We've all been there.
That awkward dinner, painful phone call, or even the surprising email (true story).
That moment where your sweetie let's you know that this is the end of your romantic road together and they want to break up.
Whether it's done skillfully, awkwardly, or insensitively, whether it's a surprise or you saw it coming, being dumped is never any fun. (It's not that fun if you're the dumper, either, or even when it's mutual - articles from those angles another time).
Here are some tips to help you deal with a split:
1) Get emotional closure.
If the person is available, have a conversation where you get to ask any questions you need to in order to understand why they want to end the relationship.
Then really listen.
It might truly not be about you, but there is probably some good information to learn from.
You can also ask to hear things they enjoyed about the relationship and things they appreciate about you.
It's important that you get to express your thoughts or feelings as well.
Note: Beware of being too vulnerable, and beware of letting the Rage Monster take over. If you can let your ex know some things that were hard for you, and things you enjoyed or appreciated - without sobbing or yelling - then go for it.
If your ex is not available for a conversation, or you still have strong feelings after your talk, write a letter where you get to say all of the things you want to. Don't send it. Just get it out. You can also make a list of all the reasons why it's a good thing you're no longer together with this person (this list can come in handy when thinking later about what you DO want in a relationship).
2) Get physical closure.
It's important to tie up any loose ends so that you feel complete. Relationships are about being connected, and this person has decided not to be connected anymore, at least not in the same way.
Stop any sexual or romantic contact. No more sleeping together, late night phone calls, sweet or sexy texts. Of course, the myth that break-up sex can be hot often turns out to be true. Just keep an eye out to make sure that it doesn't make you feel emotionally not-so-hot.
Separate your belongings (this can obviously be a long process, especially if you were living together). Return or discard any reminders of the person in your personal space. You can keep a couple of photos or letters if you want to, but put them out of sight. Any clothes or other personal objects need to be let go of.
Untangle yourself financially (make sure any outstanding debts are taken care of, joint bills or credit cards are separated, etc.)
3) Get support.
Reach out to friends and family.
Go to therapy, find a coach or a support group.
Make sure there are at least two people in your life that you can be totally honest with about your feelings.
If you are feeling blue, it is essential to surround yourself with people who love you.
They can remind you of who you really are, and reflect all the awesome things about you that might be hard to remember right now.
4) Move On.
Notice the benefits of being single.
You've got lots more free time and you don't have to negotiate with anyone about your choices.
Your ex hated Indian food? Go out for Indian food as much as you like.
You haven't seen some friends in awhile? Reach out and reconnect with them.
Think about what would really be fun and exciting for you, and go do it.
Take that Zumba class.
Start planning and saving for that trip to Alaska.
Train for a marathon.
Buy a new outfit that you feel great in.
Volunteer for a cause that is close to your heart.
Put up an online dating profile.
Go to MeetUp events.
Move towards who you want to be and how you want your life to be. New love will find you and this time it will last.
4) Move On.
Create a ritual to say goodbye.
Gather together trusted friends and family.
Burn the letters. Delete the texts.
Throw some pebbles in a stream.
Cry your heart out.
Get clear on your vision.
Laugh and celebrate.
Do whatever feels right to help you let go of this chapter of your life and move towards the future.
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