I won’t lie to you: learning how to be single after the end of a serious relationship isn’t a quick or easy process. But, it is a worthwhile journey – and you will emerge happier and healthier than you ever thought possible.
“I was in a serious relationship for seven years,” says Corinne on 7 Tips for Getting Over a Man You Can’t Live Without. “We broke up a month ago and I thought I’d be starting the healing process by now. How long does it take to get over a broken heart? I don’t know how to be single after being in a relationship that was so serious for so long. I don’t want to be single. But I don’t want to be with my ex boyfriend because I know we weren’t good for each other. We brought out the worst in each other. I have nobody to turn to, and I feel more alone than I ever have.”
Have you, too, lost your sparkle? Maybe you don’t feel like the “you” you were before the breakup – or even before the relationship began. Your light has dimmed, you don’t shimmer or shine the way you used to. You don’t feel the same.
Take heart, my friend. You WILL feel better soon – and you will find yourself again. One day you will wake up feeling bright, fresh, and beautiful. You may not learn exactly how to be single after a serious relationship ends, but you will feel lighter and more free.
You have suffered. You are suffering, yes, but you are on the right path.
How to Be Single After a Serious Relationship Ends
Eventually, you will stop dwelling on the breakup – and the man you’re letting go of. You won’t have to think about what being single is like or how to live the single life because you’ll just be yourself.
You will be happy again. Maybe even happier than you’ve ever been before.
Wouldn’t that be something?
1. Listen for the roar of Something Greater
Have faith, for you will find yourself again. You will emerge from this breakup stronger, healthier, and happier. You will accept what happened and you will learn how to be single after a serious relationship ends. You will make better choices and live life on your own terms. Your life will be more fulfilling and inspiring than you can imagine! You will Blossom.
You will let go.
“Letting go is indisputably one of the hardest things I will ask you to do,” writes Rachel Sussman in The Breakup Bible: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Healing from a Breakup or Divorce. “Although I know you are desperate to recover from your ordeal and move forward, we do tend to hold on tight to our pain, our memories, and our old love feelings out of familiarity and habit. Saying goodbye to that mindset can be very scary.”
2. Take a deep breath
Sometimes we refuse to let go of the past because it’s comfortable and familiar. It’s easier to stay stuck in the past than do the work it takes to move forward. Sometimes it feels easier to keep searching for tips on how to be single after a serious relationship ends, and harder to actually put those good ideas into action. Sometimes it feels easier to distract ourselves with food and Facebook, and harder to work through our own pain so we stop suffering.
Take a deep breath, and learn how to actively grieve your loss. Don’t be passive; be active. Passive healing is endless crying, sleeping, eating (or not eating), and choosing not to try different ways to heal. Active healing, on the other hand, is finding specific ways to work through your grief so you can move forward in your life.
If you need help moving forward...
Healing takes time. Learning how to be single after a serious relationship requires a balance between allowing nature to take its course and pushing yourself to make healthy choices that help you heal.
3. Ask how she learned how to live single after a breakup
This is one of my favorite practical tips for learning (re-learning) how to be single when a serious relationship ends. Why?
For two reasons:
- Learning how other women survived shows you that you’re not alone. This can give you hope for the future and strength for your journey.
- You can’t think of everything yourself! We need each other for ideas, tips, strategies, and support. We need to walk alongside each other, and find what helped other women survive the end of a serious relationship.
Talk about what you’re going through. You might feel alone right now, because we tend to focus on our relationships and let our friends and families slip away. That’s okay, it’s normal. It’ll take time to rebuild your close friendships. In the meantime, write about how it feels to be learning how to be single. Get a diary or journal and write what happened to you.
If you finding journal writing too lonely, feel free to share your thoughts below. How did your relationship end, and why did you believe it was so serious? What the breakup a surprise, or did you initiate it? How do you feel about being single again?
4. Choose not to hold on to your pain and suffering
“The ﬁrst weeks and months tend to be the most treacherous in the road to recovery,” writes Sussman in The Breakup Bible. “Pervasive grief invades your existence. You question everything, including your self-worth, your choices, your career, your friendships – everything. Numerous thoughts, feelings, and emotions run through your brain.”
