Getting Over Break Ups Can Be Difficult
Are you starting the New Year off with the break up blues? Well recently on the Dating and Relationship show I spoke with Natalia Juarez a breakup, divorce and relationship coach and Shirley Hung a Toronto Therapist about getting over break ups and how to heal, so you can start the year off saying ‘New Year, New Me!’
Though you may have gone through it before, getting over break ups is hard and painful. So I asked Natalia and Shirley “why are break ups so hard?” To this they simply answered, because loss is hard. Loss of anyone significant in your life is incredibly disorienting. Breaking up with your partner throws your life off balance since you have built an identity around another person, and when this is suddenly taken away, it affects your sense of self, your social circle’s and even your health. Many of us have been through a break up and spiraled downward into thinking ‘what will my future be like’ and ‘ I wonder if anyone will ever love me like that again’. Break ups cause a lot of anxiety related to self-esteem and creates uncertainty about your future. We go through a period after a break up where we mourn the loss of the dreams and plans we once had with an important person in our life, and now have to deal with the reality that they simply wont exist in any of those ideas anymore. Ordinary grief in losing someone close to you is challenging, but romantic grief can be even harder since you know your ex is still out there, but it’s like they’re dead to you now.
While getting over break ups many of us seek support to get through this tough time. But it is said that women tend to handle getting over break ups better than men. Is this true? In pop culture, women are often the ones shown to be crying non stop and reluctant to get out of bed, while men are back out on the town and celebrating singledom. However, recovering from a hard break up is more about emotional healing than anything else, and women are often the ones that seek and receive more of this support. Natalia and Shirley weighed in on whom they see more often in their practices while getting over break ups. As a Therapist, Shirley tends to help more women through this time because women habitually want to talk about what they are going through on an emotional level and receive help on how they can get their lives back on track. As a Break Up Coach, Natalia tends to see more men since she is not advertised as an emotionally centered service, and men often want help through this targeted issue, rather than someone to simply talk to. So overall, maybe women do handle a break up better since they seek more emotional support which is helpful at this time, rather than seeking a specific solution to their problem like men desire.
Getting Over Break Ups Doesn’t Depend on Gender
However, gender doesn’t matter when it comes to what is inevitably going to follow after losing someone. Every person will go through distinct stages while getting over break ups and Natalia and Shirley were able to tell us a little bit about each one. First, there is the stage of survival, which often centers around anger and shock. You are of course angry that the break up happened. Many of us will often feel negatively towards our ex-partners and start to view many memories in a bad light. But once the anger has subsided, shock sets in. You start to get scared that you may never meet anyone again and bombard your mind with paralyzing ‘what if’ thoughts. But it is human nature to be scared while getting over break ups, since we often get overwhelmed in the feeling ‘if things are bad now, they will be bad forever’. But that can be overcome with the second stage of getting over break ups: nourishment. After the initial emotionally straining survival stage, you eventually start to settle down and focus on working in the good and out the bad. This goes for thoughts, habits, and people. Instead of hating your ex and being scared of finding someone else, you will start to see this new challenge positively. Instead of crying in your sweats all day, you will start to get back to hobbies you enjoyed independently and feel liberated that you can make it on our own. And instead of shutting your friends out and having a pity party, you will start to slowly integrate yourself back into social gatherings and are open to meeting new potential partners. You will transition your life into practices and feelings that nourish your broken heart. Finally, since you have moved forward in your life without your ex, you can now enter the integration phase. This phase allows you to be happy the relationship ended. This seems impossible to believe, but once you reach this phase you start to realize all of the reasons it maybe wasn’t the right relationship or right person for you. Since part of this phase comes with a certain self-understanding outside of the couple identity, you are able to understand what might be better for you in the future and be happy you didn’t stay stuck in something that wasn’t good for you.
Other than going through and mastering each of these phases emotionally, Natalia and Shirley shared some of the best actions you can take for physically getting over break ups. Most of these practices follow the same sequence of survival, nourishment and integration. First you want to start with removing all reminders of your ex from your immediate and personal spaces. Put all of the jewelry and knick-knacks they got for you in a box. You don’t have to throw it away, but you do have to remove it from your sight to start the healing process. As much as you need to give yourself time to mourn and cry and feel weak, this will not help you in healing. One of the most important things to do while your emotional body is healing is to maintain and care for our physical body. Get lots of rest, eat the right foods, and exercise a bit more and more every week. These things seem impossible to do when you are down in the dumps, but proper rest will help you think clearer day after day, eating healthy will make your body and brain feel happier and more alert, and exercise releases feel good hormones that can be so crucial at this time. These simple practices are an essential part of nourishment and working in the good, and out the bad. You also want to utilize your social circles at this time. Vent to someone you can trust about your feelings and spend time with small groups at first. One of the most helpful things you can do when feeling lonely, is surrounding yourself with people. Don’t continue to deny group invites and a social outing, being around good people is exactly what you need at this time to integrate a healthy you back into the world.
Getting over break ups is hard, period. But thanks to Shirley and Natalia, we learned more about how to go through these foreseeable times in our lives. As a final piece of advice, they reassured us that it does get easier each time you go through a break up. That is why it is so important to understand these phases and follow healthy practices so you can learn how to bounce back quicker each time. To listen to the full show and hear more tips on the biggest mistakes after a break up and getting back out there in the dating world check out the Dating and Relationship Show.