After The Break-Up: Opening Yourself Up Again After a Bad Break-Up

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Getting over an ex is one of the toughest things any of us ever have to do. However, once we get over the initial grieving and anger towards our ex and the relationship that could have been, we usually end up left with a great big emotional wall up. Anyone who dares to try enter will be met with a huge, impenetrable stone wall.

This described me after I was broken up with by my ex. I didn’t see the split coming, I was beyond heartbroken about it and it took me many months to come to terms with it. Once I did, that’s when I promised myself I’d never feel that way again, and up came that gigantic emotional barrier.

When I met my current partner, my plans were all very ‘me’ central – the way it needed to be after my heartbreaking split. I had plans in place to move to London, I had already relocated to a lovely, isolated house for the time being (to help escape memories from the one I shared with my ex) and I had taken up a few new hobbies. As it should have been, I was focusing on me.

I found life exciting again. I was looking forward to new experiences, opportunities and places.  

Then, as soon as I was well and truly back on my feet, this person came into my life and blew me away.

I was very cautious; I was doing fantastically well for myself and didn’t want to be heartbroken again. The fact that I had already overcome such heartache proved to me that I could get over a break-up – I just didn’t want to have to go through that again. So, up my walls went.  

I was incredibly hard work; I was emotionally unavailable and mistrusting. At the same time, however, I was mesmerized by this being. And they were with me, too; it was confusing and exciting at the same time.  

To help you avoid the same mistakes I made when meeting someone new after a break-up, I’d like to share some advice on behaviors to encourage and discourage when you meet someone who you can see yourself being with.

Tip #1 – Be Honest

Of course, I don’t mean spilling your guts about all of the tragedies that have befallen you over the course of your lifetime on date number one. But, be honest about the fact that you’ve been hurt and that your previous relationship left you emotionally damaged and drained.  

Share your truth. It will also enable your prospective partner to be a little more understanding when you’re perhaps being a little colder than you were the last time they seen you, or it may explain mistrustful emotions.  

Whilst you may feel vulnerable and open to hurt by being honest, it’s always the best way to start out a new relationship. If you go into this new venture full of bravado, falseness and an “I don’t care” attitude, you could end up ruining something that could have been good for you. Not only that, you run the risk of hurting someone who put themselves out there for you.

I did this to my current partner – my bravado and visible lack of care really did run them to the ground.

Deep down, however, I was enamored with this person and looking back I regret not being as honest with them – it would have saved months of wasted emotion and time.

Tip #2 – Be You

Even if you think you’re too weird, too loud, too quiet, too whatever – be you. It’s the most attractive thing a person can be when opposite the right person.

I’m naturally quirky with quite a dry sense of humor, and I was worried this might be off-putting for my (then) new partner. Still, I decided to remain who I was because if that side of me put them off, then it wasn’t meant to be anyhow.

It turns out that my quirks and oddities were something my new partner found attractive, and after several dates together, I picked up that he had very similar quirks and a dry sense of humor. He now admits he was afraid to show this side of him too early as he didn’t want to scare me off.

Image how much fun we missed out on in the beginning when he wasn’t being true to himself or me?

The advice here is to just be you, no matter what.

Tip #3 – Be Adventurous

With a new significant other, try something neither of you has ever done before. Create new memories and don’t be afraid to do so in case this relationship doesn’t work out. A life lived in fear isn’t a life worth living, after all – get out there and be adventurous!

Remember earlier when I said change stimulates your brain to make you happier? It’s something you ought to keep in mind, and the beginning of a new relationship is a great time to be adventurous and change things up.

I don’t necessarily mean jump out of a plane with your new beau (although you absolutely could), but trying new things together is a fantastic way to help ease you back into emotional fulfillment with another person and stimulate your mind.  

Why not try a cooking class together, go wine tasting, visit a drive-thru cinema or take a trip to a theme park?

Tip #4 – Be Open

This is uber important – you can’t shut yourself down because you’ve had bad experiences. I’ve overcome domestic and emotional abuse and still found it within myself to open up to somebody new. Whatever you have experienced or been through, I know you can open up, too.

Putting defenses up when we are faced with a prospect that may hurt us in the future is natural. It’s what your mind does to avoid the danger of repeating the emotional trauma you went through with your ex. However, to go into a new relationship when you are unwilling to be open is likely to only end one way; you’ll end up hurting the other person.

I suggest that you don’t allow the heartache of the past affect your openness with your new suitor. As hard as it may be at first, when you begin to feel your barriers rising you need to explain this to your partner and actively work at breaking them down.  

Don’t hide away from your partner – this was a huge mistake I made at the beginning of my current relationship. As I said before, I look back now and see my time as being reserved and closed down towards my partner as wasted time. Even if it never worked out between us, having that guard so far up would have served no purpose – it would have also meant I hadn’t given then relationship my all.

Tip #5 – Have Fun

The more fun you have without a significant other, the more fun you can have with the one that finally gets your heart.  

In fact, I think this is the way I found my partner – I was busy having fun. I was collecting new friends, memories, living in new places and even having a lot of success networking for my job.  

I was so busy growing, having fun and genuinely enjoying myself. My partner seen this and it intrigued him. I can’t say he’d have felt the same if I was downbeat, full of resentment and holding onto the anger of my break-up.

So, if you’re newly single, feeling the sting of a recent split or find that you’re hung up on an ex, I hope my advice can help give you some food for thought, and help you move forward.