Wednesday, November 1,2006
Whoever wrote the lyrics to“Breaking up is hard to do” was right on the money. Unfortunately, theodds are not in your favor when it comes to experiencing a breakup. Infact, most of us will experience a heart-breaking breakup sometime inour lives. And although no one can fully prepare you for a breakup andthere are few words that will ease your pain, we still believe advicegoes a long way. So listen up – here is how you can be closer tohealing your broken heart. Plus: Are you over your ex yet?
Your Five Stages of Healing
The emotions we go through (also called the fivestages of grief) are just as relevant to a breakup as they are toexperiencing a death of a loved one. Both can be incredibly painfulexperiences. Here are the five stages of grief as they apply to abreakup:
- Denial: You deny the breakup has happened andisolate yourself from your loved ones. To help get through this stage,accept what has happened and don’t be afraid to ask for support fromthose who love you and are there for you.
- Anger: You become angry with your ex andmaybe even with yourself for the cause or circumstances of the breakup.To help deal with your anger, write a letter addressed to your ex,without the intention of giving it to him, and really get down anddirty with your feelings. After you’re done, put it aside and come backto it another day, reread it once, then toss it. If you prefer anothermethod, try keeping a journal of your feelings. Writing can beincredibly therapeutic.
- Bargaining: You bargain with your ex to takeyou back, telling him that you were wrong, what changes you’ll make,and so on. Or, you get others involved in trying to get him back. Thisstage often involves irrational actions such as calling him no matterhow trivial the reason.
- Depression: You mightstill have those feelings of anger, sadness and guilt, and they beginto manifest into depression. Suddenly you lose control of your emotionsand your life. If you find yourself stuck in this stage for too long,you should seek professional help.
- Acceptance: You come to terms with thebreakup, and you no longer feel anger or deep sadness. While thinkingabout your ex is still normal, you’re able to move on with your life tobe productive and emotionally healthy again.
Back Away From the Ex
While you’re inthe bargaining stage of grieving the demise of a relationship, you maytry to get in touch with your ex. There are two reasons why calling,emailing or visiting his house is a BAD idea. First, many womenconvince themselves that their ex is thinking about them just as muchas they’re thinking about their ex. But just in case he isn’t, youdon’t want to look desperate and out of control. Second, the morecontact you have with him, the less likely you’ll be able to move on.Every time you write to him, talk to him or visit his house, you’retaking a step backward instead of forward.
It’s difficult to fight the urge to get in touch with your ex, but you have to resist it.
This means no making up excuses to see him (I haveto get back my one sock back or you know he’ll be at that party onSaturday night). Late night calls are often the result of beingemotionally tired, so remember that tomorrow is a brand new day thatoffers new opportunities and hope. Call your friends to talk to instead.
Shake it Up Socially
When you have a boyfriend, a lot of yourindividuality as a person can get lost in what becomes your definitionas a couple. After a breakup, it may seem more difficult to regain yourindividuality, especially when everything seems to be connected to yourrelationship.
To regain that individuality, to get in touch withyour single, fabulous self, do something you’ve always wanted to do.Sign up for a new rock climbing class, join a book club or volunteer ata hospital. Volunteer work is a great way to turn your focus on othersinstead of yourself. Avoid the social scene that you and your exshared. Be open to meeting new people
,even the opposite sex. Sometimes it takes a new guy to get over yourex, and that’s OK. But only proceed to a new relationship if you’resure you’ve healed yourself from the old relationship – leave your emotional baggage
Digest and Learn
To be able to truly move on, you have to fullydigest what happened to turn the relationship sour. Identify thereasons that contributed to the breakup, what role you played in thosereasons and what you will do differently in the future for a successfulrelationship. Don’t beat yourself up. Relationships run their coursefor a reason, and they prepare you for the time when you actually dofind Mr. Right. You learn with every experience in life, and breakupsare no different.
Two quotes come to mind when healing a brokenheart: “Time heals all wounds” and “Where one door closes, another oneopens.” Cheesy – maybe. But true – absolutely. While you may not beable to see the light at the end of the dark tunnel now, we guaranteethat the day will come when you’ll know that your broken heart hasofficially healed.
Are You Over Your Ex?
It’s been months since you and your ex partedways, and you’ve been navigating the road to recovery ever since. Hasthat road been surprisingly smooth or unbearably bumpy? Find out ifyou’re really ready to move on to new adventures in love and life or ifyou’re still hung up on your ex. Take this over your ex quiz
n to new adventures in love and life or ifyou’re still hung up on your ex. Take this over your ex quiz.