February 2, 2015
Breakups can be so hard, and they can be amicable; no matter what, no one really wants to go through them. The loss of your relationship can bring on intense heartache and stress. But if you’re looking for some help getting through it and want some suggestions about how to make it a little easier, read on…
1. Think through everything thoroughly, but not obsessively. Go ahead and mull it over, as many times as necessary, within reason. Consider all the reasons you two broke up. Even if it sometimes seems as if there wasn’t a good reason, there certainly was one – and probably more than one. Understand that you enjoyed being together for a while, but if the relationship was not what both you and your partner wanted for life, it would have ended eventually, no matter what. In this case, better sooner than later. Thinking about the reasons why it ended can make it much clearer to you that it takes two people to start a relationship, but just one discordant person is enough to end it. It may also help you avoid many missteps in the future if you can identify areas where you contributed to the demise of the relationship.
2. Don’t rethink your decision. If the breakup was your decision, keep in mind that only thinking about all the good times you had with your partner may cause you to forget the reasons why you broke it off. By the same token, try not to second-guess the situation if the decision to end things was not yours. It’s very common to romanticize the good parts of the relationship, convincing yourself that maybe the bad parts weren’t so bad after all, that maybe you could just live with them. Or that maybe if your ex would know just how you feel, he/she wouldn’t want to break up after all. Don’t play this game with yourself. Accept the situation and work on moving forward.
3. Keep your space. Even if you and your ex have decided to stay friends, break away completely from each other right after the breakup. This means not seeing each other, not being around his/her family members, no phone calls, no e-mails, no text messages, no Facebook, and no IMs – not necessarily as a permanent measure, but until you feel that you can converse with him/her on a purely platonic level, without an ulterior motive (and yes, wanting to get back together counts as an ulterior motive). If he/she tries to convince you to see him/her, ask yourself honestly what the point would be. If you’re reliving the past by seeing him/her, it’s not hard to get caught up in the moment and it will be harder to let go again. You may have to have some contact in order to deal with the practical aspects of things like moving out, signing papers, etc., but try to limit this to what’s absolutely necessary, and then keep such calls/meetings short and civil.
4. Cope with the pain appropriately. It’s okay to feel like you have messed up – accepting responsibility for your mistakes or shortcomings is healthy. On the other hand, you must also accept that you are a good person, and that you did your best and you’re not the only one who made mistakes. Of course, a stage of denial is completely natural, but acceptance is the key to being able to start moving on.
5. Deal with the hate phase. This is when you want to just scream because your rage feels boundless. The amount of anger you feel depends on how antagonistic the split was, the circumstances, and how long it took to make the final break. You may resent your ex for wasting your time. You may realize that the breakup was inevitable (hindsight will reveal clues you failed to notice at the time). You may even feel a lot of anger towards yourself, but let go of that feeling fast! It’s a waste of time and energy to rip yourself apart over something you no longer have the power to change. There are so many positive things you can do with your emotions and energy. Although it may feel good to replace your feelings of love towards your ex with hate, this can still lead to complications and mixed emotions of love and hate which are never a good thing.
7. Write all your feelings down. Write in a journal or try writing poems. The most important thing is to be absolutely honest and don’t edit yourself as you go. One of the best results of writing it all down is that sometimes you will be amazed by a sudden insight that comes to you as you are pouring it all out onto paper. Patterns may become clearer, and as your grieving begins to lessen, you will find it so much easier to understand valuable life lessons from the whole experience if you’ve been writing your way through it. No relationship is ever a failure if you manage to learn something about yourself. Just because it didn’t work out doesn’t mean it wasn’t a necessary part of your journey to becoming who you’re meant to be.
9. Out with the old, in with the new. A breakup can signify a new beginning. Therefore, cleaning and organizing your personal space will leave you feeling refreshed and prepared for the new things to come. A mess can be overwhelming and depressing, and will just add to your stress level. The added bonus is that keeping busy with tidying your space doesn’t require a lot of brain power, but does require just enough focus to keep you from recycling pain. Occupying yourself with such tasks designed to make your life better and easier will also occupy your mind enough to help you through the residual pain. Clean your room, get some new posters, clean up the icons on your PC desktop. As insignificant as cleaning up sounds, it’ll make you feel better.
Do something small, right now. Going all the way to the gym, or getting decked out in your jogging gear, or doing whatever it is you feel you should be doing obviously seems like too much work. So just do ten push-ups or jumping jacks. Easy. And usually, it’s just enough to get your heart rate going a little bit, and make you feel like a little more exercise wouldn’t be so bad…
Get halfway there. If you want to go to the gym, but just don’t feel like it, at least just drive yourself to gym, and tell yourself that if you still don’t feel like working out, you’ll go home. Odds are, though, once you’re there, you won’t feel like driving home. (But if you do, that’s okay too. But you probably won’t.) Then tell yourself you’ll just walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes, even if your exercise routine involves much more. Just telling yourself to do one more thing, without having to commit to anything else, will make things much easier. And before long, your endorphins will take over.