Dating Dilemmas: How Do You Reclaim Your Space After A Breakup?
Ever grabbed a coffee and been confronted with war flashbacks of a first date?
How about simply chilling on the couch, only to be slapped across the face with a forever-burnt-into-your-brain memory of you and your ex watching a rom-com that makes you want to throw yourself through the TV?
The feeling of having physical spaces stolen from you post-breakup is all too real and it majorly sucks.
Your bedroom, favourite bookshop, local pub — all the places you once happily visited together instantly become museums of tainted memories, where just existing in them leaves you feeling super alone and sad.
So, how do you reclaim your space after a breakup, take back what was once yours, and successfully order a croissant from your favourite bakery without crying into the server’s arms when they ask, “cash or card?”
Turns out, there are a few things you can do.
Here’s our comprehensive guide to reclaiming your space after a breakup:
If you and your ex lived together or they were around a lot of the time, chances are the call (bad vibes) is coming from inside the house.
Ditch Their Stuff
If one thing is true, it’s that distance does not make the heart grow fonder, which means any physical reminder of them needs to go. Ditch photos of the two of you, the clothes they left at your house and whatever else bullshit possessions survived the breakup.
We’re not saying to throw them into a bin fire (unless you want to, in which case go off!). You can get a mate to drop them off at their house or organise a time for them to pick it up. Most important thing is that it’s gone — out of sight, out of mind.
Switch Things Up
Consider this a reason to re-decorate.
You don’t need to drop a bunch of cash either. It could be a matter of rearranging your living room, getting a new quilt cover for your bed, or buying a few pot plants for your balcony. When your place looks a little different, it’s a little less like what it was like when you were together.
Now, in your new space, make some new memories.
Expel The Evil Spirits
Ever used a smudge stick? You’ll recognise these bad boys from literally any horror movie where a young white family buys a suspiciously affordable and definitely haunted house… or if you have a mate from Byron.
Traditionally used in Native Americans ceremonies, smudge sticks are little bundles of herbs (white sage or lavender) that are thought to ward off negative energy and offer cleansing properties.
Gently light that sucker up so it begins to smoulder, use a heat-proof bowl to catch any ash and begin to cleanse your space, starting at a door and moving around the edges of rooms. It’s said to move the stick clockwise to bring energy, and anti-clockwise to ward off energy. Spend extra time in the rooms that need the most love.
Whether you believe it or not, it’s still a physical thing you can do today to maybe feel better and. If anything else, your house will smell good after.
Your Favourite Places
When you first start dating someone you get super excited to show them your world — breakfast at your favourite brunch place, movies at your go-to cinema, you probably even found new places together and called them yours (gross, right?).
But when it ends, visiting those places can feel super unsettling.
“Spaces like these are charged with so much emotion after a breakup, and you’re often confronted with two things: bumping into your ex at places you frequented together, and bringing up unwanted emotions or triggers that set you back from healing,” dating and relationship coach Iona Yeung told Punkee.
Make new memories
If you’re bummed in a space you already loved before you met your ex, don’t let them ruin it for you — it’s time to make new memories.
“What I recommend is neutralising the space,” says Yeung.
“That is, create new experiences and attach new emotions to the space. For example, if you want to reclaim your favourite restaurant, go there with a completely new group of friends, request a table on the complete opposite end of where you’d usually sit, wear something to the restaurant that’s completely different. Create new memories within the space.”
This is only for places you like, and want to keep around. Not keen on re-visiting that dive bar you went one time that wasn’t that great anyway? Not worth it, so forget it!
That gut-wrenching feeling of thinking you’ve spotted your ex from across the room is awful. Only thing worse is when it’s actually them. That’s why it’s important to set boundaries.
“You and your ex should chat through what spaces you’ll be visiting, such as local places you can’t let go of,” says Yeung. “Both decide on a timeframe to avoid it for a while to give the other person space.
“This isn’t always easy to do but worth a shot.”
Reclaiming your space after a breakup is hard, but not impossible. Do what you can to feel comfy where you are, lean on your mates to come with so it’s not so lonely, then in no time you’ll be feeling back to your fine self.
You’re doing amazing sweetie, xo.