Breaking Up Is Hard To Do:
Almost everyone will experience the breakup of a romantic relationship at some point - most will experience several breakups of romantic relationships. The bottom line is this: Relationship breakups are hard - even that stupid song says so.
Whether you're getting a divorce or simply breaking up a long-term romance, it may be a tremendous loss, an upheaval to the very way you live your life. The longer the relationship, the more deeply you may grieve. The feelings you experience after a breakup can range the spectrum from guilt, to anger, to sadness, to emptiness, to loneliness. A whole chunk of your life is now gone, it's only natural to grieve your loss.
Read more about divorce.
There is, however an upside to the break up of a romantic relationship - a break-up can offer you the experience to grow stronger, tougher and wiser than before.
That may not help in the short-term, but in the long-term you may see the value - the reason - for the relationship breakup.
The intensity of emotions after a relationship breakup can shock you - especially if the relationship has grown sour. But a breakup is a loss; a loss of shared dreams, a loss of shared commitments, and a loss of an actual person. It's only natural to grieve the loss of a relationship.
What Are Some Common Feelings After A Relationship Breakup?
The feelings we feel after the end of a relationship may be incredibly intense. They may change at the drop of a hat - one minute we may feel joy and relief while the next finds us sobbing in the bathroom. It's important to remember that no matter how we're feeling, the intensity of the emotion is normal and is, in the end, a means to healing from the loss.
Some common feelings after a breakup may include (to some degree or another):
Anger - we're often furious at our former partner for changing our world so dramatically.
Sadness - we're sad about the things we've lost by the end of our relationship. We're mourning the future we no longer have together.
Confusion - the future now may look as though it is a big question mark.
Denial - it can be hard to accept that the relationship is, in fact, over.
Guilt - we may feel intense feelings of guilt, especially if we initiated the breakup or if our actions were what lead to the breakup of the relationship.
Fear - the feelings after a relationship can be really intense - we may fear we'll never find true love - or any love at all - again.
Blame - it's easy to blame ourselves for the downfall of our romantic relationship, "If I'd only [insert action here]...he/she would still be around."
Hope - sometimes we hope we'll get back together with our partner. As we heal and cope with the breakup, we may hope for our own future.
Relief - when a relationship turns sour, we may feel relief; an end to the fighting and struggling to make the relationship work.
What Are The Losses You May Feel After A Breakup?
Relationship breakups can include a number of losses. It's only natural to grieve these losses.
Read more about loss.
The losses after a breakup may include the following:
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of support - financial, social, emotional, or intellectual
- Loss of shared experiences
- Loss of hopes and dreams
- Loss of plans
Practical Tips For Getting Over A Relationship Breakup:
1) Let go - it is what it is. Certainly, it's hard to accept that a relationship is over, but to move on, you must first let go. Do not spend time obsessing about the possibility of a reunion or wondering about how he or she is coping with the breakup.
2) Release the tension - let that extra energy out. You can do it by talking to a trusted friend, crying, punching a pillow. Scream. Exercise.
3) Love yourself - You are the one constant in your life, the person you can trust above all else, and you know what? You're pretty awesome. Do things that make you feel good about yourself. Do things on your own. Spend some time alone.
4) Forgive yourself and your ex - Holding onto anger and resentment will hold you back from living your life to its fullest extent.
5) Be patient - give yourself time to heal. The pain will subside, the anger will be resolved, and you will get through this.
6) Write it out - whether it's a journal or here on Band Back Together.
How To Heal After A Relationship Breakup:
When a relationship breaks up, everything changes. Your routine is disrupted. Your responsibilities are disrupted. Your friendships, your home, and even your own identity are disrupted. The future is a lingering question mark of uncertainty.
You can, and you will, move past these feelings. It will be hard, but it is possible. Healing, like everything else, takes time. Here are some tips for healing after a relationship:
Realize that it's okay to have different feelings about your breakup - your feelings may range from anger, to sadness, exhaustion to confusion - and they may be intense.
