Is there such a thing as a blank slate or fresh start after ending a relationship? My honest answer would be 'no'. I believe we take our old relationships and bring them into our new relationships in more subtle ways than we realize. Whether it's dating a similar or opposite person than our ex, leaving to a new city, or serial dating for fun, these are all reactions to the way things ended in the previous relationship. Not that these are bad ways of coping with a break up, but it's important to realize that there is always a part of that old relationship in us. The time spent with that individual is what cannot be taken away from us despite ending the relationship. So here are some tips to help move forward from a divorce or break up.
Firstly, understand that a divorce/break up is a loss. If you truly loved or were committed to the relationship, you will grieve its loss. The absence of an individual who was woven tightly into your daily routine and life for years will not be an easy thing to get over. Allow yourself to grieve the loss of the relationship and the loss of the dreams you had for the relationship. Grieving may include feeling angry, guilty, blamed, ashamed, sadness, remorse, and more. Allow yourself to feel this way without judgement or criticizing yourself.
Secondly, admit that the relationship is over. Staying in denial or hoping for a second chance is only going to keep you emotionally stuck. Your life is moving on whether you are emotionally present or not. What this means is that time is moving forward every day you are in denial, and the more you stay in denial the harder it will be to check back into reality.
Thirdly, connect with your support system. Don't try to wear a bold face or put up a front, people may not say it but they aren't buying it that you're "ok". You don't have to spill your guts to everyone every time, but acknowledging that it's been hard helps you grieve and admit the relationship is over. Spending time with friends and family is a good way to feel connected, especially since a break up can leave you feeling emotionally dead inside. I also do suggest finding one or two people whom you trust to confide your deep thoughts or feelings with. You can talk to a therapist about it too.
Lastly, forgive the causes of the divorce/break up. Eventually you will get to this point, and by then you will have grieved, admitted, and felt supported by those remaining in your life. I say forgive the "causes" because there may be many reasons for the ending of the relationship. There may also be things both of you were responsible for that ended the relationship so forgiveness is not just for your ex but also for yourself. There are different ways that people come about forgiveness so I don't dictate one correct method. The important part is that forgiveness will help you feel more at peace about the end of the relationship.
We may not get to choose many relationships in life, such as our family or who our boss is, but we always get to choose who our intimate partner is. Unfortunately, having this choice sometimes means that the relationship is not permanent and can hurt more when the relationship ends. It takes strength to work through the beginning, middle, and end of a relationship, but eventually you will get there in peace.