5 Tips On How To Be Single After A Long Relationship
By: Mason Komay
Updated March 26, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn
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, here are five tips on how to be single after a long relationship:
- Focus On Other Relationships
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Do Things Alone
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.
"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."
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.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long should you be single after a relationship?
The answer to this question will vary from person to person. If you're newly single, you don't need to rush into a new relationship. Statistics indicate that after seven months, 25% of people will enter another relationship. That amount doubles when the amount of time between relationships increases to one year and eight months. As time progresses, the amount of people in new relationships grows even higher. Experts say that at least a couple of months is a good bet when it comes to how long you should be single after a relationship. When you're newly single, there are a lot of feelings that you will experience, and depending on the nature of the relationship, there might be a number of tangible aspects to work through, such as property distribution or navigating child custody. It can take some time to learn how to be single again, so go easy on yourself throughout this process and let yourself feel your feelings.
How do you start over after a long relationship?
If you're newly single and are just learning how to be single again, the best thing to do is to focus on your wants, needs, and personal growth. When you're part of a couple and are planning anything from your day to day life or your long term future, the other person's schedule, needs, and what they want to do impacts your decisions. See being single as an opportunity to focus on what you want. During the time that you discover how to be single again, it's vital to look inward and see your true desires without anyone else's influence. Ultimately, that's how you'll start over. You can do something you've always wanted to do, such as seeing a life coach, or even becoming a life coach. This is a new beginning.
Where you might've used your free time to be with your ex in the past, you get to prioritize yourself now. You can spend time with your friends, whether those are single friends or coupled friends, try a new activity or return to an old hobby, or focus on personal growth and start planning your life moving forward. You might end up planning a move you wouldn't have made otherwise, and you'll get to decorate the home the way you want it, without compromise. You may also meet new people through classes you take or groups you join, whether those are in person or online. Once you get over the initial feelings that come with a break-up, it doesn't need to be a bad time; in fact, it can be one where you thrive.
Why is it good to be single after a break-up?
It's good to be single after a break-up for a number of purposes, but some of the top reasons it's good to be single after a break-up are that it gives you time to heal before entering a new relationship, it gives you time to focus on yourself, and it gives you time to think about what you want in future partnerships. You'll start to build an even greater sense of self and will grow during this time. Additionally, you'll feel completely ready by the time that you do decide to start dating again if you focus on yourself for now. When you feel like you're ready to start dating again, it's good to think about what you want your love life to look like in the future. Do you want to meet someone who shares similar values as yours? Do you want to eventually move to a new geographical location and meet someone who desires to be in the same place? Do you want someone who is career-oriented, family-oriented, or who has any other specific traits? Maybe, you need the next person you date to be communicative or emotionally available. Being single is an opportunity to look at what you really want, so think about your deal breakers and don't settle or rush into anything new.
What is considered a rebound relationship?
A rebound relationship is a relationship that you rush into shortly after a break-up, generally before you heal from the previous relationship and are ready to start a new one from the beginning. When people enter a rebound relationship, they are often feeling lonely and aren't sure how to navigate new single life or aren't sure how to be happy while single. Sometimes, people even start rebound relationships in attempts to "get over their ex," which is not recommended. That said, every relationship you enter after a break up won't be a rebound relationship. It's important to see where you are coming from if you feel the need to get into a relationship directly after a break-up. If you've taken time to grieve and are feeling good but happen to meet someone that you're interested in, it's probably just fine. If you are actively seeking to be part of a couple because of a broken heart, however, it might be something to work through. It's important to watch when you're falling for someone right after a break-up and to check your intentions because you don't want to hurt that person or hinder your healing.
What are the 5 stages of break up?
The five stages of a break up are denial, anger, bargaining, depression/sadness, and acceptance. A break-up is a form of loss, hence why the five stages of a break-up are parallel to the five stages of grief. The grieving process takes time, and when you're newly single, it's essential to give yourself the necessary space and compassion while you get through this time. It's not easy to have a broken heart, and feeling like you have a broken heart doesn't mean that you're weak. Let the process happen, and don't be surprised if your emotions ebb and flow. It's normal for someone healing from a break-up to go back and forth from the stages of a break-up and to re-experience several of them. You might hop from anger to bargaining and then return to anger again for a little while; it's all normal. Acknowledge your feelings and allow yourself to be in whatever part of the process you're in for as long as you need to be. If you do feel stagnant or need to talk to someone, a mental health provider can help
When should you give up on a relationship?
There are many different reasons that people ultimately decide to break up or give up on a relationship. Some of the common reasons for divorce or parting ways with each other, whether you were married or not, are infidelity or cheating, communication issues, frequent or unhealthy arguments, serious differences in personal beliefs, wants, or needs, and substance use on either side of the partnership. In the absence of abuse, people may decide to go to couples counseling or marriage counseling to repair their relationship. If you're in a toxic or abusive relationship, your safety and wellbeing are of the highest importance. It is vital that you get out as soon as you can do so in a safe manner. Giving up on a relationship isn't necessarily a bad thing. As difficult as it may be, parting ways is sometimes for the best. If you are worried about falling in love in the future or anything else related to your love life, speaking to a licensed mental health professional can help.
How long does it take to recover from a break-up?
Studies show a wide range in the amount of time that it can take to recover from break up. Some experts say that it takes about 11 weeks or three months to feel better post-breakup. However, in a study that looked at people who had been married, it took 18 months. How long it'll take you to recover personally depends on a wide range of factors, including how long you were together, the nature of the break-up, and so on. If you were in an abusive relationship, it might take additional time to not only heal from the break-up but to cope with the effects of the abuse itself. You deserve empowerment after abuse, and abuse recovery looks different for everyone. Seeing a counselor or therapist can be extremely helpful in navigating life after abuse.
What's it called when you date someone right after a break-up?
Depending on the amount of time that's passed and the nature of the way you entered a new relationship right after a break-up, someone might call that a rebound relationship. Some people have a rule for themselves that they don't date right after a break-up, and although you don't necessarily need to do that, many experts recommend that your primary focus isn't on getting into a relationship as soon as you can and that you do take some time for yourself after getting out of a relationship. If you have taken the time to heal and find yourself falling in love feeling extra romantic and knowing that you aren't settling, it might just be that you're ready to date again; especially if you weren't looking for a relationship at all and just happened to stumble into it. After all, when you're falling in love and it's genuine, it's hard to help it. What you can do is take things slow and enjoy your time getting to know this new person. You're the only one who will know when you feel completely ready to get back into a relationship, and part of how you'll be able to tell is that you won't rush to get into another relationship. You'll have felt solid in your single life and won't find yourself fixated on your past relationship. Since healing after a break up is so different for everyone, no one can tell you when you're ready to date again except for yourself. Checking in with your intentions and taking time to focus on yourself after a long-term commitment can help you avoid rebound relationships. If you’re honest with yourself about where you're at and what's healthy for you, that’s what matters.
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