Not every May-December relationship is going to be a match made in heaven, and that’s OK. Besides, part of finding the right partner is dating the wrong ones first. Being on the receiving end of a breakup isn’t easy, but being the one to have to end it isn’t a walk in the park either. If your May-December relationship just isn’t working for you anymore, it’s important that you step up to the plate and do something about it. Be honest with your partner (and yourself), even if that means making the decision to part ways.
It’s normal for a breakup to feel like the end of the world, but here are a few healthy ways to cope when a May-December relationship runs its course.
• Talk about it: Talking about the demise of your May-December relationship with your family or friends can have a therapeutic effect, as long as those discussions are productive. Rather than obsessing over what he might be doing or what went wrong, focus on things like how you’re going to move forward and what you gained from the May-December relationship.
• Avoid rebound relationships: It might be tempting to jump into another May-December relationship to soften the blow of losing someone, but most experts would advise against that. When you’re going through a breakup, you’re not yourself, especially if you were the one who got dumped. Your emotions are all over the place and you should focus on you before rejoining the dating game.
• Cut contact: Resist the urge to keep in touch with your ex right after the breakup. Research has shown that when you see or speak to someone you’re in love with, your body will react in a way that fuels that attraction, making it that much harder to move on. We’re not saying you can’t be friends, but give yourself at least a month, if not more, to get past your failed May-December relationship, if not for you, then at least for his sake.
• Avoid social media: Building on the same point about cutting contact after a breakup, this includes social media. Seeing your ex’s regular updates, photos, and mutual friends won’t help the situation. But you also have to be careful not to isolate yourself after your May-December relationship ends. Instead of relying on Facebook and other social media sites, hang out in person with your friends. Even if you’re not feeling up for it, push yourself to go out and have fun.
• Do something that makes you happy: Is there something you used to do when you were single? Do it again! Now’s the time to focus on yourself, so do whatever it is that puts a smile on your face, whether it’s painting, playing a sport, or just getting comfortable with a good book. Plus, being busy will help keep your mind off the breakup.
• Stop the pity party: It’s easy to wind up feeling sorry for yourself if your partner ends the May-December relationship or feeling guilty if you were the one who called it quits. But that won’t change anything, and the world doesn’t stop because you’re feeling down. If you were the dumper, remind yourself why you did it, and if you were the one who got dumped, then try and find the silver lining, like it’s better it happened now than when you’re deeper into the May-December relationship, or you’re better off if the relationship wasn’t healthy.
• Pamper yourself: Just because your May-December relationship has ended, it doesn’t mean you can’t still look and feel your best. Treat yourself to a mani and pedi, a new hairdo, or an afternoon at the spa. It’s a safe way to give yourself a little ego boost post-split.