Relationships are a beautiful thing. There really is nothing better then falling head over heels for someone who you want to spend the rest of your life with. Relationships give you memories you’ll never forget, whether that’s romantic holidays or jokes that make you both laugh so hard that you snort. Unfortunately though, sometimes things have to end and sometimes you have to go through the gut-wrenching pain of trying to mend a broken heart.

Accepting that a relationship is over or is no longer working sucks big time. But it’s important to remember that you need to look after yourself as well, so here are some ways to help mend a broken heart when the inevitable happens.

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Relationships | 7 ways to mend a broken heart | Dating | Love | Relationships |

ALLOW YOURSELF TO WALLOW IN SELF PITY
It’s entirely natural and healthy to mourn a relationship, no matter what way feels best for you. Hole yourself up in your room for a weekend and binge-watch Friends with a tub of ice cream, or go out drinking with your friends for however many nights straight. Neither way is more healthy than the other but you need to wallow and do what you do. It seems tempting to put on a brave face and look ahead, but it’s important to feel your emotions too because if you don’t, how are you ever going to heal?

FOCUS ON YOUR FUTURE
Although it might seem that your whole future has gone down the drain in a matter of weeks, it’s important to remember that there is still a future there, even if it’s not as you imagined anymore. You might not have motivation to do much or look ahead, but there should be at least one thing to focus on whether that’s blogging, getting to the gym for a workout or writing in general. If you’ve ever wanted to pick up a new hobby or research a side business, now is the time when you actually, y’know, have time.

BLOCK YOUR EX
No questions asked. Yes it’ll hurt and yes it may seem extreme but still talking to them so soon after the break up will not help one bit because you’ll either feel like you’re getting on really well and want to get back together or you’ll spend the whole time convinced they’ve met someone which will hurt like hell. Blocking them is the best thing to do because you’ll both have space away from each other to move on.

UNDERSTAND WHY IT DIDN’T WORK 
Relationships don’t just end for no reason. You always learn something from a relationship – good or bad – and you should take this away from the relationship. Maybe you weren’t understanding enough. Maybe they didn’t communicate very well. At the end of the day, if it’s meant to be, it will be – as my nan always says. So if it was meant to work, it would have done.

MOVE ON
You’re probably nowhere near ready for a new relationship yet but that doesn’t mean you have to be entirely alone. Your confidence is probably at an all time low right now so talking to some good looking guys online or going on one or two dates could probably be really helpful when the time comes. Try heading online for websites like an Essex dating site, Cumbria dating sites, dating in Birmingham, to date Dorset singles or even single women in Gwent if that’s your thing (and there’s nothing wrong with moving on from men completely and experimenting a bit this time around either!). The important thing to remember is not to rush things: my cut off point for the end of a relationship is always when either one of you does the deed and sleeps with someone else. In my mind, there’s no going back from that. So if you want to move on for the sake of yourself but still want things to work out, by all means, go out and date but hold off on jumping into bed with someone until you’re entirely ready because once you do, there’s no taking that back!

TREAT YO’ SELF
Always, always take time to treat yourself. Go out and splurge money on some pretty lingerie from Boux Avenue or get yourself a stunning new hair cut. You deserve it.

A NEUTRAL MEETING WITH YOUR EX
Finally, after all the tears or once you feel like you’ve accepted things, I believe it’s also important to meet up with your ex on neutral grounds, especially if you still have things to give back to each other. This could be months after the break up, but you’re always going to have to see them again one day anyway, so why not get it over and done with? A quick coffee will be the perfect opportunity to show them you’ve moved on and you’re okay and is also the ideal way to say goodbye for a final time on good terms. You could also use this time to discuss once more why things went wrong; after so much time has passed and you’ve had some space away from each other, it will be a lot easier to talk about things without feelings involved. Plus, who knows, you might find yourself both understanding what went wrong and might want to give things another go..!

The important thing to remember though is that when you break up with someone, you must always focus on yourself first. Even if you do want to try to fight for things and get back together, there’s no use waiting around and putting yourself down waiting for a chance that might never happen. It’s always best to focus on making yourself feel better because, if anything, this is more likely to encourage your ex to see you being mature about the whole thing. If you’ve both had time apart to work on yourselves and realize what went wrong, you’re more than likely to eventually rebuild things if there are still feelings there months down the line.

What do you think? What’s your fail-safe way of dealing with heartbreak? Let me know!

*Please note, this is a sponsored post but all views and opinions are entirely my own.

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I may not be an expert when it comes to love and relationships but with fresh heartbreak under my belt (more on that later..maybe!), I can safely say I have learned a lot during my 11 years of dating the opposite sex.

I wholeheartedly believe that that’s the beauty of love though. Each relationship – even the bad ones that you look back on with regret – teach you something. And these things you learn stay with you as you go through life and meet the right person! So even the bad relationships are good for you in a way.

Here’s some things I’ve learned in my 11 years of dating.

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Dating | 6 things I've learned in my 11 years of dating | Love | Relationships | Advice

BEWARE OF ‘PSYCHO EX’S’
Let me be entirely clear about this, I have learned time and time again that if a man uses the words ‘my ex is/was a psycho’ when you first meet, chances are HE IS THE PSYCHO or it’s just an excuse to cover his past, present and future tracks. Ah yes. It’s so easy to see through rose-tinted glasses to believe that an ex that is being ‘too friendly’ and ‘just won’t get the hint’ despite him apparently insisting to her multiple times that it’s over. You’ll believe him until evidently months or years down the line you’ve unwillingly become ‘that’ ex, sending him perfectly understandable messages about why he has suddenly started seeing someone else after dumping you to be single and why he won’t answer you when you deserve an explanation. Yep, I’m sorry to say this ladies, but if a guy tells you his ex is psycho, it’s probably because he’s leading her on whilst moving in on you and wants an excuse to cover up the fact that he’s clearly breaking her heart and her messages are just a repercussion of that. Stay well clear, else soon enough you’ll be labelled that ‘psycho ex’.

YOU CAN’T FORCE SOMEONE TO CARE
You just can’t. Yes, life would be easier if they loved you as much as you love them. You can be the perfect partner by being romantic and supportive but people can’t help how they feel. Much like when you friendzone someone, you don’t want to hurt them and you wish they didn’t feel that way or you felt the same way but sometimes you just can’t force things.

LISTEN TO YOUR INSTINCTS
I was about three weeks into my uni relationship when I realized that my boyfriend at the time was a) a player and b) would never fully commit to me. But lo and behold, he was hot, he showed no signs of straying and I thought maybe I’d finally tamed him. I was wrong. If I’d listened to my instincts, I would have avoided nearly two years of stress. I mean I don’t regret the relationship but it taught me that I should have listened to that gut feeling from the get go.

…BUT KNOW WHAT’S WORTH FIGHTING FOR
If you’re like me, you may find it hard to walk away and want to fight for everything. This rarely has good outcomes for me but I’m proud of this part of me. I’m proud to be the one in the relationship who will always stand up and fight for it to keep going. That said, when it gets to the point when I know it’s no longer worth fighting for, I then walk away. My point is that relationships aren’t black and white: someone may do something to hurt you but if you know they/the relationship is worth working through, then screw what everyone else says and give it your all.

DON’T LOSE YOURSELF
It’s very easy to consume yourself entirely in a relationship. Partners often become best friends too, so it’s no surprise when relationships with your other friends get put on the back burner for a bit. I’m very guilty of giving my all – in fact, often too much – to a relationship and this is definitely a bad habit. Of course it’s good to want to put your other half first sometimes, especially if they make you happy, but you should always remember to take time for yourself too. Don’t let your own goals suffer for their priorities – compromise is such an important word in a relationship for example. Don’t give up your hobbies – I gave up my pole dancing classes when I met Vincent because travelling back to Luton every Thursday just wasn’t convenient for me at the time, but now I regret it and wished that I’d kept that regular weekly thing for just me. So, to conclude, go with the flow and definitely fall head over heels for someone and spend as much time as you like with them if it feels right. But remember to keep something for yourself too.

