Coping with the End of a Relationship
So your partner left. You’re alone and have to cope on your own with the loss of the relationship.
Not only is your partner physically gone, but you are now left with hurt, anger, grief, frustration, and several other feelings.
How do you cope? How do you move forward? How do you resume a normal life and feel happy again?
Most people have heard the old adage “time heals all wounds.” This is true for the ending of relationships as well. In the moment it may feel like you will never heal, but it gets easier with time.
There also are things you can do to get back on your feet and get back to a healthier and happier you. Here’s a few ideas to begin the healing process.
- Give yourself time to grieve.
Losing a relationship often involves a grieving process. If you are familiar with the Kubler-Ross model for stages of grief, you understand that the process involves denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These are all appropriate emotions, whether you experience all or just a few.
- Allow yourself to fully experience pain.
As you encounter the wave of emotions that follow the separation, allow yourself to feel these emotions and fully experience the pain. It is often our first instinct to avoid pain. Sometimes we try to do this by finding distractions — fully immersing ourselves in children, work, hobbies, or other activities. Sometimes we try to do this by immediately entering another relationship to fill the void. The best way to deal with our emotions is by fully facing them. If you do not feel like you can do this on your own, seek the help of supportive people.
- Surround yourself with positive people.
There is nothing worse than sitting with a group of friends that will not only allow you to have a “pity party,” but will fully engage, encourage, and even bring the appetizers and drinks. The last thing you need after going through a breakup is to continue to relive it. Spend your time with people who make you happy and people who can make you smile. Be around people who will give you encouragement and offer the support that you need.
- Find the lesson and be grateful.
Take the time to reflect on what was learned in this relationship. Whether positive or negative, we can learn something in all situations. Focus on what was learned that you may not have otherwise had the opportunity to learn or experience. Be grateful for the lessons learned, whether hard or easy. It’s easy to be grateful for the positive lessons, and it’s not so hard to be grateful for the negative ones. In our negative experiences we learn the things we no longer wish to experience and we learn to be more aware and a little more careful.
- What are the benefits?
This may sound a little crazy, but it’s not. Focus on the benefits and how this situation can help you. Whether it’s the benefits of finding the lesson or realizing that you may have more time to focus on you, the things you enjoy, or gaining independence, there is always something gained. Seek out the benefits.
Again, time heals all wounds. After the initial emotions set in and you begin to deal with them, they become easier to manage. It is important that after your partner leaves, you set appropriate boundaries. If it has been determined that the relationship is over, there is no need to try to continue with one foot in and one foot out. Take the time you need to be alone, to gain clarity, perspective, and an overall sense of well-being. There may be a chance that you can be friends in the future, but if your partner leaves you, then you have the power to decide if and when he or she fits into your life again. Give yourself the necessary time to heal.
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White, D. (2013). Coping with the End of a Relationship. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 31, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/06/10/coping-with-the-end-of-a-relationship/