Regardless of how many times a breakup might happen to a person, whether it is the first time or the hundredth, whether you are the one who ended it or you were abandoned, for whatever reason, after whatever amount of time spent in that relationship, there is one universal fact, and that is – it is a change, one that more often than not comes very difficult to both and brings many hardships.
People cope with this fact of life in many ways, usually finding their way to deal with all the emotions and to move on somehow. But, there are both adaptive and destructive paths on this journey. First might help you become a better version of you, while the latter could cause a lot of pain, problems, and negativity for both you and your ex-partner. This post will go over both what to do and what not to do when you find yourself single again.
3 Unhealthy Ways to Cope with a Breakup (or What Not to Do)
- Keep contacting your ex. If you were the one who ended it, but you’re having second thoughts or tough time letting go, it’s not fair to your ex to prevent her from healing. If you are sure about getting back together then by all means, do contact her, but otherwise don’t, and let her move on. And if you were the one who was left, then keep asking for your ex’s attention might make things direr. However it ended originally, this could cause a much worse and colder reaction and surely hinder your recovery.
- Ruminate over your relationship and the breakup. You do need to gain some insight from what happened, how you behaved, how you felt, and where you are now. In this way, you will understand yourself better and possibly know more about your needs, your habits, your mistakes. But ruminating over every aspect of the relationship and the breakup is a maladaptive pattern of thinking that will inevitably cause you to linger in what is long gone and loose the opportunity to grow and learn from it. Therefore, try to use these thoughts to recognize a pattern, learn something, and then let the thought go.
- Drinking, smoking, doing drugs or becoming sexually promiscuous. It is understandable if you feel devastated and you just need to numb the pain. But it is a mistake if you think that such self-harming behavior will help you in any way. In best case, all the pain and dilemmas will wait for you the second you get sober. In worst case, you might endanger your life to the point of no repair. But one thing is sure, and that is that you will end up with more problems than what you started with, and with damage to your body and mind.
4 Healthy Ways to Cope
- Take care of yourself. Dealing with all the emotions and changes that come with a breakup is hard for you, physically and mentally. In order not to let this experience destroy you, you need to take care of your soul and your body. Eat healthy, exercise, sleep regularly, maintain a routine to help you through, read or engage in any healthy activity you enjoy.
- Get the support you need. This is the perfect time to reconnect with other important people in your life. Reach out to your friends and family, and let them know you need support. You will be amazed by how much a genuine support and just having pleasant time with your loved ones can contribute to the speed in which you recover from a nasty end of a relationship.
- Experience all your emotions. It’s tempting to sweep the pain under the rug and bury yourself into work, or just pretend everything is just fine. But it’s not, and this is normal. And the more you postpone feeling the entire range of emotions (anger, guilt, sadness, despair, loss of hope, loss of meaning, fear…), the harder it will be for you to truly heal and move on. Not to mention how this will deprive you of the opportunity to really get to know yourself and learn about the richness of your inner world. Feeling pain is not a comfortable experience, but it’s a part of life. So acknowledge it and learn to cope with it, and the next time, you’ll be a stronger person.
- Use this experience to grow. Finally, the breakup happened. Whatever the reason, and whatever the future might be, this is a very valuable learning experience. You should use this opportunity to learn about yourself, and to find ways to use the breakup as a lever to your personal growth. Use the energy this gives you, be it a negative one, to produce something good for yourself. Explore your interests, explore your mistakes, explore your needs and desires. Understand your weaknesses and your good sides. And find a unique way to transform this unfortunate experience into a progress and self-growth.
Breakups are hard. Always. And we usually get through them somehow. But, whatever your personal situation might be, seeing a psychotherapist is always a good idea when a breakup happens. You might have troubles seeing things objectively, you might need additional support apart from your friends and family, you might need someone to help you deal with some deeper insecurities or destructive patterns in love relationships that you might not even be aware of.
As we already pointed out, a breakup is one of the life’s chances to grow and to learn. Having an expert help on this path is what will make a painful and tough experience a truly positive event in your life story.