It comes as quite a shock when the person you thought was “the one” breaks up with you. When your relationship doesn’t end with the happily-ever-after you expected, it may seem difficult or even impossible to move on. However, the dissolution of your relationship does not mean you are destined for a life of pain, regret or loneliness. Using a variety of coping strategies will help you get over your ex and allow you heal.

Grieve

Dealing with the loss of a relationship is similar to dealing with a death of a loved one. You may feel angry, sad, hurt, betrayed, disillusioned or confused. Psychotherapist Carolyn Tucker recommends that you allow these feelings to occur without resistance. Trying to repress these feelings may prolong the healing process. Give yourself a bit of a break with your household or work responsibilities and allow yourself time to grieve. Talking to a trusted friend or family member about your emotions may prove beneficial.

Seek Positive Experiences

While it important to honor and respect the negative feelings that occur during a break-up, it is also important to try to find a balance and not to dwell too long in negativity. Seek out experiences that will encourage positive emotions. This may include spending time with other loved ones, taking a short vacation, cultivating new friendships, participating in your favorite pastime or starting a new hobby.

Reframe the Break-up

Purposefully writing down the positive aspects of the breakup enables you to increase your positive emotions, according to the American Psychological Association. Write down as many positive things you can about the events leading up to the break up, the actual break-up itself, and the time right after the break-up. Think about all the ways you may benefit from this experience or what you have learned that may help you in other areas of your life or in future relationships. If you can convince yourself that this break-up really is for the best, it will make it much easier for you to heal and move on.

Avoid Your Ex

Interacting with your ex in any way may bring back your negative emotions, especially when the pain of the break-up is still fresh. Minimize or even eliminate any contact with your ex. Take down old photographs, memorabilia or other things that may remind you of your relationship or the break-up. While doing this may cause a bit of pain temporarily, it will give you the mental space you need to focus on yourself and the other positive things you have in your life.

Seek Additional Help

While some people are able to manage a difficult breakup on their own, others can benefit from the help of a good therapist. A therapist may be able to help you look at the situation more objectively than your family or friends, and will provide you with additional tools or strategies to allow yourself to heal. If you ever have thoughts of hurting yourself or believe you may be clinically depressed, it is crucial to seek professional help immediately.