You know that feeling: the void in your mind and heart when you break up and can no longer share those parts of you with the only person you used to share them. We’ve all been through heartbreak at one time or another and struggled to get over it. It’s as much a part of life as love.
Fortunately, in the golden age of social networks, after a breakup, it’s easy to meet someone new, which is great when you’re ready to move past your relationship. Not so great when you’re still mourning the loss of your lover and best friend.
Your heart breaks more every time you see him moving on without you
Even worse is when he appears to be getting along just fine. In all of his pictures, he’s smiling, laughing, hanging out with friends, and having fun. Not you. Your heart breaks more every time you see him moving on without you.
It becomes impossible to look away. You check your ex’s social media again and again and again. You feel like you can never escape him. Then one day, when you think things couldn’t get any worse, you stumble onto a picture of him with his arm around another woman. You suspect this person is his girlfriend, so you go and check her social media.
Months pass. You’re still lurking on your ex’s accounts and the girlfriend’s, too. It’s become a part of your daily routine right in between brushing your teeth and making your morning coffee. You wonder if you should’ve fought harder for your relationship, why your ex chose this woman over you, and how come you can’t move on. The answers are simple yet complicated. Fortunately, there are strategies to help you heal.
Take time to reflect on your breakup
Vikki Ziegler, a divorce attorney, relationship expert, and former host of Bravo TV’s “Untying the Knot,” cautions, “Breakups are difficult, and it’s important to reflect on what went wrong and then work on yourself before jumping into your next dating relationship. You need to give yourself time to go through all of the emotions that can impact a breakup like anger, sadness, and loneliness so you can heal and move on.”
The problem is social networks distort time, leaving you frozen in front of your computer screen while everyone else moves forward. A helpful trick is to…
Block your ex
Blocking your ex could work. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Jennifer Hurvitz, CDS™ (Certified Divorce Specialist), breakup coach, and best-selling author of “One Happy Divorce” and “woulda. coulda. shoulda.: A divorce coach’s guide to staying married” agrees. “Yes, and yes again! Until you’re able to go about your day without letting his life interfere with your own, do it. We all know Facebook and other social media platforms are not always a truthful depiction of reality. The stories we tend to create in our minds are making the healing process even more difficult. Do yourself a favor and block him.”
Liberating yourself, however, is easier said than done, even if you choose to block. We use social media for more than keeping tabs on our exes. Our social media accounts keep us in touch with faraway friends, serve as a source of news, offer a forum for us to share thoughts and ideas, promote our companies, provide endless entertainment, and keep us connected to our communities — where our exes might be, even when minding our own business.
Social networks have become so embedded in our society that we can’t always cut our exes out completely. Moving on from our exes, therefore, may take more than a click of the “block” button. It requires discipline and compromise, and why you may want to…
Take a break from social media
According to Ziegler, “Taking a rest or extended break from social media can allow you to clear your head and not be focused on his or her every move.”
“Even if it’s for a week or two,” says Hurvitz, “it will give you time to breathe and literally block out the fake narratives you’re creating.”
Deactivating your accounts for a designated period becomes freeing without feeling final.
Check up on your ex from time to time.
If you still find yourself having a tough time breaking away, Kristin Davin, Psy.D., a therapist from New York City who specializes in relationships, suggests creating a healthy boundary for looking.
“If you must check his social media,” says Davin, “make it limited, not limitless. Don’t allow yourself hours every day to scroll through images that make you upset. Equally important is having an endgame (an end time) when you will no longer check at all.”
Focus on future relationships
With the distraction of social media gone or minimized, you’ll now be in a position to focus on your future as well, including preparing yourself for the possibility of a new relationship. Hurvitz counsels her clients how important it is to take the time you need to heal. “But then,” she says, “go get your groove back! Instead of wasting energy on that past relationship, concentrate on the future ones. Because, while you might not be ready to move on just yet, trust me, you will.”
Hurvitz tells her clients to make a list of what she calls “non-negotiables,” those characteristics or qualities that you will not do without in your next relationship. “Then stick to it,” she emphasizes. “No settling! You clearly know what you don’t want in a man, now let’s find out what you DO.”
Become your best self
“Start thinking about how you would like your life to look,’” recommends Davin, “and take steps to make that happen. Creating the best relationship starts by bringing the best version of yourself.”
Davin points to yoga, mindfulness, journaling, and exercise as effective ways to quit ruminating about the past and create instead a path that will keep you grounded in the present and looking to tomorrow.
Spend more time with friends and family
Rally support while you’re at it, too, encourages Ziegler. She suggests that those trying to get over an ex spend more time with friends and loved ones.
“Be present with the important relationships you have currently, and have fun by dancing in the evening, going for drinks, or taking up a new hobby. These moments will allow you to get your mind off your ex and focus on the next chapter of your life with those you care about and who care about you.”
Learn from your experience
When you first distance yourself from your ex on social media, you may go back to feeling like your breakup is the end of the world. How could it not? You cared for your ex, perhaps loved him. But time does heal all wounds, that is, if you let it. If you’re conscious about the healing process, you may even learn a thing or two as well.
“Despite the despair that you may be feeling at this time, each relationship can provide invaluable teaching moments,” Davin reminds, “if you allow them to come into focus. Ask yourself questions such as: What did I gain from this relationship? Is there anything I want to take away and improve on the next go around? Was I the healthiest I could have been in this relationship? Take stock. We often gloss over some of the things that were not working as well as we thought they were.”
Get back out there again
As you work through your pain, your heart will ache for your ex less, until one day it won’t ache at all. And when you’re ready, “put yourself out there again,” advises Ziegler. Life and social media go on. So will you.
This article was written by Stacey Freeman. Stacey is a New York City-based writer and the founder of Write On Track, LLC. Her writing has been published or syndicated in The Washington Post, The Lily (Published by The Washington Post), Entrepreneur, Forbes, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, Town & Country, SheKnows, Yahoo!, MSN, HuffPost, Popsugar, YourTango, xoJane, Scary Mommy, Maria Shriver, The Good Men Project and other well-known platforms worldwide. Stacey is frequently called upon for her expertise and insights and has been quoted in The New York Times, HuffPost, and SheKnows, to name a few. Oh, and she’s a single mom of three amazing kids. For more information about Stacey, visit www.writeontrackllc.com.