A breakup can definitely bring out the worst in people. But rather than letting your ex see your hurt or vindictive side, try focusing on the positives of a breakup whenever possible, suggests relationship expert Lisa Steadman, bestselling author of It’s a Breakup, Not a Breakdown. Everyone processes the end of a relationship differently, but if your goal is to accept it and move on, there are some actions to sidestep for a healthy recovery. Steadman advises her clients to avoid these 4 common pitfalls when it comes to finding new happiness after a breakup.
1. Focusing on your ex. When a woman is in the midst of a breakup, it tends to take center stage. All that energy is really a waste though, says Steadman, because it only heightens the negative emotions. “It’s really easy to focus on what’s next for an ex – who will he date, what he will do – but a woman should really refocus on herself instead.”
2. Cyberstalking. The days of waiting until after dark to drive by your ex’s place to see if he was home, and who with, are long gone. Sure, the creepy drive-by option still exists but social media has made it easier than ever to check in on exes, and from anywhere. Though the temptation is strong, avoid following your ex online. “The best approach is to just remove him from your social media pages,” said Steadman. “It will only upset you and make you feel like you’re missing out.”
3. Rebound s*x. Getting “back out there” is healthy after a breakup and flirtation can actually be a mood-booster. However, those good feelings can turn sour quickly if the interaction turns too physical. “Rebound s*x can actually send you running back into the arms of your ex,” said Steadman. “You miss the comfort from the relationship s*x and when it’s not the same, it can be very unsettling.”
4. Self-loathing. No matter who’s responsible for the breakup, women tend to shoulder the burden and turn it into something deeply personal, especially as they get older, according to Steadman. “Women see all of their friends settling down, getting married, and having kids… they think, what’s wrong with me? Now I have to start all over again,” said Steadman. “And it can feel very exhausting.” Instead of worrying what everyone else is doing, though, Steadman says you should just zero in on what’s positive in your life and remind yourself of what was wrong in the relationship. “Don’t view a breakup as a failure,” she said. “It isn’t about everyone else. It’s about you and your next steps.” Rationality is not always easy to come by when matters of the heart are at stake, but putting a positive spin on a breakup can bring closure and peace faster. Think about all of the good stuff in your life, like healthy friendships, how well school or your career is going, how supportive your family is, and what your next steps are in terms of chasing what you’re passionate about. A bad relationship can hold you back, so you’re much better off with this fresh start. “The best news ever is when a woman looks back and says that she’s glad she broke up with an ex,” said Steadman. Just remember that you’ll be okay, and you will find happiness again.