According to relationship experts, many folks are not well equipped to deal with breakups, because they are rarely taught anything about healthy coping after experiencing them. After a split, the real risk for seniors, in particular, is leaping to conclusions about their gloom-and-doom future.
A breakup is often accompanied by a wide variety of powerful and negative feelings including sadness, anger, confusion, resentment, jealousy, fear, and regret. Trying to ignore or suppress these feelings, will likely only prolong the normal grieving process. Healthy coping means both identifying these feelings and allowing yourselves to experience them.
The following breakup coping strategies will not stop you from experiencing the pain of the loss, but instead, help you move through the grieving process.
Understand that breakups might happen
Until you find your Mr. or Ms. Right, you are going to be moving in and out of relationships, so expect it. This way, you won’t feel so devastated when it does happen. Relationships usually end for good reasons and they should end if you want to find your best love match.
Make a list of your ex’s faults
Folks tend to dwell on all of the positives after a breakup instead of the negatives which can be counterproductive to your healing. If you want to move on, you need to remind yourself why you and your ex were not a good fit. For this reason, jot down all the things that bugged you about your ex, and don’t hold back! Include little pet peeves as well. This exercise will help you keep things in perspective and serve as a reminder as to why you are better off.
Accept that you might not get back together
Let go of the possibility of getting back together! Bringing closure to the relationship is impossible if you continue to hold onto the hope that it will come back around full circle. This means don’t wait by the phone for a call. Don’t check your emails or text messages 50 times a day thinking they’ll reach out. Don’t harass or stalk your ex. Don’t flood your ex’s social media with negative posts. Don’t threaten to hurt yourself if they don’t come back. These desperate moves will only lengthen your emotional distress in the long run and further negatively impact your already shaken self–esteem. Life is way too short to wait for someone to come back to you after a breakup.
Don’t abuse yourself to get over the hurt
DO NOT resort to drinking excessively, drugs, overeating, self–harm, gambling excessively, or becoming a workaholic to try and cope with a breakup. You may be tempted to do whatever you can to avoid the hurt, but it is crucial to find healthy coping self-care strategies that can move you along in the process toward healing.
Examine what you’ve learned from your breakup
Relationships we’ve been in can teach us a lot, especially ones that are painful. After a relationship ends, spend some time thinking about what it has taught you so that you can have better ones in the future. However, don’t take the opportunity to beat yourself up for the breakup! Learning is growth and self-blame can be never-ending if you let it.
Give yourself a time limit of three months to grieve
Right now, this might sound like the worst news in the world – three whole months of feeling like this? But trust, that time will fly by and soon you’ll be looking back wondering where the days have gone. In a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, a huge 71% of unmarried folks said they already felt better 11 weeks after a breakup.
Talk it out with a support system
Look to supportive friends, family, and even therapists, if need be to help you arrive at new understandings about your breakup and to relieve some of your pain. Talking to others will help free you from the feelings you keep bottled up.
Don’t wallow in your grief
Take a break from those sad love songs, romantic movies, and novels. Instead, try funny and uplifting shows, upbeat music, and lighthearted novels without the mushy stuff. These can help distract you from negative emotions. Research has found that letting yourself wallow in sadness can actually prolong the agony. So, ditch your pajamas now!
Keep hope alive that you’ll find someone new
Reframe your breakup as a positive. Tell yourself, “It wasn’t the best match and now I have a chance to find a better one!” Since you may be feeling very hurt after a breakup, it is easy to assume that all men (or women) are bad or untrustworthy…not true. By holding on to negativity, you will be closing the door to all kinds of potentially great relationships. So, keep shopping! The more people you meet, the greater your chance of finding true love.