RELATIONSHIPS ARE ALMOST ALWAYS UNEXPECTED
They tend to happen when you least expect it so if you’re single and looking for a relationship, try taking the back burner and not looking for one. Concentrate on yourself for a bit first and you’ll hopefully soon find that someone will come along when you’re not looking. That said, it’s never fun to be lonely either and if you want to not-look-for-the-relationship-you-actually-want, dating is always a good shout. Why not try online dating with Cambridge dating sitesdating in Manchester, and Aberdeen dating sites in search of single men in Nottinghamshire or to date Hertfordshire singles? Whether you’re after just dating, a bit of fun or something more, you’re bound to find someone looking for the same thing online. And, who knows, maybe one of those dates will turn into an unexpected relationship..!

However, whether or not I learn from these mistakes and lessons is a whole other kettle of fish…!

Do you have any fail-safe advice or knowledge you’ve picked up on since dating? Let me know!

*Please note, this is a sponsored post but all views and opinions are entirely my own.
*Images taken using Dom&Ink‘s Map My Heart.
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In case you haven’t already heard, my boyfriend and I are planning to move in together. It’s early days yet as we still need to save and find somewhere, but the hunt is on and boy am I excited.

I’ve only ever lived with a boyfriend once in my life and I’m not sure that entirely counts because a) it was actually into a shared house where we still had our own rooms/space if we needed to, b) we lived with creepy housemates and c) we only moved in together out of convenience. 
Well I’m nearing 30 now, half my purchases go on homeware as opposed to clothes and, well, my boyfriend and I only drive each other slightly mad when we spend tons of time together. He gets annoyed when I don’t wash the dishes properly (apparently I leave them to dry when there’s still washing up liquid on them) and I get annoyed when he leaves crumbs in the bed or wet towels on the bed.
All normal arguments, am I right?
Anyway. There’s so much that I’m looking forward to so I thought it would be nice to do a blog post about it.

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | 10 reasons why I'm excited to move in with my boyfriend | Love | Personal

CHRISTMAS
Yes, I’m sorry to bring that dreaded word up so soon and even though at this rate we wont be living together until the new year, I’m still super excited for our first Christmas together/first Christmas in our new place, especially for things like decorating the tree (that will never be as good as my mum’s!), Christmas feasts and movie binges. Oh, and a vegan Christmas dinner of course.
COOKING IN WHATEVER I WANT
My boyfriend said I’m not allowed to cook naked because I am the world’s most clumsy person, but now that we don’t live alone, I hate the fact that I can’t roll out of bed looking rough as f*ck and stumble into the kitchen to make breakfast. I mean I still wear lazy clothes and that, but I always wear a bra to avoid getting caught out by his flatmates.

BUYING ADULT STUFF
To be fair, I’ve already bought a laundry basket, a mirror, storage bags and a laundry basket for his room (and next I have my eye on a rug) but shopping for home stuff is JUST SO FUN. I now realize why I love The Sims so much. I can actually play it like IN REAL LIFE by decorating my own damn place. Unfortunately I don’t think my boyfriend will agree with my luxurious gothic bathroom with black walls idea, but I’m sure we can compromise.

A BATH
Okay we have a shower over a bathtub here and I have a bath at home so I swear I do wash, but I can’t wait to have somewhere with a proper bath (as in without a shower over it). I’m going to stock up on so many Lush products and really nice candles and sh*t.
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MY OWN BLOGGING SPACE

I actually finally have my own blogging space here, but currently at my desk I have the beautiful view of a curtain or, er, ASDA. To be able to push my desk against a wall and cover it in inspiring prints is THE DREAM. But I do totally love my current blogging space too.

