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How to Move on from a Break Up
· Get angry every time you think of your ex?
· Still feel the urge to call him/her?
· Second guess the decision to end the relationship?
DO NOT PANIC!
A Break Up is Like A Death
This subtitle may sound harsh or exaggerated but it is not. When someone passes away, you lose the relationship. A break up can be even more painful in the sense that the person you lose is still living. I recently experienced both a death and a break up. I found that processing these two major life events were quite similar. Both sent me through a series of well-known stages and both took deliberate effort to cope.
5 STAGES OF GRIEF
Grief is known to have five stages. This theory, developed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969, outlines common reactions to lose. I found that knowing these stages helped me to identify my own feelings.
Quotes about Break Ups
- Quotes about Break Ups: 5 Stages to Acceptance
Quotes to accompany each stage of the grieving process as you heal from a break up.
- Denial: “A refusal to admit the truth or reality.”
- Anger: “A strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism.”
- Depression: “A state of feeling sad.”
- Bargaining: “To negotiate over the terms of a purchase, agreement, or contract.”
- Acceptance:“To recognize as true.”
(Retrieved 1/18/12, www.merriam-webster.com)
Wings of Forgiveness
Common Hindrances to Healing
The stages of grief are meant to be a benchmark. In my experience, I have come and gone through several phases before finally reaching acceptance. Sometimes, however, I get stuck. I find myself in one stage, such as anger, and I just can’t seem to move on. In these times, I have come to find that I am blocked by one or more of the following:
1. Not forgiving my ex:
Forgiveness is hard. There are times when we feel so angry, that it feels impossible. It is not. Many times this anger is a result of having not expressed our feelings to our former mates. Other times, it is actually related to a lack of self-forgiveness.
2. Not forgiving myself:
I struggled with forgiving myself because I had allowed an overwhelming amount of unacceptable behavior before pulling the plug. As I have talked with others, it has been revealed to me that others have walked that road. Regret is a heavy emotion and when left unnoticed or unresolved, it can leave one stuck in an uncomfortable emotional space.
3. Feeling hopeless (loss of faith):
It is common for people to lose touch with their faith when hurt. Often our hope is connected to things feeling “good” and things getting “better.” Pain feels like the complete opposite. Also, people tend to connect relationships to their faith by praying, hoping or “calling” a partner into their lives. What a shaking disappointment when this turns sour!
How to work through your blocks
There are many paths to freedom. Healing is not a systematic, one size fits all program but a process. Be gentle with yourself as you heal. Expect setbacks and forgive yourself accordingly. You might find that one of these tools speaks to you. Try it! It just might be your final step towards peace.
1. Allow yourself to feel:
Grieving a relationship is quite emotional. Instead of fighting the feelings that come, allow them to simply BE. Feel them. For some, self-criticism may hinder feeling. Relax and allow your feelings to wash over you. It is not only normal but it is natural.
Writing is a great way to express what you’re feeling. It is also a way to sort through issues and bring clarity. Three writing activities I have found healing are:
- Write a letter to your ex: Say everything you wish you could. Often times things are left unsaid in a break up. Especially allow yourself to say the things things you might never actually consider saying. If angry, throw in every explicative for good measure. If sad, cry, wet the page until it tears. Finally, tear, burn or cut the pages to help you symbolize letting it go.
- Lessons learned: Spend some time reflected about what you learned in the course of the relationship. Ironically, this is where I got angry. Real angry. I saw exactly why the relationship didn't work and I saw how much my own denial kept me stuck. "Lessons are blessings." They help us to not have to repeat negative behavior. I found the anger helped end my denial stage and solidify what I needed to change in myself. I also recieved clarity on what I am now unwilling to accept in a partner.
- Gratitude list: Nothing soothes pain more than looking at the positive. In a gratitude list, simply write a numbered list of what you have to be grateful for. On a tough day, it might come down to simple things like “clean water, life, a broom to clean with.” The fact is, no matter how we feel, we are all quite privileged. Thinking about the greatness of what we have, no matter how seemly small, can help reestablish hope and even faith.
3. Find your bliss:
After my break up, I reconnected with things I loved to do such as going to art exhibits, cooking and writing. I actually started hubpages purely off my willingness to do what fulfilled me. Often, we lose touch with our passions especially when relationships are consuming. This is the time to set aside you fears and follow your dreams! It will boast your self-esteem while filling your time with meaningful activities.
