Yes, you can be happy alone – even if right now all you can think is “I can’t live without him.” You won’t always feel this way. You won’t always feel so sad, lonely, rejected. Your life will never be the same, but your heart will heal and you will be happy again.
The pain of losing someone you love feels unbearable. You may feel empty, or consumed with pain. Maybe your spirit is broken, your mind numb, your body exhausted from crying. The physical, emotional, spiritual and social aftershocks of a breakup aren’t easy to withstand. They may even stop you from thinking you can be happy without him in your life. But don’t believe everything you think!
You will get over this breakup. You’ll get through this. You will learn how to be happy alone even if you can’t imagine life without him. You may suffer for longer than you’d like, but you will heal. You will be happy without him. Good news: you’ve already been through the worst of it! You experienced the pain of the breakup. You got through with the cold shock of losing him, the confusing thoughts of how to live without him, and the anger of the unfairness and injustice of it all. Now it’s time to learn how to be happy without him in your life.
“Letting go is indisputably one of the hardest things I will ask you to do,” writes therapist 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.”
When you think you can’t be happy without him…
Instead of asking “How do I get over him?”, try something different. Here’s a better question to ask yourself: “What will help me learn how to be happy without him?” You don’t even need to have the answer to this question yet. Simply asking yourself “what will help me” will trigger your brain and start healing your heart. Your subconscious is smart. It will pick up this question and start answering it – without you even realizing it! Your brain will start looking for specific ways to get through a breakup when you’re still in love.
When you ask yourself questions about healing, learning, and growing forward you will start feeding your spirit and soul the answers you need to hear. Since you don’t know how to be happy without him (yet), I’ll give you some food for thought.
7 Ways to Start Living Without Him
Yes, you can and will be happy without him. I know, because I’m living happily without people I lost. I thought I’d never learn how to live without him, but I healed. And if my heart healed after what I’ve been through, I know yours will, too.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can’t live without him. You’ll suffocate yourself. Instead, start actively working towards getting over this man and learning how to get over him. If you haven’t been on your own in a long time, read Are You Unhappy Single? 5 Benefits of Being Unattached.
1. Box up his stuff
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. Passive healing is crying, sleeping, eating (or not eating), and choosing not to try different ways to heal. Active healing, on the other hand, is finding ways to work through your grief about the breakup so you can move forward in your life.
Do you have his stuff all over your place? Here’s the first step on how to get over him: start getting rid of everything. Seeing his clothes, toiletries, books, or other items just keeps your wounds fresh. Put everything he left behind in a box, and throw or give it away. Clearing out your home, car, and workspace will help clear your mind…which will help you heal from a relationship breakup.
2. Rearrange your home (a visible sign that life is different now)
You’re starting a new stage in your life, right? Then your surroundings should reflect your new life. You don’t need to buy new furniture or move to a new place (though some women find it easier to get over a man when they’re surrounded by new stuff); consider rearranging your bedroom, living room, and even your kitchen. Declutter your stuff at the same time; get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year or more.
“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.”
3. Stay emotionally healthy
Maybe you’re scared to be alone. Maybe you hate eating alone, going to parties alone, and attending work events alone. That’s fair – I know I’d rather be with someone that alone! You WILL find someone to be with – after you get over this man that you think you can’t live without.
One of the questions I’m often asked is “How do I get over him?” There aren’t any easy answers, and not everything works for everyone! You need to stay strong and courageous, emotionally and physically healthy.
Healing takes time. Getting over a man when you want to be together is hard, and it requires effort. But you are choosing to let go of the past because you know it’s time. If you find yourself holding on to the past, you’re normal because our natural tendency is to hold on to the comfortable, even when it’s painful and not good for us. You’re growing, though, because you are learning how to be comfortable even when you’re uncomfortable.
If your emotions are stronger than your will to get over this man, read How to Emotionally Detach From Someone You Care About.
4. Give yourself time to grieve your way, for as long as it takes
Learning how to be happy without him takes time. Give yourself space to grieve your loss, to absorb the shock of the breakup, and to adjust to live without him. You’re going from “I can’t live without him” to “I can do this, I can be happy without him” – and it will take time.
Let yourself cry, wail, and weep. True healing only comes when you get all the emotions and feelings out. Express your pain and heartache by writing in your journal, painting dark pictures, and drawing your emotions. Go for long walks, and let the tears flow. Give yourself a few minutes every day to say good-bye to the man, relationship, and life you had.
5. Explore different ways to be happy without him
Some people find breakup music really helpful, while others jump into fitness classes, travel, or meeting new people to date. Some people answer the “How do I get over him?” question with other questions: “Where do I want to be in one year? Who do I want to be with? How do I want to look, act, and feel?” Focusing on your future can be the best way to get over a breakup.
Everybody heals differently. You may need to find ways to put into words and perspective the feelings and emotions you haven’t expressed to anyone – such as by writing in your journal. Or, maybe you need to stop expressing your thoughts and feelings, and start taking practical steps to moving on with your life.
Acceptance is the key. If you really want to learn how to get over a man, surrender to the fact that the relationship is over. What is done is done. It’s time for you to renew yourself, and flourish in a new season of your life! When you clutch the old, you can’t receive anything new in your life.
6. Set your heart on something alive
Your heart is broken because it was set on living happily ever after with him. Now you’re forced to learn how to be happy without him. This means you need to set your heart on something that brings life, purpose, and meaning. It’s time to renew your heart and regenerate your life. It’s time to accept that a relationship – a man – is a wonderful and beautiful gift. So are children, families, beautiful possessions and lives.
If you can accept people and relationships as gifts to hold lightly and release when they’re gone, you already know how to be happy without him. You cherish the time you had, and surrender to the reality of your life now.
Sometimes women hang on to their pain, their disappointment, their anger, their misery. Have you ever met someone who was bitter and infuriated about something someone did to them 10 years ago? A breakup that happened 25 years ago? I have. Sometimes we choose not to let go of the past because it’s easier to stay put. Sometimes we ignore our options for healing because staying put is easier than moving forward.
7. Be kind and gentle with yourself
Sometimes you think you’ll never get over him; other times, you feel happy and good about your future! These ups and downs are normal. Certain days — birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays — can be difficult even years after a relationship breakup.
There are no quick and easy solutions on how to stop living in the past. But, if you deliberately choose to let go of the past you will rediscover yourself. You will figure out what you really want from life, and you will plant your own garden.
How to get happy without him…
In 75 How to Let Go of Someone You Love: 3 Powerful Secrets (and 75 Tips!) for Healing Your Heart, you’ll find a wide variety of practical and personal tips for getting over a man and starting your life over again. Best of all, you’ll find hope and healing.
To write this ebook, I interviewed life coaches, relationship experts, grief and counselors for the most thoughtful and helpful tips on how to get over a man when a relationship ends. It’s devastating and heartbreaking to let someone go – especially because it changes how you see yourself.
May you find healing and love, light and life. May your faith carry you through, and give you strength to love and live with joy again.