For example, if you're a woman, you might not be hanging with your ex's lifelong guy buddies anymore (though you should expect them to be civil if you run into them). Women friends (with the exception of those who are in relationships with said lifelong guy buddies) will probably stick by you. And while there's nothing wrong with accepting their emotional support to a degree, there *IS* a trap you need to watch out for. When those friends ask you, in their best I'm-trying-not-to-sound- like-I'm-pitying-you voice, "Soooooooo, how are you doooooing?" you MUST resist the urge to say, "WHY? How is [insert your ex's name here] doing? He's not seeing anyone else, is he? It's not that tramp from accounting, is it?!?" Pumping his acquaintances for information about your ex, especially how HE's handling the breakup and moving on, is practically the same as being in touch with him yourself.
In fact, it might even be worse, since info through a third party might be contaminated by speculation, opinion and gossip.
5. KEEPING A SHRINE. Holding onto physical reminders of your ex is a post-breakup decision you're sure to regret. When a relationship ends...even after your ex is physically gone, the memory of him/her is still with you.
Just by taking a quick glance around your home you will probably find reminders everywhere: photos of him/her in picture frames, his/her favorite sweatshirt still slung over a chair, ticket stubs from a concert you enjoyed together stashed in a drawer, a six-pack of beer in the fridge (definitely your ex's - you're a wine drinker), the smell of them on your pillow case. Though it may be tempting to slip on the sweatshirt, crack open one of their beers, and lay on the pillow breathing in his/her scent while you look at photos and cry, this is not the healthiest choice for you if you want to get over your ex.
On Day 4 of my 30-day Breakup Breakthrough coaching program I provide a step-by-step plan to purge your place of your ex's belongings that not only allows you to feel your feelings and do things in your own time, but can also be -- believe it or not -- FUN. I call it a "Purge Party" and give specific instructions on how to decide what to keep, what to trash, and what to give back to your ex (plus HOW to give it back without compromising your "no contact" pact with yourself). I even provide some simple, fun and inexpensive decorating tips to use this opportunity to reinvent your space and reclaim your home as your own.
6. STALKING YOUR EX ONLINE. Today's modern breakup is a lot different than breakups 10+ years ago. It used to be that, once you decided not to speak on the phone anymore, you really didn't have much of a way to keep tabs on your ex. NOW, thanks to the Internet, you can Google them, hop onto Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Match, or a number of other social networking and dating sites to see who's been "friending" or "poking" him, what his "status" is, and what he's been tweeting about.
In other words, all the information you need for emotional self-destruction is available at the click of your mouse. Do yourself a favor and unsubscribe from his/her tweets. Remove your ex from your social network of friends and block them from contacting you. It *WILL* get easier to resist the temptation once you've gone a few weeks without contact, and you're MUCH better off not obsessing over the details of his/her online social life.
7. GIVING IN TO VICES. When you're going through a heart-wrenching breakup, it can be difficult to choose constructive behaviors over destructive ones. With all that you're going through emotionally, mentally, even spiritually and physically, it's only natural for you to be tempted to fall into some behaviors that might feel good in the moment but are actually rather self-destructive. Some examples of behavior like this are overeating; not eating enough; chain-smoking; drinking too much; blowing your rent money on a new handbag; rebound hook-ups with strangers; and acting out in aggressive, hostile or dramatic ways.
It's important, during this especially fragile time, that you take good care of yourself. Eat a healthy and balanced diet even if you don't particularly feel like it. Of course, it's fine to treat yourself to something comforting once in a while, like ice cream or chocolate. Just remember to keep it in moderation. And a glass of wine with dinner now and then is fine, but if you're finding yourself drinking excessively, using drugs, or acting out in violent or potentially harmful ways, these are signs of a serious problem and you must seek professional help right away.
In addition to being mindful of your physical health, you also need to take care of yourself mentally - by taking a break from your ex to process what went wrong and learn the lessons from the relationship, and emotionally - by nurturing yourself and giving your heart a chance to heal. Making healthy choices now (even if it's difficult) reinforces your commitment to taking care of yourself, and will help build your self-esteem. And healthy choices don't have to be a drag, either!
