I was 12 years old when I got dumped for the first time, and I still remember it like it was yesterday. At the time, my godmother gave me the best piece of breakup advice I have ever received. “Breakups are like a bikini wax — they never get easier, but after a while, you learn how to deal with the pain,” she told me. A dozen broken hearts (and bikini waxes) later, I’ve now realized just how unerring her words truly were.
Unless you’re one those people who ends up marrying their grade school boyfriend/girlfriend, which is less than two percent of the population btw, and staying together forever, you know that breakups are a part of life. And, as I so eloquently learned as a pre-teen, it’s not whether they happen that matters, but rather how you deal with them when they do.
According to new research, there are a number of different ways to “properly” get over breakup brain — including distracting yourself, filling your head with negative thoughts about your ex, and reminding yourself that it’s okay to love someone you’re no longer with. Each method works in its own way, but the common theme is that they all change your way of thinking about about the other person.
Truth is, as anyone who’s ever found themselves crying into a pint of Halo Top and re-reading old text messages knows, this is a lot easier said than done. So, to find out how to put this science into IRL practice, I reached out to women and men who have been through a bad breakup before. For me, meditation and going on long runs always helped, but there are many, many more helpful (and creative) ways to get through it. Keep scrolling to learn more.
“Once I got to the mad stage, I put on really sad, emo music, dimmed the lights, drank wine straight from the bottle, and went through my phone, social media, whatever, to delete every single image of us together… And then the number.” – Kristin L.
“Move across the country — seriously. The space was super helpful. I was the type to always be where I thought I might run into him, and it completely ruled my mind and took up all the space I didn’t realize I needed to focus on myself and healthier things. I know it may be unrealistic for a lot of people to pick up and move, but the further away you can stay, the better.” – Lindsay H.
“Adele, of course, and tough love from friends.” – Maggie G.
“Say yes to friends who ask you to do things. If you say no all the time, they’ll stop asking and you’ll end up lonelier.” – Myla R.
“I think one of the best things to do is to keep the communication open. My husband and I split up, and I moved to a different state. After the anger was over, the communication started, and we figured out that as much as we loved each other, we couldn’t live together happily. So, we now live apart happily and still do as much for each other as we can.” – Angie R.
“Block their number and delete it from your phone — trust me, they will have nothing good to say. The best way to move on is to have no way of contacting them.” – Katina G.
“Go to the gym and get fit AF.” – Alicia C.
“Give up social media for a few months — very refreshing — and try meditation. I got really into it during my breakup, and it made it so I had only 20 minutes a day, twice a day, to think about how awful I was feeling. It allowed me to contain the negative thoughts… I swear by it.” – Kate
“Solo travel. It distracts you, gives you confidence, helps you grow, challenges you. It gives you space, but isn’t isolating. Best thing I ever did.” Mac Q.
“Listen to your gut. Don’t drag it out after it’s done, and delete them on social media!” – Megan G.
“My girlfriends and I collected all of his stuff and burned it, since I was never going to see him again. It was rather therapeutic. You could also just throw it out. Ship their things back if they ask, though. No need to be petty. Otherwise, get rid of it. Out of sight, out of mind.” – Tori S.
“What has helped me deal with the stress is working out, meditation, and being with friends.” – Jackie P.
“Therapy helps a lot. So does deleting everything from your phone. It’s like a purge, so the phone is clean of your ex. You can always back it up so you have it saved in case you do get back together.” – Jodi
“Call a therapist. Or, quit your job and chill with your mom.” – Lacey S.
“The best way to get over someone is to get over someone else.” – Adam