In my opinion, the worst thing about a break-up is the feeling of total powerlessness. Seldom do men discuss the impending split before they've made their decision, and, even sadder, occasionally, they just disappear.

Woman on laptop

In her new book, It's a Breakup, Not a Breakdown Workbook, however, relationship coach Lisa Steadman gives A-type personalities like me exactly what we need to get over an especially painful break-up: homework.

Instead of re-playing what went wrong a thousand times over in your head or feeding the pain with double-stuffed Oreo cookies (!) Steadman allows the recently dumped to distract themselves with her twenty-one day, interactive "action plan."

Like your childhood math and English workbooks of years past, the first page of It's a Breakup, Not a Breakdown Workbook, encourages you to write down your name in the "This book belongs to ____" blank, a small act of empowerment. (You may not feel like you own your love life or your feelings at this moment, but by gosh, you can own this book!) She also suggests investing in a red Sharpie marker and gold-star stickers.

Steadman's philosophy is that break-ups rock (even though you may not feel like they do at every moment) and she does a good job of cheerleading you on throughout the entire book, which is broken up into 21 chapters, one for each day.

Are you ready for a little homework? Try a few of Steadman's tips.

Exercise #1. Throw yourself a pity party.

Just because it's technically homework, doesn't mean it can't be fun. On the first day of your break-up, Steadman encourages throwing yourself the "ultimate" pity party. Some suggested pity-party activities: having a good cry, renting sad movies, playing angst-y music, throwing away any physical remnants of you ex, and writing him a mean letter (just don't actually send it!)

Exercise #2. Delete your ex from your life (both online and off.)

According to Steadman, electronically exorcizing your ex is an important step in the break-up process. Start with deleting him off of social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter and don't forget about changing your passwords. Even better, block him, so it's not tempting to cyber-stalk or write something about the break-up that you will regret, she recommends. 

Exercise #3. Have a funeral for your dead relationship

A not just a metaphoric one, Steadman means a literal funeral, burial, and wake, including writing a eulogy, substituting a male doll in place of your relationship's carcass, and creating a death certificate.

Exercise #4. Enroll at "Single U."

Once past the initial grief stages, Steadman asks you to revisit the ABCs of singledom, even if you're not exactly ready to date just yet. She suggests getting rid of bad dating habits, creating an online dating profile, and "earning your flirting degree" as ways to dip your toe back into the dating pool.

How did you move on from your last break-up? Share your advice and stories in the comments section below.

More advice on moving on from a break-up:

4 Must-read books about break-ups
4 Ways to make "moving on" fun
Music to play when your relationship ends

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Comments on "Break-up homework: 4 Exercises to help you move on"

Rasna Bura Gohain March 03, 2014 | 10:30 AM

I went through a break 2 yrs back, 2012. And I'm still not being able to get over it completely. I had 9yrs relationship and it just broke. I moved on, true......but not entirely coz whenever I tell my story or even remember some memories, I end up crying like a hungry baby. Done most of the exercises but my question is "for how long?"

Tina July 24, 2012 | 1:32 PM

Hahah definitely throw yourself a pity party! Eat as much icecream as you want and watch sappy movies! Life will go on, and the sooner you start moving on the better you will feel.

Emma May 24, 2012 | 3:13 PM

I'm currently going through a break up and I think some of these exercises are great! It's ok to be sad, for a time, so throwing a pity party with a good cry can be really helpful! I find it helpful to have a best friend there with you to console you and repeat to you truths that your life isn't over. Also - journal!

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