And how to get over it faster.
Breakups are garbage, and worse, they’re one of those situations where everyone thinks they can (and should) be dispensing advice to you, as if what works for them should automatically work for you. There’s no strict rule for how long a breakup should affect you or exactly when you should start dating again. (I don’t think you need someone to tell you that “half the length of the relationship” is bullshit — people getting divorced after 20 years aren’t mourning for 10 years after that.) Some people might be fine after a night in with a pint of ice cream, and some people might need a year of introspective soul-searching.
But there are certain things that are warning signs you’re wallowing too much. If you find yourself doing any of these things, it might be more than just a bad breakup, and you should talk to a therapist or other professional about depression.
1. You don’t even want to hang out with your best friends — they just make you feel bad for still being sad. “You need your network of friends when you go through a breakup,” says Julie Spira, a matchmaker and online dating expert. To avoid isolating yourself, she says you should be super honest with them. Acknowledge that you might talk about your ex too much or need to work through things. Give them permission to tell you to back down. This way, you’re not just worrying that you’re being a drain on them and they’re not worried about accidentally offending you.
2. You check your ex’s Facebook profile or thumb through their Instagram — several times a day. There’s nothing wrong with entertaining your morbid curiosity about what your ex is up to occasionally. It’s pretty much impossible not to peek with social media. But, as Spira says, if it gets to be multiple times a day, you should stop. “If you’re checking up on someone every hour, that’s obsessive,” she says. “If you’re checking to see who they’re with and then checking other profiles to see if those people were definitely in the same place, that’s also really obsessive.” The best way to cut back on this one? Block their profiles.
3. You’re cutting anything that even remotely reminds you of your ex out of your life. “In the beginning you may want to avoid the things that remind you of your ex,” says Susan Elliott, J.D., M.Ed., author of Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss Into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You. But Elliott warns against losing things that made you happy just because you associate it with your ex. Don’t stop running or watching a certain TV show out of bitterness. Keep the things you love, and find a way to redefine them. Start running with a club to redefine your morning jogs as a social activity, not a love activity. Find a friend to obsess over The Blacklist with. Pretty soon you’ll feel positive about those things instead of hating them forever.
4. You’re not finding new ways to occupy your time. Part of getting over an ex is ~*~FiNdiNg YoUrSeLf~*~. A study published in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science found that figuring out who you are after a breakup is one of the most important steps in moving on. If you’re still seeing things in terms of “me and Brad” and not “me,” that’s something you need to change. “Anything that can enrich your life without your plus-one by your side is a good thing,” says Spira. Whether it’s taking a yoga class or a cooking class or joining a hiking club, it’s an opportunity to be out around other people, and you can regain your confidence and your identity.
5. You can’t stop dwelling on the good parts of the relationship. “It’s such a common thing to think, ‘Oh, it was so wonderful to fall asleep in his arms every night. I miss that,'” says Spira, “but do you miss him criticizing you in front of your friends or cheating on you?” If you’re still having wistful daydreams about how great things were a month after the breakup, make a pros and cons list of your relationship, and be realistic. “If you can think about it as, ‘I wouldn’t want my best friend to date someone who did A, B, C, D and that’s what my ex did’ then you’ve got your answer right there,” says Spira.
6. You’re letting your ex string you along. It makes things doubly tough when your ex can’t let go either. Even if they’re just checking in or asking if you’re OK, it can interfere with your ability to get over the breakup. If you feel the need to distance yourself, but they can’t quite let you, just ask for space. “If you keep hearing from someone and it bothers you, then block them, and let them know you’re doing it,” says Spira. “If you block them without saying anything, you’re keeping the drama alive.”
7. You’re hardcore mourning the relationship for more than six weeks. “The first few weeks, you might be a person of extremes, eating or sleeping too much or too little, talking too much or too little, crying too much or too little. It’s normal to take up to six weeks to get your sleeping and eating habits back to normal,” says Elliott. “But after four to six weeks, it’s unhealthy to still be staying in and pushing people away.” There’s no magic number in terms of when you’ll be totally over your ex, but if the breakup is affecting your daily life after a month and a half, it’s probably time to check in with a therapist.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan. For more like this from Cosmo, try:
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