By David Joel Miller.
How to recover from that relationship.
Breakups can be traumatic. Losing a close friend is difficult. Ending a relationship with a romantic partner is especially tough. You not only lose your primary partner, the one you’re closest to, but you also may lose your hopes and dreams for the relationship you expected to have. It’s not unusual for people going through a breakup to wish they never gotten into that relationship in the first place. Some people will even tell themselves and others they will never fall in love again. Other people try to cope by immediately jumping into a new relationship. If you find yourself either swearing off relationships forever or frantically trying to find a new lover, look at some of the tips below on how to survive a romantic breakup.
Give yourself time to grieve.
We all start off relationships expecting them to be wonderful. Few, if any relationships live up to those expectations. Making a romantic relationship work is a challenge. Ending a relationship can be traumatic. While you may not be sad because the relationship you were in has ended, you may even be telling yourself you’re better off without them, you’re still likely to need to grieve the loss of the idealized relationship you had expected.
Sometimes individual problems take their toll on relationships. If one or both partners has struggled with drugs or alcohol or a mental illness those issues can damage a relationship beyond repair. Many people in recovery, who had recently ended a relationship, find that they need to spend time outside of a relationship to find themselves again.
Spend some time focused on yourself.
Periods between relationships don’t need to be sad or unhappy. The task you need to focus on is looking forward not back. These times of being single again allow you to experiment with new activities and new friends. Rather than always doing what a partner likes to do, this can be a time for you to discover what you truly like to do. The best friendships develop out of shared activities and experiences.
Pay attention to self-care.
Once out of a relationship it is important to take some time to pamper yourself. Once on your own again it may be a good time to upgrade your wardrobe, get rid of mementos that remind you of your ex. The stress of navigating a rocky relationship can take its physical toll. Proper diet, getting some physical exercise, good sleep habits, all will contribute to an improved physical and mental health.
Reconnect with friends and family.
Often in a new relationship, people spend all their time with their new partner. Once out of the relationship you may realize that your friendships and connections with your family have suffered. Use this single again time to do things with friends you haven’t seen for a long time. Invest some extra time in your family.
Avoid the temptation to sit and turn that relationship over and over in your mind. Avoid the temptation to over analyze who did what and what went wrong. This process of chewing on what’s bothering us is often referred to as rumination.
The more you sit and turn over the mistakes of the past, the more likely you are to become depressed. If there are lessons, you need to learn, make a note of them and then move on.
Skip the unhelpful thoughts.
Watch out for black and white thinking. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking because this relationship ended you will never find another partner. Don’t say I will always be alone. Those all or nothing, black and white thinking problems can mislead you into all kinds of unhealthy behaviors. The fear that if you lose this partner, you might not find another keeps many people in unhealthy relationships. Watch the words you use. Never, always, can’t, should, must, all should be eliminated from your vocabulary.
Fill up your time.
Being alone doesn’t mean you must be lonely. Being alone with nothing to do gives all those negative thoughts and empty mind to play in. Stay active, consider trying some new adventures, things you always wanted to do but didn’t because your past partner wasn’t interested in them.
Pick up an old hobby. Be creative again.
Post-relationship you need to rediscover you. When people enter new relationships, it becomes all about “us.” After a period in this relationship, it is common to begin to wonder if there’s still a “me,” now that there is an “us.” Finding yourself again is an important task.
Think about things that used to bring you joy, that you may have stopped doing while in this relationship. Consider doing an old hobby or starting a new one.
Create some space for new things.
Freshly out of a relationship you may find your living space is full of reminders of your ex. This is a good time to clean out closets. If there are things that continually remind you of your ex, pack them up or get rid of them. At some little touches to make this living place truly yours. Redecorating can help you adjust to the change.
Look at your wardrobe. Weed out the things you don’t need anymore. Get yourself some new threads. Prepare yourself for new adventures.
Consider getting some counseling.
Some sadness post-breakup is normal. It’s even common to cry. If you find you can’t get past the loss of the relationship now might be a good time to get some counseling. If this life event is interfering with your ability to work or go to school, it’s a problem. If a life problem keeps you from being able to be around family and friends, that’s also a problem. If you’ve reached the point where you’ve decided, it’s time to get over this breakup, now might be a great time to see a counselor.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books