7 Common Mistakes 20-Somethings Make In The Wake Of Heartbreak

by Ryan Carmody

I wouldn’t wish heartbreak on even my worst of enemies. The effects can be so debilitating that it can take months, if not years, to rediscover yourself in its wake.

When it happens, it’s like we become spectators to some disjointed one-act play that stars a broken, paranoid schlep who can no longer seem to get anything right.

Those of us who have been on the receiving end of a breakup know that it’s tough to empathize with those who did the breaking up, even long after the relationship ends.

Typically, we breakup-ees have little to no closure and are offered trite excuses, like “you don’t get along with my friends” or “you snore too much in your sleep.”

As that pain marinates and lingers in our hearts like the unwanted visitor it is, we tend to drive ourselves crazy. The days following a breakup are crucial for setting the tone of how to cope, not only for your sanity, but also for your health.

Here are seven landmines to avoid at all costs when you’re navigating a breakup:

1. Not Respecting Your Ex’s Wishes

This is usually the first “rule” that your ex will spew in his or her breakup speech and is by far the most important, not only for the other person, but for you, too.

If you call his or her friends to get them on your side, it will quickly backfire, as loyalties lie with your ex.

As hard as it will be, you must not contact your ex. Delete him or her from all social media, block his or her email and delete the phone number.

Your ex won’t expect you to comply with this demand at all, but by doing this, you will set up the potential for reconciliation down the road, if you so choose. It’s your best chance at it.

2. Be The First To Reach Out

The first one to speak loses. Period. Focus on your own well-being, not his or hers. Your ex will be just fine, and you will be, too — eventually. If it’s meant to be, the universe will reconnect you… way down the road.

We want what we can’t have and absence makes the hard grow fonder. But in this case, distance is your protection. Give yourself plenty of time to heal before deciding your next move.

3. Shutting Out The World

After a breakup, your necessity for social integration will never be more important. Keeping up with the herd, so to speak, will keep you doing the things that may hurt you and will prevent you from drifting away from those who care about you the most.

Hang out with friends and smile with them, even if you have to fake it until you make it.

4. Stopping Your Exercise Routine

Yes, motivation will be the first thing to go. You see and feel blank. But, don’t let the things you love be the things you let languish. I know you don’t want to, but get out of bed already! Those miles won’t run themselves. Give yourself the edge you need in your Jedi emotion training.

5. Turning To Drugs Or Alcohol

That shot, that line or that pill might save you from feeling anything... for a couple of hours. Then, that high becomes a low and the pain will come even stronger. Don’t be fooled.

That pain will never go anywhere when you use these things. Free yourself of toxins for at least a month and experience the myriad of emotions you must inevitably confront.

6. Falling For The “I Made A Mistake” Routine

Really? You made a mistake? Great! I’ve just been over here bleeding out of my chest while you were considering whether or not this was a good idea. Ummm, no. Anyone who treated this kind of decision as a casual one clearly never had your best interest at heart, anyway.

Don’t take the bait. When those words, “I no longer want to be in this relationship with you” release from his or her lips, any previously built-up trust shatters. If it was truly a mistake, what’s to stop it from happening again and again? This could simply be a ploy to break the silence you’ve created. Don’t fall for it.

7. Dating Too Soon

You may still be glorifying your previous relationship, remembering all of the good times you had and completely ignoring the bad. You may still be in the angry, bitter and resentful stage and might use dating as a tool to get over it all.

But, be mindful of the new person you’re seeing. Let this person know he or she could be a rebound. The new person will get it and will appreciate that you gave the head's up.

Remember what you’ve learned and never beat yourself up because things didn’t work out. Share your wisdom and empathize with those who will have to deal with it this in the future. There’s no shame in navigating learning experiences.

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