Ever since people starting coupling up, they have been splitting apart. The earliest writings we know of (both secular and religious) talk about how to handle couples breaking up. And even though it has been going on for millennia, dealing with ending a relationship is has not gotten an easier. Hearts get broken, people get hurt, and it can be painful and confusing at the same time. Here are some things for you to consider, helping you navigate a relationship that’s ending.

The first thing you need to convince yourself of is that the past is the past. It is a common tactic to try to purposely erase the memory of your ex completely from your mind. But, trying to forget it means you are focusing on it. In other words, you are turning the past into the present. By doing that, you can be sure that you are dredging up old, painful memories and that you will feel miserable in the process.

Ending a relationshipAs mentioned it’s not easy, in fact, it can be emotionally wrenching and one of the toughest things to face as you go through life. It may seem impossible now, but you must let things run their course. Give it some time. They say “time heals all wounds”, and though it’s difficult and you feel awful, the saying is true. Keep this in mind as you’re dealing with ending a relationship.

Another thing you must do is establish firm ground rules, especially if you know there will be situations where you are likely to encounter one another; work is one such example. Your best bet is to keep things as platonic as possible at first. Sure, there were good times, but you don’t want to start talking about them immediately after the break up. You also want to avoid talking about the bad times, or whatever led to the breakup.

When dealing with ending a relationship, you may want to do your best to avoid your ex, but don’t do this to the point of obsession. If you are trying too hard to avoid them, you are, in reality, giving them more power, and not dealing with your real feelings.

By the same token, you need to understand that the relationship is over, at least for now. Don’t make the mistake of being overly friendly to show you are “back to normal”. It will only make you look foolish or phony. You may also want to get back together, but you just have to give this some time. If you try jumping back in too quickly, you run a high risk of alienating your ex even further.

Perhaps you will never get back together, maybe you have no intentions of doing so, but it’s always a good idea to get along with other people. Following the tips above will leave the door open to the possibility of reconciling, or, at the very least, not having your blood boil every time you hear of or see your ex.