If you’re living life to the fullest, you’re going to experience heartbreak. Sometimes you’re leaving, sometimes you’re left, and no matter how it happened, the loss of your relationship can bring on intense heartache. But no matter who did the leaving, 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) The first thing you should know is that it’s okay to cry.
2) When you’re feeling constructive, examine what had happened, and ask yourself why. Consider that this situation is probably not entirely your fault – or maybe it’s not your fault at all. 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.
3) 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.
4) 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 seriously means not seeing each other, not being around his/her family members, no phone calls, no e-mails, no text messages 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. The longer you put off the end, the harder it is to stick to it and maintain your resolve, and the longer it will take to really get over it. Your pain will hold on as long as you do. Practice letting go. Let go. Let go. And now… let go. 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.
5) Accept your pain. Have good long cries. It’s okay to be hurt and sad, and it’s okay to be alone. 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.
6) 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 (was there infidelity? That makes it worse), 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.
7) Talk to your friends. You want people around you who love you and who will help you feel good about yourself. Surrounding yourself with compassionate, supportive friends and family will help you see yourself as a worthwhile person, and you’ll find it easier to get steady on your feet again with your loved ones around you in a comforting net. But be wary of friends trying to connect you with another person right now, this is not what you need.
8) Think positively. Now that you are single, you have another opportunity to find someone else to be with, someone new and different. You won’t feel bad forever. Change your thinking; that will help change your behavior. Soon enough you’ll be feeling released and free, and ready to take on new challenges. Make sure that in every endeavor you remember to be true to yourself.
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