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How to Be a Good Person After a Break Up
Just about everyone will go through a painful breakup at some point. You're not alone in feeling bitter and resentful. However, taking the high road and trying to be a good person in spite of your pain can help you grow as an individual. Work on avoiding your bitter feelings by regulating your emotions and focusing on the positives. Practice basic self-care and give yourself time to grieve. Be careful about contacting the other person. It's okay to have a few conversations so you both get closure, but don't expect to be friends with your ex right away.
Coping if You Were Dumped
Avoid bad mouthing your ex.After breaking up with someone, you probably have some resentment for that person. As much as you want to vent, hold off. If you want to be a good person after a breakup, avoid saying bad things about your ex. This is especially important when talking to mutual friends.
- If you really can't put off the temptation, write down everything bad about your ex in a notebook. Venting in your diary or journal is better than complaining to others.
- Talking too much about your ex can also be bad for you. You don't want to get into a place where you're wallowing over negative things that have happened. This will not help you move on and let go of bigger feelings.
- If someone asks about the breakup, respond without saying anything negative. Instead of saying, "She broke up with me because she thinks she's too good for me" say something like, "We wanted different things, and that's why we broke up."
Limit contact in general.Communication, even online, is a bad idea after a breakup. This can fuel bitter feelings. Try to un-follow your ex on various social media outlets. Avoid the temptation to visit your ex's Facebook and Twitter pages. If you're feeling any resentment over the breakup, you may start feeling bitter if you see your ex posting happy statuses or pictures.
- Do what is best for you when it comes to social media. If you think you will be better off not seeing your ex’s posts, then delete your ex from your friends. If you think deleting your ex will make things harder for you, then don’t delete your ex.
Take a break from dating.Jumping into a new relationship is not fair to your new significant other. You need time to heal after a breakup. Going into another relationship right away is often a means to deflect negative feelings.
- You don't want to carry any negativity into a new relationship. If you're still reeling, you want to give yourself a chance to calm down before you pursue someone new.
Replace irrational thoughts with rational ones.If you want to be a good person after a breakup, you need to be good to yourself. If you're feeling bitter or otherwise negative, you're more likely to take this out on those around you. Try to be aware of any negative, irrational thoughts you experience. Work on consciously replacing them with rational thought patterns.
- Many people have bitter, exaggerated thoughts during a breakup. You may, for example, think something like, "My life means nothing without my ex" or "I don't think I'll ever be happy again."
- When you experience such thoughts, try to step away and look at them rationally. Replace negative thought patterns with kinder ones. For example, think things like "I have a lot going on for me, even though my romantic relationship did not work out" and "I will be happy again eventually, even if things are rough now."
Do not lean on others for too long.You don't want to emotionally unload on people long term. In the initial weeks after your breakup, friends and family members will be happy to offer you support. However, after a while, people will need to return to their own lives. If you keep leaning on people for too long, they will get frustrated.Seek out a therapist if you find that you still need significant emotional support after a few weeks have passed.
- Try not to ask for too many favors for too long. For the first week or so after the breakup, it's acceptable to ask people to spend weeknights with you and listen to you vent.
- After a few months, however, you should give people their space. Work on feeling better on your own instead of expecting other people to fix your problems.
Handling Ending the Relationship Yourself
Explain why things ended.If you broke up with someone, you can offer them an explanation. If someone comes to you asking for closure, kindly explain why you wanted to end the relationship. This can help the other person grieve and move forward.
- You don't have to be cruel with the person. Remember to phrase things tactfully. You can also give a partial truth. For example, you found the person a little boring and therefore did not want a longterm relationship with them. It's a bad idea to say, "You just kind of bored me as a person, so I wanted to be with someone else."
- Instead, tell the person you just didn't think the two of you were compatible long term. This is true, without being cruel. For example, "I'm just at an age where I'm looking for something longterm. I really liked you a lot, and spending time with you was great, but I felt like it wasn't going to work out in the long run."
Let the person know they still matter.You want to make sure the person you broke up with still feels valued. A breakup can really affect someone's self-esteem and sense of self. When breaking up with someone, make sure to let them know you still value them as a person, even if you don't want a romantic relationship.
- Try saying something to the person along the lines of, " You've been an important person in my life and I still care about you, but this is not working out for me because…"
Allow the other person to ask questions initially.The person you're breaking up with may have some questions for you. It's okay to let the person ask certain things. However, repeatedly answering the same questions will not do any good. It's not good for you or the other person if you are just going around in circles. You both need space and time to heal.
- Try to give answers that do not invite further questions and discussion. For example, "I want kids and you don't." Or, "I know you have goals to move up the career ladder and move out of the country. I don't want that for myself." Avoid giving answers like, “I don't know what happened, but I'm not in love with you anymore.”
- You can also invite the other person to ask questions if they're curious. For example, "What do you think of this? Do you understand my decision?"
Taper off communication.Whether you dumped the other person, or the other person dumped you, you should not communicate too much directly after the breakup. Both of you need space. Being too involved with one another right after a breakup can lead to bitter feelings and arguments. After a week or so, you can stop talking as often or at all.
- If you want to stay friends, make sure to make your boundaries clear. For example, you can agree not to talk for a month or so and then talk again when you both feel ready to reignite a friendship. Try saying something like, “I want us to avoid communicating with each other for one month, so I will not answer your calls, texts, or emails during this time.”
Caring for Yourself
Take up a hobby.It's a good idea to keep yourself busy in the wake of a breakup. If you linger on bad feelings for too long, you may lash out towards others. To regulate your emotions, take up a new hobby or rediscover an old one. This can help you be a better person, as you'll be focusing on new, positive things rather than negative feelings.
- You can try to join a hobby where you meet new people. You may be in a better overall mood if you focus on starting fresh with new friends. You could, for example, take a cooking or painting class.
Practice basic self-care.If you're taking care of yourself, you're more likely to have the energy to manage your emotions. This will make you a better person in the aftermath of a breakup. Make sure you keep up with eating right, sleeping right, exercise, and personal hygiene.
Take it easy.Don't try to do too much when you're feeling wounded emotionally. Especially in the days right after a breakup, it's okay to take time for yourself. Do not feel bad if you have to lessen your commitments for awhile.
- For example, say no to things more often. Don't agree to do extra favors for others or take on volunteer opportunities. You need time to recover.
- Skip one obligation during the week. For example, miss one meeting for your church's vestry. Instead, stay in and do something nice for yourself.
Make plans with others.It's a good idea to stay social after a breakup. This can help you remember that there are still people that value you, even if you're not in a romantic relationship. Make plans with friends from work or school. Invite an old friend out to coffee. Staying socially active after a breakup can really help you mend.
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