Surviving a relationship breakup.

By David Joel Miller.

How to recover from that relationship.

Being alone again.

Alone after the breakup?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

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 ruminating.

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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Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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

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The relationship you have when you don’t have a relationship.

By David Joel Miller

When non-relationships take up all your time.

fighting with your ex

When the relationship is over.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Do you spend lots of time thinking about people you are NOT in a relationship with?

Counseling sessions are frequently about the pain and wreckage of the past. For many people, the reason they decide they need to get help is because of the unfinished business of that past. Unpacking and lightening the load of baggage you are carrying around is a reasonable goal of therapy. One major thing most people need to talk about are the relationships that have come and gone.

Sometimes this process goes way wrong. The person talks to their friends and family and then their therapist repeatedly about their ex, the person that wronged them. Despite all their claims that they are done with that other person, they start and end every conversation with a reference to that other person. What they desperately need is closure around that past relationship, only closure never comes.

That repeated discussion and rumination about your ex may be the thing that is keeping you connected to the pain from that relationship. For you, it will never be over until you let go of that connection. Relationships are one of the few places we spend a lot of time thinking about what we are NOT doing. It is difficult, downright impossible to move on when you are still holding on to the past.

Do you obsess about your ex or someone who has done you wrong?

Rehashing that memory of the one who hurt or rejected you can become the worst form of obsession or addiction. If you spend much of your time insisting that something was unfair, that they should not have done what they did, you are holding onto the connection and insisting that the world and that person must be the way you want them to be. The relationship did not turn out the way you wanted, that is one reason it is over.

When you are really over someone or something, you stop caring. People who have really ended it and moved on start thing about the future, not the past. If they are not in your life then you should stop thinking about them. Only that is so very hard to do when there is still that connection you are afraid to let go of.  As long as you revisit them mentally you keep alive the possibility of reconnecting psychical.

When you have unfinished business with someone the connection remains.

If you still want to know why? Or are wanting to win an argument. Then you are unready to let that relationship go. Holding onto a relationship that has ended is like keeping a dead pet around. No matter how much you loved it back when, if you keep it around, eventually it starts to stink up your life.

Revisiting the thing that was and the “what should have been” keeps the connection to the past alive. Living in the past sabotages the present and prevents the future that could be. Closure will not come from that other person. It arrives when you loosen your grip on that past that did not turn out the way you wanted and you open your arms to embrace the future.

People can take up way to much space in your head.

The human brain only has so much capacity for thought. Most of the time there is plenty of idle space in your brain to learn new information and engage novel thoughts. But like that older computer, sometimes the problem you have your brain working on takes up all the thinking capacity in your brain. Ruminating about the past leaves no thought capacity to think about the future.

Letting someone take up mental space crowds out the brain space you need to think about positive things. Hard to start a new relationship with anyone when you are still holding onto the one that ended. If you still have your ex as a friend on social media and their number has not been deleted from your phone, there will always be a part of you staying connected to what you wanted things to be.

Occupying your brain with the one you hate creates so much stress in your brain that love, of yourself or others, has no room to grow.

Hate, anger, and fear keep you connected even after the relationship ends.

Negative emotions keep the connection growing larger and in a more intense way than positive ones. The most enduring relationship are those driven by hate and a desire for revenge. If you love something you can let it go but the thing you hate holds onto you forever.

People who walk through your life leave footprints.

Every person who has been a part of your life has made a journey through your mind. Some for the better and some have left scars. Just because someone’s path has crossed yours and they have left their footprints on your existence does not mean your soul has to follow their soul to bad places.

Have you kept holding onto a dead relationship? Is it time to let it go?

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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