10:47 20 March 2006
Getting over a break-up is hard to do. Instead of wallowing in your heartache, try to take positive steps to put your failed relationship behind you.
Follow this 10-step plan to moving on:
Don't see him
If he has to come to the flat, arrange for someone else to be there. Ban him from dropping in casually and ask him to remove the rest of his stuff as soon as possible.
Don't contact him
No more 'how are you getting on' emails or 'I've just found that shirt of yours' phone calls. Forget about excuses to get in touch. It just keeps you hanging in there and hoping. If he's contacting you, ask him not to.
Don't go to the empty cupboard
Trying to find ways to fix or get back a relationship you know in your heart is over is like going to an empty cupboard hoping that instead of a few crumbs you'll find a big fat loaf there. You won't, and as long as you're going back to that cupboard you won't see the deliciously full one just around the corner. Close the door on it and walk away.
Talk about him less
Going over every detail of what happened with friends may feel comforting initially, but after a few weeks it's time to stop. Friends get bored and you get stuck. So be very selective about what you say and the people you say it to and start talking about other things.
Stop giving yourself a hard time
So you weren't perfect. Well neither was he. You both did your best to make it work and it didn't. Put it down to experience and forget about blaming him or yourself. Blaming anyone hurts only you and holds you back from recovery.
Think of yourself as over it
Imagine a date a few weeks away when instead of feeling awful you'll wake up and know you're over it. The sun will come out, gorgeous men will appear from nowhere and you'll feel like going out and living life again. Why wait? Draw that day towards you, so that it becomes tomorrow. Feel the excitement of knowing you did it, you survived and life is good again. Now hang onto that feeling.
Self-esteem takes a tumble after a break-up and you have to rebuild it step by step. Feeling gorgeous is vital, and anyone can do it. Tell yourself you're sexy, charismatic, bright and desirable - and listen to friends who think you are too. Act gorgeous by pampering yourself, even if you don't feel like it and don't think it will make a difference.
What's important now is to meet lots of people, men and women, and talk, smile, flirt, take an interest and laugh with them. Life as part of a couple often limits contact with other people. Now it's time to get really sociable.
Don't know how to meet people? This is an excuse to hide behind. If you want to meet people, you will. Make a list, right now, of all the ways you could do this. Join an evening class you've always wanted to take such as Italian. Try something physically demanding such as rock climbing or arrange a get-together with old friends.
Take your time
Don't jump hastily into any romantic relationships. The rule tends to be that if you rush in fast it will end fast too. So go slowly. If you fancy someone, great, but hold back for a while and remember that this new you is in charge and needn't hurry.
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