Starting over: How to rebuild your life after your relationship ends

After my last relationship ended, I went through all of the stages of grief, denial, anger, and depression. And then, I moved on. Being gentle on myself opened me up to new adventures and greater wisdom.

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  • After my last relationship ended, I went through all of the stages of grief, denial, anger, and depression. And then, I moved on. Being gentle on myself opened me up to new adventures and greater wisdom. You too can find the peace that I did with these simple steps.

  • 1. Let yourself mourn

  • The first few weeks are bound to be ugly. That's OK. Eat ice cream, have a good cry, hang out in your pajamas, call your mom. I, for one, wrote several angry journal entries and splurged on very expensive tickets to see a fantastic play. While I don't recommend dwelling on the past or drowning your woes in credit card debt, it's important to find a healthy outlet for your pain. This is all part of the normal healing process after things have ended.

  • Madeleine L'Engle states, "I mourn the loss of dreams and the presence of nightmare." While we hope that this moment of your life does not qualify as nightmare, failed relationships often involve the loss of dreams. Honor that with gentle expectations for yourself at first, but keep the goal of healing in mind, too.

  • 2. Remember how awesome you are

  • Once you begin to pull yourself together, remember all the wonderful things you have to offer the universe. Relationships sometimes fail because an essential part of our personality is suppressed in the dynamic. In a previous relationship, my ex seemed to always wish I was sweeter, gentler and quieter. I worked hard to show that part of who I am after things ended, and the new friends I made loved my loud and clever and quirky self. It left me wishing I'd never tried to be something I'm not.

  • If you can relate at all, this is a wonderful opportunity for you! Now that the relationship has ended, let that suppressed part of you shine. Love who you are. Enjoy it! The confidence and peace that comes from genuine self-love draws healthy interactions into your life, romantic and otherwise.

  • 3. Try something new

  • Although it's cliche, there's wisdom in the saying that every ending is a beginning. So, what's your new beginning? When my relationship ended, I tried online dating for the first time. It was a blast! I practiced social skills, met new people, and figured out what I really wanted. This exploration gave me the wisdom I needed for my next relationship to succeed.

  • If online dating isn't for you, that's OK too. However, is there something else you've always wanted to try? Maybe it's sculpting, getting that promotion, or developing a close relationship with your grandma. Whatever the case, your life is on an upward trend now, and it's time to chase your dreams.

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  • Above all, the most important thing for you to do right now is to be yourself, which includes respecting your initial desire to grieve. Then, if you allow these changes to flow through you instead of holding you down, you'll find that you've become a better person from the experience. And what could be better than a new, better you?

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Sara Hagmann is a stay-at-home wife and writer who loves traveling, cooking, and kissing her husband. A lot.

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