MOVIE MARATHONS
Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones…the list is endless. In fact we’re already planning to throw our first binge-party this Halloween with a Stranger Things viewing party. It’s not quite the same in his small room with limited seating, but we’ll manage. Then when we have our own place, we can go all out with themed food and decorations and such.

And speaking of parties…

A HOUSEWARMING PARTY

I have not had a house party in YEARS. I feel far too old to be bothered with putting on heels and going on a night out but good drink, good music and better company in the comfort of my own home sounds AMAZING. And since my boyfriend is a bartender, we’re totally going to get one of those cool drink trolleys that you always see on Pinterest.
THE SANDWICH OF JUSTICE
My boyfriend taught me how to make this amazing Sandwich Of Justice and call me the total opposite of a feminist but I can’t wait to make it (with or without his help) for all our friends on a hungover morning. Seriously. This is one of the reasons I love my boyfriend. At the discovery of this sandwich all I could see was our future together and living together, having friends crash over after a night out (or in! See previous point…) and making hangover food like the SOJ for everyone the morning after. Is that weird? I don’t care…
HAVING A HOMEBASE
Yes, I spend more time here than at my own home right now, but for those days in between, it is an absolute b*tch dragging a big bag full of makeup and my laptop on and off the bus/to work. I’ll have another car soon so that will make it a bit easier, but it can still get ever so confusing living between two places. I still don’t know where my fitbit charger/favourite bra is currently. Who knows if I’ll ever find out…
LIVING WITH MY BOYFRIEND
Finally, the reason why I’m most excited is just that I’ll get to live with the person I love. I get to go to sleep next to him every night (apart from when he chooses to be a geek and stay up gaming, haha) and wake up with him every morning. I get to have breakfast with him (when I eat breakfast) and dinner every night. We get to choose a flat and make it a home together and create a future together. And as soppy as it makes me, that’s the best part of it all.

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At just three years shy of 30, I like to think I have most of my shit together when it comes to relationships.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect – I still go batshit crazy when I’m PMSing – but there are some things I’ve learned from my early twenties.

Unfortunately, one of them things isn’t how to deal with the baggage that comes along with a new relationship, or, most notably, ‘ex girlfriend’ baggage.

Not all relationships are plain sailing. I’ve had my fair share of complicated relationships in the past, but up until recently, I never had the trouble of an ex girlfriend who just wouldn’t let go – at least not to this extent.

I don’t think many people do, nor do many people go into a relationship expecting to deal with that type of baggage or even knowing how to minimize it. Still, I learned that it can happen and I also learned how to deal with it, so hopefully, if you’re ever in a similar situation, this might help you.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Relationships | Dating | Advice | Love | Baggage

DON’T BE AFRAID TO DROP THE ‘COOL GIRL’ FACADE
Similarly, don’t downplay your own feelings either. If something is really bothering you, voice your concern. I know it sucks to be *that* girl who doesn’t like who their boyfriend talks to or gets a say in who he should have in his life – but being uncomfortable with an overbearing ex doesn’t make you that girl at all. Drop the cool girl facade: you can’t always be happy and easygoing and if you don’t tell him/your other half that it bothers you, it’s only going to niggle away at you and make things worse. Don’t downplay it either. An ex messaging and trying to move in on your man is not okay, even if he rejects her or ignores her messages! Plus, what’s better in a new relationship than getting to the point where you can let your guard down a little and show your vulnerable side? It’s tough, but it’s a necessary step to take to really feel comfortable around each other.

TRY AND GET TO THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
Unfortunately, some ex’s just can’t let go, and often that’s all there is to it. There are always going to be people in this world who don’t have standards, who set their sights on something and try their hardest to get it – without caring about who they hurt on the way. But, sometimes, there’s a reason for this type of thing. Is your other half accidentally sending off the wrong vibes whilst trying to stay friends with an ex? Are they not quite as over the ex as they claim to be? Try and get to the bottom of the problem, as it’s always super easy to paint an ex as someone who can’t move on (and often, this is true), but sometimes they’re getting mixed signals or might even be entirely innocent with your other half leading them on (this has happened to me before, and it’s not unusual for guys to pair ‘psycho ex girlfriends’ against ‘current girlfriends’ when in reality they just want to have their cake and eat it too – unfortunately it’s a fail safe way to have an excuse for their actions should any issues arise).

