I hate my ex girlfriend! - learning to let go and move on!

Breaking up with a partner can sometimes be traumatic. Even though you saw it coming or made it happen yourself, you may not be ready for the impact of the break-up. Suddenly you are alone and no longer part of a couple. It feels like a giant missile burst up on your life crushing your dreams and aspirations, leaving your daily existence a strange and difficult place to be.

TIP: Read the guide to letting go of your ex

The feelings you are assailed with are many. It may be anger, hurt, insecurity, sadness, depression, self-revulsion and rage.   ‘I hate my ex’ is a common statement of a girl or boy who has just experienced a break-up. Hatred for the partner and self-loathing are the two common emotions experienced by a person who has broken up with his partner.

The feelings after a break-up may be overwhelming. The difficult part is that there are no ground rules for recovering, healing and moving on. From the rubble, you have to pick up the pieces and move on. Firstly you have to deal with anger. It is good to acknowledge the feelings of anger at first but it is best not to act on them. So you must release all that pent up rage somehow, like taking kickboxing classes or writing hate mail to your ex, which you never send. Even punch a few pillows and talk to your friends about your anger. The good thing is that, like all negative emotions that are expressed, these emotions will also fade away. Meanwhile you have to find your own stress busters.

Feelings of guilt are also common. You may wonder what exactly that you did which caused her to break up with you.  There is a lot of soul searching and self-criticism involved here to blame oneself for the break-up. The events of your past keep being replayed in your mind. But here you must give yourself a break and think positively about yourself. You must seek the company of friends and family to feel good about yourself. Instead of ruing over what went wrong and what you should have done differently, you must give yourself positive points for getting out of a doomed relationship.

Dealing with a break up involves the following steps:

1. Acceptance

Coming to terms that the relationship is over. This is a difficult stage, because we delay letting go and ending a bad relationship, with the hope that somehow things may improve, but they will not. Acceptance involves taking the step of closure, ending the relationship formally, so that no loose ends remain to tempt or worry you.

2. Understanding why it ended

This involves honest self-searching about why the relationship ended and what went wrong from the view of both partners. This maybe useful for the health of your future relationships. This also means avoiding the ‘If only’, ‘What if’ type of analysis that is self-defeating.

3. Grieving the loss

Give yourself time to mourn and pick up the pieces of your shattered life. It could be anything from a week to a year. Give yourself outlets to mourn - the shoulder of a relative or a friend, keeping a journal, talking with a counsellor or taking quiet walks by yourself.

4. Redirect your life 

Bring a new meaning in your life by taking up new activities, making new friends, doing things which you always of dreamt but postponed etc. You will soon be drawn into the joyful currents of life and healed of your painful wounds.

To redirect your life and move on to a better and happier life you can:

Set new goals - Instead of being content with your present status, set new goals for yourself. Like improving your cricket or basketball. This will give you new skills and also an avenue to meet new people.

Throw away objects that remind you of the ex - Time to forget the old and ring in the new. Burn letters and photos if it disturbs your mind. Keep all memorabilia in deep storage.

Treat yourself gently - Pamper yourself with your favourite food, wine, sporting events, music, movies, vacation etc. Dress well, eat well.

Surround yourself with happy, positive people - They will lift your mind off the trauma of your break-up and get you laughing about the lighter things in life.

Volunteer to help the less fortunate - By helping others in need, you will appreciate better your current situation and feel less miserable and more fulfilled.

Remember why it didn’t work - Remembering past mistakes will help you to avoid them in future and make you a better person. Also, remembering the hurt caused by your ex will help you get over her faster and better.

Accept your sadness and be very kind to yourself - Do not pressurize yourself. Take time away from work if necessary. Buy books and attend workshops. Seek the help of a grief counsellor.

Create a formal  farewell ritual - If your relationship needs closure, create a comforting farewell ritual like burning letters and souvenirs. Or dumping her unwanted things into a river and bidding farewell.

Count your blessing every day - Take every day as a miracle with so many things to thank God for. It shifts focus from what you have,  away from  what you don’t have.

Compliment yourself - Make a list of your good qualities and remind yourself of them  often, to feel positive about yourself.

Go on a personal development workshop - where you will  brighten your self-image as well as meet interesting people wanting to improve their own lives.

5. Dealing with rejection

Having someone break up with you gives a blow to your self-esteem. It can lead to negative emotions like sadness and anger. Here you have to learn to be kind to yourself. Pamper yourself with pleasurable activities and positive vibes and do not generalize this rejection to future partners. Avoid thoughts like 'I am fat', 'I am stupid' and other self-critical thoughts. Remember the positives and negatives of your ex in a realistic light.

Try not to deal with rejection in the following negative ways:

  • Chasing the girl thinking she will take you back
  • Isolating yourself
  • Drinking heavily or drug abuse
  • Jumping into another relationship to stop feeling lonely
  • Wallowing in depression

6. Growing emotionally from the experience 

Through  the experience of  a failed romantic relationship, one can discover more about oneself and identify interpersonal needs. Once you grow through these six stages, you are ready to move on. From hating your ex, it is time to forget and forgive and fall in love again, perhaps with the best girl/boy out there for you.