Things You Should Never Do After a Break-Up

Get into an immediate rebound relationship

One of the least advisable things you can do straight after a breakup is jump straight into a rebound relationship.

Though it might be tempting to push off feelings of loneliness by finding someone else immediately, there’s almost zero chance that the relationship will work out long or even medium-term and, when it inevitably explodes, you’ll have hurt a completely innocent third party.

Go back to a different ex

In the immediate aftermath of a bad breakup, it’s easy to get rose-colored glasses for all the relationships that came before the one that just ended.

Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that in the case of older ex-partners, you broke up for a reason! Going back to a different ex eliminates any chance for the serious reflection and growth that comes before a healthy relationship.

Bad mouth them on social media

Nothing alienates friends and annoys coworkers like going public with a messy breakup. While you’re totally entitled to change your Facebook relationship status or take down the cutesy couple holiday pics, airing your partner’s dirty laundry all over your Instagram story just makes you look desperate and immature.

If your ex really did something unconscionable, keep it to the best friends’ group chat.

Permanently delete all your pictures

Burning all the photos in the album or, as is increasingly more common, taking all your couple pics off Instagram, is a rite of passage for anyone going through a breakup.

With that said, unless your ex is the kind of person you definitely never want to speak to again, you should opt for archiving images over destroying them. Who knows when you might want to look back?

Lean on their family

Often, the hardest part of a relationship ending is saying goodbye to all the people you wouldn’t have known if you weren’t sharing a life with your partner.

While it can be difficult to break up with a partner’s family in addition to them, because they likely did nothing wrong, continuing to see and talk to them as if nothing is different is pretty inappropriate.

Have too much fun

Everyone is entitled to their reckless and rebellious phase when newly single, but there’s a difference between staying out until 4 AM three nights in a row and kissing someone whose name you don’t remember because you like their band tee, and completely blowing up your life.

Know your limits, don’t party alone, and skip the tattoos in Miami.

Ask their friends for information

Most people have the self-awareness to know that blocking an ex on everything after a breakup is wise, but just after doing so comes the realization that you have no idea what is going on in their life, how they’re coping, or if they’re seeing anyone new.

As tempting as it is, don’t pester their friends for info, as this looks downright sad.

Make a permanent appearance change

Changing your look after a breakup is a good and healthy thing to do. After all, it can give you a much-needed confidence boost and help you feel in control of your own life and body.

However, while a fresh haircut or a new eyeliner style is totally okay, things like plastic surgery, dramatic weight loss or even some tattoos should wait until you’ve some distance from the split.

Date their friends

There’s a reason some version of “don’t date your partner’s friends, even after you’ve broken up” is present in both girl code and guy code – it’s a taboo not worth breaking no matter how bad or painful the split.

Dating your ex’s pals might feel like satisfying revenge in the moment, but it’s only going to lead to more hurt feelings in the long run.

Withdraw from friends and family

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the split, it’s easy to feel embarrassed or ashamed after a breakup. As such, there can be an instinct to pull away from family and friends in order to avoid talking about what happened.

Nevertheless, it’s important to have platonic and familial love in your life always, but especially after an emotional blow like a relationship ending, so give them a call.

Beg them to take you back

Regardless of who ended the relationship, it may be tempting to beg them to get back with you once it sets in that you’re single and they’re no longer in your life.

You’re desperate for that normality back and to feel loved. But ultimately it’ll just make you look pathetic, and even if you do end up back together, it will be built on a desperate plea.

Drunk text them

You’ve just had a relationship end, you’ve had a few drinks with your friends, and you look down at your phone and see their name in the contacts. Do not text them.

You may be thinking they’re still so much left unsaid, and now you’re inebriated it’s easier for you to share all the pain and emotions but it’ll only end up embarrassing you.

Idolizing them

There are rose-tinted glasses that might make you eager to reconcile after a breakup, and then there is idolization that ruins all other relationships forever.

It’s important to remember that whether you ended things or they did, the relationship is over for a reason. There are other people in the world you will connect with, and in many ways, they will be far better than your ex.

Spend too much time on social media

Regardless of whether you’re doom scrolling for distraction or keeping up on the moves of your ex and their pals, spending too much time on social media after a breakup is always a bad move.

