Relationship breakups happen for many reasons. Often a breakup or a divorce is not someone’s ‘fault’, it’s simply the outcome of one or many incompatibilities. No matter what you’ve tried, it’s just not working out. And that’s okay.
“The things in life that cause us greatest anguish and pain are generally the very things that also cause us to know ourselves deeply.” Petrea King says.
Yet a relationship breakup can be a major challenging life event, and the depth of its emotional impact can depend on many factors: the duration of the relationship, your current life stage and age, if children are involved, or if there is a history of substance, emotional or physical abuse.
You might feel relieved and finally free, or you might feel incredibly sad, bereft and despondent. The range of emotions can come in waves. Some days you’re feeling much better, and some days you find yourself in tears.
Whether it is amicable or hostile, a relationship breakup or divorce is a loss that can be overwhelming. You might find it hard to imagine a future, but it’s important to remember that you will one day feel better.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, Petrea King’s ‘Coming to Your Senses’ meditation can be very helpful. It’s a simple pathway to calm to take wherever you are, whatever you’re doing.
Remember, it can take a long time to heal from a breakup or divorce. Social expectations and conditioning can often mean that men and women deal with relationship breakups differently. Here’s some ideas for men and women about how to deal with a relationship breakup or divorce.
A relationship breakup is tough, no matter how it happened.
1.FEEL THE FEELINGS
Men often get told to ‘toughen up’ or ‘man up’ when emotions are involved. But sometimes you just want to let it all out, and that’s okay. Allow your emotions to take centre stage, whether it’s sadness, anger, disbelief, shock or grief. Just do it safely, so you don’t harm others, or yourself.
2. GET ACTIVE
Go for a run or to the gym, or play sport with some mates. Exercise has many benefits: it helps the body release feel-good hormones called endorphins and helps you feel stronger and more capable. Sweating it out can be a great booster for your sense of confidence.
3. SPEND TIME WITH YOUR MATES
Get together with friends who you trust and whose company you enjoy. Do something together and get talking. It really helps to get some of those thoughts and emotions off your chest.
4. GO EASY ON THE ALCOHOL OR DRUGS
Sometimes it’s easier to bury emotions in alcohol or drugs. But depressants or stimulants deplete your body and don’t make the problem go away. Try the ‘Coming to Your Senses’ meditation instead.
5. GIVE YOURSELF TIME
Don’t pressure yourself to be ‘over it’. Working through a relationship breakup is a process. There’s no quick-fix solution, but you will feel better in time. And be careful: don’t jump into another serious relationship until you feel like the time is right.
They say that breaking up is hard to do. It is, but it’s not impossible to heal.
1. EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS
Relationship breakups bring up a range of mixed emotions. You might feel isolated, sad, angry, confused or relieved. It helps to find a positive way to express these feelings: write about them in a journal, get creative by drawing, sewing, painting, or crafting.
2. REACH OUT TO OTHERS
Get together with a close and trusted friend, and share your thoughts and feelings with them. Talking others can help you process your emotions, gain some clarity, and help you feel supported and connected. If you’re getting depressed, seek professional help from your GP or counsellor, or join a local support group.
3. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Make sure you’re nurturing and nourishing your body. Eat healthy foods that will boost your mood and energy. Take some time out to exercise and move your body. Take up yoga and meditation (such as the ‘Coming to Your Senses’ meditation), or get a massage to help reduce your stress levels.
4. DO THINGS YOU ENJOY
Immerse yourself in all of those things you love: going to the movies, spending time with friends who make you laugh, going for a coffee at your favourite café or spending time outside in nature. Recognise there’s pleasure to be gained from simple and enjoyable everyday experiences.
5. GIVE YOURSELF TIME
There’s no right timeframe for feeling better after a relationship breakup. It’s a process that needs to unfold in its own way. Just know that the intensity of emotions will subdue as time goes on, and be gentle on yourself along the way.
SOMETIMES BREAKUPS CAN LEAD TO HEALTH ISSUES, SUCH AS ANXIETY OR DEPRESSION
If you’re finding it difficult to cope after a breakup or divorce and talking with friends or family isn’t helping, then it’s important to seek help from a qualified professional, such as your GP or a counsellor.
Quest for Life can help you work through a relationship breakup through our program, Healing Your Life.