We're officially in the middle of cuffing season, which means that it's inevitable within the next month or so that couples will be breaking up and back on the prowl. Ladies, let those dudes search for someone else to con and trick while you do the complete opposite. I love my friends and I know they love me, but I'm not one of those petty friends who will encourage my girlfriend who just got out of a relationship to spy on her ex or slash his tires. I’m also not going to tell my girl to get with another dude immediately (but I’m not against a healthy hotation either). Instead, I’m that friend who’s going to encourage my girl to get her mind right and get her life back on track. Here’s my advice for how to get over your ex and be dope at the same time.

Take time as a single woman to reflect. 

Don’t jump on those dating sites just yet. This is not a time to get right into another relationship. This is a time to look at all of the things that contributed to the fall of your former relationship — and that means things that BOTH parties have done. This is also a time to set your non-negotiables for future relationships. You have experienced things that you want more of and a lot of the things you wouldn’t wish on the chick who messed up your hair.

If you liked being with someone who is open, honest, financially stable and secure and has a love for his mother that isn’t a burden to your relationship, write that down. If you don’t like a man who holds the belief that he can’t be sexist 'cause he lets you pay for his meals, is selfish and doesn’t know what he wants in the long-term, then you need to be honest about that. If you believe that cheating and abuse of any kind is grounds for ending the relationship, then you have to not only say it but know the signs when you see it and make sure you have the tools to put an end to it.

You also need to check yourself and see where you contributed to some of the problems, whether that was you not showing appreciation for your ex, being an enabler then complaining when he didn’t help you financially, around the house or dig your car out of the snow and just not being ready to be in a relationship either. Maybe you were just in love with the idea of being in love or in love with marriage because you were tired of being a bridesmaid or you just wanted someone to pay half the bills. Hey, life is real, but that’s not a reason to be in a relationship. So assess yourself, because it’s not all on the other person.

You don’t need updates on your ex. 

If you were in a semi-serious or serious relationship with your ex, that means you might share mutual friends on social media or your family members who love drama might still have him on their pages so they can keep you up to date on his whereabouts, who he’s dating and what car he’s driving. That’s none of your business.

Anytime someone tells you about him, politely say, “That has nothing to do with me and if he wanted me to know that, he would’ve told me.” Of course, you probably would’ve hung up on him if he did tell you but still… Make it clear that this person is no longer part of your life and whether the information is good or juicy gossip, you can’t be bothered. Plus, while your friends and family might be trying to make you feel better by telling you that his new chick is trash, she’s probably not and that’s ok. More power to him, but the old saying “ignorance is bliss” is definitely applicable in this situation.

Focus on YOU. 

Since you’re no longer worried about him, you can focus on you. You spent three years helping him reach his goals. You were polishing up his resume and taking him to J Crew to get interview clothes. Meanwhile, you completely neglected your own come-up. You wanted to start that cupcake business. You wanted to go to Italy but he didn’t want to get a passport, so y’all kept going to Miami. Basically, you adopted his wants and goals (or lack thereof) and adjusted your life to whatever was convenient for him.

What do you do now? You assess your current reality and see all of the extra money, time and energy you have now that you don’t have to contend with and consider someone else. Take your vacation when it’s most convenient for your schedule and your budget. Take that dance class or that pole dancing class and do so without apology or judgment. Open up that cupcake business that he might have thought was a terrible idea. This is about getting back to center and focusing on the most important person in your life which is YOU.

Reconnect with the people who matter.

Too often, women get in relationships and forget about their friends, their family and the fact that they had a life before they had a man. First off, don’t ever disconnect from people because of a man. But if you have, this is the time to pick up the phone and talk to your Auntie who always has great advice and slamming collard greens. See your sisters and have girls’ night pajama parties at your house the way you used to before your ex moved in.

Make sure your friends are on the agenda. The bestie who is always there with a bottle of wine and a whole cheesecake making sure that you’re good better be on the list for monthly meetups. When this dude was making you feel low, she was the one who stayed on the phone with you telling you not only that things would be alright, but she also held you accountable and had the tough conversations with you. You need your friends and a community not just after a breakup but in everyday life.

Breakups are never easy, whether you’ve been over it for a while and just didn’t end it sooner, or whether it was completely out of left field and you’re devastated. Either way, you can’t have these men seeing you sweat. Cry when you need to, but know that this dude just cleared a path for better things and renewing energy to enter your life. Don’t get bitter, get better.