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Breaking up is hard to do, we’ve all heard the saying. But, just because one relationship ended, doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world. I mean, sure, it might feel like it in the moment, but, hopefully, you know that your ex just wasn’t the right girl for you, and that your soulmate is somewhere out there just waiting for you to snatch her up.

As much as breaking up sucks, and can really leave a person in a rut, there are certain things to do after one that can set you up for future success. To be blunt, there are definitely post breakup rules, gents, and in order to both move on quicker and develop trust back in order to date someone new, it’s best to follow them.

Personally speaking, I’ve talked before about how a nasty breakup a couple years ago impacted me. Regardless of how my relationship ended or what occurred during it, there are plenty of things that I learned about myself that happened because of breaking up. And, while it took nearly nine months to finally feel comfortable in my own skin again and unaffected by my ex-girlfriend who I nearly proposed to, I’m a better man because of going through that awful experience.

So, whether you’re currently going through a breakup, or face the almost inevitable situation when breaking up occurs in a future relationship, here are some tips to help you put your broken heart back together; regardless of if you decided to end things or were the one getting dumped.

Breaking up should be a time to rediscover yourself

I know that breaking up might lead your mind to an ugly place, making you doubt yourself and become a hermit to the world, but now’s the time to find what really makes you, well, you! That’s right, guys, following a breakup, it’s OK, and normal, to be melancholy and guarded, but it’s also a time when you should find joy in all the little things that you enjoy. No longer do you need to answer to someone, or schedule your days or nights around a girlfriend. You can take a vacation with your buddies and join a new group or sports league that you couldn’t do before.

While breaking up may make you want to sit around and do nothing, it’s important to find a routine that works for you and get involved in activities that allow your mind to be free from the anxiety that comes with one. Allow yourself the chance to live more, while also grieving when necessary — just not all the time.

After breaking up, go ahead and cry all you want to

I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried a helluva lot after my breakup a couple years ago. Hell, it would even happen at the strangest times, like while watching a commercial, hearing a song or even just reading an inspiring text message from a friend. I was told not to be ashamed of crying, so, guess what, I’m here to tell you the same thing.

After breaking up, crying is your body’s way of letting emotion out, guys, and keeping all that pent up inside of you will only lead to more heartache and anxiety. Rather than do that to yourself, release those emotions and let the tears fall down — even if that means doing so in front of a friend or family member. Some of us may have been taught growing up that no guy should ever show weakness, but that’s such a taboo way of thinking, with more men speaking out about mental issues and depression that crying shouldn’t be something anyone’s embarrassed about, especially after a relationship ended.

Avoid doing anything impulsive after breaking up

Nobody likes to be dumped, or hurt someone by dumping them, but it’s important that, after breaking up, you avoid any rash decisions. This means doing anything that might embarrass you when it comes to your ex, like texting her nonstop, sending gifts or proclaiming your love for her. You had your chance, now’s not the time to try and go all-in and win her back.

Additionally, avoid overspending on things or filling a gap in your life that’s left behind by your ex with things that could be damaging to both your health and bank account. Remember that this sadness is just temporary, and that you will be able to move on in a healthy way without giving in to something that won’t benefit you long-term.

Sure, don’t be afraid to do some small things for yourself if you think it’ll help, but you must avoid doing anything that you’ll look back on at regret once you do move on from the break up.

Surround yourself with people who actually care about you after breaking up

If this isn’t the first thing you do after breaking up, then you’re doing things all backwards. There’s a reason why we let people into our strange little worlds, to steal a phrase from Robin Williams in the movie Good Will Hunting, and that’s because we trust them and they show us respect and love. While you may not want to talk about the relationship with some of these people, it’s wise to at least lean on them when you’re down in the dumps by hanging out with them and getting feedback to help you move on faster. They care about you, and want to see you happy.

As previously mentioned, after breaking up, it’s easy to want to avoid people and just sulk all alone. You can do this for a weekend or a couple weeks, sure, but it’s healthy to get back to being with people who make you happy and know your circumstance, which will help you get back to being yourself again.

Whether it’s friends, family, a therapist, a volunteer group, coworkers or some combination of each, allow these people to influence you.

Breaking up doesn’t mean you should rush back into dating again

After my breakup, I wasn’t ready to met anyone new or take some girl out just for the heck of it. Some people are different, sure, but, generally speaking, breaking up is too hard to just move on from. And, for that reason, it’s probably best to just avoid dating for a little while.

There’s no set timetable on how long this should be, but, if you find yourself still thinking or talking about your ex, that’s usually a clear sign that you’re just not ready to leap back into the dating pool. That’s OK, as you need to allow yourself to grow from this after grieving.

Sure, online dating apps might be great to help mingle with a few people and gain some confidence back, but they’re a waste of time if you’re only on there to fill a communication gap. Plus, they could do more harm than good if you aren’t getting matches or keep getting ghosted by strangers. Nobody needs that after a breakup, so just take a rest from dating, spend some time with yourself and good friends or family, and understand that there will be a time when you’ll want to start going out with people again.

How can breaking up be used as an opportunity?

As mentioned above, breaking up should be looked at as a chance for you to become a better version of yourself. Look, we’re not always going to be compatible with a person, even if we dated them for a few months or years. But, once you come to grips with what happened and why the relationship ended, you should use it as an opportunity to learn.

This can mean doing things that you’ve always been interested in like joining a new group. Or you can travel to scratch that itch to see a different culture and meet new people. You could read more to educate yourself on different activities or to help you get in touch with yourself more. Whatever you decide, do things for you to be happy. You’ve already had a lot of heartache, so now’s the time to fulfill your interests.

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