The Relationship Couch

Break Up Tips – I Got Dumped. Now What?

breakupDear Anita,

I was dating this guy for almost a year and he just dumped me. It took me by surprise and now I’m struggling. I think my friends are tired of hearing about him. It’s been three months since the breakup but I can’t get over it. Can you give me some tips to get over him please?

– Julia in Chicago

Hi Julia,

Being dumped by surprise can be one of the worst feelings. You can’t focus at work or school, you become obsessed with memories of your ex, and you lose your appetite. When my clients come to me in these kinds of situations, I find that tips with specific actions are extremely helpful. Here are a few to get you started:

1. Date. I know it’s sometimes the last thing people want to do after a breakup, but there are so many men out there for you to go out and have fun with without the expectation of a serious relationship. Just be upfront about your intentions. You can tell your potential dates that you’re casually dating or wanting to explore the city, but aren’t looking for anything serious. Those who have similar intentions will stay in the game.

2. Fill your time. If you used to make dinner with your ex every Sunday night, plan an activity that you’ll look forward to until the pain of Sunday nights subsides. Get together with your friends, volunteer, take a class, or catch up on your favorite shows. Fill that time that you used to spend with him doing something fun or productive. Some of my clients know when they’ll have idle time so they ask their friends to hang out – and promise not to bring up the ex!

3. Plan for weak moments. You’ll have your weak moments when you may want to contact your ex. Have a go-to plan in place – exercise, call a friend, distract yourself with work, pick up a book, etc. And whatever you do, don’t cyber-stalk! You’ll be upset if you see something you don’t like or can’t explain – “Who is that girl in that photo with him?” Even better, unfriend him on Facebook if you haven’t already done so and if necessary, block him so you won’t sneak a peek. Also, allow your friends to take your phone away at times of weakness.

4. Keep count. If you’re an “out of sight, out of mind” person this won’t work. But if you’re not, use a calendar to keep track of the days you’ve gone without contact. Having a visual reminder can also keep you from reaching out.

5. Remember why you broke up. Visual reminders can be extremely helpful. Keep a list or use sticky notes with the reasons why you broke up in the first place. Leave them in your purse, put them on your nightstand or hang them on your fridge. Were there any red flags that you missed? Write those down and look at them often. If you had friends who disliked your ex, this would be a good time for them to remind you how much they disliked him.

6. Avoid your relationship haunts. It’s ok to avoid your usual hangouts until you feel better. It doesn’t mean your ex has power over you, it means you’re paying attention to your emotions and doing what’s best for you in the moment.

7. Get out of routine. Getting out of routine can elevate mood. Whether it’s taking up a new hobby, trying different restaurants, or taking a trip to a place you’ve never been, these little and big ways can make you feel happier, which can also give you hope that you can happily move on.
Although time can heal all wounds, it’s what you do with that time that can be a key difference to you healing more quickly.


One Response to Break Up Tips – I Got Dumped. Now What?

  1. kaylab says:

    my boyfriend and i have been dating for 7 months.
    we broke up a couple days ago.
    I try not to contact him but here i am calling.
    well we broke up because lately i have been un happy with my life and it was making him unhappy. i would flip out on him for no reason and i would always let my insecurities get the best of me. the thing is he doesn’t even act shady!
    so anyway i have been feeling low and i dont know what made me this way. in the result it caused us to break up.

    and when we broke up. he said he wanted time apart. and asked if i agreed. so i did.bc i knew it wasnt going right. he says he wants to be with me. but right now cant bc he wants me to take care of myself and improve on these things and then see what goes from there.

    i still call him but im not blowing up his phone.
    sometimes he responds and sometimes dosent.
    i asked him if he found it annoying and he said no.
    the convos are short but it makes me happy that he answers.
    when he feels like it??

    the last time we talked i told him bout my day and he was short but not rude about it. he was in the middle of doing stuff. so when it was time to get off i said okay tttyl and he said sounds good. then that was it..

    im just confused. please help?

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