Instagram highlights only serve to reinforce any negative thoughts and low self-esteem. Get out in the world instead and spend time with your real friends.

Try to take revenge

When someone really hurts you it’s natural to feel rage, and perhaps even think about taking revenge. But scratching ‘cheater’ into their car door or spreading a rumor about their bald patch will never end well.

Usually, these kinds of petty acts will end up harming you and your reputation more than theirs, making it the worst post-breakup move.

Share their secrets

It’s natural to rely on your friends after a hard time. You may even want to share things about your relationship now it’s come to an end.

However, it’s unfair to spill the secrets they shared with you in confidence, and it’ll expose you as being untrustworthy to those you care about – possibly ruining your relationship with your pals too.

Compare yourself to their new partner

Hearing that your ex has moved on and found someone new can be hard at times. You may be eager to see what this new person has that you don’t.

But Roosevelt said “comparison is the thief of joy” for a reason. At the end of the day, that relationship has nothing to do with your own and you need to move onwards with confidence in yourself.

Let it ruin your work

Personal troubles are likely to affect your productivity and focus on work. However, it can get to a point where your breakup begins to cloud all other aspects of your life and can put your success at risk.

Losing a partner and then losing your job is not a situation most people want to find themselves in so ensure you don’t let your breakup put your career at risk.

Swear off love

A bad breakup or a toxic ex can be enough to ruin the concept of love altogether.

When you’ve been vulnerable enough to enter into a partnership and had that trust betrayed, it can be hard to ever believe that the cycle won’t repeat again. Swearing off love, however, just ensures that there’s no possibility for future joy and connection.

Keep their stuff

It’s a chilly fall night and you’re looking to curl up in front of the TV with the ultimate cozy vibes. Whatever you do, do not grab your ex-boyfriend’s hoodie that he left three months ago.

In fact, grab everything of his and give it back! Keeping your ex-partner’s stuff is just another way of not letting them go. You don’t need a reminder of them every time you open your closet.

Keep going to ‘your’ places

Maybe the place you went for your first date really does have the best coffee in town.

Or your regular Saturday night haunt is the closest bar to you. But if they’re the special places you went to as a couple, perhaps it’s not the best idea to keep visiting them so soon after your breakup. Give yourself time to heal before opening up old wounds.

Only listen to sad songs

While Back To December and All Too Well are iconic songs, continuously playing your sad breakup playlist will only ensure that you have no chance of moving on after heartbreak.

Instead of only listening to sad songs, try changing your mood with a genre shift and blast Shake It Off instead. It’s what Taylor Swift would do.

Eat your feelings

Immediately after a breakup is the time to grab the pints of Ben & Jerry’s and order DoorDash with your besties, but when it becomes a habit that’s hard to break, it may be time to put down the burgers and pick up the celery sticks.

Fast food will only end up making you feel worse in the long run. Put yourself first and prioritize your health.

Bottle up your emotions

Bottling up your emotions only ends in one thing – an explosion. Keeping it all inside because you don’t have an outlet for how sad or angry you feel may seem like a sensible plan but without a way to let it out, the pain doesn’t go away.

After a breakup, if you have no one to spill your guts to, perhaps it’s a sign that it’s time to look into getting a therapist.

Pretend you’re okay

Going one step further than just bottling up your emotions after a breakup is pretending that you’re totally fine.

Whether you’re doing this outwardly and putting on a brave face for your friends, or telling yourself it doesn’t affect you, it stops you from dealing with your true feelings which will only get worse. Remember – it’s okay to not be okay.

Spend the night together

While it is somewhat of a sitcom cliche, sometimes you will feel compelled to have one last night of connection with your ex-partner.

However, while it may feel like a kind of closure, it just opens up the possibility of more nights or even a casual connection, which is more likely than not only going to result in pain for one or both of you.

Assign blame

Post-breakup, you may feel tempted to try to assign some sense of pain and delve into why it all fell apart.

But whether you’re trying to paint your ex-partner as the bad guy, or work out which of your faults led to your downfall, all it does is cause more resentment (either towards them or yourself). Acceptance is the best step towards moving on.

