If you’ve recently faced the end of a relationship, you know that it’s a painful experience. You may be sad and disappointed as you let go of your hopes and dreams. Your self-confidence may be in a bit of a slump, too. Fortunately, you can recover from a breakup and come out on top. Start here.
Take Time to Mourn Your Breakup
You may be tempted to jump into another relationship as soon as possible. Especially if you’re the type of person who dislikes being alone, you may find this to be an uncomfortable state of being, but challenge yourself to get comfortable with being alone.
Use the time to process your hurt. Getting into a new relationship before you’ve mourned the last one makes it more likely to be an unhealthy choice. You don’t want to be the person whose time in a new relationship is spent bad-mouthing your ex. And if you choose your next relationship while feeling low, chances are you will pick someone who is also feeling low. It does not usually work out.
Look Honestly at the Damage
A lot of damage is caused by relationships that don’t work out. Now is the time to work through that. Some of the damage was done by your ex. Maybe he or she was unkind to you about your weight, wished you were more ambitious or was constantly jealous. But relationships are never one-sided, and it’s likely that you inflicted your own share of damage as well. Realistically assessing the damage and recovering from it can be a difficult experience. Work through this process in your journal, with a friend or with a counselor (or all three!) When you look at what went wrong and learn from it, it helps you to know what to avoid in the future.
Create a Self-Care Plan
Right now, you might feel like drowning your sorrows at home with a bottle of wine and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. While it’s okay to give yourself some time to grieve, it’s also important not to get too caught up in unhealthy habits. Commit to doing things that will make you feel good about yourself. If you’ve let exercise take a back seat, now is a great time to start. Consider trying exercises that have a body/mind component like yoga. Don’t forget to include lots of healthy whole foods in your diet. Commit to getting a full night’s sleep on a regular basis. Remember, you are worthy and deserve to take care of yourself.
Clarify What You Really Want
Relationships always require some degree of compromise. Even if your last relationship wasn’t terrible, you still likely had to give up some things that were important to you. Now is the time to clarify what you want in your next partner. Do you want to be with someone who is more capable of being emotionally open? Do you want your partner to be physically active, or to value spending time with family over working a lot? There is no wrong or right answer here. As long as the person you choose is someone who treats you well, you can and should think about what you want. Then hold out until you find it.
Focus on Forgiveness
Forgiving others is one of the most necessary but difficult things we can do in life. This is especially true when it comes to our past relationships. It’s likely that your ex was very hurtful to you in at least some ways. And yes, you do need to forgive your ex. That doesn’t mean you should pursue a reconciliation. Essentially, releasing them from the grudges you’re holding is more for your benefit than for theirs.
The end of a relationship is always a turning point in your life, no matter how good or bad the relationship. Take the time to learn from it, and you’ll be stronger and healthier when you find your next love.
Take the Next Step…
If you’re ready to take a step toward resolving issues connected to your breakup and determining what’s next for you, I would like to help. Please contact me by phone or email so that we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Linda K. Laffey, MFT