After your girlfriend left you, your friends continue to tell you that you're better off without her, but that doesn't help the feelings of shock and sadness go away. Moving on after an ego-bashing breakup is difficult, but essential. After all, you don't want to be the guy who is still talking about "the one who got away" 20 years later. After squarely facing reality, acknowledge your pain and know that you'll become stronger for having experienced it. It'll make it easier to slog through life until your emotions aren't quite so overwhelming anymore.
Embrace Your Feelings
Immediately after the breakup, it's important to let yourself feel sad, angry, betrayed or any other emotions that arise. Attempting to deny your pain results in it being stuffed away, but not eliminated -- much like the leftover macaroni and cheese you shoved to the back of the refrigerator two months ago. When the pain resurfaces, it will be more difficult to deal with; just like your leftovers. Also, suppressing your feelings can make it more difficult to control your moods and can lead to feelings of inauthenticity, according to researchers James Gross and Oliver John in a 2003 article published in the "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology."
Live in the Moment
Asking yourself what you could have done to ensure a different outcome or wondering if you'll ever find another girlfriend is a sure way to stay down over your breakup. Instead of living in the past or worrying about the future, strive to stay in the present moment. When you find yourself slipping into a blue mood over your loss, look around you and make note of 10 things in your environment. For example, you might see a squirrel in a tree, a leaf fluttering down the street and an oil stain on the driveway. While there is nothing spectacular about these everyday things, taking the time to notice them will put you squarely back in the present moment, where everything is okay.
Have a Life
Keep up your daily routines, even if it's difficult, says counselor Nathan Feiles in a June 2012 article on PsychCentral.com. Getting over being dumped will be even more difficult if after a week, you find yourself unshowered, unshaven and sitting on the couch surrounded by empty pizza boxes and soda cans. Taking care of yourself keeps you from becoming derailed by the experience, and provides a sense of normality amidst the emotional upheaval. Continue to participate in your everyday activities and hobbies, even if they aren't as enjoyable as usual. Eventually, your interest and engagement in them will return.
Seek to Grow
All experiences in life are fodder for emotional growth. As painful as a breakup is, viewing it as a learning experience can take away a small part of the sting of rejection. Perhaps your experience enabled you to learn something about yourself that you wouldn't otherwise have known. Think about whether there were any patterns in this relationship that were repeated from previous liaisons, for example. Use this time to better define what you want out of your next partner and relationship.
- Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images