Anxiety about the future is common after a relationship breakup. Even if the relationship had turned toxic, the unknown is frightening. It's okay to feel anxiety about the future.
Don't isolate yourself. A relationship breakup can be a tough loss to grieve - and some people have the tendency to isolate. Don't allow yourself to be isolated.
Find a support group in your area for people going through similar situations. Sharing your story can help the healing process.
Allow yourself the time you need to grieve. It's okay to not be okay. You don't have to function at your highest level - take your time to heal, regroup and grieve.
Don't fight your feelings - ups and downs are natural following a relationship breakup. The emotions may range from sadness to anger, to resentment, to fear, to confusion, to relief. Some of these emotions may really hurt - but trying to suppress them will only prolong the grieving process.
Talk about your feelings - it's important to share your feelings with other people. This can help you feel less alone in your grief and help you to heal.
Write it out. Start a blog or submit a post to Band Back Together to connect with others who have been where you are.
Read more about how to contribute to Band Back Together.
Remind yourself that there is still a future - even without your former partner. Sometimes, we forget that our future - a future without your partner - is still bright.
Moving on is the end goal. While you need to express your feelings to others, you can't live in the negative or over-analyze the situation. Being stuck with hurtful feelings takes away your energy and can impede healing.
Know that there's a difference between normal breakup feelings and depression. If you're not feeling like you can move on; if the grief you're feeling only intensifies, you may be experiencing depression and should seek treatment.
Read more about depression.
Don't be afraid to admit that you can't go at it alone. Seek a counselor or therapist to work through your feelings.
Many breakups involve friendship breakups, too. Friends may "choose sides" and leave you feeling more alone. Seek out - and cultivate - new friendships.
Taking Care Of You After A Breakup:
Self-care after a breakup is something that we often forget to do. Sometimes, even the smallest daily tasks can feel daunting while we're mourning a breakup. But self-care is incredibly important to healing after a relationship breakup. Here are some tips for taking care of yourself after a breakup:
- Take time for yourself every single day.
- Listen to yourself - and make sure you're meeting your own needs.
- Make time for nurturing yourself - go to the spa, take a walk, a bath, practice yoga, meditate - whatever it is that you do to heal.
- Develop a new routine and stick with it. A relationship breakup can disrupt all of your routines, which can magnify feelings of stress and chaos
- Don't make any rash decisions (switching jobs, moving across the country, buying a house) while you're healing from a relationship breakup.
- Find some new interests - after a relationship breakup, use the opportunity to find and explore new hobbies and interests.
- Don't rely on substances to cope - it may feel better in the short-term, but the long-term effects of using drugs or alcohol can be far-reaching.
How To Move On After a Breakup:
One of the most important components to healing after a breakup is the decision to say "enough is enough" and "it's time to let it go. This may be a decision you make consciously, "I will move on." The key is that you must be ready to let it go - you can't simply pretend to be moving on.
Here are some things to remind yourself when you are trying to move on after a relationship breakup:
- "It's time to move on."
- "It's time to let this go."
- "It's time to say goodbye."
- "I need to start a new chapter in my life."
You may want to write a "goodbye" letter to your ex - the very act of writing this out may provide some comfort and closure. Do not send this letter out right away - wait a week or three and really think about sending it before you do so. You may decide that he or she is not worth the words you wrote.
How To Learn From Your Breakups:
While it may not feel like it, a relationship breakup is an incredible opportunity for you to learn more about yourself and yourself in a relationship. You may need to understand what happened, what part you played in the breakup, and how you can be a better partner in the future.
You'll need to be honest with yourself - don't play the blame game or beat yourself up.
Here are some questions to ask yourself about the breakup of your relationship to further your healing:
Look at the big picture - what part did you play in the breakup?
Are you in control of your feelings or are your feelings in control of you?
Do you repeat the same mistakes in every relationship?
Do you continue to choose the wrong type of partner?
How do you deal with stress and insecurities? Is there a better way to behave?