How to Move On

A guide to help you process your emotions, build your confidence, and move on from heartbreak

If you've recently gone through a breakup and are struggling to move on, you're not alone. And while it isn't always easy, anyone can do it with a bit of perseverance and patience. There are no hard and fast rules for moving on, but if you need a little help, you've come to the right place. Treat yourself with kindness, take your time to heal, and use the following guide to move on for good.

[Edit]Things You Should Know

  • Give yourself time to process your emotions and allow yourself to feel sad. Talk to somebody you trust and practice self-compassion.
  • Get closure by distancing yourself from your ex until you're ready to talk. Identify lessons you’ve learned that you can use in future relationships.
  • Keep yourself busy and do things you enjoy to boost your mood. Practice self-care and spend plenty of time with friends while also trying new things.


[Edit]Give yourself permission to feel sad.

  1. Accepting and processing your emotions is critical to healing. When you're feeling many negative emotions, it's normal to want to push those feelings down—but that just extends your heartache. Instead, allow yourself to mourn the relationship. Acknowledge what you feel and reassure yourself that your emotions are valid; feeling them is just part of the path to healing.[1]
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    • Listen to what your body needs so that you can release your emotions. You might write in a journal, express your feelings through art, exercise, or vent your emotions in a letter you destroy later.
    • Try to separate your raw feelings from the sad or despairing thoughts that might accompany them.
    • For example, your brain might say things like "You'll never find someone else to love you" or "Life will never be the same," but that isn't true. You're sad, and that's valid, but the intrusive thoughts are not.

[Edit]Reflect on the relationship realistically.

  1. Idealizing the relationship and your ex makes it harder to move on. Relationships can be funny: once they're over, it's easy to focus only on the good memories and deny anything bad happened. However, that won't help you move on. Recall the struggles and issues as well as the moments of happiness, and you'll remember why breaking up was necessary in the first place.[2]
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    • Similarly, it's common to fantasize about an ex post-breakup, creating an illusion that they were perfect when really, they had issues like anyone else. Let go of that illusion and see your ex for who they are, good and bad.
    • Once you can realistically visualize your ex and the relationship, your motivation and resolve to move on will grow steadily stronger.

[Edit]Talk to a trusted confidante.

  1. Expressing your emotions is an essential part of processing them. Sit down with a close friend or family member you trust to support and love you no matter what. Talk to someone who is an excellent listener and won't interrupt you; you deserve to feel heard! Tell them everything: what happened, what you're feeling, and anything else you need to express.[3]
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    • Choose someone you're comfortable being vulnerable around. You might need to cry, scream, or punch a pillow while you talk—and that's okay.
    • If you can't shake the sadness alone, a therapist or counselor can help you move on. They’ll help you work through your feelings and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

[Edit]Practice self-compassion.

  1. Treating yourself compassionately strengthens your resolve to move on. When a relationship ends, it's natural to blame yourself for it—but that's not fair. When a relationship fails, it doesn't make you a failure. Treat yourself with compassion and shut down those critical thoughts. Instead, tell yourself that you didn't fail, you're not at fault, and you can overcome this and move on.[4]
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    • Even if you don't believe you can move on, set aside the uncertainty and encourage yourself anyway. Firmly tell yourself, "I can do this. I am moving on," until that statement becomes true.

[Edit]Give yourself time to heal.

  1. Moving on takes time, and rushing things will make it harder. There's no definitive timetable for getting over a breakup, so it's up to you to give yourself the time you need. Many people take around 3 months to move on, but that's not a hard rule. Go at your own pace, and don't let anyone else tell you when to move on—it's your heart, and you know yourself best.[5]
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    • It can help to give yourself a gentle timeline. For example, you might say, "I need this week just to be sad, but next week, I'm going to start going out with friends and doing fun things again."

[Edit]Imagine the breakup as a tiny blip in your life's journey.

  1. Looking at the bigger picture helps put the breakup in perspective. When you're in the middle of a breakup, it can feel like the end of your world—so it helps to remind yourself that’s not true. Take a step back: in reality, this is just a moment in the long arc of your life, and you have a lot more growth to look forward to. Years from now, you won't feel this sadness; it'll just be a memory.[6]
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    • This is especially helpful to remember in moments when the sadness makes you feel like you'll never be able to move on. It will pass, and you'll be able to do more than move on—you'll be able to thrive.

[Edit]Stay open to the possibility of new love.

  1. Moving on is easier when you have hope for the future. It's a big world, and there's someone out there for you—even if you haven't found them yet. Whether this was your first or fifth relationship, it doesn't have to be your last (or your best). So long as you're open to love and committed to living your best life, the right partner will find you sooner or later.[7]
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    • You're also not alone. Many people in the world are in your position, and any of them could be the right match for you.
    • Remind yourself that a fulfilling life doesn't depend on your relationship status. You can find special someone if you want a relationship, but there's more to life than that. You are complete, with or without a partner!

[Edit]Cut contact with your ex and discard mementos.

