It doesn’t matter whether you’re the dumper or the dumpee, breaking up sucks. Hard. Between the sobbing thing and the no appetite thing and the zero sleep thing, it can be legit torture. And being that you’re an emotional train wreck, post-split decision-making feels impossible — which is why it’s uber-important to have hard-and-fast breakup rules for your head to follow while your heart is on the mend.
1. Break up in person
If you’re the dumper, don’t do so by text, Post-it or email. Breaking up in person shows respect and finality. “It also creates closure, which so many people who are broken up with crave,” says relationship expert April Masini. “It’s real-time, so if the person you’re breaking up with has any questions, or feels they need to say something, they can do so right then.” Sending messages to each other can drag things out indefinitely, and you know what that means: more torture.
2. Don’t try and be post-split BFFs
Take it from me: This has disastrous consequences that will compel you to punch yourself in the face. Stay strong and keep the breakup clean. “Don’t respond to their attempts to pull you back in, even if it seems rude to you,” says Masini. “It’s much better for both of you to regroup and find new people to rely on, rather than each other.”
3. Out of sight, out of mind
Social media has made breakups that much more intense. You basically have 24/7 access to your ex’s life (and icky new relationships) at your disposal. “The last thing you need right now is to see his face, or worse, see him having a good time without you,” says relationship expert Nicole McCance, who suggests removing him from social media, or at the very least changing your settings so you don’t see his updates.
4. Stay distracted
“Even if the relationship was bad, we can still miss it because we’re so used to having that person be a part of our daily routine,” says McCance. Fill in those pockets of time with other things. For example, if you used to talk before bed every night, have a bubble bath at that time instead, or call a friend.
5. Take the high road
Post-split, we’re all left with open wounds we want to constantly rant about. Maybe your guy cheated on you or never paid you back the money you loaned him. No matter what it is, resist the urge to give him a piece of your mind about it. Trust me: It will only make you feel worse. What you think you want from the confrontation you don’t really need. “Living well is the best revenge,” says Masini.
6. Don’t be the victim
As much as you feel enlisting his friends and family to be on your “side” after the breakup will validate the fact that he’s a douche, doing so will only make it harder for you to move on. Who needs the constant reminder of him? Not you. “Even if the breakup is being spun against you, move on and let go of what you don’t need — gossip, rumors, lies,” says Masini. “Next!”
7. Write down the bad
Whether he’s trying to win you back or you miss him more than you thought you would, make a list of everything that was bad about the relationship and reference it during moments of weakness. “When we’re lonely, we sometimes forget the bad,” says McCance. “It will be a good reminder of why you broke up in the first place.”
8. Be kind to yourself
We all get over breakups in our own way and in our own time. “It takes time to mend a broken heart,” says McCance. “Spend time with people who uplift you. Get support. Call and be with positive girlfriends who remind you how great you are.”