Healing After a Bad Relationship

Time will help heal your pain.
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You and your ex weren't right for each other, you broke up and now you're grieving the loss. Breakups are never easy, regardless of the quality of the relationship you had. Healing after a bad relationship takes time, but it is possible with the right mind set and by making your needs a priority.

1 Feel the Pain

Allow yourself to grieve the end of your relationship. You may feel hurt, betrayed, angry, numb, bitter or any number of emotions. Give yourself permission to cry, sulk, scream or wallow in your sorrow. Releasing your emotions will help you feel better. However, set a time limit on your mourning, suggests Gina Barreca, Ph.D., an author and professor at the University of Connecticut. For example, take a few full days or set aside a brief amount of time each day for several weeks. Take the time to feel your emotions and reflect on your relationship.

2 Remember Why You Broke Up

After a breakup, it can be easy to pine for the good times that you shared with your ex. When you start thinking about your ex and happy times you shared, try to recall the bad times, advises clinical psychologist Helen Zielinski Landon. For example, when you start to think about the time you laughed until you cried, replace that thought with the time that he said he would call, but didn't. Think about the reasons you broke up. Acknowledge that your relationship wasn't healthy and remind yourself that you're better off as exes.

3 Remove Your Ex From Your Life

Avoid all contact with your ex. Do not call, text, email or see him in person. If he tries to contact you, ignore his attempts. Do not check his Facebook status or follow his Twitter feed. Continued contact or knowing what he is up to only makes it harder to move on with your life. Don't look at old pictures of the two of you. Stop yourself from making references about your ex, warns Barreca. For example, don't talk about his love of chicken noodle soup, how he studied with you every week or the last restaurant you ate at together.

4 Take Care of Your Needs

Focus on yourself and what you need to do to move on. Talking about your bad relationship and your breakup can help -- choose someone you trust such as your parents or a close friend. It can also be helpful to keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings. Set aside time to spend with family and friends; interacting with other people is key to moving forward following a breakup, asserts New York City-based counselor Nathan Feiles. Find a new hobby or participate in activities that you enjoy but didn't have the time to do before. For example, read a book, check out an art exhibit or learn to cook. It can also be beneficial to set aside time to exercise, which can help you feel better.

Stacey Elkins is a writer based in Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a Masters in social work from the University of Illinois in Chicago, where she specialized in mental health.