4. Nurture the relationships you do have:
Breaking up is a time where support from others is vital. Isolation may try to creep in, especially during times of depression. Engaging in loving, healthy relationships will get you up and out and most importantly, out of your head! The fact is, you do have people who love and care about you. Start saying yes to invitations and take the time to consciously reach out to loved ones.
How often do you talk to your closest friends and family?
Talking is another way to sort through your thoughts, connect to others and help release emotions. Find a close friend or family member with whom you feel comfortable venting. Pick up the phone, turn on the Skype, or get ready for a face to face!
Talking is also effective because it helps to validate what you are feeling. Others have felt what you have felt and are willing to listen and even offer some tips on“how they got over it.” As my mother would say, “a close mouth won’t get fed.” Open up so you may also receive.
My 3 Favorite Break Up Songs
- Florence and the Machines: The Dog Days are Over
- India Arie: Wings of Forgiveness
- La Roux: Bulletproof
My 3 Favorite Break Up Movies
- The Break-Up: Realistic yet funny tale of love gone bad and a condo that suffers through it all!
- Love Jones: Sensual love story that shows a couples struggle to hold on in the mist of stress and individual change.
- Boomerang: Hilarious comedy about karma's effect on a once self proclaimed "play boy."
6. Date yourself:
This may sound a little silly but trust me, it works. Find somewhere you really like going. It might be a new place or an old favorite. It could be dinner or an event. It could even be something out in nature. Whatever it is, dress up and go. Take your time and add details like make-up or cologne. The act of dressing up will make you feel good. I also found something very rewarding in stepping out solo. It was as if I found out “I really can do this. I can be single and it feels nice.”
A major benefit of dating yourself is that you begin to find and nurture who you are without thoughts of another person. My personal favorite is a quiet café date with a book or a journal. In a relationship, I had very little time to do this. Now I know that carving alone time for reading is something I would like to hold on to in or out of a relationship.
7. Find movies and music that express your thoughts and feelings:
In those quiet times alone, watching movies and listening to music can help you validate and express your feelings. This is a wonderful way to promote self-healing. You are likely to find yourself laughing, crying and even dancing as you watch and listen to others going through exactly what you are feeling. Identification is an amazing gift us humans have! It helps us realize we are not unique and therefore, not alone.
Could your heartbreak be more serious?
- Love Addiction Treatment
Do you know someone that seems to be “in love with the idea of being in love?” They constantly chase the “true love” fantasy over and over again with less than wonderful results.
Treat Yourself Better
8. Hold on to or find faith:
Faith brings about feelings of well-being and purpose. Times of distress often can shake-up our beiefs but they can also be a time to seek deeper understanding. Pain. Is it necessary? Why? Questions like this are a great starting place to help mend your broken faith or plant a seed of interest. Seeking a spiritual path, whatever that may mean to you, might be the missing piece in your life.
Admittedly, my faith was shaken by this last break-up. I used mediation and prayer as a means of guidance before and during the relationship. As it came to an end there was an empty scary feeling that “it didn’t work.” Seeking my faith through spiritual literature, prayer and meditation has allowed me to see that it was my fantasies that failed me and not at all God. This is my experience and through exploring your own beliefs, you may also tap into strength and clarity.
9. Seek professional help when needed:
Seeking professional help can be very helpful. Are there patterns emerging in your relationships? Were there serious issue such as addiction, abuse or abandonment that surfaced? Getting the aid of a professional can help you not only sort out and heal, but possibly help ensure that some of the more painful parts of your former relationship, may not ever have to be relived. The decision to seek help is a very person one and I recommend talking to close friends about it. Many may have personal experiences to share. Who knows, you might even end up with a referral.
10. Treat yourself right:
I decided to wrap up this discussion about healing with the most basic and rewarding ways to promote healing: take care of you. Start to focus on basics such as eating right, exercising, getting plenty of rest and neat grooming. Lavishing yourself with attention and healthy habits is a way of life that can help you become happier at any time. Starting good habits can lead you on a healthier path. A healthy body is the start to a healthier mind.
Enjoy the Journey!
Grief and your eventual healing are all a part of your journey. Make the best of it and try to smell the flowers along the way!
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