Moving On After a Breakup

Breakups, they happen to everyone. They come in all shapes and sizes; some are swift and painless, others knock you round in ways you cant quite explain. Apparently, the average person will go through at least three major breakups in their lifetime. That’s quite a lot of time to experience something so cataclysmic.

I run a site called Never Liked It Anyway – it’s a place to sell all that stuff you’re left with when a relationship ends. It’s about breakups, but really, it’s about moving on and getting through the bad bit of a breakup quickly so that you can get back to being your most awesome self.

I get asked a lot about how to move on. It’s not easy, that’s for sure. But there are certainly things you can do to help. Below I’m sharing my top ten.

1. Redecorate Your Space

Your surroundings reflect your reality. Changing up some basic things will not only refresh your space, it will refresh your mind. You can do some cheap and easy fixes like changing bedding or moving some furniture around. Or, if you’re feeling game, you can go all out: Paint the walls and refurbish your room.

If you’re in an all-out mood and ready for a stunning transformation, check out the affordable design marketplace Laurel & Wolf, or visit Craigslist to nab a new easy chair, hit up a local flea market and find some exquisite fabrics or invite your friends round and host a paint party.

2. Name Your Triggers

Let’s face it, there’ll be meltdowns along the way. All those things that remind you of your ex now bring about a note of sorrow — your special song, your Sunday stroll, your coffee spot – even that cocktail you both used to love. These can bring you to tears.

Grab a pen and a friend, and write down your list of triggers. Then write what you can do to either avoid them or what to do when they inevitably come your way. Whatever you do, know what’s going to set you off and have a plan for them.

3. Toss It, Sell It Or Burn It

Love notes, mementos, jewelry, Valentine’s day presents, handmade cards. They were cute at the time, but now they are just a constant reminder of the love you’ve lost. Either toss them or if they have some value, consider selling them (we know just the place!). We’re obviously a little biased, but you may as well make a profit off your breakup baggage and use the money to buy something to enjoy in this new stage.

Clearing yourself of clutter allows you to move forward. A clear space creates space for the new and exciting. And a little bonfire now and then can be a very cathartic experience. It’s not about revenge or being bitter; it’s about making space for the new.

It’s not about revenge or being bitter; it’s about making space for the new.

4. Clear Your Phone

This one can be painful, so perhaps do it with a friend. Delete those old messages, photos and videos that remind you of the past. You might have the urge to save the photos, but imagine yourself happily in love a year from now. Will you really want to be looking at these old snaps?

If the answer is still yes, then put them somewhere difficult to access. This is one of those weird, rare instances that an external hard drive is better than the cloud.

5. Manage Social Media

Now for the hard part, de-coupling on social media. Unfollow, unfriend, de-tag – whatever you need to do to make sure they don’t come scrolling through your feed looking happy, healthy and potentially loved up. Obviously, you and your ex will both be happy again one day, but in the meantime, you don’t need the reminders of them living life without you.

Besides, you need to learn to separate yourself from his life and routine. It’s not important to know what he ate for lunch, that his fight was delayed or that he’s really into the new Pretty Lights album. Check out the app Kill Switch to make the process easy and painless. There’s also Eternal Sunshine which can wipe the slate clean faster than doing it yourself. Band-aid ripped!

6. Make Something With Your Hands

Bake, draw, stitch, repair, potter – just do something tactile where you can see the results of your labor and get a sense of control back. Making things by hand is proven to improve your mood, decrease stress and ease anxiety. It’s also good fun. And if you get really good you might even start an Etsy store with your newly found abilities.

7. Find New Entertainment

Music, movies, Netflix series are great – but most of the time we enjoy them with our beaus. Rather than sit in silence, take this as your cue to discover new artists and entertainment options that you can enjoy on your own. For something fun, try Songza or 5by. For something spontaneous, follow a random feed on Periscope App; for some burning creative fire checkout and read a script from scratch.

8. Write A Wishlist

Rather than writing a depressing ‘deal breakers’ list, take this as your chance to write a Wishlist. Write a nice little list of all the positive attributes you want to find in your next love. This “perfect” guy won’t magically appear, but what really matters is that you’ve left yourself open to a new set of attributes; you’ve found a way to learn from the past.

…what really matters is that you’ve left yourself open to a new set of attributes; you’ve found a way to learn from the past.

9. Exercise

Exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you feel good. You may feel like hibernating after a break-up, but don’t. Grab the boxing gloves, hit the ballet bar, sing it out at spin – whatever you do, make sure you sweat.

If you’re looking for something really different, try Aqua Cycle in NYC. Yes, that’s right, it’s spin class in a pool. Only in NYC! Or dance it out at Zumba or swing it out on the trapeze.

10. Make Over

Confidence is everything. It’s the magnetism we put out to the rest of the world and dictates what we draw in. Makeovers sound fickle, but they are actually effective. Chuck or sell the clothes you won’t wear, stalk some Pinterest boards and then hit the shops.

This is not about spending your way out of your sorrow (we all know that doesn’t work), it’s about finding bold, signature pieces that restore your inner confidence and glow. If you need a little guidance, try a place like Tog + Porter – they’re the accessible online stylist who do the shopping just for you.

What have you learned by going through a breakup?

Image via Taylr Kreutziger


  1. This article is wonderful. I think exercising and social media/phone purging are two of the best ways to move forward. Break ups are hard because so much of whats going on is intangible; it’s inside of us. Exercising and deleting photos and traces of the relationship are pro-active and tangible ways of saying, “Done. Moving on now.” Thanks for sharing, Annabel!

    1. Thanks Hannah! Really glad it was helpful!! Definitely not an easy thing to do but the lining is always there and its always silver! xo

  2. Honestly that was so on point! It does seem like this only scratches the surface but it doesn’t. When you’re in a relationship for so long, it permeates all those little things in life which end up meaning the world to you. So perfect!

    1. Thanks Anna! Yea, sometimes I think you need to make a gesture in the physical world and trust your emotions will catch up in time xo

  3. These are all great things to do, but it seems as if they only scratch at the surface. I was hoping for something a little deeper that talks about how to work through the emotions and then move on. That being said, after my latest breakup I DID make a lot of pies. So maybe there’s something here. 😀

    1. Hi Courtney – yes, it’s a tricky topic to really delve into with so few words! We do have a lot of articles on that go into a bit more detail. I think a lot of it is about identifying your sensitive points and working with them. We’re also about to launch a new product that’s all about challenges to help you move on. It will be live later this week! I’ll send you a link! Glad you got into the pies…delish!! xo

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