If you’re reading this after your boyfriend has just broken up with you, trust me, I know what you’re going through. I’ve been there before on more than one occasion, and honestly each time it felt like my heart was ripped right out of my chest.
I found myself asking Google – “My boyfriend just broke up with me, what should I do?” – looking for answers on how to stop the pain and rightly or wrongly, find a way to get him back.
So if you’re feeling depressed, sad, rejected, angry, anxious or just generally shitty, I want you to know that I empathise. Losing the guy that you loved, who you potentially thought of as “the one” is a really traumatic experience and nothing anyone can say right now will probably make you feel better.
But I thought I would pass on some advice on how to react in this situation if you want to move on, or if you want to keep the hope alive of getting your ex back.
The first thing to do is just don’t do anything. Stay calm, take a deep breath and let the feelings flow through you. Of course you can be upset, but there’s no need to make any rash decisions. Listen to what he has to say and if you want to, have an adult conversation about what went wrong.
Don’t hurl insults at him
It’s tempting when you’re feeling angry, upset or rejected to start pointing out everything that’s wrong with him. But by doing this, you’re only pushing him further away and you might regret it in the long run. If you confess in the heat of the moment that he’s lousy in bed and he generally sucks as a human – he’s probably going to remember what you said. If you come running back to him a couple of weeks later, don’t be surprised if he’s feeling kind of hurt and acts cold towards you.
Put yourself in his shoes
Whenever a guy breaks up with you, imagine the tables being turned. Imagine that you’ve spent weeks feeling unsure about your boyfriend, and that you’ve finally plucked up the courage to have ‘the talk’ and break up with him.
When you break the news to him, how would you want him to react? Would you want him to throw objects at you, cry, scream and yell? Would you want him to take revenge, or threaten to harm himself? I think not. You would hope that he takes it gracefully and with dignity. Sure he will be upset and down in the dumps, but he would respect your decision.
Once the initial breaking up is over with, I advise you to just cut contact. Don’t message him telling him how much you love him or reminisce about all the things you used to together. Don’t call him trying to persuade him to change his mind. This will have the complete opposite effect of what you’re trying to achieve – it will just push him further away. Instead, just cut all contact. This is hard, but the no contact rule is essential. No texting and no calling. If he messages you, don’t engage with him as everything is too raw. Just tell him politely that you need some time without talking to think.
Take time to yourself
Once you’ve done all that, it’s time to give yourself some TLC. If you need to cry, then cry on your friends’ shoulders, not his. Talk to them about what happened and give yourself time to grieve the end of your relationship. Listen to some upbeat music (no wallowing with sad songs) and relax. Do things that interest you, get plenty of fresh air and get regular exercise. Make sure you’re eating plenty of healthy foods to ensure you’re getting your nutrients. It’s easy to slip into a routine of sleeping all day when you’re feeling depressed, but it’s important to get out of the house.
Don’t go out and get drunk
Your friends will probably tell you to get your gladrags on and go out for a night on the town. But alcohol is a depressant, and an evening of binge drinking in a nightclub can easily turn into a night of tears and phone calls to your ex. Not good. Going on a night out trying to meet men can only highlight what you’re missing and make you feel 10 times worse. So hold off the alcohol and go for a civilised dinner with your friends instead.
Focus on things you love
Now it’s time to focus on all the things that you love doing, especially if you neglected them while you were with your ex. Perhaps take up a hobby that you’ve always wanted to try but you never got round to signing up for. By doing new activities you’ll build your self esteem and your confidence, while potentially meeting new people too. This is all about becoming your best self – someone that you would want to date.
Do whatever it takes to make yourself feel good. Visit the hairdresser, get your nails done, try new makeup or buy some new clothes. Always wanted to try laser hair removal? Perhaps now’s the time to splash out. The point is to make yourself feel attractive to new men. Bonus: if your ex runs into you he may start to wonder what the hell he was thinking.
Don’t gossip to mutual friends
Gossiping with mutual friends about your relationship is a big no-no. It’s likely the information will get back to him and he’ll be upset that you shared private information with them. If you need to talk, talk to your Mum, your best friend or someone neutral outside of your relationship.
Want to get him back? Do this
If he’s treated you badly, harmed you in any way, or cheated on you, then it’s time to cut the chord. If, however, you had a good relationship but he feels he’s in a weird place or he’s having doubts, then potentially you may hope to get back with him. If you genuinely feel that you were right for each other then the best thing to do is do nothing. Yes, you heard me. Nothing.
When in doubt, leave things be. If he wants to come back he will. Cut all contact and focus on the steps above. Become your best possible self and try to move on as best you can. Remember, you cannot force someone into loving you. Most relationship gurus will recommend a no contact period of 30 days or sometimes even three months. 90% of the time the guy will reach out to you sometime within this time frame.
If he does, you can respond but be very casual. No talking about heavy stuff from your relationship – the past is in the past. If he doesn’t reach out to you, you can send out a text message, but again, nothing serious.
The aim is to have a light, fun conversation and put the feelers out to see if there’s still any interest there. If there is, and you end up setting a date to meet up, this is the opportunity to show him the new, more confident you. But whatever you do, don’t just let him back into your life (read: bedroom) straight away until you’ve discussed what you both want. Err on the side of caution and hold back until you know his intentions.
If you want to learn some specific actions you can take, which are backed by science, check out James Bauer’s Relationship Rewrite method.
I hope these tips can be of some help to you. Remember, mostly what you’re feeling is rejection. Most of all, it’s important to remember to love yourself. Make yourself a priority.
Perhaps in this time you will realise that your ex wasn’t right for you anyway and you’re better off without him. I know you probably can’t imagine being with anyone else right now but you never know, this could be the best thing that’s ever happened to you and you will go on to meet Mr. Right.
Or perhaps in the future he will realise he’s made a mistake, but at least by following these steps you will have kept your dignity intact.