Learning to Move On from Romantic breakups!
A breakup is one of the most painful and difficult experiences we have to go through. In addition they can be extremely confusing to deal with. They not only bring up the feelings of rejection but also a plethora of unfamiliar emotions, like rage, loneliness, relief, empowerment, regret, hurt or even confusion.
If you have gone through a breakup, can you relate to those feelings? Or are you going through the pain and heartache right now? If yes, then you are not alone in this. Grieving the loss of your romantic relationship and your partner, is a mind altering event and if ignored it can take years to get to normalcy.
And yet, Breakup is a part of life. However not many are aware or taught how to cope with this in a healthy pattern. Relationship issues are one of the top three reasons people seek counseling, many of whom are going through break-ups.
Coping strategies to deal with breakup
Moving on is not easy, anyone who tells you it is – is probably being dishonest. You will think about your partner all the time – even if you wish you would not, you will replay all the moments in your head, you might think of them during sex or masturbation or you will/might feel stuck. And all of this is normal and okay! It will take some time before the intrusiveness of the thoughts subsides.
Following strategies will provide you with the tools to healthily deal with the heartache of breakup:
Let yourself feel– the most important and difficult part of being in a breakup situation is to go through and feel all the unwanted emotions. The constant hurt, random and frequent burst of tears and sometimes the randomness of these outbursts may feel so embarrassing… but it is not. We, humans, are hardwired to feel things. Breakup can trigger difficult emotions that might seem threatening to us hence the only option we want to choose is NOT TO FEEL anymore.
Imagine a pressure cooker and not letting it release the pressure for a long time, what would happen? The pressure cooker would explode! Same way our work, as a human being, is to feel, experience and release emotions, if we refuse to do that, we might explode as well.
So! When you accept the feelings of pain, hurt, confusion and sadness, to mention a few, it allows you to be more human and kinder to yourself, which you might need right now.
Do not rush it– moving on takes time, longer than you expect. You might have heard people saying “move on already”, “it’s been so long” and whatnot. Do not put expectations on how long grief should last, and how it should look like. Prolonged grief is a real thing. Walk at your pace, meanwhile do other things as well that will allow you to cope. “Unfortunately, the only remedy for heartbreak and emotional pain is time,” says Nesbitt.
However there are some conditions which can trigger the difficult emotions and feelings and also increase the time to move on:
- Not being the one who decided to breakup
- Your ex being your only close friend
- Not seeing the breakup coming
- Continuing to run into your ex
- This being your first relationship
- Your relationship being the center of your life
- Your ex started to date someone new right away
- Thinking that your ex is THE ONE or the ONLY ONE for you
Spend time with the people you love– being with the people you love and you know they love you too, is the key to bring your self confidence back, to feel valuable again (which you are no matter what!) and to just feel loved. Your loved ones help you remind beautiful things about you that you might not see for yourself right now. These people allow you to be vulnerable, to share and talk about what you’re feeling, and give you a hug when you need it the most.
So go out, meet your loved ones, have fun, laugh, experience joy and prioritize these relational moments defined by joy and connection.
Talk about it– talking about your breakup openly with the people we trust can turn out to be a powerful tool to handle it. Share your feelings with your friends, your family and your loved ones as it allows you to release the burden of dealing with the pain alone. Sharing our pain and suffering only offers to open the door of support, love, care and guidance that we need. Venting up the emotions (if any) can ease the pain.
Don’t look for logic– since, breakup is an emotional turmoil, our emotions and feelings might appear as facts. The thing to remember here is that emotions are valid and real but they are not facts. Emotions are our brain’s way to make sense of our situation. So do not try to deal with breakup with logic as it leaves no room for being vulnerable and letting ourselves feel the deal. You need to validate the experience in order to move on.
Cut yourself some slack– accept the fact that for some time you will not be able to show up to other commitments as usual. Expect that your grades might go down, your work may feel overwhelming, you might not show up to your friends or family like before. Accept that it is okay, do not judge yourself for that, don’t treat yourself too hard for it. You are going through a big loss and it is not an easy situation.
Learn how breakup is affecting your life right now: breakup has the ability to affect many or almost every part of your daily living, notice how it is affecting you emotionally, mentally, physically and socially. Observe what areas of life (professional, social, personal hygiene/needs) it is affecting and bringing chaos to. Once you observe that you can mold your day to day life to fit the current situation. How is this helpful? It
allows you to prioritize your day to day tasks, you can decide how much energy you want to spend, so things don’t get overwhelming. While your top priority remains your mental health.
