How to Move Past a Difficult Relationship

by Bianka Hardin, Psy. D.

Letting go of a past relationship is not easy.  People who have gone through difficult break-ups sometimes have a difficult time moving on in their lives.  Fortunately, there are things you can do to help you move through a difficult break-up and move on in your life. Therapy can often assist someone move through the hurt and help clients with acceptance, improve their self-care, and learn important lessons about themselves and relationships.

Acceptance is an important part of healing. Some people have a hard time moving on because they are stuck and not willing to accept that their relationship is over.  In order to heal and grow, it is important first to accept the relationship has ended.  It is normal to question why your relationship ended and to have painful feelings of anger, sadness, fear, and rejection. Although it is difficult to have these feelings, it is important to grieve the loss of the relationship and to also sit with your painful feelings.  Accepting your feelings and having compassion for yourself are key components of healing.  Eventually these painful feelings will subside and you will feel better.

Take time to work on yourself and focus on self-care.  Instead of ruminating about the relationship and checking up on your ex, take time to get to know yourself better and do things that make you feel better. Resist the urge to track down your ex or investigate what he or she is doing. Instead, when you notice thoughts about your ex coming up, imagine yourself changing the channel in your mind from the “ex channel” to the “YOU channel.” You have control of your thoughts and you can choose to think about your ex and who they are with, or you can choose to think about how to make meaningful changes in your life. Take this time to do things that make you feel better about yourself such as working out, socializing with friends, taking a class in an area of interest, or volunteering.

Be open to learning the important lessons from your experience. Think about what you have learned about yourself as a result of being in this relationship, and evaluate what you want and need in future relationships.  Understanding this will allow you to feel more self-confident. Going through a break-up is hard, but the experience can make you a stronger person if you take the time to take care of yourself and learn from the experience.

If you are having a difficult time moving on from a difficult break up, therapy can assist in this process of moving forward. Centered Therapy Chicago therapists are experienced in helping clients move forward and improve their lives.  ​​​