The ending of a relationship is heart-breaking – whether you’re doing the leaving, being left, or whether it’s a mutual and negotiated ‘conscious uncoupling’. There is no escaping the feelings of loss and loneliness that come with suddenly being on your own – no matter the context or circumstances that brought the ending about.
Feelings after a relationship break-up may be multiple, persistent and random – including anger, sadness, and regret. If hope for a reconciliation is completely taken out of the equation, then you may experience those feelings way more intensely – no matter how long the relationship lasted.
Core to the process of healing from this relationship ending is adapting to the other person not being around. While in principle you may be reconciled to not being with the person any more, in tiny, minuscule moments you’ll find yourself missing them. You may have the urge to share some news with them – or just to recount a few details of your day. Not having that special person around – to care for you, love you, be with you – can create an emptiness that at times may feel unbearable. Just as at the start of the relationship you thought about them all the time – so at the end of a relationship you may find your thoughts constantly filled with them.
To help you cope with the ending, you may want to consider the following…
Think of your relationship break-up as a kind of bereavement and frame your subsequent feelings as a response to that bereavement. Expect the grief process to kick in, and allow yourself time to grieve.
Allow your feelings to be. There may be anger, sadness, regret, resentment, exhilaration. Accept each feeling as it comes along and know that this, too, will pass.
Don’t make any rash decisions that fundamentally alter your life. A new haircut: fine. Suddenly quitting your job: think about it a bit more before acting on impulse.
Don’t indulge the ‘what ifs’. Your mind may start raking over the past and creating scenarios in your head where things could have/should have worked out if only… This can start a cycle of blaming and wishful thinking that can feel like torment at times.
Don’t leapfrog the healing process. Jumping straight into a new relationship may mean you carry over the old problems into a new context. It can be worthwhile taking time out to explore the relationship patterns that you keep repeating to identify how you can make changes within.
Find yourself again. You may have put certain activities or friends on the back burner to focus on your relationship. Pick up with them again – or try out something new – with a focus on self-care.
Get physical. Many newly single people report it’s the physical contact they miss most from being in a relationship. This doesn’t mean you should attach yourself to your next date, but you can find ways to get physical in other ways – whether that’s through exercise, dancing, massage etc.
Face the loneliness and survive. It can be so tempting to avoid feelings of loneliness, and to fill your live with activities to help take you away from the pain of it. But sitting with your loneliness – taking some quiet moments out – will make that loneliness feel way less scary.
If you’d like to process your feelings about the break-up with an experienced therapist – and perhaps explore your relationship patterns – then get in touch. We have sessions available seven days a week at our Clapham and Tooting centres. Contact our team by calling 020 8673 4545 or emailing [email protected]