It is never easy when a marriage or significant relationship ends. A breakup launches us into uncharted territory. Everything is disrupted: your routine and responsibilities, your home, your relationships with extended family and friends, and even your identity. Grief is a natural reaction to loss, and the breakup of a romantic relationship involves multiple losses:
• Loss of companionship and shared experiences
• Loss of support (financial, social, emotional etc)
• Loss of hopes, plans, and dreams
Allowing yourself to feel the pain of these losses may be scary. You may fear that your emotions will be too intense to bear, or that you’ll be stuck in a dark place forever. Just remember that grieving is essential to the healing process. And no matter how strong your grief, it won’t last forever.
So what can you do:
• Don’t fight your feelings: It is normal to feel many conflicting emotions, including anger, resentment, sadness, relief, fear, and confusion. It is important to identify and acknowledge these feelings.
• Talk about how you are feeling: Even if it is normally difficult for you to talk about your feelings, it is very important to find a way to do so when you are grieving. Journaling can also be a helpful outlet for your feelings.
• Seek help if you need: Seeing a counsellor or joining a support group can help you come in touch with your feelings and express them. Seek least one place where you feel comfortable opening up.
• Give yourself a break: Give yourself permission to feel and to function at a lesser than usual level for some time.
• Make time each day to nurture yourself: Do something everyday that you find calming and soothing - a walk, music, enjoy a hot bath, get a massage, read..
• Stick to a routine: A relationship breakup disrupts your life, amplifying feelings of stress, uncertainty, and chaos. Some regular routine can provide a comforting sense of structure and normalcy.
• Take time out: Try not to make any major decisions (change of job, home etc) in the first few months after a separation. Wait until you’re feeling less emotional.
• Explore new interests: A breakup is a beginning as well as an end. Take the time to explore new interests/ activities.
• Remind yourself that you have a future: It is hard to let go of the dreams you had. As you grieve the loss of the future you once envisioned, be encouraged by the idea that new hopes and dreams will eventually replace your old ones
(previously published in the Frazer Times)
Ajanta, Mahesh and other InnerSight counsellors and guest contributors are happy to share their thoughts here.