We’ve all been there—at the ending of a relationship that’s ripping our heart out.
It has us doing the ugly cry in our bedrooms when no one is looking. It causes us to lose sleep at night because we’re laying in bed trying to figure out what went wrong and what we could have done differently.
There are so many things we can do to heal faster and move on—but often, we don’t. As human beings, we have a tendency to be gluttons for punishment. I mean, we say that’s not what we want but then we engage in behaviors that do just that.
Most people I work with come to me because they’re struggling with letting go or healing from a past relationship. The pain and sadness they feel having lost someone they truly loved is real. It can be an incredibly raw and agonizing time in their lives and their desire to be able to let go and move forward so that they can find peace and happiness again is so intense, they’re willing to do just about anything.
Except they don’t.
Often, our need for answers or to understand “why” is so pressing and persistent we end up doing things that keep us stuck and bring about even more heartache. These are some things I’ve found are best to avoid when you’re already grieving and longing to move on and feel normal again:
1. Re-reading old emails and text messages. Listen, we all do this. We go back and obsessively re-read every single text message the person we split up with has sent us in an effort to figure out what went wrong or to relive the days when things were great between the two of us. We hold onto things they said, even if the things they’ve said to us recently are exactly the opposite.
Honestly, this just isn’t helping us move forward. It keeps us stuck in the past; re-reading the messages often brings on more sadness and longing for what is no longer there.
I know it’s difficult, but I highly recommend deleting all texts. Energetically, it cuts cords and makes it much easier to move on.
2. Stalk the person’s social media pages. Ask yourself why you’re doing this. Because let’s be honest—do we think they’ll be taking selfies of themselves moping around because we broke up and then posting them on Instagram?
Are we hoping to see a few status updates that say something along the lines of, “Just sitting here drowning my sorrows in a bottle of tequila because I miss my ex and I’ve lost my desire to live.”
No. You will never, and I repeat never, see anything on social media that will make you feel better. In fact, I can guarantee that you will feel 1,000 times worse, even if you just sneak a peek. In fact, it’s likely you’ll staring at pictures of your ex looking like they just hit the lottery. Their feed might be littered with images of them out partying with friends or carousing around town with people you used to hang out with yourself.
Or, worst case scenario, you’re going to stumble upon some recent selfies taken with some new hottie that you will automatically assume they are now dating. And before you know it, you’re on said new hottie’s Instagram feed, Facebook page and Snapchat stalking them—even though they were a perfect stranger just 24 hours ago. And you know where you’re going from here…downhill fast. Just don’t do it.
3. Numb your emotions. Yes…for a while, I give you full permission to down an entire bottle of wine, scarf down pints of Ben & Jerry’s in one sitting or zone out entirely by throwing yourself into work or binge watching Netflix so you don’t have to deal with any of it.
But the numbing only lasts for so long. Eventually your body will start to get exhausted from repressing everything and all of that sadness, anger, grief and despair will need to come up.
So let it. Allow yourself to grieve. Feel the anger. Cry your eyes out. Vomit every curse word that wants to come out of your lips onto a blank page. Write an email to your ex and send it to a friend or delete it. Just get it out.
I know people who have been numbing their emotions for years and have never allowed themselves to grieve what was lost. Eventually, repressed emotions can manifest into depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue and other pain and illnesses in the body.
4. Make it about you. I know it feels like it’s about you. Maybe they cheated on you. Or they were the ones who ended things with you. Or they couldn’t go 24 hours without picking a fight with you which is why things ultimately ended. So it’s natural to want to make it all about you.
But not everything is about you. Most of the time, it’s about them. So don’t use this as an excuse to beat yourself up, pick yourself apart and take a big self-esteem nose-dive. You are enough, so just don’t go there.
5. Run into the arms of an ex. I know, it’s comfortable there. And when your self-esteem is in the crapper and you no longer have anybody to snuggle in bed with, it’s a logical chess move to soften the blow.
But it’s just a band-aid to cover up the wound that’s going to eventually need your attention. Better to not complicate your life any further by pulling in a third party with whom it also didn’t work.
6. Jump into a new relationship. I see people do this all the time. They haven’t been out of the last relationship more than five minutes and they’re knee deep into the next one.
This doesn’t mean don’t go out socially and date people if it makes you feel better and you’re genuinely having fun. It just means take your time before rushing into another real relationship. Your heart needs some time to heal and process what went wrong in your last relationship and you want to allow yourself the time and space to grieve what was lost, even if it was your decision to end it. There’s always some self-reflection and work that needs to be done within us when we’ve ended a relationship.
7. Give up hope. It’s really tempting to dive head first into the story of, “Nothing ever works out for me” or “Why can’t I find a decent one?” Then the pity party ensues.
Give yourself permission to throw a pity party for a night or so if you need it. Then clean up the mess as best you can and move on. Call some friends to help. Pity party cleanup always goes so much faster with some close friends pitching in to clear away the garbage…especially the crap that wasn’t yours to begin with!
So don’t give up hope. There’s another one right behind this one because you’ve created space for something better. That’s what I always tell myself: “Well, if not this, then something better.”
Then wait patiently and in time, it will find you.
Author: Dina Strada
Image: via Imgur
Editor: Catherine Monkman
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