  1. No contact or physical reminders of your ex makes it easier to move on. Processing your emotions is hard when your ex is nearby, so cut off all contact if you can: don't call, text, or hang out with them. Then, unfollow their social media pages and throw away physical reminders of them, like gifts, photos, and mementos. As the saying goes: out of sight, out of mind.[8]
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    • It's okay if you can't break contact entirely, but do your best to avoid situations where you know you'll see them.
    • If you don't want to throw everything out, box a few things up and give them to a friend for safekeeping. When you're ready, you can either discard or retrieve the box.
    • Even if you'd like to be friends with your ex, it's best not to force it immediately. Instead, say something like, "You're still important to me, and I want to be friends in the future, but right now, I need some time to process."

[Edit]Talk to your ex for closure when you’re ready.

  1. Closure makes it easier to accept and make peace with the breakup. Once you've had time to process your emotions by yourself, ask your ex to discuss the breakup so you can get closure. Prepare questions and thoughts beforehand, so you're prepared for the conversation, and use the opportunity to clear the air with them. Be sure you ask for your ex's side of the story and listen to what they say, too![9]
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    • At the end of the day, it might help to understand your ex's perspective and your own. If nothing else, you'll know where both of you stand—no more uncertainty.
    • It can be disappointing if your ex can't give you a proper answer or won't even sit down to give you closure, but it also means they're not worth your sadness in the first place.

[Edit]Look for patterns in your past relationships.

  1. Future relationships will be stronger if you identify unhealthy patterns. Consider your childhood relationships and past breakups: do they have any similarities? Did they end for the same reasons? Chances are, this heartache is rooted in your past. Identify patterns you may have learned earlier in life and work on fixing them as you move on.[10]
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    • For instance, you might have trouble communicating because your parents didn't like talking about their feelings. If you learn to communicate with your partner, you can have happier relationships in the future.
    • Furthermore, consider what you’ve learned from this breakup. Breakups are hard, but they can show you much about who you are and what you want from life. Treat them as learning opportunities rather than failures.

[Edit]Forgive yourself and your ex for the breakup.

  1. Holding onto grudges and painful emotions will make you feel worse. If your ex hurt you, try to forgive their mistakes and focus on your future instead. Similarly, forgive yourself for your role in the breakup and for investing in a relationship that didn't work out. It’s easier to heal when you’re not still clinging to the anger and sadness of the breakup.[11]
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    • Forgiving someone is about your mental health and happiness, not theirs. It doesn't mean that they didn't do anything wrong. It helps you let go of the past and move on.

[Edit]Keep yourself busy.

  1. Staying busy means you won’t have time to dwell on the breakup. If you have time to sit and think, you might contemplate the breakup and consequently feel worse. Instead, fill your time with activities and creative projects that get you out of your head, like doing crafts, redecorating, or going out with friends. This will help you feel better as you work through your negative emotions.[12]
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    • Invite your best friends to spend time with you, whether you're going out for a night partying on the town or just for a quiet dinner and movie. A thriving support system can help you through hard times.
    • Focus on the benefits of being single! Look for ways to have fun with your friends, assert your independence, and pursue what makes you happy.
    • Push yourself to stay busy, even on days when you feel like staying in bed with a tub of ice cream. You'll feel happier and healthier when you're out and about with people you love.

[Edit]Pamper yourself.

  1. Self-care can boost your mood and rebuild your self-confidence. Treat yourself to things that always cheer you up and get you in a better headspace; for example, you could take a luxurious bubble bath, get a massage, play your favorite game, or start an exercise regimen. Practice self-care and do activities that are both healthy and comforting![13]
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    • Remember that self-care doesn't mean eating lots of junk food or doing other unhealthy things. Now is the time to take care of yourself in mind and body.

[Edit]Try new and exciting things.

  1. Moving on is the perfect time to turn over a new leaf! Get in touch with yourself, boost your self-esteem, and regain independence by doing new activities and hobbies you've always wanted to try. Pick something you're interested in, take an online class, attend a workshop, enroll in a community college course, or teach yourself how to do it.[14]
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    • For example, you might learn to draw, take guitar lessons, start playing tennis, or visit a city you've never seen before.
    • It also helps to develop new interests and hobbies after a breakup because you'll have something you can do without thinking of your ex.

[Edit]Be generous towards others.

  1. Connecting with others will make your problems seem less daunting. Whether you volunteer, donate to charity, or engage in small but meaningful acts of kindness, help others when you can. Breakups are a source of sadness, and that sadness can really get you caught up in your own head. Practicing generosity will get you out of your head and feeling great about yourself!
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    • For example, a simple act of kindness might be thanking the person who bags your groceries, holding the door for someone whose arms are full, or helping someone who needs directions.
    • You can also practice generosity by helping your friends and family members. Tackle a chore they need help with, or simply ask them about their day and how they've been doing.

[Edit]Meet new people.

  1. Meeting new friends and love interests will boost your confidence. Put yourself out there and say “hello” to new people, whether you’re at a bar, attending a friend’s party, or using a social networking app. You also don’t have to look for a date; new friends and acquaintances are just as important as potential love interests! The important thing is to put yourself out there and enjoy the adventure.[15]
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    • When you start dating again, make sure it's not a rebound. You'll know you're ready when you feel excited about the idea of having a genuine connection with someone.
    • Focus on building connections with people rather than finding love again. Take the time to get to know them before you dive into something serious.


[Edit]Quick Summary


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