There is no simple cure for a broken heart. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or trying to sell you something—or both. You can’t erase the pain immediately, but you can ease it faster and reduce your mourning period overall.
But first, a little perspective: if you’re hurting from a broken heart, remember that the pain you feel is evidence that you loved someone enough to let them significantly impact your life. That thought alone won’t always make you feel better, but it will teach you to appreciate all the love and support you have in your life right now, and all that is to come.
A recent Eharmony survey says we’re likely to kiss 15 losers, have four awful dates, and two serious long-term relationships before finally meeting our prince charming. That’s a lot of heartbreak to put up with in one lifetime. Not to mention, heartbreak can come out of more than just a long-term romantic relationship. It can also come from losing a loved one, losing a pet, or even ending a friendship. Whatever your situation, the following ten tips for how to get over a broken heart, whether it’s your first love or fiftieth.
1. REPLACE YOUR LOST LOVE
People don’t seem to like using the word “replace” when talking about relationships, but it doesn’t have to have such negative connotations when trying to get over a broken heart. You’re not necessarily replacing a person as much as you are replacing the love and companionship you lost. This doesn’t even have to be a tit-for-tat replacement, meaning that breaking up with your ex can provide a great opportunity to adopt an adorable new puppy.
2. KEEP BUSY WITH A NEW LIFE
If you think about it in a new light, losing someone who used to play a significant role in your life can be somewhat liberating. You’ll find yourself suddenly with tons of time on your hands, but beware: it’s easy to fall into the habit of staying home and wallowing instead of doing something productive and healing.
Getting over a broken heart requires active attempts at healing and crowding out the sorrow in your life with joy. It’s not going to come easy, but it will show you, at the very least, that there are more important things in life and more of a purpose for you.
3. WRITE DOWN YOUR FEELINGS – DON’T SEND REGRETTABLE TEXTS!
Try to obtain closure with your ex or another loved one by just getting everything out in the open, all at once. In other words, don’t call or text him multiple times a day, in various mental states. You’ll almost certainly find yourself doing or saying things that you regret. Instead, write it all down for your eyes only. This is crucial because apologizing for drunken phone calls in the middle of the night will only set you back while you’re figuring out how to get over a broken heart.
You can express your frustration, anger, sadness, or whatever emotion might be plaguing you at the moment. You can revisit it later and have some time and distance to think about what you want to say out loud versus what might not be as helpful to the conversation. This is also important when you’re initiating a breakup.
4. GET HEALTHY/ IN SHAPE
One of the best ways you can spend your extra time while getting over a broken heart is making an effort to get healthy and in shape. Work on yourself from the outside in. Not only will your efforts help you show off what your ex is missing, but you’ll actually feel better faster. It’s science: exercising increases serotonin and/or norepinehrine levels in the brain, which helps regulate your stress levels and improve your mood.
Exercise is especially effective for letting out those pent-up emotions while you get over a broken heart, so instead of going up and just punching your ex in the face (like you may be tempted to) try kickboxing instead!
5. GET EVERYTHING OFF YOUR CHEST
You might find yourself a little reluctant to have one big closure moment with your ex, since it would pretty much mean cutting him off from your life from that point onward. But if you want to talk about everything with a clear head – as in, not after a night of heavy drinking – this strategy is essential. Letting him know how you feel and asking all those burning questions will allow you to confront your own sadness instead of feeling confused and hurt. Express everything during this moment and then try to let it go if you want to get over a broken heart in the most painless manner possible.
6. …THEN STOP TALKING. AND TAKE SOME ASPIRIN.
Once you’ve finally had the end-all closure conversation with your ex, you have to force yourself to stop talking about it to get over a broken heart. Walter Mischel, a Psychology professor from Columbia University, argues that talking about your feelings with friends actually increases depression—making it harder to get over a broken heart— rather than making you feel “unburdened.”
What’s even stranger is the alternative solution Mischel advises. “When we speak about rejection experiences in terms of physical pain,” he said, “it is not just a metaphor—the broken heart and emotional pain really do hurt in a physical way.” So for the physical pain caused by a broken heart, Mischel says to just pop a couple of aspirin.
7. DELETE HIM
Social media is one huge relationship hurdle that our parents never had to deal with to get over a broken heart. So if you never had this dating word of wisdom passed down to you, listen closely: delete him, block him, and cyberstalk-proof all of your devices as soon as you break up. Trust me, you don’t want to spend all your new free time hyper-analyzing his posts on Facebook and suddenly seeing his face wile scrolling through Instagram. Getting over a broken heart requires you to keep him completely out of sight and out of mind.
8. GET OUT OF TOWN
You know what makes it harder to forget about someone? Being constantly surrounded by places and people that remind you of him. This counts double if you two ever lived in the same house or apartment together. If you can’t afford to move right away, take this opportunity to go on a little vacation. It can be something as simple as visiting an old friend or relative, or something drastic and adventurous: like exploring New York City as a newly-independent woman.
You can change your surroundings in subtler ways also. Redecorate your room, find a new go-to coffee shop/restaurant/bar, and explore some parts of your own city that you’ve neglected over the years.
9. GO ON A SEX TOY SHOPPING SPREE
Usually, the end of a relationship right before the breakup is a sexual dry spell, followed by dramatic, but still somehow really fun, break-up sex. A few times is expected, but getting into the habit of hooking up with your ex is never a good idea. If you’re not ready to put yourself out there just yet, take this opportunity to dabble in the art of self-love. Have fun exploring your fantasies and getting more in tune with your own body.
Find out what you truly like and don’t like – away from the expectations and demands of a partner. You’ll find that you can enjoy intense pleasure without your partner around, and prepare yourself for having an even better sex life in the future. Stock up on toys focusing on G-spot and clitoral stimulation, so you can really make it all about you.
10. GET ALL DOLLED UP
We all have a tendency to neglect ourselves a little when we’re in committed relationships. We stop wearing makeup, overindulge in fatty foods, and dress more casual and comfortable. If the breakup is causing your self-esteem to suffer, this is the perfect time to become the hot single lady you were before. Start with diet and exercise, since these efforts have the greatest health benefits and will immediately boost your well-being.
Then have a spa day getting pampered: facials, mani/pedis, hair cut and style, waxing—the whole shebang. Spend at least one night per week out at the bar, club, or other nightlife event where you can get the chance to dress up, try out some new makeup, and take some awesome selfies to show off. Even if you’re not interested in sex while getting over a broken heart, invest in some new, fancy lingerie to feel sexy underneath it all.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for how to get over a broken heart. Some of these tips will work better than others for some. With that being said, breakups are going to suck no matter who you are. It’s a fact of life, and healing begins by accepting this fact. Definitely don’t try to fight it through self-destructive behaviors like binge drinking, drug use or self-harm. Consider rebound sex only if you’re sure you can make it work.
At a moment where you might be feeling most unloved, you have to make an extra effort to love yourself. Think about your own relationship standards and what you should expect from a partner in the first place. No one else will be able to love you the way you deserve to be loved unless you love yourself too. Even better: self-love and positivity attract people in general, but they especially attract other positive, self-loving people. These are the ones you want in your life to help ease the pain and foster personal growth.