A relationship breakup is always hard, whether it’s your first or nth breakup. Even if you’re the person who initiated the breakup, you will still find it difficult to deal with day-to-day life without your significant other. The good news is, there are ways that can help you cope with your situation and make the transition easier.
Why We Take Relationship Breakups So Hard
After a relationship breakup, many of us usually reflect on what we’ve learned from the past relationship and what we want to improve on the next one. This is a healthy behaviour which can turn out to be an unhealthy one when we take it too far, leading us to question our self-worth.
Researchers Lauren Howe and Carol Dweck conducted a study to discover why some people are haunted by their romantic past while others seem to move on with less difficulty. They asked their subjects to reflect on a time of romantic rejection and what’s their takeaway from it. They found out that romantic rejection can lead a person to uncover a hidden flaw that makes them question or change their view on themselves. These changes in self-definition can hinder post-rejection recovery.
Getting Over a Relationship Breakup in 7 Days
During the first 24 hours following a relationship breakup, you are most likely flooded with questions especially with ‘what ifs.’ And when the breakup happens so suddenly, it will seem too much to deal with that your mind may go numb and shut down, refusing to deal with your situation.
On day 1 following a breakup, you will be in a state of disbelief. Some people experience a sense of blurriness about a breakup. Some may even have a literal loss of breathing and have trouble sleeping. It may take a while before you can actually ask yourself: “is this real?”
What to do:
The only person you should care about within 24 hours after a breakup is yourself. Do whatever you can to give this 24 hours to yourself – change your social plans or call in sick to work. You need to take care of yourself within these 24 hours.
Unplug from social media. You don’t want to do something such as sending or posting angry messages to your ex, which you may end up regretting later. It may very hard to do this especially when you’re hurting but it’s very important to step back and give this time solely to yourself.
This is your day. Sleep as much as you want, eat ice cream on bed, or binge watch TV shows. Cry as much or as little as you need to. Don’t fight the feelings you have; let yourself feel them. Remember, moving on from a breakup is a marathon, not a race.
It would also help to do calming activities like meditation or long walks. A 2015 study by Stanford scientists revealed that a walk in nature or nature-like environment can help in reducing rumination. This decrease in rumination is generally linked to positive distraction, which is something you also get from talking to a friend or taking part in a hobby.
You may still be in denial at this point. You may still can’t believe that it happened. At this stage, it’s common to have the urge of calling, sending a message, or Facebook-stalking your ex. While these activities may seem like helping you deal with the relationship breakup but the truth is, they don’t. They only make you feel hopeful for a reunion.
What to do:
Try not to minimize the situation. Pretending that the relationship breakup isn’t something you have to deal with will only lead you to emotional numbness and feeling stuck.
The first step towards coping with a breakup and getting over a person is by speaking about it. Open up to a trusted friend, someone whom you feel is neutral and will listen to your fears, unreasonable thoughts, and more without judging you.
On day 3, you may have recognized the dissolution of the relationship but you may still be replaying the relationship in your head, trying to figure out what went wrong and what you could have done. At this stage, it’s too easy to fall into isolation. You may not feel like leaving the house and just stay in your room.
What to do:
It’s too tempting at this stage to just sit in silence and darkness on your own rather than admitting to the world that it’s over. Try not to fall into this trap by creating reasons to face the day. Take a shower, phone or text your family and friends and catch up with them. Catching up with the people closest to you can help lighten the emotional weight you’re carrying.
The sad part of the relationship breakup is over but you may still find yourself mad at your ex or yourself. You may end up burning his/her pictures, talking bad about him/her, or having negative self-talk.
What to do:
If you’re mad, do feel, write, or talk about it but do not act on it. What you can do at this point is to find some positive about this new relationship status you have. It can be tough but there is always something positive you can get out of it. Maybe you can try cooking that dish you’ve always wanted to cook but your ex hated, watch a movie, or plan a trip you’ve always wanted to do. Find anything that excites you and start doing it now. Enjoy the freedom and the joy of doing your favorite thing to do.
You feel better at this point though there may be times that you’re still thinking about getting your ex back. At this stage post-breakup, you find it tempting to make extreme measures to make amends. It may seem like it but the truth is, you’re only doing it to help you deal with the pain.
What to do:
While in a relationship, you may have spent most of your time with your partner that you may had more likely spent less ‘me’ time. Take this opportunity to get back all those ‘me’ time you’ve lost. Create a self-love list including the things you want to do and plans for your future.
At this point, you already have processed your emotions and have informed your support system. This is the best time to remove any traces of your ex. It’s going to hurt but it’s better to do it now than experience the pain over and over again each time you see things that remind you of him/her.
What to do:
Schedule a time for your ex to pick-up his/her belongings or if you prefer, arrange a time for you to take his/her belongings where he/she stays. It can also help if you re-arrange your things in your home differently. Make sure to fill those empty spaces with your possessions. This will help you feel like a whole person on your own.
On this day, you may have reached the final stage of grief, which is the acceptance stage. At this point, you will begin to feel like yourself again. You have to come to realize what the past meant and what your future can hold. You finally find yourself ready to move onward and upward.
What to do:
Celebrate! Whether it’s enjoying a bubble bath, sipping a glass of your favourite wine, or hanging out with your friends, feel free to celebrate the way you want to. It’s sad that things didn’t work out but know that you are in a new path right now and you are in a new part of your life with unlimited potential. Find ways to be happy and, as a result, you’ll realize that you have the strength to go through even through these darkest moments of your life.
Published by Hypnosis in London on 08 October 2017, written by Malminder Gill.