In a relationship, whether or not you have plans of a future together, there’s always a certain sense of grief when it’s over. It’s obvious that you will feel like your life is empty and pointless. Like any other horrible phase in your life, this too shall pass. Break ups can be compared to bereavement, because in its truest sense, it does mean the loss of a person. You can get over a break up in a healthy way and move on with your life. There are no rules with regard to dealing with post break-up trauma, but you should take care of a few basic things.
TIP: Read the guide to prevent a break up or get back with your ex.
Understand that your heart is in mourning for your loss. Don’t be in denial and address the grief. It’s even fine to remember things about the past and feel hurt. If you don’t go through this phase, you will never be ready for the healing phase. Remember, it’s not unmanly or childish to cry. You will do more damage, if you don’t cry, and repress your feelings.
Grow richer for the experience
It’s fine to think of the reasons why the relationship didn’t work. This is the most painful part, because it could be associated with guilt, hurt, pain, low self esteem, etc. However, this phase is important, to understand what went wrong. This will bring into focus your behaviour patterns as well as your partner's. This is an important step to help you grow as a person. It’s possible that you have a short temper or you hold on to grudges. You will probably realize, that your partner was often selfish and that’s his/her core nature. You will never be truly happy with someone like that. Sometimes, partners realize that they both did all they could and were compatible, but they just don’t have a future together.
Stay away from the blame game
Remember to differentiate between understanding the reasons and placing blame. There is a thin line between both and can be easily crossed. Whether or not you ended the relationship, remember that it takes two people to be in a relationship. So accept responsibility, and accept the circumstances that you’re no longer together. This is not the time to blame yourself or your partner, for the relationship going bad. That part of your relationship is over. Once you or your partner has decided to call it off, placing blame is pointless. Therefore, do indulge in introspection, to understand the reasons for the break up, but do not use this as ammunition to place blame.
Avoid brooding over the last conversation
Avoid rethinking scenarios in your head and thinking that you could have done things differently to make it work. Very often, people revisit the last night they were together or the last phone call, and wonder if they could have done or said something to avoid the break up. Understand that the trigger that propelled one of the partners toward the break up is not important. When a relationship doesn’t work, there is always a build-up of resentment and hostility. Therefore, even if you did do something differently then, some other situation in the future would finally lead to a break up. So, if you finally break up because he was late for dinner, or because she went out shopping with her friend, do not view the situation in isolation.
Things become difficult when you have made plans for the future. If you planned to get married, the feeling of grief is definitely compounded.
Writing may be cathartic
Typically, when one is depressed and sitting at home, one tends to romanticize the past and think that being in a relationship, however bad, is better than sitting alone in front of the TV, eating pizza. You will find yourself glossing over your partner’s faults and rethinking the whole thing. If you find yourself reaching out for the phone to call him/her, indulge in a little exercise first. Write down all the things that your partner did to make you feel bad. Write every little detail such as his unwillingness to help you with the housework, or her lack of respect for your feelings. Also write down how it made you feel. Do not exclude anything. Every time you feel weak and think you want to call him/her, go through this list.
Stay away from your ex
Of the few things you should follow as a rule, is the fact that you should not stay in touch with your ex till you are completely healed and have moved on. Constantly checking his/her Facebook or Myspace page will only add to your heartache. It’s better to not know that your partner took a trip to Vegas or hooked up with someone new. Spare yourself this agony. Do not hang around with common friends in the hope that you will run into him/her or because you want to hear about him/her. Block him/her on your chat window. Even if you decide to stay friends with your ex in the future, you should maintain distance now. This will help you get over him/her in a healthy way.
Bond with close friends
Surround yourself with friends and people who care for you. Understand the pattern. You work all day and get worried around 6 p.m. because soon, you will have to go home and the empty house will remind you of your grief. Arrange to meet a friend every other day. This is the time you can really call upon your closest friends, and tell them to be your anchor and support. Avoid unsupportive people who want to say “I told you so”. You do not have to put up with people who say “I always knew he was no good” or “I knew she was cheating on you”. Politely tell them, that even if your relationship ended, you are an adult and take full responsibility for your actions and decisions. Saying these things now does not help the cause anyway and only makes you feel silly, which is unnecessary.
Organize your life
Clear the clutter on your desk. Do the filing that you’ve been putting off. Rummage through the pantry and throw away the junk. Do things you’ve been meaning to and haven’t had the time for. Read the books you’ve been planning to read. Catch up on movies. Plan elaborate movie marathon sessions with friends. This is a great time to do something new. Take up that pottery class you wanted to, or you can finally get that Persian cat. Get a tattoo or a pierced belly button, if that’s what you’ve wanted. Start an exercise regime. Lose those extra three pounds and buy the Miss Sixty skinny jeans. Take up an extreme sport. Sometimes break ups can lower your self- esteem considerably. So do anything you want, to make yourself feel good and happy. Take your mother out for a fancy lunch, or help a neighbour with groceries. Doing selfless good tasks helps you feel content with life.
Focus your energy on work
Most people tend to shine at work after a breakup, because they have additional mind space to think of campaigns or project reports. You can spend some extra time at work initially, to avoid feeling lonely after hours. The time that you invest at work will definitely help you achieve something.
Avoid escapism and indulgence
It’s very simple to use escapist techniques, to make the pain go away. Understand that alcohol and drugs can make you feel good only for the moment, but the hurt will come right back if you don’t deal with it in the right way. Some people tend to “eat their hurt away”. Comfort eating is just as dangerous as drinking and smoking up. Stock up your fridge with healthy snacks and fruits. Indulge in sinful foods once in a while, but don’t mess with your system to deal with the break up.
See a counsellor if required
Just in case, you’re not able to cope with the situation, consider visiting a counsellor. Counsellors are professionally trained to deal with situations such as these. It is necessary to make inquiries and get a good, certified counsellor. Don’t be cynical and be completely honest with your counsellor. If you cooperate with the counsellor's methods and techniques, you will be able to deal with the break up well.