Moving on from a bad relationship

Being in a bad relationship is tough, and leaving one can be even tougher. There are many challenges to moving on from a bad relationship, but learning to deal with them can make the whole process a lot easier.

Boy and girl sitting back to back

I feel lonely

It’s alright to feel lonely for awhile, and you can choose to express this in a safe, comfortable way. Whether this is writing a journal entry, talking it out, listening to your favourite tunes, or taking some time out, coming to terms with what’s happened can help with moving on and upward. 

Also, being single doesn't have to be all bad. Take it as a chance to reconnect with yourself by trying new things and meeting new people. 

I’ve lost a lot of my confidence, how can I get it back?

It’s pretty normal to feel angry, betrayed, detached, and a bunch of other emotions when a bad relationship ends. There’s the gnawing feelings of ‘I should have known’ and ‘is this going to happen with my next relationships?’ that stuff creeps up on you, and it sucks. It sucks even more when you’re not your average confident self. 

Take some time to practice self-care and focus on yourself, your friends and your family. There’s no right or wrong way to get your mojo back, but getting back into doing things that you enjoy is always a great way to start! 

I have trust issues

It's completely normal to have trouble trusting people after coming out of a bad relationship. Use this time to reflect on choices you've made and decide what's important to you in a relationship. Accepting mistakes is a healthy way to learn about how you approach future relationships. But don’t be too hard on yourself. The do’s and don’ts of interacting with someone new doesn’t always come easily. It's natural to find it hard to trust someone new. Take it slowly and really spend some time trying to understand your fears and feelings. It may help to talk it out with a friend, or even your new partner.

My ex has been spreading rumours about me

Some people take the end of a relationship pretty badly - so badly that they’ll share their bad attitude with everyone. From people you know to the new cashier at the local supermarket, their sly rumours and lies about a supposedly crappy ‘you’ can be damaging. They may be just as hurt as you are, and all this storytelling is their (unhealthy) way of coping. Having some prepared answers when people ask you about these rumours, laughing these stories off, or seeking out advice (particularly if you see them in different places like school, uni, or work) are some ways that you can handle the whispers. If it’s happening online, report any posted content, the person and/or people involved, unfriend and block them or go offline. 

I still see them around often. How do I make this less awkward?

Be civil. This doesn’t mean being really nice, horrendously nasty, or forcibly pretending nothing happened – it means that you treat them as a human being with basic respect. We can’t control how people react or interpret what you say or do. You may have boundaries that you’ve both mutually agreed on, and it’s all good. If you’re unsure, don’t force yourself to actively interact with them. Saying hey or letting small talk happen naturally can prevent some  awkwardness. But hiding, wearing disguises, or being obnoxious does not. Always try to be your best self. 

Last reviewed: 07 May, 2015
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