At some point in every man or woman's life, they'll go through a breakup. I don't mean just any breakup. I mean an earth-shattering, life-altering, even-tequila-can't-solve-the-pain kind of breakup. For those of us that have been through them, we know how brutal they can be.
No one expects a breakup to be easy, but this isn't just any normal split. This is actual love. You had started to think about the future with this person. They had met your friends and family. They became part of your inner circle. Now you're left trying to figure out how to move on.
Here are three things you shouldn't do if you actually plan on moving on from your ex:
1. Don't misinterpret the message.
If they wanted to be with us, they'd be with us.
Midway through any breakup, your ex will reach out to you. I guarantee it. They'll email you, text you, Facebook message you or even have the nerve to call you. They will absolutely reach out to you, though. It never fails.
Don't fall for the usual tricks. Don't misinterpret the message. Don't take them reaching out to you, to mean that they still care about you. To some degree, I'm sure they do care for you, but not in the way you think. Post-breakup communication is a minefield; people are lonely, feelings are being second-guessed and it is ripe for misinterpretation. Don't make the mistake of hearing what you want to hear rather than what your ex is actually saying.
Their reaching out to you is about them — not you. If your ex wanted to actually get back together with you, they'd say it. When they ask how you're doing or what you've been up to, they want to know if they've been replaced. They want to know whether they should be jealous. They aren't actually concerned with how you're doing.
Don't allow yourself to be tricked into the idea that a reunion could be down the road. They'll say things like, "Let's just be friends," or, "I can't imagine my life without you in it." Maybe they should have thought about that before you guys broke up.
Trying to stay friends or in constant communication is an easy way to end up on uneven ground. Don't get stuck on anyone's hook. If someone wants you in their life, they'll make a concerted effort to put you in it.
Words mean nothing without the necessary actions following them. One of the worst feelings in the world is to realize that someone doesn't actually have any intention of getting back together with you. When you allow yourself to misinterpret the message, you set yourself up for hurt and heartbreak.
2. Don't stalk their social media.
It's simple: Don't do it.
If you want to hurt really badly and set back your pace of moving, look at your ex's Facebook page or Instagram. I promise you won't feel good about what you see.
In response to a question about ex's on my show, I told someone that social media is the new personal PR firm. People can now control their image and send out the image they want with the click of a button. If you want the world to think you're happy and having fun, all you have to do is post a few pictures online of you out at the bar on a Friday night. If you want to make an ex jealous, all you have to do is post a few pictures at a party surrounded by attractive people. What people don't see are the moments in sweatpants on the couch or ordering takeout for one.
Undoubtedly, you will slip up. You will find yourself scrolling through your ex's timeline, wondering who the hell that person is holding their hand or why they posted the lyric to that song. You'll find yourself searching for any morsel of evidence that you once existed in their life. You'll wonder why they're having so much fun while you're struggling to make it through the day. You'll compare yourself to their new flavor of the week. Just remember that everything is not what it seems.
Just remember that everything is not what it seems. Whether your ex admits it or not, they're hurting, too. If the relationship meant anything to them, they're hurting. Everyone just deals with pain differently.
3. Don't beat yourself up.
To make a relationship work, it takes two people. Both people have to be committed to putting in the work to make a relationship succeed.
Putting in the work does not mean changing everything about yourself. Putting in the work does not mean letting your ex telling you how you ruined the relationship (unless you cheated, 'cause that's another story). Putting in the work does not mean that you, and you alone, have to fix what ills your relationship. Relationships are
Relationships are two-way streets, and no one is perfect. We've all done things in relationships that we wish we could take back, said harsh words that we wish we had never said or acted in a way that we're embarrassed by now. That's part of growing up. We learn from those mistakes and become better partners because of it.
Don't waste time that should be spent healing beating yourself up. I'm sure that there are things that could have been done differently, and you should take the time to reflect on those things, but don't beat yourself up doing it.
No single person should shoulder the weight of any relationship. That's not how partnership works. Partnership is about working through the tough times together, sacrificing together, wanting more than anything else to be together. If your ex expects you to solve all of the problems your relationship has or thinks that they played no role in causing the breakup, you're probably better off without them. Everyone has something that they can work on.
Moving on is hard. It's like mourning the death of someone. It takes time. There's no way to get around it. You'll go from wondering how you can ever go without talking to them every day, to gradually realizing that they're just someone that you used to know.
Maybe you and your ex will find your way back to each other. Maybe you won't. Who knows? Right now, you're broken up, and you have to treat it like it's for good. It's a painful experience, but one that you'll be stronger and better because of.