Breaking up is even sadder when you’re still in love with your soon-to-be ex. However, parting ways may sometimes be a sound decision.

The harsh truth is that a healthy relationship requires more than love. You need to be compatible and respectful toward each other.

Even if you seem like a great match, you may be at different stages of life and pursuing conflicting goals. Maybe you want to settle down and start a family, but your partner wants to buy a boat and sail the world.

You can hold on to fond memories of each other even when your lives are heading in opposite directions.

Try these ideas for helping you to deal with your breakup and build a brighter future.

Short-Term Steps:

  1. Seek support. Ask your family and friends for the help you need. Talk with them in advance about your plans so they can be there for you. Let them know when you’re looking for a shoulder to cry on or a pep talk to get you moving.
  2. Limit contact. You may eventually decide to be friends with your ex, but you’ll both benefit from keeping your distance for now. That includes offline and online communications.
  3. Lighten your load. Give yourself an opportunity to vent your feelings and start recovering. Try to reschedule any demanding projects for later. You may even want to leave town for a few days.
  4. Clear away reminders. There will probably come a day when you’ll enjoy going through your mementoes but put them aside for now. Box up vacation photos and love letters. Give back any clothing or personal items or donate them to charity.
  5. Practice self-care. You may be tempted to binge on chocolate cake and cable TV, but you need your strength. Eat a balanced diet, go to bed early, and exercise each day.

Long-Term Steps:

  1. Be realistic. It’s common to idealize your old flame, but that can create a false image of your relationship. More importantly, it can set up an impossibly high standard that will keep you from being open to new possibilities.
  2. Let go of regrets. If you’re blaming yourself, remember that you and your ex both played a role in how your relationship ended. Accept the facts and forgive both of you so you can move on.
  3. Enjoy your freedom. Learn how to be comfortable on your own. Spend more time with family and friends. Pursue your favorite interests or discover new ones.
  4. Meet and mingle. When you’re ready to date, explore your options. Think about what you’re really looking for in a partner. Go to places where you can meet singles who share your interests. Ask your friends for introductions and feedback.
  5. Disclose your feelings. If a serious relationship starts to develop while you’re still missing your ex, let your new partner know. Being honest will give them a chance to make informed decisions and build a stronger foundation for your relationship if you stay together.
  6. Address root issues. Even if your ex remains out of the picture, you may need to deal with the matters that drove you apart. When the initial hurt has passed, evaluate your relationship to see what you can learn. You may want to talk with a professional counselor if you need another point of view.
  7. Think positive. Keep in mind that you are worthy of love and happiness just the way you are. Projecting confidence will make you more attractive and make it easier to keep moving forward.

Saying goodbye to someone you love can break your heart, but it will mend. Treasure the positive aspects of your relationship and use them to inspire you to find a new love that will last.