A breakup is never easy to deal with. It can take up to weeks, months, or even years, in some cases, to truly recover from heartbreak. It can be even more difficult to move forward when one partner cheats. While heartbreak is one challenge, learning to trust again can take time and work. More often than not, it can be difficult to even come to terms with the initial betrayal, making moving on seem almost impossible.
Your Feelings are Valid
It’s easy for others to simply say to “move on” or “get over it” from an outside perspective. But in reality, the answer is not that easy. You may feel inclined to criticize yourself for feeling the way you do, but it is important to recognize and accept all your emotions loneliness, sadness, anger, or confusion as normal and valid. Acknowledging these feelings is an important step in the healing process. Hilda Burke, a psychotherapist and counselor says that “The only way to ‘get over’ a break-up or a betrayal, like any other suffering we experience in life is to fully go through it and that means letting ourselves feel and express the pain.”
Lean on your Support System
Processing these emotions or finding a healthy outlet to deal with them can be difficult when you are doing it on your own. Especially when you’re just getting used to living life without your partner, it can feel incredibly isolating and lonely to heal without any outside help. Chloe Carmichael, a New York City-based therapist who specializes in helping patients move on from breakups, recommends establishing a “support system” of close, understanding friends or family to surround yourself with. This healthy support system replaces the once previously unhealthy, toxic relationship and can additionally help boost your self esteem.
You may feel the urge to want to go back to your ex or keep in contact with them may seem innocent at first. But in the long run, reaching out to the person who caused you harm can do a lot of damage to your healing process and disrupt the space you need. If you feel yourself wanting to contact your ex, contact someone in your support system instead, says Carmichael.
Set your Boundaries
Another important step, says Carmichael, is establishing and reinforcing a strong boundary between you and your ex. This will allow you to preserve both physical and mental space to work on your own peace and healing. You may want to start with unfollowing or blocking them on social media, or asking them to not contact you for the time being,
Amy Chan, a relationship advice columnist advises readers to keep your ex off your social media feed and cut all contact for at least 60 days. This is an ample amount of time to focus on yourself, and to work through your emotions. Chan recommends proceeding with this boundary as such: “Hey, it’s not that I don’t care about you, but I need this time to heal, take care of myself, and focus on my self-care. For the next 60 days, I’m going to remove you off social media and not have any contact. Please respect my wishes.”
If they choose to disrespect this boundary, you can proceed further consequential actions like blocking their number if they disrespect your wishes.
Moving on and finding your happiness after heartbreak can be difficult and often discouraging. Remember it is more about respecting yourself and your happiness when you choose yourself.