BLOCK THEM FROM YOUR LIFE
I’d never condone anyone to try and choose who can and cannot be in their other halves life, but if it’s really bothering you, it can’t hurt to ask them to do the honours. This may be an unpopular opinion but at the end of the day, and ex is an ex for a reason. They might still have them on Facebook because they want to be friends or maybe they haven’t deleted their number because they don’t want things to be awkward if they bump into each other on a night out, but none of that is as important as how it’s affecting you. Any boyfriend would be more than happy to delete an ex (if they’re acting out of order) from their life to reassure you. And let’s face it, they probably have a lot of friends anyway. Why would they need another in the form of an ex?

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Likewise, block them yourselves, even if they’ve never made contact with you directly. It’ll stop them watching what you’re both up to and it’ll mean you don’t have to put up with vague-but-obviously-aimed-at-you Facebook statuses. My favourite was that I should learn the difference between being loved and being a rebound, even though my boyfriend had been single since before Christmas and had dated other girls between breaking up with his ex and meeting me. You just don’t need that in your life, especially if the ex is prone to playing games = don’t let stuff like that play on your mind and make the situation worse.

TRUST IN YOUR OTHER HALF
Trust is super important in a relationship, but it’s really only in times like these that you realize how important it is and how vital it is. Some ex’s will go as far as trying to get into your head; whether that’s claiming you can’t make your other half happy, insisting he’s not actually over his ex or even creating lies that he may have cheated on you. Even if it’s just one person’s word against the other’s, it’s really important to put your trust in your other half; no matter what.

TALK TO THEM
This would also be a good way to get to the bottom of things, but generally, men are really crap with this type of thing. In their mind, they’re with you, not them, so that should be that. In your/a girls mind, you know that forthcoming behaviour from an ex isn’t right, the Facebook statuses are throwing shade and generally, until you know that they know what they’re doing isn’t right/they’ve been told to back off, it’s going to worry you. You don’t have to be a b*tch about it, but if things get really bad, there’s nothing wrong with just asking why they’re still chasing after your other half and if there is a particular reason, like him not making it obvious enough that he’s moved on or her still believing there’s a chance etc. 

DON’T FEEL ASHAMED
Finally, don’t feel ashamed that it’s got to you; most of the time, they’re doing what they’re doing for the simple fact of getting to you so that the issues will arise in your relationship and you’ll break up and let them win. But just because it bothers you and plays on your mind, it doesn’t mean that your relationship isn’t strong or secure. I had my boyfriend’s ex messaging me things like ‘he’s only with you to fill the void I left’ and ‘I will always love him and put up with the fact that he’s with you because I understand him and he knows that’, which, of course, hurt and kind of tapped into my insecure side that every girl has. But when I thought about it further, I made the choice to not listen and not let her win. Sometimes it’s not when they harass your other half but more what they say to you; if they play on your insecurities, it’s very easy to cause arguments between you and cause a break up. If it gets to you, don’t be ashamed, but just speak to your boyfriend or other half about it and let him reassure you it’s not true.

I’d just like to add that despite what I’ve said above, it’s always important to be sure that what you’re fighting for is worth it. In my case, it was, because I genuinely see a future with my boyfriend, but sometimes, the drama can get too much. Your other half has to meet you halfway, but there’s always the possibility of it not going away completely. If your boyfriend isn’t taking the correct measures to remove the issue from his life, sometimes it’s just not worth staying for the drama = there’s only so much you can take.

In the wise words of a creepy porno director from the film The Girl Next Door, “Always know if the juice is worth the squeeze.”

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