The one good thing about long-distance relationships: the breakup. Kidding. Well, kind of kidding, kind of not. Here’s the deal—long-distance relationships are hard work and completely emotionally exhausting. But, if you really love someone, then of course they’re doable and worth all that extra effort. Until they aren’t, and it’s time to call it quits.
Ending a long-distance relationship will likely fare you well later down the road, but the initial breakup will be painful, as with any other breakup. The good news, however, is that healing from a long-distance relationship breakup can be quicker and less complicated than that of a typical relationship, as explained by Ashleigh Edelstein, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist: “For many, the heartache of living in the same house or apartment after a breakup can exacerbate painful feelings. Since long-distance couples don’t live together, your current place won’t be tainted by the breakup. Try a spring-cleaning if things do feel off.” Furthermore, you’re less likely to have mutual friends, which eliminates the issue of being unable to hang out with certain friends after a breakup, Edelstein says.
It’s sounding pretty bright and promising so far, right? Right. But we still haven’t solved the issue at hand: the reality is that it will still be a painful split, so how exactly do you survive a long-distance breakup? Everybody heals differently, but the # tips below will help you do so in a healthy and effective manner:
1. Surrender to your emotions.
Rather than ignoring or avoiding the painful emotions that come with a breakup, give in to them. This won’t be the most pleasant experience, but it will benefit you down the road. When we suppress our feelings, they have a way of barreling to the surface later—even more painful and powerful than before. If you instead surrender to those emotions as they come, you’ll heal more effectively and efficiently.
2. Take a break from the digital world.
You don’t have to worry about running into your ex downtown or at the gym, but he can still pop up in another realm: the digital world. It might be smart to delete him from social media or take a break from social media altogether. Doing so will allow you to focus on yourself, rather than your ex or other people that show up on your Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat feeds.
3. Spend time with your favorite people.
You might feel lonely after the breakup, but you aren’t alone. There are so many other people in your life that love and care about you and want to spend time with you. Now that you’re single again, you can tend better to these relationships, in addition to spending valuable time with yourself.
4. Reconnect with your community.
The one time I was in a long-distance relationship, I withdrew from my community. I spent most of my free time talking to my boyfriend who was states and states away. And I was actually relieved when we broke up because I saw the opportunity to reconnect with my community. Look into ways you can benefit your community, whether it be volunteering, donating, or helping out where needed. I promise you this will help you feel whole again.
5. Do some spring-cleaning.
As Edelstein suggested earlier, do some spring-cleaning if you feel some negative energy hanging around. If your kitchen reminds you of your ex because he helped you decorate it, consider redecorating. If your bedroom reminds you of your ex because he got you the blanket on your bed, get a new blanket. Whatever it takes to free you of those painful, unnecessary reminders, do it!
6. Rediscover yourself.
And finally, use this time to rediscover and rebuild yourself. Go dye your hair platinum blonde or a beautiful mulled wine red. Go on a shopping spree and rebrand your style. Go on an over-the-top vacation to Paris or Rome. OR don’t change anything at all! Sometimes reinventing yourself by getting a new hairdo or buying a new outfit can help you feel better after a breakup. But if that’s not you, that’s okay too. In either regard, you should love yourself exactly the way you are and capitalize on this time you get to yourself.