Immediately try to be friends

Some of the best relationships develop from friendships, and sometimes that person is just so special that it would hurt to lose them from our life altogether.

However, immediately post-breakup is not the right time to throw yourself into a new friendship with your ex. Take some time apart, heal from the pain, and then you can try to rebuild a connection.

Rely too heavily on partying

It almost feels like a rite of passage to down your sorrows with a glass of wine or two. Celebrating a divorce with a night on the town just seems like what’s right to do.

But relying on partying, alcohol or drugs stops you from actually accepting and dealing with the pain that a breakup may have caused, and will only cause more problems if the indulgences become a dependency.

Jump straight on dating apps

When years with the same person come to an end, it is only natural to wonder if you’re still attractive or whether you’ll ever be loved again.

But meaningless connections will never prove that to you, and endlessly scrolling on dating apps is only going to be a depressing endeavor. Jumping on dating apps directly post-breakup is to be avoided.

Keep hashing it out

You may think of a breakup as a singular event (one argument that ended it all) but as long as you keep having the same old fight, a breakup can last and last until it takes over your life.

Continuing to fight to work out who is at fault and why it all went wrong just causes more pain. If you can avoid it, don’t keep hashing it out with your ex.

Play the victim

Occasionally in a breakup, there is a clear victim. One partner cheats on the other and when the infidelity is found out, the relationship comes to an end.

However, in most cases, it’s far more complex than that, and continuing to play the victim just places you in a mentality where nothing is in your control. If you want to progress and grow, you have to change this.

Talk about it constantly

Talking constantly about a breakup to your friends will only end up with them resenting you or being so bored by the discussion that when you need their help the most with it they won’t want to listen.

Instead, talk about it when you need to, but be sure to open your life and discussions up to other topics. Don’t let your relationships revolve around your ex.

Continue to live together

A clean break is not always easy after a breakup. When you’ve been together for years (and especially if you have children together) separating your lives can be complex.

But continuing to live together directly post-breakup is just not a smart idea. Having your ex around stops you from being able to heal or move on. At least stay in different rooms until one of you finds a new place.

Make big life decisions

Getting bangs or adding new pieces to your wardrobe is a great way to feel rejuvenated after a breakup, but making big decisions like leaving your job or cutting off your friends is a terrible idea.

Life decisions like these are purely a way to distance yourself from your past and the relationship that caused you pain.

Form new codependent relationships

Ending a relationship can feel like an extremely lonely experience. You spent every day with your partner, so now they’re gone it can feel like a part of you is missing.

But even if you don’t jump into a new romantic relationship, it’s important to remember that any relationship can become toxic and codependent. Maintain healthy relationships with your friends in this difficult time.

Wallow in anger

Oftentimes people will talk about avoiding the sadness trap after a relationship ends. But depression isn’t the only reaction to a breakup.

Anger is natural, but it can also be just as all-consuming as the sadness is. Allow yourself to feel it, but don’t wallow in that rage. Find a healthy way to let it out, and you’ll be able to move forward healthily.

Reread old messages

Rereading old messages with your ex-partner after a breakup is not a clever way to move on from them.

All it will do is have you reminiscing about a past you cannot return to, or leave you seething with anger at any perceived betrayal and lies. Delete them or archive them to return to when you’re in a better space.

Move away

Moving away after a relationship ends is the ultimate way of running away from your feelings and responsibilities. While super tempting, it’s possibly the worst choice you can make.

All moving away will do is leave you with feelings you haven’t processed and no support system or a familiar environment. Perhaps wait at least a few months before moving.

Rush the breakup

It’s so important to take your own time when it comes to grieving the ending of a relationship and moving on.

Just because your friend was able to end a relationship, heal and find a new partner in six months, doesn’t mean that you’re a failure for still crying over your ex eight months after it ended. Trying to rush the process will only end in more tears.

Visit romantic spots

Art galleries, nice restaurants, picturesque parks – it would be a shame to avoid such wonderful places forever. But it might be a good idea (at least when the breakup is fresh) to give them a miss for a little while. Being confronted by happy couples in a place perfect for dates is just going to make you sadder, and perhaps even miss your ex.