For example, if you're tempted to show up at your ex's house unannounced - which is self- destructive - but instead you choose the healthy alternative to stay home, pour yourself a glass of wine and take a relaxing bubble bath, you're going to end up more relaxed, rested, and feeling a whole lot better about yourself than if you'd thrown yourself at your ex and gotten into an emotional debacle.
Today, make a decision to take care of yourself the same way you would take care of a loved one who is hurting... gently, with love, compassion and respect.
8. BADMOUTHING YOUR EX OR SEEKING REVENGE It's human nature to want to call your ex every bad name in the book for dumping you. Or to be tempted to air your dirty laundry with every acquaintance you have in common so you know it'll get back to him/her. (I'm reminded of the episode of "Sex and the City" where Carrie Bradshaw tells Berger's friends that he broke up with her on a Post-It. Can you say 'AWKWARD?!') You may even find yourself fantasizing at ways you can exact revenge on your ex... And I won't go into examples because I don't want to be responsible for giving you any ideas!
Before you do any of these things...STOP. THINK. And remember what your good friend Paige Parker always says, "Nobody EVER regretted taking the high road."
In the end, you will always be prouder of yourself if you keep your self-respect intact. Karma is a you-know-what, and your ex will suffer in his/her own way without you having to lower yourself to nasty behavior.
9. REBOUNDING INTO A RELATIONSHIP TOO QUICKLY Ah, this is a tempting one. You miss your ex. You miss being able to call him/her when you've had a bad day at work. You miss cuddling on the couch while you watch movies. You miss having someone to split a pizza with.
So the obvious solution is, well... jump right into a relationship with that not-so-attractive-or-interesting-or-even-nice person you met at the bar because, hey, HE/SHE has a phone, is a decent cuddler, and likes pizza too! WRONG!!!
Your standards for a mate are at their all-time low after a breakup. You're not thinking straight and you're making emotional decisions out of need rather than rational ones from a place of strength and clarity. In my book "Dating Without Drama" I share an anecdote about the time I rebound-dated a very emotionally needy stand-up comedian who had a penchant for pot smoking and slept on a mattress on the floor of his friend's studio apartment. UMMMM, WHAT WAS I THINKING??? ANSWER: I WASN'T.
Spare yourself the "D'oh!" moment of regret you'll inevitably have down the road and just say "NO" to a rebound relationship. You'll know when you're ready to get back in the dating game, and -- BONUS! -- your first date probably won't be with an antisocial troll. AND THE FINAL -- AND BIGGEST -- POST-BREAKUP MISTAKE YOU ARE SURE TO REGRET IS...
10. GOING THROUGH YOUR BREAKUP ALONE. FACT: Most people don't process their breakup in a healthy way. We stuff negative or uncomfortable feelings down until they manifest in other ways (headaches, illness, depression, acting out)...
We isolate ourselves because we feel that no one can possibly understand what we're going through...
We self-medicate with food, alcohol, shopping, or worse...
We force ourselves to go out on dates before we feel ready, which can lead to poor choices, including emotional and physical promiscuity.
The truth is, going through a devastating breakup or divorce is much like grieving a death. It takes time - and some help - to get over a loss like this.
FACT: If you don't deal with your breakup properly, you are doomed to repeat your past mistakes
The silver lining of your breakup is that it can teach you many valuable lessons about yourself...if you're open to learning from it. But if you're in a hurry to just get over your breakup without processing it in a healthy way, not only will you miss out on those enlightening lessons, but you will most certainly create similar unhealthy circumstances in your future relationships. (And if it's been months or even years since a devastating breakup and you're having trouble finding a fulfilling new relationship, I can guarantee that the "emotional baggage" from that breakup is the culprit.)
Dealing with your past relationship and its ending (through the support of friends and family, as well as professional help, if necessary) will break this pattern and free you to make healthier choices moving forward.