5 Steps to Heal from A Long-term Relationship and Let Love In Again

Last year I broke up with my long-term boyfriend, and I wanted to get over it as quickly as possible.

I moved out from one day to another, went to therapy immediately, and traveled the whole summer, but I was still thinking of him after three months. It even felt more painful than before.

While I was pushing myself into recovering from grief, I forgot to process my experiences genuinely. I wanted my happy personality back but instead rushed in the wrong direction.

Every time I realized I wouldn’t get back to my old life, I ended up crying.

And then I learned how to heal.

1. Accept love and grief as a natural part of life

Singer Nick Cave lost his son in a tragic accident. In his blog “The red hand files,” he wrote an inspiring answer to a reader’s question about love and grief:

“It seems to me, that if we love, we grieve. That’s the deal. That’s the pact. Grief and love are forever intertwined. Grief is the terrible reminder of the depths of our love and, like love, grief is non-negotiable.” — Nick Cave

Grief shows us that we are capable of deep human connection.

We don’t have to push it away. When we experience phases of grief, it doesn’t mean we didn’t get “over” something. It means we are human beings with feelings and needs. Grief and love mutually define each other, and there’s no right or wrong though grief can feel incredibly painful.

My grandma lost my granddad over thirty years ago. Every Christmas, when we sit in front of the Christmas tree to sing, she cries because she misses him. But she never experiences it as something terrible. It’s her way to connect to her memories of him, and she just let the tears be there.

It doesn’t matter if it takes one year or a lifetime. You don’t have to get over someone. Instead, focus on rebuilding your life for the better. Grief will eventually be a simple reminder of the beautiful memories you have with a person.

2. Know why your breakup happened

I left my boyfriend because he couldn’t give me the love and appreciation I deserved anymore. Instead, he messed with my feelings after five happy years together. I knew it wouldn’t change anything if I stayed, so I broke up.

Even though you are not the one who’s leaving, there are always reasons why your relationship didn’t work out.

You weren’t meant to be together, and your partner was the first one to notice. It isn’t a shame that you needed more time to see the flaws of your relationship.

“Don’t be afraid to stand for what you believe in, even if that means standing alone.” — Andy Biersack

Being single, even though you got dumped, is nothing to be ashamed of.

It might feel like a failure, but you’ll grow immensely through your experiences. By leaving a person or accepting why someone rejected you, you allow yourself to open up for even better relationships in the future. You’ll get to know your real needs and desires through breakups, even though they are painful.

3. Lead your life proactively

“If you’re gonna make a change, you’re gonna have to operate from a new belief that says life happens not to me but for me.” — Tony Robbins

You alone decide how you want to live your life. While healing as quickly as possible is not the goal, you should focus on the things you can do right now.

Think of all the resources in your life that help you feel balanced. If you don’t have any, build new healthy and joyful habits to help you heal.

After my breakup, I created a writing habit and made a passive income with it. I set up a yoga business and got accepted as a teacher at a new yoga studio. I discovered hypnotherapy that helped me heal from old traumas.

There are many more ways to create your new life proactively:

  • Try a new sport

  • Travel to a place you always wanted to see

  • Start a new mindful hobby like meditation or yoga

  • Create a cozy interior for your apartment

There are many more ways to help you heal. Don’t rush anything and only do the things you enjoy genuinely.

4. Forgive your ex

“Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.” — Jonathan Lockwood Huie

I thought I could never get over the fact that my ex risked our unique relationship for another woman he just met. I was furious at him that he wasn’t even brave enough to break up with me. Instead, I left because I couldn’t bear the pain anymore.

After months of being angry at him and missing him simultaneously, I realized I needed to forgive him. Not because he deserved it, but because I needed to get back my inner peace to move on.

Forgiving means you release feelings of resentment or hate towards a person who has hurt you. Even though the person doesn’t deserve your forgiveness, you do it to free your mind from paralyzing pain.

5. Let new love in

“You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back.” — Barbara De Angelis

After my breakup, I took an eight-month dating break. Not dating anyone was the best decision I ever took for my healing.

Still, I knew never dating again wasn’t the ultimate goal. I craved mental and physical connection, so I started dating again.

Some of my first dates were horrible. But it didn’t intimidate me. I knew there was someone out there who could meet my needs. So I met my new partner. We share the same values and work on our happiness every day.

I was grateful for all the processes I went through. I knew I could let love in easily because I was genuinely ready for it. Even though my ex disappointed me badly, I don’t have any trust issues. Now I have someone who gives me an immense feeling of safety.

Take your time to heal from your relationship and start dating when you are ready again. Don’t push yourself. You’ll know when it’s the right time. Don’t be intimidated by a few bad dates. Through these dates, you’ll find out even better what you don’t want.

Closing words

I want to share a beautiful poem by Nayyirah Waheed that helped me during my challenging breakup phase:

not wanting me.
the beginning of me
wanting myself.
thank you.

-the hurt”

― Nayyirah Waheed, Salt

I see deep value in this poem because we eventually learn how to love ourselves more through every rejection.

We were born alone, and we die alone. We cannot take anyone with us. So let’s focus on the human beings we are instead of letting others define our value.

You are worthy of love. Take care!

Manuela Putz

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