I was emotionally devastated. He broke off a 4-year relationship by text, cheapening our relationship to a teenage fling. His immediate demands: that I leave his house and that he was moving his mother in.
Unfortunately, most of us will go through a painful breakup at least once in our lifetime. Here are some helpful ways to deal with it and not lose your mind in the process.
Realize You’re Not the Only One to Ever Feel This Way
Half of all marriages end in divorce, the average relationship today lasts only 2 years 9 months, and dating in your 20’s is harder than ever. It’s not just you.
You will likely have a range of emotions that range from grief, sadness, and nostalgia to anger, anxiety, and fear.
Remind yourself these are normal feelings and allowing yourself to go through the gamut of these emotions will help you heal faster.
Even if you’re the one who initiated the breakup, you need time to heal. Be kind to yourself.
Take Care of Yourself
When you’re going through a breakup, more than ever you need to focus on taking care of yourself. When someone breaks their leg, they don’t think twice about going to the ER to have it set. However, when it comes to our emotional/mental health, we tend to take it much less seriously.
In recent years, science has proven more and more how powerful the mind is and how your mental strength affects your life as much as your physical well being does.
Here are some ways to take care of yourself when you’re going through a breakup:
- Allow yourself to privately grieve, cry, yell, rant, or sit quietly.
- Be able to be proud of how you are leaving things with your soon-to-be-ex.
- Share your feelings with a close friend, a counselor, a support group, or a journal.
- Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat a close friend who was going through the same.
- Get back into the things you used to enjoy that you haven’t done in a while. Many people give up their hobbies, outside interests, and other friendships when they get involved in a serious relationship. Tapping back into those things that make you happy will help you stay sane. If it’s been a while, start by making a list of the things you used to do.
- Focus on the positive. It sounds trite, but it really works. What are the good things about your newfound freedom? Can you do things now that you couldn’t before? Are there new activities you can find?
- Stay physically healthy. Exercise staves off depression and staying in shape makes you attractive to the opposite sex, which is the ego boost you need right now.
- Consider what went wrong in the relationship (maybe with the help of a counselor) and how to avoid that type of relationship in the future.
While my first reaction to my breakup was emotional devastation, I quickly realized ending the romance was for the best. It was obvious, even just by the way he handled the breakup, that I was not getting the respect or appreciation I deserved.
That’s not to say I didn’t fluctuate between the normal stages of grief and pain that would come and go, but I allowed myself to feel them, learn from them, and take care of myself in the process. You can do the same, remembering you are not alone.