Source: Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash
After the end of a relationship, you might have trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, and find yourself ruminating about why or how things ended. Be gentle with yourself. The most important first step after a breakup is to take extra good care of yourself. Take care of yourself like you would take care of someone you love, like your best friend or closest family member. Once you have had some time to adjust and are not feeling as vulnerable, you may want to reflect on the end of that relationship. Moving on mindfully means moving forward with self-awareness about why the relationship ended, what you might do differently in the future, what you desire in a future partnership, and how to spend your time now that you are not partnered. These 4 questions can help you be intentional as you reflect.
What do I like about who I was in the relationship?
After a breakup, it can be easy to focus on regrets and things you wish you had done differently. It can be helpful and even nurturing to look at what you appreciate about how you were in this relationship. It can be helpful to think about the relationships that are still present in your life, for example: What do you like about who you are to a friend, colleague, parent, or child? Were you some of those ways in the relationship that ended? Perhaps you were fun, patient, reliable, creative, or supportive. This exercise serves to remind you that despite it not working out, you brought positive things to that relationship that you can also bring to your next one.
How do I want to show up differently in my next partnership?
There is no need to dwell on the past to beat yourself up over regrets. Instead, take a moment to look at your role in the relationship that ended. Each person in a relationship plays a role, so this is not about blaming yourself. It can actually be empowering to have more clarity about the role you held in the relationship so that you can make changes in the future. Do you notice any patterns in your behavior that might have contributed to this relationship not working out? Sometimes it is challenging to notice our own relationship patterns and it can be helpful to explore them with the help of a therapist.
What are my non-negotiables?
The end of a relationship is an opportunity to have a better understanding of your non-negotiables or dealbreakers. What are you not willing to compromise on? If you know that something is incredibly important to you, trying to force yourself to believe you can get by without it often leads to more heartbreak. We are all allowed to have non-negotiables and knowing what you truly want in a relationship is an important step in moving forward.
What else is important to me?
What goals might you have set aside while you were partnered that you want to work toward? Maybe other relationships in your life could benefit from some extra attention right now? Are there experiences you want to have that being single now makes possible? Regardless of your relationship status, do not forget that the most important person you will ever be in a relationship with is yourself.