Let's face it: breakups hurt, even when we knew that the relationship was doomed in the first place and it was time to move on months ago. Why? Well, for the most part it's painful because it represents a loss. And, I'm not just talking about the loss of a loved one, but of the dream that you thought you once shared. In the beginning, we can't help but plan the future, a shared future, and when these promises of a bright and beautiful tomorrow are shattered we can't help but feel disappointed. Often this sense of a letdown is followed by stress and grief.
Suddenly we are thrown into uncharted territory. Our internal guidance system is thrown for a loop, and we aren't quite sure which way to go next. In short, we feel lost. Not only is our sense of normalcy thrown a kilter (our work, our responsibilities, our relationships with other friends and family), but so is our sense of self. Who are we if we aren't with this certain someone we thought we would spend the rest of our lives with? What will life be like without them? Will we ever meet someone else? Is this it?
Even when we knew that the relationship was over, we felt more secure in staying than in leaving and facing these unknowns. It's not easy to move on, but remember that you will. All it takes is time and some helpful hints for moving beyond the love you were in to the love you will be in again.
- Feel your feelings. Rather than fight the conflicting emotions swirling around inside of you, embrace them. Allow yourself to be sad, angry, afraid, resentful, confused, bemused, and fearful. "Will I ever love again, or feel good about anything again?" are familiar fears following any loss. It's okay to feel numb, or in shock, or nothing at all. It's okay to feel anything. All of your feelings are part of the healing process; let yourself feel. While it's not easy to move through them, it's harder to suppress them. It will only make the grieving process harder, not to mention longer.
- Seek help. There's nothing weak about asking for guidance. By talking about your feelings, either with a confidant or a professional, you will find that you are going through what many others have been through as well. By expressing how you feel, you will be less likely to over analyze the situation and start playing the blame game. Negativity will only keep you stuck in anger and resentment, instead of helping you heal so that you can move forward. If you can't talk to someone, start keeping a journal and recording not just how you feel, but why you feel the way that you do.
- Stay as positive as you can. Believe it or not, you still have a future. Okay, so you may not have the future you once envisioned, but that doesn't mean that a better one is not on the way. Once you pass through the initial grief the sadness will begin to dissipate. You will survive. You will move on.