Coping with relationship breakups means processing through loss and grief. Even if you wanted the relationship to end, you may experience a variety of feelings ranging from anger and sadness to relief. Psychologists acknowledge that dealing with a breakup is similar to grieving after the death of a loved one. However, you can take several constructive steps to overcome the loss you have suffered.
Acknowledge that you are not at your peak emotionally. You may not be up to attending some of the social functions you have in the past, especially if they were events or places you went with your significant other. You may be less productive at work and need to take mini-vacations every one to three months for six months to a year. You may not feel as emotionally connected with others right now. Give yourself permission to cut back on activities and commitments, at least temporarily.
Comfort and encourage your children, if you have any. Reassure them that the breakup had nothing to do with them. Even if your partner was not a biological parent to your children, the children probably loved and respected him. At the very least, he was a constant presence in their lives. They need to see your stability during this time.
Surround yourself with a strong support system. Eliminate draining people from your life, as life is too short to be sucked dry by those who do not have your best interests at heart. Share your emotions with family and friends. Participate in a support group to help you process your feelings. Contact a professional counselor if you need additional help.
Start a journal. Write daily, if you can, for the first three months after the breakup. Journaling offers a healthy way to vent and express yourself without damaging anyone else. You can read what you wrote and watch the progress you have made in the journey. The journal is only for your eyes.
Engage in productive activity. Clean your house. Start with your office, desk or a closet. Rid yourself of emotional connections to your ex, including photo albums, music or books. Take up a new activity or hobby you have wanted to learn. Consider photography, painting, billiards and underwater basket weaving. Use your imagination and think about your dreams. Start exercising. This works out stress and improves your physical well-being at the same time. Even a 20-minute walk can boost your mood. Dr. Sudah Prathikanti claims that consistent exercise works as effectively as an anti-depressant, without the negative side effects.
Look ahead while assessing the past. Learn from your mistakes. Ask yourself hard questions, especially about yourself and your behaviors and choices. Did this relationship have anything in common with other productive or destructive relationships you were in? Take this time to reevaluate your goals and plan for the future.
Give yourself time to heal. You cannot shortcut the process.
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- Keep your same job and don't make any drastic life changes for at least six months to one year after the breakup.
- couple arguing image by Luisafer from Fotolia.com