Break-ups are painful for everyone. Joe Kort has listed 7 excellent tips for breaking up with integrity.
From Dr. Kort:
Here is a list of things to do to as you cope with a breakup:
Be careful about using sex to comfort yourself. This can be a great distraction, but many I have counseled feel so upset and bad about themselves that they put themselves at risk for HIV, thinking, “Who cares about my life right now? It is over.” That is distorted, depressed thinking. If you even think that you’ll put yourself at risk for any STDs or hook up with someone who’s not in your best interest, then I recommend avoiding the sex all together you’re feeling better.
Remove all reminders of your ex for a period of time. This means taking their number off your cell phone and putting away all letters and cards from them, along with their photos. If you want to throw them out, that’s up to you, but you might regret it later. So for the time being, I recommend boxing them up and storing them in the attic or basement, where they are out of the way.
Avoid phone calls with them if you can. If they still chooses to call and there are no children or financial issues to deal with, I recommend you tell them you don’t want contact right now, and that you will reinitiate contact when you are ready. This puts you in control, instead of feeling overwhelmed and powerless.
If you see them remove yourself from the situation if you can. This is not about fearing them or running from them. It is about avoiding getting upset, reconnected and confused which can happen when you are around them. If you wish to recover, you must expunge all traces of the thief who stole your heart.
Remember to eat and force yourself to move physically. Exercise can help work out depression. Physical exercise is the best reported way to deal with the depression of loss. Go walking, running, jogging, biking, swimming, do aerobics—anything you can to keep your dopamine levels up and not let them go down, which is what is at risk while going through a depression.
To soothe the pain, you want to avoid alcohol and any drugs not prescribed by a physician. Most do not know that alcohol is actually a depressant and gives temporary relief but will only make your mood worse. If your depression is at a certain level and you drink, you will feel better periodically, but then your depression will return at a worse level than before.
Distractions and staying busy can keep you from feeling overwhelmed and get your mind off the loss. Get involved in something fun and exciting, perhaps some adventure that you have not undertaken before that can lend hopes for your future.
Avoid getting so busy that you avoid feeling your loss. Give yourself permission to mourn the death of your relationship. Blocking it off makes it worse and will put it into shadow. Call a friend and talk about it, go to your spiritual counselor, your therapist, or a relative. Allow yourself to emote and be sad, scream, cry, laugh uncontrollably, rage, and to “fall apart.” These are ways in which you heal.