Go to therapy– ending of a relationship is a major turning point in anyone’s life that you can/need to learn from. But initially if you feel or want to have extra support to manage emotions and life, do see a therapist. Therapy will not make your hurt (emotions) go away right away, instead you learn to understand your emotional self more, you learn to accept and welcome your emotions, you learn to manage the intensity of your emotions. You learn to honor yourself and your emotions. And more importantly not letting the loss of the relationship take over your life and you.
Embracing the learnings Breakup brings us– Breakups can bring you the opportunity to learn and grow with time. But this mindset does not come immediately after the breakup, and it should not. It is not an easy journey but at the end of it you can get to learn more. However, do not feel pressured to do it if the learning or lessons doesn’t come naturally. Moving on is a process and beating yourself up or self blaming will only bring suffering.
Avoid unhealthy coping strategies– this strategy is not an easy one to follow, as unhealthy coping mechanisms are more easily accessible and provide instant relief from difficult emotions. Then what is the issue? You may ask! Well, choices like drinking and smoking excessively, abusing drugs, overeating, oversleeping, binge watching, gambling or being a workaholic can turn out to be hazardous to your overall well being in the long term and can permanently damage your health. So focus more on choosing the healthy habits/strategies to deal with your pain.
Pamper yourself– pamper or self care refers to prioritizing yourself by doing all the pleasurable activities. Do things that give you physical, mental and emotional relaxation. Try to be constant at it. The activities may include eating properly, buying a sex toy, going on a vacation and taking time off work. Try to keep a healthy balance.
Go out on dates and have sex (only if you want to)– start dating and having sex in order to remind yourself that love is possible. This is a reminder of your future potential and the fact that you have the potential for love and attachment. Use this as an opportunity to connect with like minded people. Do it when you feel ready.
These strategies are not going to stop you from experiencing pain but it can surely help you to recover as quickly as possible so that the pain and loss doesn’t turn into a severe mental health concern.
Why is it difficult to healthily cope with breakup?
Romantic relationship is a dynamic, outside of blood family, that is chosen by us, where we invest our time, where we grow together and build a meaningful connection from scratch with people we trust. And when it ends, be it monogamous or non-monogamous, the hurt can be agonizing.
How does breakup affect us?
Flight or Fight mode and Breakup
When you experience a breakup, your body sends information to your brain and the brain perceives breakup as a threat or an emergency situation. To deal with the existing threat our brain goes into fight or flight mode triggering hormones to deal with the situation with the available resources.
“Our muscles tense, we lose our appetite, we may experience [gastrointestinal] disruption, and we’re likely to have trouble falling asleep. Being in this physically hyper-vigilant state over a period of time can lead to headaches, stomachaches, and muscle soreness,” licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Kristin Bianchi.
Brain chemical and Breakup
Research shows that breakup events disrupt the production of certain Neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters are associated with feelings of happiness and pleasure. The temporary deficit of pleasure chemicals may give rise to depression-like symptoms.
In the aftermath of a breakup, some people experience symptoms and chemical changes in the brain similar to withdrawal, eventually reuniting with their ex or giving in to the feeling, as a result of relapse.
Grief and Breakup
When a relationship ends it does not just take away the person, the moments or a part of us but also it may feel like losing an investment. We grieve the past and also the future that never occurred, the future we hoped for and worked for. “The process of dealing with a breakup is comparable to grief,” says Dr. Tricia Wolanin, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist.
Mental Health concerns and Breakup
Breakups are a major life stressor, and are so difficult to manage. Studies have found that breakups are one of the major life events that can trigger Mental Health Disorders like chronic depression, adjustment disorder (physical and psychological response to a difficult-to-cope stressful event) and/or stress.
Breakup related mental health concerns are quite common and can be experienced by many individuals regardless of their Gender, Sex, Sexuality, Age or Relationship dynamic.
Relationships are complex; so are breakups, but they also work as a catalyst for your long term growth. If you are someone who is struggling to cope with breakup and it is affecting your quality of life, feel free to reach out to us and book a counseling session with TEE experts at Miind my Miind, visit https://www.miindmymiind.com/ or call us at 9888130005