Grieving is one thing…but sometimes people hang on to their pain, their disappointment, their anger, their misery. Have you ever met a woman who was bitter and miserable about something that happened 10, 20, 30 years ago? I have.
Stephanie, for example, chose not to accept the end of a relationship because she was scared. She was afraid of being alone with the truth. She was scared of the pain she’d face if she actually learned how to be single, so she held on to her bitterness. She refused to believe that the “serious relationship” she was forced out of wasn’t good for her or her ex-husband. She held on to her pain and suffering because it was easier than letting go of the past. It was easier to stay put.
5. Accept the love, healing, and power that already exists in your life
Sometimes we simply ignore the powerful options we have. We pretend we have no power or choice. We lie to ourselves.
“Letting go enables you to explore the world from an entirely different perspective and see how vast and exciting it truly is,” writes Sussman in The Breakup Bible. “It prepares you to rediscover yourself, and, in the process, determine what you really want from life.”
There are no quick and easy solutions on how to be single after a serious relationship ends…there is only rediscovery and regrowth. If you deliberately choose to let go of the past you will rediscover yourself. Instead of holding on to your pain and regret that this relationship is over, give yourself one moment to accept love from somewhere unexpected. Maybe it’s a beautiful flower bud popping through the cracks of the sidewalk, or a brief moment of eye contact and a smile from a child.
6. Slowly ease your way into living single after a serious relationship ends
Was this breakup a shock, or did you see it coming? Was your relationship less serious than you thought or hoped? Have you been wondering what it would be like to be single, or do you feel like you’ve been shoved into the deep end of a cold ocean?
You are grieving, regardless of how or why it happened. When you’re grieving the end of a serious relationship, you can take deliberate steps towards healing. I often encourage women to ease their way into any new season of life by tentatively exploring different way to heal.
Here’s what always works for me: journaling, exercising, reading self-help books, praying, volunteering, getting counseling, blogging, traveling, going back to school, and decluttering. I know art therapy doesn’t work for me, and either does spending more time with my friends and family. Being alone works for me…and so does connecting with God.
What works for you?
If your relationship was so serious you feel like you’ll never be whole again, read How to Be Happy Single When You Wish You Were Married.
7. Find something bigger, better, more meaningful to live for
What is the purpose of your life? If you haven’t found something meaningful and fulfilling, you’ll make a man the center of your life. This is a mistake because a man was never meant to be the purpose and meaning of your existence! A man, a serious relationship, a husband, a marriage – those are wonderful and beautiful parts of a woman’s life. So are children, families, gorgeous gardens and pretty possessions.
But people and possessions aren’t the reason you’re alive today.
You’re here because God created you. He loves you and wants you to be filled with freedom, peace, and joy! He knows every hair on your head, He knows every tear you cry, and He hears every prayer you offer. You feel this emptiness in your heart and soul not just because your relationship is over, but because He belongs in your life.
How do you feel? While I can’t offer personal advice on how to be single after a serious relationship ends, I do read every comment. You may find it helpful to spill it all, to vent and get angry – or weep and get sad. You’re welcome to share whatever you’d like here.
Help Being Single After a Serious Relationship Ends
“The breaking apart of a romantic relationship is an extraordinarily painful event, whether you’ve been dating for a year or married for thirty,” writes relationship therapist Rachel Sussman in The Breakup Bible: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Healing from a Breakup or Divorce Rachel Sussman. “Even if you initiated the breakup, you are going to be overcome with interminable sorrow. You are not only mourning the loss of someone signiﬁcant in your life, but saying farewell to your dreams of an eternity together.”
In this book, Sussman promises that if you do the work to process the end of a serious relationship correctly, over time, you will recover fully. Even better – she’ll walk alongside you as you learn how to be single again. She will help you clarify your emotions, figure out why your relationship ended, gather useful tools, and crawl out of the hole.
It may sound inconceivable today, but it is quite possible even though you’re shattered because your serious relationship ended, you are now free to become your best possible self, healthier and happier than you could ever imagine.
Although the heartache can feel insurmountable, you will heal. You will be happy, healthy, and whole again one day.