Don't use your breakup as a reason to slash their tires.
Fresh heartbreak leads people to make all kinds of terrible decisions. Here are some significant pitfalls to avoid in the wake of a breakup. I've done every one of the things on this list, so if you have already slipped up and made a few of these breakup mistakes, know that you're in good company.
Here are 16 things to avoid doing at all costs if you ever want any chance of reconciling with your ex.
1. Staying In Contact
Trying to stay in touch with an ex is the surest way to keep re-opening the wound, over and over again. When you're on the roller coaster of talking to them and then letting them take up your mental space, you're not getting over it or moving on.
2. Trying To Stay Friends
Like trying to maintain contact with your ex, trying to keep them as a friend is a really big mistake. This is because simply demoting them to the "friend" category gives you a reason to see them, wonder how they are, contact them and generally not get over the breakup. Whether they want a friendship with you or not, in the wake of a recent breakup, maintaining a relationship of any kind is a huge mistake. It doesn't allow you the time and space that you need to heal.
3. Attempting To Get Closure
The simple fact is that you don't need closure from your ex to move on from your relationship. This is because it is highly unlikely that even if you get your ex to spill all of the gory details of their side of your breakup, your ex probably won't tell the whole truth, and it will throw you into the pit of bargaining despair.
It's important to recognize that for whatever reason, your relationship didn't work out. You can give yourself closure right now by deciding that the breakup is for the best and that in it's final state, the relationship was irretrievably broken. This is enough for you to start the process of moving on. You can go over the mistakes you made in the relationship later.
4. Begging For Another Chance
Avoid begging at all costs. You can't "talk someone into" wanting a relationship with you. If they decide they want you back, that's a decision that they have to come to on their own. Later, when the dust settles, you'll just feel ashamed and embarrassed that you made a such fool out of yourself. I still cringe at the way I acted after a couple of failed pairings. The best way to avoid this is to stay completely mum.
5. Hitting Them Up For Ex Sex
Having sex with your ex is never, ever, EVER a good idea. Don't try to segue into a "friends with benefits" situation. Do not call them up at 2am and say you miss them. Don't answer the phone at this time either. Same goes with any time after 9pm. Don't "try to get closure" by hitting that one last time. Just stay away.
6. Keeping Some Of Their Stuff
Don't hold your ex's items hostage so you can later have an excuse to see them. They won't suddenly remember that you have their M.C. Hammer CD and want you back. Just untangle yourself from them, and start getting on with your life.
7. Wanting To Get Back Together With An Abusive Ex
If your ex was abusive, trying to get them back is just going to get you more abuse. It will not get better, even if they promise to change. There is a difference between mourning because someone is gone and wanting someone back in your life because you realize they were genuinely good for you. While you might be heartbroken right now, if your ex abused you in any way, they were wrong. Period. End of story.
8. Letting Your Life Fall Apart
Wallowing and feeling the hurt while listening to sad breakup songs for a while is okay. Letting your responsibilities go to the point where you're on the verge of getting fired is not. Force yourself to follow through with your responsibilities. Sooner or later, you'll be thankful that you didn't let everything go to hell because of your breakup.
9. Letting Heartbreak Turn Into A Bout Of Serious Depression
To stave off depression in the wake of heartbreak, get regular exercise, make sure you get out of the house and see people, start new hobbies, and throw yourself into your work. Right now is the time to focus on your self care. If you are starting to feel blue as a whole and have lost interest in activities you used to enjoy (besides your ex), consider getting professional help.
10. Numbing The Pain With Drugs And/Or Alcohol
Numbing out with drugs or alcohol will make it so that eventually you'll feel the pain of the breakup whether you're ready for it or not. You don't need to have to deal with an addiction on top of the pain of your failed relationship.
11. Meeting Someone New While On The Rebound
The reason for the aptly titled rebound is that you bounce back and then eventually the new relationship ends, leaving you to pick up the pieces and recover from another heartbreak, right on top of the last one.
Rebound relationships can be and exciting way to numb out and feel desirable again, but caution — they are fraught with problems. The largest of which is that they don't give you the opportunity to air out and figure out what you really want in a partner. Also, the people that you choose to have relationships with at this time are often just the stark opposite of your ex, rather than being genuinely good choices for you.
12. Making Huge And Drastic Life Changes
Okay, so you have decided to move to New York and leave your past behind for good. That's cool, but wait to make any huge life changes for 6 months. If you still want to change everything and move to another state, continent or country, or get a tattoo of your ex's face with a line through it, do it after you have had the chance to heal from the breakup.
It might sound good to do something drastic to get a fresh start but often this is a knee-jerk reaction by the heartbroken in order to gain a clean slate. Wait. If you still really want to move or shave your head in 6 months, then by all means do so. Keep reading...
13. Stalking Your Ex
Don't view anything of your ex's. Don't look at their Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, IM or anything else. In fact, delete their profiles from all of your devices. Unfriend! You don't need to be looking at their stuff late at night and trying to interpret their nights out. You don't need to have the wound reopened with every status update.
Also, don't "run into" them at places they hang out. Don't go to their work place or their home. Don't be a super creeper and give them reason to call the cops. You are guaranteed to embarrass yourself big time, and later you'll want to scream at your heartbroken, pathetic self. Just don't do it.
14. Trying To Get Revenge
When you are hurting, it can feel like revenge will somehow make you feel better to show your ex the kind of pain that they inflicted upon you. Don't, under any circumstances, try to get revenge on your ex. It doesn't matter if they slept with your sister while in the next room. Living well is always the best revenge.
15. Isolating Yourself
While it's understandable if you want to be left alone for a while, keep in mind that contact with other non-heartbroken people like friends and family members who love you is a really powerful way to help you heal.
16. Bitterly Giving Up On Relationships For Good
Breaking up frees you to have a new relationship. While this is scary and painful to imagine right now, the idea that you can go out and get someone else eventually gives you a lot of power. Angrily announcing that you are completely giving up and never trying to meet someone again is NOT the answer to heartbreak. Love didn't break your heart, loss did. Swearing off love is like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Taking some time off to figure out who you are and what you want in a relationship is a healthy thing to do. Just don't let your heartbreak determine the course of the rest of your life by swearing off people altogether. You can't gain love if you never try again.
What steps have you taken to get over being dumped? Are there any breakup mistakes that should be on this list that I didn't include? Let me know what you think in the comments.
This article was originally published at Having Time. Reprinted with permission from the author.