No breakup is easy to cope with, but ending a long-distance relationship can be especially hard on both people involved. Depending on how the relationship ended, it can come as a shock and be feel impersonal if it didn’t happen in person. While it’s perfectly healthy to take some time to reflect on the relationship and remember the good times that you and your significant other shared, it’s important to not obsess over it. The relationship ended for a reason and you have your whole life ahead of you. Whether you are struggling to fill the free time you gained from the breakup, or trying to find ways to grow and move on from the relationship, here are two of the biggest challenges associated with this type of relationship ending and how to deal with them in a healthy, productive way:
You suddenly have too much free time on your hands: Maintaining a long-distance relationship takes time, and a lot of it. The time that you devoted to scheduling regular phone calls and FaceTime dates, as well as travelling to see each other should not be underestimated. But what happens when we get this time back? Even though you may want to spend all this time mourning the end of your relationship, this would be a great time to focus on yourself, as cliché as it sounds. Is there a hobby you can now devote more time to? A class you want to take at the gym? A project at work that you can volunteer to take on a larger role in? Using your time to pursue your own goals will help you to move on in a healthy way, feel better about yourself and genuinely make you a better, well-rounded person. Before you know it, you’ll wonder how you lived without all this time to better yourself and enrich your life.
You feel totally disconnected from where you live: A long-distance relationship can make you feel like where you currently live is a temporary situation, but when the relationship ends there is often a disconnect. Taking time to appreciate where you live is an important part of the healing process and it will make you feel more grounded where you are. Explore a museum. Try a new restaurant in another part of town. Make new friends and reconnect with old ones you may have lost track of while you were focusing on your relationship. Your friends can be your greatest support system and source of distraction if you are willing to reach out and ask for help. Living in a city that your ex doesn’t is actually beneficial in this situation because you don’t have to worry that you’ll run into him/ her at your favorite places in town. Appreciate the space you’re in and immerse yourself in it. Can you volunteer for an organization that gives back to your community? Call the local food bank, animal shelter or soup kitchen, grab a friend and do something to help others. This will help you to feel connected to your physical location and allow you to move on from the relationship.
If all else fails, shake up your whole routine and go do something you’ve been wanting to do. Take a long weekend and go out of town with friends or family. Treat yourself to a spa day. Go to a big sporting event and be completely present in the moment. The most important thing to remember is that you can, and will, get through this breakup and have grown from it, and that you can always ask for help from loved ones if you need it.