December 28, 2019

Moving On From Unhealthy Relationships

By, ANNA IOVINE |December 27, 2019 |

Here’s a New Year’s resolution for you: Leave your fuckboi behind in 2019.

This may seem like quite a departure from the most popular New Years’ resolutions: save money, learn a new skill, and the old mainstay — lose weight.

But actually leaving your fuckboi to rot in 2019 aligns quite well with the most popular resolutions:

Saving money — don’t need to pay for lame dates!

Learn a new skill — learn your worth and how to protect it!

Lose weight — lose 100+ pounds with a simple text!

In all seriousness, I propose that we all make the decision to move on from whomever made our (dating) lives hell in 2019. It’s a viable, healthy resolution to make. Leaving behind the toxic person — both physically and mentally — isn’t a sexy resolution, but it’s the self-care you may actually need for the new year. This is the kind of self-care that often gets lost among all the talk of face masks and yoga classes.

To be clear, I’m not talking about abusive partners here. (If you are in an abusive situation, a better resource is the National Domestic Violence Hotline.) I’m talking about partners who are scrubs — ones that don’t deserve you and yet, because of your brain, you just keep going back.

Leaving your fuckboi in the last year — the last DECADE! — does not have well-known steps quite like so many of the popular resolutions do. There’s no to-do list like “buy meal prep containers” or “join a gym.” So instead, I asked several professionals for their advice on taking actionable steps to leave someone behind and start fresh in 2020.

Perform a “relationship autopsy”
Psychotherapist Christine Scott-Hudson recommends conducting a “relationship autopsy” by answering these five questions:

What did I learn?

How is it valuable?

How can I use what I learned, going forward?

What is there to grieve?

How can I support myself through this process?

Brooke Sprowl, psychotherapist, CEO and Clinical Director of My LA Therapy, said to explore what drew you to your ex in the first place.

“Often, we’re so desperate to find love that we take whatever we can get because a part of us doesn’t really believe we can have everything we want,” Sprowl said. “When a relationship doesn’t work out, there are almost certainly some blind spots that kept us in it. Until we see our blind spots clearly and heal the underlying causes it will be difficult to move on.”

Professional counselor Erica Wiles had the same advice: Give yourself a reality check. Take this opportunity to remind yourself what you’re really looking for in a partner and why this one just didn’t cut it.

Reconnect with your own goals

According to Sprowl, the most important way to get over an ex is to “reconnect with your life’s purpose.” If you feel lost after a break-up, it’s important to put the focus back on yourself. If you pursue what makes you feel fulfilled, this past relationship will be less and less important to you.

Wiles said that post-breakup is the perfect time to really consider what you want out of life. “Think about how someone could or would fit into your life,” she said. “What are you willing to compromise on? What is non-negotiable?”

Cut them off

Block them. Right now. Sorry! This is what you must do. If you’re posting a thirst trap on Instagram hoping they see it, you are not moving on. You cannot live your life for someone else, much less someone who doesn’t deserve it.

“Do not call, text, or social media stalk your ex,” said Scott-Hudson. “Block all of their numbers and social media accounts, if you have to remove the temptation. Focus on what you feel like doing, what you would like to see, do, and feel. Keep your compass trained to your own happiness, and follow it.”

Distract yourself

With healthy distractions, that is. If you’re an adult, you know what an unhealthy distraction looks like: rebounding, partying too hard, shopping too much, etc.

But distractions don’t need to be destructive. “Healthy distraction looks like binge watching TV shows, going to the movies, taking a new class, calling friends to do something fun (not to ruminate in the break-up),” said Scott-Hudson.

Here’s one that was not mentioned by professionals but one that has helped me immensely: journaling!

What’s more, you might find yourself thinking about your ex more and more at night.

This is normal, according to Dr. Shannon Curry, clinical psychologist and director of the Curry Psychology Group.

“Like someone who quits drinking and knows they have no business going to bars, a person who wants to get over a partner who wasn’t good for them has no business thinking seriously about the relationship when they’re mentally fatigued,” Curry said. “Anticipating the onslaught of evening emotions is often just enough to shore us up through the night.”

Be patient

As much as it sucks, you cannot rush getting over someone. “Anything worth doing or fighting for takes time,” said Wiles.

Find a support system — friends, family, a therapist — who will give you the love you need but not indulge in your every whim to talk about this person and your fantasies about them. Look inward, and know that even if you’re doing all the right things it will still take time.

Like any life change worth making — getting healthier, learning something new — it will not be accomplished overnight.

Wiles said to embrace being single for awhile and know that it’s okay to be. “Don’t look back,” she continued. “Don’t make contact with your ex. Don’t go to places while you are single that will make you sad and miss what was. Go forward knowing that you will be okay.”