How to Deal With a Breakup of a Long-Term Relationship

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When a long-term relationship ends, it can feel like a death -- and your emotions can range from anger and embarrassment to sadness and despair.

Whether you were the one to initiate the break-up or you were on the receiving end, it's critical to deal with your emotions so you can move on successfully and improve your future prospects for a lasting relationship.

Cease contact with your ex. Any contact you have with your ex will only prolong your healing. Phone calls, texts, e-mails, instant messaging and in-person contact are off limits, at least until your heart has healed.

Channel your emotions. Find a healthy way to manage your anger and sadness, such as hitting the gym or having a good cry. Exercise will help to reduce anger and tension, while letting yourself cry will provide a release when your brain is overwhelmed with the pain of your loss.

Get support from friends and family. Surround yourself with loved ones who will listen willingly as you dissect your break-up. Paige Parker, author of "Dating Without Drama" and creator of the "Breakup Breakthrough" audio coaching program, recommends purging yourself of anything that reminds you of your ex. Some things will go in the trash, some things will need to be returned to him, and some things can get tucked away in a box as memorabilia. Invite your friends over to help with this task if you need extra support.

Fill your time with activities that enhance your self-esteem. Take up a new activity, such as dance lessons, volunteering, or training for a 5K race with a running club. Open yourself to new situations that increase your feelings of self-worth and also present the possibility of meeting a new love interest or new friends.

Be open to learning the lessons that your relationship and its ending can teach you. If you were wronged, be willing to forgive your ex; holding on to your anger and resentment will only prevent you from healing and moving on. Get professional help from a therapist if you feel unable to work through these lessons on your own.