How to Move on After a Long-Term Relationship That Ended Badly

Focusing on your future and working toward those goals will help you move on quicker.
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Ending a long-term relationship is heartbreaking, especially if it wasn't on good terms. Learning to cope with life as a single person again after having the support of your partner for so long -- be it emotional, physical or financial -- takes courage and time to transition back into an independent role.

1 Purge and Reflect

It's cathartic to purge emotionally -- give yourself permission to feel sad -- and mourn the loss of your long-term relationship. In a Psych Central article, New York City counselor Nathan Feiles suggests that you set some time aside each day to grieve. By spending some time alone to heal, you'll be reinvigorated when you get back to your normal routine. During this reflective process, it's important to note what you learned about yourself through your experience in the relationship. For example, you may have realized which qualities you love and appreciate in a mate verses qualities you don't want in a partner.

2 Make Plans

It might sound cliche, but thinking about where you want to be in five years and how you want to live your life is the foundation for making plans. By focusing on setting personal goals for yourself, you'll ignite motivation to move on and it becomes something you look forward to achieving. The best way to set goals is to write them out -- what you'd like to achieve, how you'll do it and in what time frame you'll complete each part of your goal. Then, get busy working on achieving your goals.

3 Stick to Your Schedule

Feiles also asserts that keeping up with your daily routines and participating in hobbies is necessary not only for avoiding the abyss of depression, but also staying on top of your personal goals. Maintaining self-care is an important part of your routine -- go to classes, your job and the gym, cook, eat and shower, as usual. It's essential to your overall well-being, even if it requires some extra effort at times. For this same reason, you should make time for stress-relieving hobbies like painting, gardening or doing puzzles.

4 Dealing With the Memories

In his "Psychology Today" article, "Keys to Handling Life's Transitions," clinical social worker Robert Taibbi says staying positive and thinking in terms of opportunity will help you handle your life transition from being part of a couple to being an individual -- a relationship doesn't define who you are as a person. Try making a list of your good qualities and put it some place you'll see it everyday. For example, write, "I am funny, beautiful, compassionate and deserve love," then tape it to your bathroom mirror. Remember, the opportunity here is to work on other parts of your life -- for example, school or a career. Naturally, memories and feelings of your past relationship may arise from time to time; however, finding the silver lining by being positive and proactive will help you move on successfully.

Kimberly Liby has been a content writer and editor since 2006, with articles in "944" magazine. She has written on a range of topics including cooking, health, current events, philosophy, psychology, career, education, writing and editing. Liby holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature with a writing minor from Arizona State University, and a Master of Science in psychology from the University of Phoenix.