How to Get Over a Tough Breakup and Find The One

Back in 2005, when I was the tender age of 20, my boyfriend at the time and I broke up. For the first time. We were engaged and living together, and the wedding date we had set was coming up in about three months. I was emotionally unstable and clearly not ready for a relationship, let alone marriage. We had been fighting for a long time, and were not getting along well at all.

Finally, after living together for ten months, push came to shove (almost literally), and I moved out of our apartment. The decision came all of a sudden, and I moved out the next day. However, that would not be the end of our relationship, although it should have been. I would decide that I wanted to be with him again, and very soon after, we would break up again. Lather, rinse, and repeat for 15 more months. Fifteen months of pure agony that I was inflicting upon myself, all because I was afraid to be alone. I thought he was the best that I could ever find. I clung onto him for dear life.

Finally, on August 7, 2006, we broke up for the last time. The decision was mutual. For the first time in who knows how long, I felt at peace with my decision. I knew then that I had to move forward in my life, and I had to do it without a significant other. I went back to school, I started an exercise regime, and I focused on myself.

After a year of being single and off the dating market, I decided that I was ready to date again. On August 7, 2007, exactly one year after my ex-boyfriend and I broke up, I went out on a date with the person I would eventually marry. On August 7, 2012, true to form, we got married in front of our closest family and friends. I was more than ready to embark on a lifetime of pure devotion with this person.

Now, about 6 ½ years after getting married, my wife and I are still together and going strong. I believe that waiting that one year to date again made all of the difference. If I had started dating again right away, I do not think I would have healed from my previous relationship so well. My wife was well worth the wait.

I briefly glossed over how I got over my breakup and found The One in the story above. Now, I will show you, step by step, how to shed your former relationship so you can make room in your heart to meet and fully commit to The One.

1. Commit to staying single for at least one year after the breakup.

I don’t think there are any exceptions here, even for people who are much older than I was when I embarked on my journey to wholeness as a single person. I’m not sure why one year is the magic number, but I do believe that it is long enough to give yourself time to fully heal from the tough breakup.

I stayed single for exactly one year after I broke up with Mr. Oh-So-Wrong. I did not purposely schedule my date with The One exactly one year to the day that I ended my previous relationship, but it worked out nicely for me. It gave me time to fully work the other steps below. You might need to stay single for longer than one year. This is just a benchmark, a minimum, in order to heal.

2. Take time to figure out what went wrong in the relationship.

Staying single for at least one year will be fruitless if you do not work through what went wrong and your part in it. If you step this crucial step, then you will keep making the same mistakes in relationships over and over again, and you will perhaps never find The One. You could jump from relationship to relationship for decades, never able to figure out why the relationships always end in ruins.

An important part of this step is to realize what you did wrong in the relationship. You can talk about how bad your ex was until you’re blue in the face, but it will be for naught because they won’t be in the next relationship. You will be, however. If your ex abused you, either physically or emotionally, this may be a harder step to achieve. If nothing else, you stayed in the relationship for too long.

In my case, I was possessive. I mirrored my ex. Although he was not The One for me, we were a lot alike, although that is hard to admit. But we were alike in toxic ways. I worked through my possessiveness in therapy, and I made damn sure that I did not bring those qualities into my next relationship. I was not perfect at first, but I learned quickly how to be respectful to my next significant other.

Maybe you weren’t possessive or abusive. Perhaps you were too giving without receiving much, if anything, back. You could have ignored your own wants and kept deferring to your partner. Whatever the reasons you discover, work the next step thoroughly.

3. Make a commitment to change yourself.

This applies to many areas of your life. When you worked the previous step, you discovered some parts about yourself that may have been tough to admit. But by leaning into the discomfort, you are giving yourself room to grow. Insight means practically nothing if you do not commit to changing destructive patterns in your relationships. You can blame your various significant others all you want, but the reality is that the one thing that all of those people have in common is you. You are in all of those relationships. You need to change yourself in order to change your relationships.

How do you change yourself? It takes some serious self-reflection. You need to ask yourself the right questions. How do you want to change? How do you want your next relationship to be different? What will you do differently?

There are many questions you can ask yourself. You need to dig deep inside yourself in order to change. You may need help in this step. If this is your predicament, then you may need to seek therapy or coaching.

4. Focus on bettering yourself for the sake of loving yourself.

What did you neglect about yourself while you were in your toxic relationship? Did you drop the hobbies that brought you joy? If so, then get back into your hobbies. Pick up those crocheting needles. Write that story. Draw that mandala. Go back to those flea markets and find bargains again.

Did you neglect to exercise? Then go for walks or go to the gym with a friend. Train for that marathon. Did you quit school? Then go back to school and find your passion. Passion can actually be found in all of what I just described — not just school.

Do NOT focus on yourself just so you can make yourself more suitable to potential suitors one year from now. That would defeat the purpose of finding yourself. If you do it to try to find someone, then you end up losing yourself and your reason for existing.

5. After one year, allow a relationship to blossom organically.

When one year passes, do not go looking for The One with the intention of finding The One. This would make working on the previous step pointless. I wouldn’t go on dating sites to find The One. There are a LOT of Wrong Ones on dating sites, and it is difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff when people present only their best selves on their dating profiles. I didn’t go on a dating site after a year of being single, but I did not have the chance to because I found someone organically exactly one year later.

I met The One at a friend’s daughter’s third birthday party. The One was also at the party and single, and when we talked to each other one-on-one, we clicked right away. I wasn’t looking for her. I did not seek her out. She just figuratively fell into my lap.

By allowing a relationship to happen organically, I do not mean that you should be a sitting duck and not do anything at all. By all means, join a hobby group if that hobby brings you joy. You might find The One at that group someday — maybe even soon. I wouldn’t bank on finding The One at the hobby group, though. Go for the love of the hobby first. You will find The One eventually if you keep working on yourself and learning to love yourself. That will make you look attractive to others, and The One will simply gravitate toward you.

That’s it. Those steps are exactly what I took to find the one whom I’m married to now. If it happened to me, then it can certainly happen to you. I just did the necessary work, and that is what you need to do, too.

4 thoughts on “How to Get Over a Tough Breakup and Find The One”

    1. You hang out with yourself more than anyone else. I think loving yourself is necessary. I like how you help out for that cause with the Go Love Yourself Box!

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