Romantic heartbreak is so common, it’s almost a human rite of passage. Most of us have had at least one failed love relationship, and some of us many. That special someone—the person with whom you shared your secret self, your problems and successes, your dreams, your feelings, your body, maybe even your living space—is gone. Used to the joy of togetherness and intimacy, it’s hard to believe what has happened.
The Pain of a Breakup.
In our grief, we cry and ponder what could have been. If only they…hadn’t cheated on us with someone else…hadn’t been afraid of commitment…had treated us better…hadn’t dredged up the past again…hadn’t been addicted to drugs…fill in the blank. Tight throats and stinging eyes finally burst tears as we feel immersed in acute pain that seems to come from somewhere between our brain and heart. Something precious has been lost to us, something we wanted and believed in and were grateful for. How can we possibly go on?
Surviving the Hurt.
- Reach Out. As painful as a breakup can be, we can survive it and heal. It’s vital to lean on safe, healthy, close friends and family at times like this, so don’t hesitate to reach out. Although you may want to process your feelings in private, balance this by spending time with people who can offer you support, a listening ear, and plenty of hugs.
- Make Self-care a Priority. Be especially kind and patient with yourself during a healing period. Make it an opportunity to practice your very best self-care, and then some. Treat your body lovingly with healthy food, exercise and rest. Get a manicure, pedicure, massage, facial or new hairstyle—whatever makes you feel pampered and well-cared-for. Make a point of continuing to nurture yourself, even if you feel depressed and unmotivated. Eventually, all the love you give to yourself helps you to realize the truth: You are a complete, special person regardless of who is or is not in your life.
- Cry. As much as possible let yourself cry and fully feel your feelings. Processing grief means grieving for a period of time. Journaling, reading and meditating can help you identify and connect with what’s going on inside you. Pushing down normal, appropriate emotions such as grief, sadness, anger and disappointment doesn’t make them go away. Instead, they can express themselves in self-destructive ways like smoking, eating or drinking too much. Negative coping habits like these only add to your misery and can trigger self-loathing.
Love that Never Ends.
Try to turn your disappointment around by considering what a privilege it was to even have such intense feelings toward someone else. Choose to be grateful for the experience of love, no matter how things turned out in the end. Forgive and let it go, choosing to remember the positive.
Romantic love and intimacy are special gifts. Graced with those warm, wonderful feelings—part of the delight of being in an intimate relationship—we need to remember that these sensations originated within us. They were and are part of us, whether or not the object of our affections was able to return them.
Growth is Guaranteed.
If your romantic partner lets you down in a way you cannot accept, try to forgive and see this as an opportunity for something or someone better or new for you. The door is open now, and you know you’re capable of caring, loving and experiencing happiness again. Nurture yourself and these realities, and simply be receptive to life.
Loving helps you to grow, but losing love can help you grow even more. If you can understand this on a deeper level, grieve, and forgive, you can choose to walk forward with courage, faith, confidence, compassion and forgiveness. You will love again.