Anyone who has had their heart broken some time or other is familiar with the intense waves of pain and helplessness which seems to strip life of all meaning. At such times, one feels that it is impossible to get up or feel whole again. And yet, healing does take place - slowly for some and smoothly for others. Here are a few ways to mend a broken heart and get over a relationship that wasn’t meant to be.
TIP: Read the guide to prevent a break up or get back with your ex.
- Take time to grieve.
Therapists believe that a breakup causes one to go through the same stages as bereavement. You may start by feeling shock and denial at the end of a relationship and even hold on to false hopes of a reconciliation. You might be tempted to flirt with others or take recourse to emotional blackmail in order to get your ex to come around. Apart from the fact that they rarely work, such measures will only delay the process of healing. Rather accept what has happened so that your heart is free to feel the pain. Intense anger at what has happened and misery of a ruined relationship are other stages that you would probably need to go through before the healing can begin. If you think it would help, take some time off from work or college to get your bearings together. During this time, do whatever you need to feel better – have a good cry, watch old soppy movies or simply lounge about the house in a tattered night suit. Just stay away from alcohol, drugs or other kinds of harmful behavior – they have never ever helped anyone feel better and on the contrary are the surest ways to complicate things further.
- Take care of yourself.
Nobody ever died of a broken heart is a traditional saying. But it sure can leave you feeling pretty sick. The misery caused by the loss of a relationship may acquire a physical manifestation, often felt as sweeping waves of pain, an unbearable tightness in the chest or throat to the point of having difficulty in breathing as well as successive nights of insomnia. While some of these symptoms are common in the early stages of grieving and may lessen over time, if you find yourself suffering from them even a month after your breakup, it would be a good idea to see your physician. He or she will be able to determine whether the symptoms have a physiological basis or whether they are manifestations of underlying depression in which case you will probably be referred to therapy.
- Don’t turn away people who want to help.
Going through a heartbreak is excruciating as it is and you need not make it harder on yourself by doing it alone. If a close friend or family member offers help, be sure to accept. Visiting a cousin at her beachfront home might not only work wonders for your tan but for your self-esteem as well. Similarly if your best pal offers to stay with you for a few days, don’t feel that it would be expecting too much from him. You will realize that there are many other people to whom you mean a lot and the end of a relationship does not mean the end of the world.
- Get out of the house.
When nursing a broken heart, the last thing you may want to do is to face the world. But remember that not everyone out there knows about your loss. So start small and one evening, just venture out to have an espresso or stock up on your groceries. Gradually do this more often by going out for a movie on your own or taking a walk in the neighborhood park. Consider getting back to work or school if you had taken some time off and maybe even rejoin the gym or adventure club where you were a regular fixture. If you are nervous of meeting people who might ask about the breakup, choose a time and place where you are least likely to run into them. As you gain more confidence over time, you will find it easier to talk about what happened and enjoying the things you liked to do before you got hurt.
- Find new things to interest you.
One of the best ways to mend a broken heart is to find new things to do. If you had met your ex at the gym or at the book club, going back to those places might renew some very painful memories. Rather get interested in a new hobby like pottery-making or baking. You will not only learn a new skill but meet an entirely new set of people who know nothing of your past and care even less. However don’t pick up something just for the sake of finding a new partner or you might be setting yourself up for some more heartbreak. Instead focus on enjoying a new experience and things will seem much brighter for you.
- Set new goals for yourself.
A good way to recover from a broken heart is to do things you couldn’t or perhaps weren’t allowed to in your previous relationship. For instance plan a walking tour through the exquisite trails of Ireland if your ex disliked going abroad. Or get a pup if your former partner was against having pets in the house. One of the worst parts of a breakup is witnessing the plans you had made with your partner as part of a future together fall apart. So setting and achieving new goals will not only help you look ahead again but also feel that loss may have brought some dividends, however little.
- Socialize but don’t make it exclusive.
As you begin to feel better, try to get back to the social circuit. Go out with friends or even accept the invite to your boss’s housewarming party. Who knows what new and interesting friendships you may end up making there! If you feel ready, by all means start dating as well. Just be careful of entering a relationship on the rebound. A new relationship before you have healed completely will not only add to the emotional baggage but will be unfair to the new partner as well.
Finally know that a broken heart takes time to heal. But it can and will heal someday. So instead of being sad for what was not meant to be, just be glad that it was once yours and move on.