It may have been you that’s been dumped or you that instigated the break up, either way it is one of the most painful things we go through, that of losing a loved one and experiencing the heartbreak that goes with it.
After being in a relationship for so long it is hard to imagine your ex not being around, you know each other inside out, you spend so much of your time together and share each other’s dreams, you plan and look forward to a future together and know how that it’s all going to work out. Then suddenly that has all gone, the shock and heartache can be devastating and it can affect you immensely not just emotionally but physically too. Dealing with heartbreak is one of the hardest things we have to go through.
But you were ok before you met that person so why is it so hard to function without them now?
You are experiencing grief physically and emotionally, this may sound weird as grief is normally associated with death, but after a break up you also experience loss. Not just the heartache of not being with your ex anymore, but also losing the dreams of everything that you planned together and that you associated with that person, you suddenly lose your direction, and the change and heartbreak can be so completely overwhelming.
Grief normally comes in a number of stages and you may experience all or some of the following in varying degrees.
Stages of grief after a break-up
Shock and Denial – For the first few days while you come to turns with your heartbreak you may well be in shock or denial that the relationship is over, you may not have expected it to end. You may be clinging on to the hope that the relationship can be saved or expecting your ex to call as they normally would. This reaction is perfectly normal and is to help us cope with the overwhelming shock of change. Shock can last for weeks, but it does become easier.
Realisation and Pain – There will come a day when it finally hits your ex is not going to call. You may experience unbearable emotional pain or anxiety, it’s easy to understand why it is called heartbreak, however it is important that you experience the pain fully and try not to bottle it up as this may lead to later difficulties, talk to your friends and family they really can help.
Do not turn to drugs or alcohol as they are both a depressant and may help short term but long term will have a very negative effect. This pain will pass; it will get better, honest!
Anger, Blame & Frustration – After the realisation hits you that your relationship is finally over, you might be angry and want someone to blame for the break up, this may be your partner or somebody else. You may beleive you have been unfairly treated or believe you could have done something differently.
Often we keep repeating scenarios in our head and try to figure out how we could have changed the outcome of the break up. This can be exhausting as we try to figure out what the other person is thinking and what could have been said or done differently. This is natural and in time will pass, again its part of our coping mechanism, however infuriating this cycle can be it is very normal to analyse.
This is the time to let your anger and frustration out, cry, scream, hit the sofa, punch pillows, smash a cup/plate (not the expensive ones). Do not resort to physical violence or plot revenge on your ex; it’s just not worth it you will only regret this later.
Depression, loneliness and a sense of hopelessness – For a while you may feel alone with a sense of hopelessness, no reason to carry on and maybe numb to the world. This is one of the hardest times to cope with as you probably may become lethargic as well, this will make it difficult to see hope and recovery.
This will get better and easier but the main thing to do is to talk it through with someone, and remember to eat, see tips on how to cope with this stage on the how to get over a break up page.
Avoid alcohol and drugs – These both cause depression and will probably enhance your negative emotions.
This can be the hardest stage to deal with and everyone will struggle with their heartbreak and break up at this stage, however if it seems as though you can no longer cope, please see your doctor or a counsellor as they really can help.
Other organisations that may be able to help you:-
Hope and recovery after your break up - Eventually your heartache will lift adn you will become yourself once again. Depression, loneliness and hopelessness will slowly fade away and you will start to move on without that person. You may still experience any one of the previous stages and may still get bad days but they should become less and less frequent. You know everything is going to be ok and you want to live for yourself again.
Heartbreak is a lot for anyone to go through and after a relationship break up you may experience each one of these stages at different times and sometimes more than once. However there are a number of things you can do to help yourself get through each one of these stages, these are explained in how to get over a break up page.
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by Mike Sheppard