Deny it’s over

Accepting bad news is one of the most important aspects of being able to move on. It’s why it’s the last step to the five stages of grief. Breakups are a form of grief so once you’ve allowed yourself to wallow and to feel angry, it’s time to accept that your relationship is over and it’s time to move on. Denying that it happened and trying to leave that door open will only hurt you more.

Look for ways to fix yourself

If you weren’t the one to end the relationship it’s natural to question why they made that decision. Was it the wrong time? Were they looking for something else? Or was it something wrong with you? However, following that path will just feed into any possible insecurities you may have, leading you to try to fix problems that no one else notices.

Hold onto old reminders of them

It seems fairly obvious that sleeping in your ex’s sweater isn’t the way to get over them. But you may struggle to know what to do about the mementos from the relationship. Whether it was plane tickets to visit them, receipts for lovely meals, or gifts that they gave you – if items remind you of them, it’s a smart decision to at least put them out of sight for the time being.

Force yourself to work through it

Paid time off exists for a reason. If you need to take a break to process difficult and traumatic events in your time then it’s your right to do so. Don’t force yourself to work through the pain. Your emotions will distract you from doing your best work possible, and you’ll just end up postponing or suppressing your real emotions.

Get a pet

It might be a very attractive idea to get yourself a companion when you’re feeling your loneliest. Your partner has left you and the bed feels emptier than it ever did before. But it’s a serious commitment to get a furry pal. A dog or a cat lives for years, so you have to take a step back and consider whether this is a post-breakup emotional, impulse buy.

Give emotional support to your ex

Sometimes when relationships end it’s hard to give up the roles that we’ve played for so long. For months, years, even decades you may have been used to being the emotional rock for your partner and helping him through bad times. But trying to continue playing that part will just hurt you more and won’t allow you to move on from them.

Provide financial support for an ex

It’s natural when you’re in a partnership with someone that things won’t be entirely equal. One side of the relationship will often provide more financial support while the other takes on more of the domestic responsibilities. But once you’ve called it quits then it’s time to take that support away. They’re no longer your responsibility – so go.

Keep cuddling

If you’re still living together or perhaps even co-parenting together then it’s almost impossible to completely cut all ties. It’s important to maintain healthy boundaries – especially physical ones. When you hug someone you release chemicals in your brain. These chemicals can cause you to associate good feelings with the person, making it harder to move on from them.

Forget to rest

In terms of high stress, you have to remember to sleep. It’s so incredibly important not just physically but mentally too. You’re not able to cope with high levels of emotions or make serious decisions when you’re sleep-deprived. Ensure that you’re able to get some sleep and serious rest before you start making any big changes to your life.

Post about it immediately

It can be incredibly tempting to jump onto social media and let the world know that you’re now single and free. But posting about your newly found freedom is an open invitation for all the wrong people to come sliding into your DMs and for strangers to flock, asking you for their details. Give yourself time to heal and work out what you want to share because once it’s online, it’s out there forever.

Update your relationship status straight away

While you may not be the type to switch your Facebook to ‘it’s complicated’ as soon you get into a fight with your partner, it can seem so cathartic to finally change your status to single. But sometimes breakups are just temporary. The smartest thing to do is take some time before you officially announce to your family and friends that you’ve ended things.

Marry the next person you meet

Rebound relationships are real. But there’s a difference between a possibly disastrous fling, and jumping straight into a serious relationship after one ends. It’s hard for you to know just how much you like the person individually when you’re moving from one serious connection to another. Take your time and do things slowly.

Stay home all the time

You might not want to go out and face the world after bad news like a breakup, but staying home all the time is going to drive you nuts. Isolating yourself is one thing, closing yourself off to any new experiences the world may have to offer is another. Get out even if it’s just for a short walk around the neighborhood, and remember the world hasn’t ended.

Be a hater

It’s easy to become nihilistic after something that brought you joy and affection comes to an end (especially if it wasn’t your choice to end it). However, putting out negative energy only attracts negative energy. Critiquing your ex, their friends, their new partner, happy couples that you know, or even happy couples that you don’t is just being a hater.

