Bouncing back after a break-up
After a long period of reflection, you’ve finally decided, done it and are living with it – you’ve broken up with your partner. But sticking with it and rebuilding yourself can seem like a real obstacle course.
You might think that it’s easier to ‘dump’ rather than being ‘dumped’, but actually it’s not so simple. After the initial euphoria of feeling free, you may feel like you’ll not be able to get over it, and all sorts of emotions come rushing in.
Luckily, you’re not the type to be beaten down, and you know that you want to hear Cupid knocking at your door again soon… Here are six steps to help you put down the tissue box and get on to the road of emotional recovery.
Staying on course after a break-up
You’ve finally broken up with them! The hardest part is over with, but your inevitable sigh of relief will probably be drowned out by other voices… often from those closest to you (friends, family, and workmates). Some support you with ‘well done, he or she didn’t deserve you’, or ‘good riddance’. Others are the opposite and question your decision with ‘you won’t find anyone better, he or she was a gem…’
What to do? “Such remarks are also a reflection of your own inner ambivalence,” notes Patricia Delahaie, author of ‘Comment guérir du mal d’amour’. Even if the decision has been taken after much consideration, as soon as the break-up is actually real, inner questioning becomes inevitable. Note down all the reasons for the break-up in a notebook so you can look back on them in moments of doubt and comfort yourself that it really was the right choice.
Getting rid of post break-up feelings of guilt
When you are in a vulnerable state after a break-up, it often takes very little for feelings of guilt to flood your being. This occurs mostly in reaction to an alleged fault or to regrets tied to the idea that things could have turned out differently. And let’s not forget those inevitable phone calls or text messages from the ex, all broken-hearted and wounded puppy-like. This definitely won’t help you escape your guilt. But it can seriously add to your determination to start afresh.
What to do? “Guilt comes with taking too much responsibility,” explains Patricia Delahaie. Maybe you tend to feel responsible for other people’s happiness, as well as their sadness? Beginning with your ex… If there is any responsibility to claim, it is for your own happiness. The best remedy is taking time out for yourself. List all the things you didn’t have the time or energy to do when you were in a couple… And get on with them, for real!
Accepting post break-up sadness
A break-up is a perfectly valid reason to feel sad as such feelings are tied to idea of loss, and a break up can certainly be categorised as that. You’re sad because something has changed, but this transitory state will allow you to accept a new reality, and pushes you to grieve for what is no more. Easier said than done though.
What to do? “You are not just leaving a partner, but a whole way of life. That you initiated the break-up doesn’t change this at all,” says Patricia Delahaie. The best thing to do is to give free rein to this emotion and express it, quite simply by crying like a child, without worrying about what you look like. Tears clean our eyes of chemical stress agents that we secrete when we are upset. You can then start to talk about it and to let yourself be consoled until the feelings of wanting to have fun spring up in you once again.
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