We invest so much into our relationships, be it familial or social in nature and go the extra mile, in the case of romantic relationships. It is, therefore, understandable that the emotional pain & trauma that we experience at the loss of any of our relationships, is going to be significant. Indeed, one of the areas where I find myself working frequently at the clinic is helping the clients, young or old, navigate through the challenges of relationships getting over unexpectedly.
Research points out, that a break up with one’s romantic partner, is emotionally as painful as divorce or death of a spouse. In fact, research evidence equates emotional pain experienced after a break up to physical pain experienced after a severe injury. Not surprisingly, the stages of grief that one goes through after their break up is the same as the stages of grief that one goes through after the death of a loved one.
In my experience as a relationship counsellor, I have witnessed clients adopting different coping strategies to deal with their break-ups. Unfortunately, the most common coping strategy is to replace the loss of a relationship with a new relationship. Such relationships, popularly known as a rebound, prove detrimental for the individuals involved, primarily because it does not allow the person who has experienced a break up to recover from it completely.
It’s almost similar to getting a severe knee injury and still running a 400 m race without proper rest, which will obviously cause more harm in the long run. Therefore, even though there is a need to fill that void left by the previous partner, it’s extremely important to give yourself time to heal from the loss, reflect on what went wrong in the relationship and only then get involved with someone new. Most psychologists would suggest giving oneself anywhere from 3 to 6 months, before plunging into another relationship.
Some healthier coping strategies to deal with a romantic break up would include:
- Self – Care: This would include not just looking after your physical self but also your mental self. Connect with your friends, exercise, eat healthily, and spend time with family, and discover what brings you happiness.
- Focus on the positives: In these circumstances, it’s natural to focus on only the negatives or things which are going wrong in your life. However, it’s essential that you direct your attention toward things which are going right for you. One way to do that would be a gratitude list, wherein you jot down everything that you are grateful about.
- Avoid gossiping about the partner: There may be a natural urge to bad mouth your ex to friends or family. However, ask yourself if that would serve any purpose? The more you talk about your ex negatively to people known to both of you, the more difficult it will be to let go of it completely. The idea is to focus on yourself completely & not the other person.
- Seek Professional Help: If you are going through a break – up, it’s absolutely okay to go & talk to a mental health professional. Going to a psychologist doesn’t imply that there is something wrong with you. We all can do better by seeking someone’s opinion who will offer an objective point of view, based on your lived reality.
Breakups are never easy, but as human beings, we are extremely resilient and this resilience shines through during emotionally difficult times. So, don’t give up! You are worth more!