Start a diet

If you lose your appetite after a breakup, you’re not alone. Many people struggle to eat after bad news. But the choice to restrict your diet heavily is only going to end in bad things. Jumping into an extreme diet will just feed your insecurities about the breakup and without fuel for your brain, you’ll be more likely to suffer from breakup blues and poor decision-making.

Jump on a plane

Travel can be good after a breakup – just think about Eat, Pray, Love! Taking some time to yourself is key to reclaiming your own identity and working out just what you want. However, ending up in a foreign country with no plan, no money, and crying about your ex will not end well. Perhaps postpone your European adventure for a few months.

Give yourself a time limit

It can feel like breakups go on forever sometimes; when that all-encompassing sadness takes over and your life feels like it’s been put on pause, what do you do? Going through the whole process is important though, and the minute you put a time limit on your grief you’re suppressing the emotions and hurting your healing. It will pass, give it time.

Stop doing what you love

If you’re struggling with emotions following a breakup, you might find that the things you love suddenly stops seeming so interesting. It’s even harder to pick your hobbies back up when it might have been something you and your ex-partner shared together. It may be difficult but you shouldn’t stop doing the things you love after a relationship ends.

Repeat the same mistakes

It can be the hardest thing in the world to realize but sometimes a relationship ends because of your own mistakes and issues. If you don’t take the time to consider just what it was that brought it to an end, then you’re doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Be introspective and make the changes you have to.

Force yourself out

While you should attempt to leave the house and avoid becoming a hermit, you also should be aware of what your limits are. If you’re trying to get out to the club every night or forcing yourself to see friends because you think it’s what you ought to be doing, you might be neglecting what will actually help you. Sometimes alone time is sacred.

Throw away your studies

Just like you shouldn’t neglect your work or quit your job just because of a catastrophic breakup, you should also remember that self-improvement doesn’t end just because you’ve lost your partner. If you’re in college, ensure you take care of yourself, but remember that you shouldn’t throw all your studies away just because you’re single again.

Think of the time as wasted

Just because your relationship has come to an end doesn’t mean that the time you’ve spent with them was wasted. The dates, the trips, and the home you were trying to build weren’t for nothing, because they allowed you to know exactly what you wanted and to grow as a person. Without them and the relationship, you wouldn’t be the person you are.

Improve yourself to get them back

Improving yourself is such an amazing task to take on. Everyone should be trying to become the best version of themselves. But if you’re only interested in improving yourself to get your ex back then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. There’s no guarantee they’ll take you back, and your priority should be yourself anyway.

Stay in the same old room

Memories of your ex will probably haunt you for a while but sitting in a room you shared, with your joint possessions all around you is likely to cause you much more pain. Take it as an opportunity to redecorate. Make your space your own again, and fill it with new memories that have nothing to do with them or the relationship.

Think about the future you’ve lost

When you’re in a serious relationship, the two of you are usually working towards a future together. Whether you want to have children or build a home, you’re in it for the long haul. That’s a loss that you may not consider until after the breakup. But dwelling on the imagined possibilities of what the relationship could bring will cloud your actual future.

Wait around for closure

‘Closure’ is such a complicated term. To have closure with someone is to understand and come to peace with what has happened no matter how it ended. But of course, it’s not always as simple as that. If you’re waiting for closure before moving on or dating someone new, you’ll be stuck around forever.

Start trying to fill in the blanks

Sometimes relationships end. There may be no actual reason or there may be thousands of reasons. Sometimes if someone ends your relationship they may not tell you those reasons. Hunting around for the truth and coming up with explanations for their behaviour – like cheating – will just cause more pain and stress while you obsess over the past.

See yourself as a failure

It’s hard not to blame yourself when someone leaves your life. Their reasons may not include you but the feeling of abandonment will always sting. Seeing yourself as the problem or as a failure is not healthy. If you look back fondly over the relationship, think about how much of that joy came from what you brought into the partnership. Sometimes things just don’t work out.

Become a cliché

Break-up films are beloved for a reason. But when you realize you’re acting like Elle Woods throwing chocolates at the TV or Bridget Jones crying in her dressing gown, it’s time to clean yourself up. Becoming a cliché is not as fun as the movies make it look. Self-care is in right now and everyone wants to be ‘that girl’ – so pull yourself together.