Ending a relationship can be devastating, and the pain of the immediate aftermath can feel absolutely unbearable. When a relationship ceases to exist, it leaves a void — one that can leave you feeling broken, lost, and utterly alone.
While the grief of a broken relationship is poignant and powerful, it’s important to remember the pain will not last forever. Sorrow, regret, heartache, and emptiness are normal to experience, and all essential parts of the grieving process. However, it’s important to learn to cope with your grief, and not let it control your life.
Below are four suggestions for moving forward, while still acknowledging and honoring your feelings, and your need to grieve.
1. Allow yourself to feel.
After a painful ending to relationship, far too many people try to bottle their emotions and push them aside. One of the most important and healthy things you can do for yourself is to truly embrace everything you’re feeling and going through. Your instinct may be to run in the opposite direction and avoid facing the issue at all costs. But working through your pain shows strength and courage, and will provide the greatest relief in the long term.
2. Schedule an appropriate amount of “wallowing” time.
When a friendship or romance ends, staying in bed all day with a carton of ice cream and a sad list of Netflix movies, may be the most appealing choice. For a short time, this state of wallowing is perfectly acceptable. But more than a few days of isolation and self-pity can actually be more harmful than helpful. Pushing yourself to remain healthy, social, and productive is crucial to appropriately coping with your grief.
3. Surround yourself with people you love and trust.
If isolating has become your go-to coping skill, it’s particularly important to surround yourself with supportive friends and family during this difficult time. Having a strong network of people you can trust helps you to feel less alone and more protected. Knowing you are with people who care about you, and who will have your back, can be the ultimate comfort in the aftermath of an ended relationship.
4. Do not engage in unhealthy cyber stalking.
When your heart is broken, and you’re desperately missing the person who has recently left your life, it’s natural to want to “fill” the emptiness with reminders of that person. Listening to old voicemails, rereading old texts and letters, pouring through tagged photos, and constantly checking up on your loved on through social media may seem like a good idea at the time — but such behaviors quickly become unhealthy and obsessive in nature. Do whatever is necessary to stop yourself from stalking your ex-friend or ex-partner through cyberspace for the time immediately following your breakup or fight, even if it means de-friending, un-following, or taking a break from the online world altogether. Giving yourself time to process and grieve, without constant reminders of your past, provides a healthier, more positive environment for healing and moving on.
Moving on from a broken relationship is not easy, and some scars may last for years, or even take a lifetime to heal. The initial pain of an ended relationship, however, is overwhelmingly the most painful and the most intense — and properly taking care of yourself is a crucial part of your recovery. In the darkest moments, remember that these feelings are temporary, and that each day will become slightly easier. With time, you will be able to cope and to begin to feel like yourself again.
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