-care during a breakup can be key.
7. What Other Important Relationships Do I Have in My Life?
If you feel lonely or isolated after a breakup, it’s important to remember that your ex wasn’t — and isn’t — the only relationship in your life. There are other people who care about you and who you can have rich, fulfilling connections with. Turning to them in a difficult time can make all the difference.
Getting over a really difficult breakup may take a while — and that’s OK. There’s no rush when it comes to moving on. But assessing the relationship and where you are now is a great way to process the experience and move forward.
Originally posted on Bustle