So, you've broken up. The relationship is over. Now what? How does a person move on in a healthy way? Breakups are never easy, no matter what the situation, but there are ways to minimize your suffering.
-- Give yourself time to mourn.
No matter how committed you might be to moving on, you need to give yourself time to mourn the relationship. Whether you were the one to leave or your partner was, breakups are almost always painful. Adjustments have to be made and emotions processed, and this naturally takes time.
Sometimes people make the mistake of trying to bury their difficult feelings, but in doing this they are attempting to avoid the healing process altogether. Of course no one likes to feel sad. We naturally want to feel better as quickly as possible. However, the best way to feel better is to face your feelings head on.
Allow yourself to feel hurt, sad, angry, confused, and all the other emotions that so often go along with breakups. If you permit yourself to feel these things now, you're less likely to have those feelings resurface down the road when you're least expecting it.
-- Form a support network
You've gone from sharing a daily part of your life with another person to being single again. For many people, this is one of the hardest of transitions. Maybe you feel alone, but in all probability you're really not. Now is the time to reach out to your friends and loved ones for emotional support. Call them when you need someone to talk to. Invite them over when you need to laugh, cry, get your mind off these things, get out of the house, vent, and do whatever other activity you need to do.
-- Get out and about
As much as you might want to shut the world out at times, you need to get out of the house and be social as well. Get out with family, some of your friends and others from your trusted support network.
If you really don't have such a network, then now is the time to work on acquiring one.
Get involved in some new hobbies or activities and meet some new people. Instead of looking at the breakup as a complete loss, try looking at it from a different perspective. You have the opportunity now to dedicate time to other things, making new friends, acquiring new skills, developing newinterests and focusing on yourself.
-- Change things around
You're starting a new chapter in your life, and a good way to remind yourself of this is by rearranging your furniture. Change the position of a chair, your bed, a table. Move a picture or hang a brand new. Make these adjustments to your home and things will feel different in a fresher, newer way.
-- Give back
You may be going through a particularly hard time right now, but why not put things in perspective a bit, do some volunteer work, or get involved with a charity. It feels wonderful to do things for others, especially those who are really in need.
Think about what kind of activity you could get involved with. If you love animals, you could volunteer at an animal shelter. If you're a person of faith, you could get involved in charity work done by your place of worship. There are a lot of different options, but it's important to pick something that is meaningful to you. You will feel great after helping out, AND it will help to put your loss into perspective.
Above all, give yourself time to make the adjustments necessary, time to process your emotions, and time to heal. Be gentle with yourself and you'll find yourself moving forward into a better day.
Peter Field is a British psychotherapist and a Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Please visit his Hypnotherapy Birmingham site for more information. His international best selling book on hypnotherapy 'The Chi of Change' is now available from Amazon and other good book sellers.