There’s an old song from the ’60s that laments that “breaking up is hard to do.” If you are going through a breakup, especially a bad one, you know this to be true. Many psychologists say that breaking up is a universal experience, but they also remind us that it can be very traumatic.
Even if you don’t feel it at the time, you will recover from your distress. It will even move on to other relationships. But it will take time. There are many things you can do after a bad breakup to ease the healing process and move on with the experience.
Take time to cry
When a relationship ends badly, you may have the urge to say “goodbye” and try to move on with your life as if it never happened. You may even want to get back in the dating game right away. Although the time will come when you are ready to sign up with some matchmaking servicesYou need to take the time to mourn the loss of the relationship and give yourself permission to experience all the feelings it causes. Avoidance behaviors will leave emotional problems unresolved or unhealed.
If you can, take a couple of days away from other responsibilities and allow yourself to experience what you are feeling. Spend time with your strongest supporters, who will allow you to rant or cry or throw things if necessary without judgment and without trying to make yourself feel better before you are ready. Breaking up raises feelings about the relationship and your ex, but it can also raise feelings about your self-worth. If the feelings are particularly strong, asking a professional counselor for help can be very helpful. They can guide you through the grieving process and help you recover in a healthy way.
See things clearly
It’s common for people to go to one of two extremes after a breakup. You can put all the blame for the failure of the relationship on the other person, or you can take care of everything yourself. None of these things are likely to be true. To process the breakup, you need to see it clearly.
A fixation of anger and guilt on the other person can keep him or her a focus in your life and can stop the healing process. It can also make you feel like a victim. Although you may have been harmed in the relationship, feelings of victimization can make you feel hopeless and helpless. Taking responsibility for your part in the breakup will remind you that you have the power to create a better outcome for yourself in the future.
Placing all the blame on yourself is even more destructive. It can lower your self-esteem. The worse you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to choose unhealthy relationships in the future. The fact is, it takes two people to build a relationship, and when one doesn’t work out, it’s inevitably due to mistakes made by both sides.
The emotional cost of a breakup can also decrease your physical strength. Although you may want to get into bed and cover your head with the blankets, it is very important that practice self-care. Eat nutritious food, hungry or not. Maintain a regular sleep schedule, either allowing yourself to sleep for days or staying up all night. If you have an exercise routine, try to stick with it; if you don’t, this is a good time to start one. Treat yourself with kindness, especially if you feel like you don’t deserve it. Learning to love yourself will make you happier, healthier, and ensure that the next time you start a relationship, you are looking for someone who treats you as well as you treat yourself.
Breaking up is incredibly difficult and painful, but you can come out better and stronger than you were before. Give yourself time, process the relationship honestly, and treat yourself well.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism