5 Tips On How To Be Single After A Long Relationship

By Mason Komay|Updated July 25, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Aaron Horn, LMFT

Learning how to be single again after being in a long relationship can be tough. Depending on how the relationship ended, you might be experiencing one or more of the following feelings: sadness, relief, betrayal, loneliness, anger… the list goes on. To fight these emotions, you could be tempted to throw yourself into another relationship before working through them, which can be even more harmful in the long run.

Relationships give us a sense of security. You get used to having another person around all the time, even if things haven’t been going smoothly for a while. Falling asleep alone can be especially challenging for some people after a breakup. To fill this emptiness, you may want to jump into a new relationship before you’re emotionally ready for it.

Believe it or not, being single for a while after ending a long-term relationship has its benefits. It’s easy to focus on the negative and ignore all the positive things about being single, though. One positive is getting to experience a renewed sense of freedom. You can focus only on yourself for a change instead of always thinking of your significant other when making decisions. You can spend more time with friends and family or pick up a new hobby. You can also heal wounds from your recent relationship.

If you need help to stick with it and avoid falling into a rebound relationship, here are five tips on how to be single after a long relationship:

1. Focus On Other Relationships

Struggling With Being Single After A Long Relationship?
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Now that you’re single, it’s a great time to check in with and nurture your non-romantic relationships. This can include friends, family, or even a pet!

When you’re in a relationship for a while, it’s easy to start neglecting other relationships because you’re always with your partner. Take the time to reconnect with people you haven’t seen in a long time. Not only will it give you people to talk to if you need it, but you may also even start to find yourself forgetting about your recent breakup and enjoying yourself. Nurturing friendships and non-romantic relationships can show you that you can feel loved and happy outside of a romantic relationship.

Again, this doesn’t even have to refer to humans; it can refer to pets too! There’s nothing like the love of a dog or cat. They can do a lot to help keep you from getting lonely, and they love you unconditionally. Taking care of a pet, including feeding them, going for walks, or giving cuddles, can provide a welcome distraction when you are feeling low. The idea of this step, whether you do it with humans, pets, or both, is to find comfort in other forms of love aside from the romantic type.

2. Use Positivity

An important part of staying single when you’re used to being in a relationship is staying positive. After a breakup, this isn’t always easy. You might find yourself thinking (or despairing) about how things ended, wondering what you could have done differently, or worry that you’ll never find someone to spend the rest of your life with. This is a natural reaction, and your feelings are valid. But it’s important to realize that those negative thoughts aren’t going to help the situation.

If you stay at home all the time and dwell on your new relationship status, being single won’t be fun. It might be difficult, but in this situation, one of the best things you can do is try to work on shifting your mindset.

One way to do this is by using positive affirmations when you catch yourself thinking negatively. Tell yourself things like, “I will find the right person for me when it’s time,” and, “I deserve to be happy on my own” (silently or out loud). If affirmations aren’t your thing, find songs to listen to that make you happy when you’re down, or other things that you can rely on to lift your mood.

3. Keep Yourself Busy

When you let your schedule become empty, it gives you too much time to be lonely and crave companionship. The key to avoiding this scenario is staying busy, so you have no time to get bored and lonely. This will also help you with the last step (use positivity), since sitting at home and overthinking is one of the things that can keep you from maintaining a positive outlook.

There are plenty of ways that you can keep yourself busy, but here are a few ideas that you can try if you aren’t sure where to start:

  • Get a gym membership
  • Go for a walk
  • Call a friend or family member
  • Find a hobby, like reading or playing video games
  • Try something new, like an escape room or a cooking class
  • Volunteer during your free time
  • Plan a weekend getaway

Once you find a few things that you enjoy doing, it should be easier to keep yourself busy and take your mind off things when you need to. To continue using this technique, keep coming up with new ways to stay busy so that you don’t find yourself getting tired of doing the same old things over and over again.

4. Don’t Force A New Relationship

Sometimes when you’re single and feel like you need to fill a void, you try to force it. Instead of giving yourself the time you need and taking a break, you start using dating apps, hanging out at single’s bars, and asking friends to set you up.

This isn’t to say that there’s anything wrong with dating and meeting new people. Just be aware of your behavior and ask yourself if what you’re doing is really what you want. If you find yourself thinking about getting into a relationship, ask yourself, “Is this the right person for me?”, “Can I do better than this?” or, “Will this person truly make me happy?”.

Chances are, forcing yourself into a new relationship before you’re ready just because you feel better when you’re not single isn’t going to make you happy. Most people call this a rebound, and they usually don’t last very long. If you want to heal and move on to have a great relationship in the future, take the time you need to love yourself again first. You’ll know when the time is right to commit to another person romantically again.

5. Do Things Alone

Struggling With Being Single After A Long Relationship?

When you’re in a long-term relationship, you get used to doing things as a couple all the time. One fun thing to do when you’re newly single is rediscover the fun of doing things on your own. Of course, not everyone is comfortable going out and doing things solo. Maybe one of the reasons you have a hard time staying single is because you were never very comfortable doing things alone. If this is the case, now is a great time to start!

To get going with this step, try doing something simple like grocery shopping on your own. This activity will keep you busy and moving and doesn’t take too long. Stay present during this step by taking your time. Take note of how it feels to buy things that you enjoy eating without needing to compromise. Once you’re okay with running little errands on your own, do something a little more daring like going out to eat or catching a movie solo. Or, you can try something even more productive, such as going to the gym, starting a new book, or even look into a few educational classes if you haven’t already. Going out on your own like this should help you realize that it can be liberating to do things by yourself and that you don’t need a relationship to lead a fun and fulfilling life.

One of the best things that you can do for yourself after a breakup is to remain single for a while. If you need support during this transition or you’re struggling with your emotional health, ReGain offers online relationship counseling to individuals and couples. If in-person counseling is not for you, online versions offer an alternative that is more flexible. You don’t need to worry about sitting in traffic, or accidentally running into someone you know in the waiting room. You may access ReGain’s online counseling platform from the comfort of your own home (or whever you have an internet connection). Below are some reviews of ReGain counselors for you to review, from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

“He’s amazing – he’s gotten me through some tough times and reminds me I’m not made of super human strength – that I’m human with normal emotions and it is in fact okay to cry. He has been an amazing support through a horrible breakup.”

“Christina was very helpful when I told her I left my spouse. I wasn’t sure what I wanted, a divorce or reconciliation. She helped me start processing where I was, to where do I see myself, to what do I want, to how do I see myself getting obtaining these goals. She did not influence any of my decisions, but guided me with thought provoking questions. Throughout our short sessions, she continued to reassure me that she or someone else, would always be there for me. Thank you Christina for your professionalism, your guidance and your compassion to help others. I look forward to continuing my therapy sessions with you, as my goals are not yet met.”

Conclusion

Breakups are always the most challenging in the beginning, but after a little time and practice, you might find that you enjoy being on your own. The best way to stay single for a while is to take some time to be a little selfish. Work on yourself and focus on spending time doing things you love with people you love.

It’s important to try not to dwell on the past and fall into the trap of negativity. If you find yourself feeling depressed or emotionally unstable, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You have many places to turn if you need support or someone to talk to, including friends and family, or even a professional online counselor. No matter how long your relationship lasted, or what you’re experiencing right now, there are healthy ways to move past the hurt. Take the first step.

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