Take some responsibility. We tend to either blame the breakup on ourselves or entirely on him, and neither really gets us anywhere. A good friend of mine told me about an umpteen-paged letter she wrote to an ex specifically describing how he hurt her and the fault she was willing to claim. She never sent it. At first I didn't really understand the point, but then I realized venting on paper can be cathartic. There's a big different between wanting someone and needing someone, and if it's the latter (which is often the case) taking some credit for the breakup will help you realize why the breakup was for the best.
Don't play the victim. Women always tend to be the helpless and wounded in movies, and it's seemingly no different when it comes to relationships. According to the American Psychological Association, women are twice as likely to develop depression than men. Don't get me wrong, the sympathy is nice when we feel lost and lonely, but it only makes us that much more vulnerable. Be strong and positive. Easier said than done of course, but the stronger-willed we are, the less likely we are to make bad decisions and be taken advantage of by the hard-to-resist rebound.
Work on you. One of the worst mistakes we make after a bad breakup is letting ourselves go physically, mentally, emotionally—or all the above. We tend to break down and spend too much time in our sweatpants wallowing. And wallowing is good—even needed—for a certain period of time. But after the initial breakup shock has worn off, we need to get off the couch and take care of ourselves. After a devastating breakup with an ex, I spent months in bed, most of which remains a blur of time I'll never get back. Lesson learned. Treat yourself to a manicure or some new highlights. Living well really is the best revenge.
Refocus your life. This step is the hardest because it forces us to admit the relationship is completely over. Sit down and make a new list of priorities—sans ex—and figure out what is important to you. Give precedence to your family, friends, career and yourself. Find ways to fill that time left void by him and try new things. Push for that promotion, reconnect with old friends and take a mini-vacation with your mom or sister. Whatever it is, just count him out.
Now a lot of these tips may seem a little facetious and even idealistic, but the key to getting the closure you need is focusing less on the reasons surrounding the split because you may very well never get them. Allow yourself to cry and rely on friends. Allot yourself that time. Just remember how much time we all spend pining after ex-boyfriends that didn't even give us the time of day to offer an explanation. Then think about how much time it takes to find a new guy and build a better relationship. You do the math.
Sharon Tharp is a freelance writer who enjoys reading on the beach, watching The Office, and spending ridiculous amounts of money on concert tickets and magazines. She recently graduated from The College of New Jersey and loves writing about all things pop culture.<