Moving on after a relationship break up

Breaking up can feel so hard. Depending on who's instigating the breakup, you may be left feeling very bereft, out of control even, but there are ways to move on; these may sound difficult and don't feel you have to do them all, but they will certainly help!

10 ways to move on from a relationship

1. Acceptance
Tricky though it might be, you may need to really accept that it is over and mourn the loss. Engaging in "understanding mode" and even anger (expressed or otherwise) is a natural part of the grieving process, but stalking your ex on Facebook or watching his or her name pop up on chat or other instant messaging service is not going to help you move on, as they are reminders that you used to be in regular contact.

You may not wish to cut off all contact (for parents typically this may not be possible anyway), but cutting off as much contact as possible really will help with the healing process. Some people advise completely eradicating every single memory and contact with that person. Do what feels right but be kind to yourself.

2. Acknowledge moving on isn’t easy
Talk to those who can support you or engage in counselling to process what went wrong. Sometimes just being heard is a healing process in itself. It takes time, and everyone has a timeframe that is specific to them. People who suggest it is taking you too long are not helpful. Everyone is an individual!

3. Watch for signs that indicate that you haven’t moved on
If your ex persistently pops into your mind and you find a feeling starts to come in or you want to react, this is a sign that you haven’t moved on. Find ways to distract yourself, or write down everything that you are feeling. Talk to a friend with whom you feel comfortable to talk freely.

4. Be mindful
Some people suggest that it takes half as long as the length of the relationship to truly move on, depending on the strength of feelings. This may not always be the case, but be mindful as to how you're feeling, as there's a fine line between "putting up barriers" and simply steering clear of future relationships whilst healing. The rebound effect is a common side effect when recovering from a broken relationship; a way of dealing with loneliness.

5. Loneliness and seeking a new relationship are mutually exclusive
Finding new ways to occupy your time in ways that YOU enjoy is a great way to heal and rediscover who you are, what you enjoy doing, and what makes you happy. Taking time out to reflect on what went wrong and what you can bring to a new relationship will pay dividends, and also what you truly require from a new relationship. In general, men love to chase and women love to feel nurtured.

6. How would you like to be treated?
Think of your most favourite person in the world and how they treated you. Or, imagine you as your own best friend. What would you give yourself? Equally, what do YOU feel you can offer a relationship? What are your best qualities? 

7. Self-valuing
On a scale of one to 10, 10 being high and one being low, where do you rate yourself? Do the same for other people in your life, or people you admire. Compare the score. How would your best friend value you? Revisit your score.

8. Recognise your feelings and understand the ways to manage them
What you recall and manage with the relationship break up will be a mixture of loss, disappointment, sadness, anger, regret, and hope. Choose the emotion that most resonates.

9. Recognise that this relationship was not right for you
List the ways in which it was not right, and if you experience feelings of sadness and disappointment, remember the times when it didn’t feel right. Match the two feelings together, and if you can’t then you know it’s time to move on. Go out, meet new people, join a dance/exercise class, develop a new hobby, or take up the hobbies you did before you got together.

10. Forgive him/her
To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness. At least this is what the intuitive gurus say. I think this is important; it doesn't mean they didn't hurt you - it's just that you can let them go and see what the experience taught you about yourself.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

Share this article with a friend

Written by a listed counsellor/therapist

Show comments

Find a counsellor or psychotherapist dealing with relationship issues

All therapists are verified professionals.

Real Stories

More stories

Related Articles

More articles