Breakups are hard. Some are harder than others. I know I sound like Captain Obvious here when I say there’s a great deal of emotional pain associated with the end of a relationship.
While you might both agree that it’s the right decision for you both to end the relationship, that doesn’t make it less painful. Whether we’re talking about a marriage or long-term relationship, it can actually feel like death.
You may be in mourning, with everything that implies. Multiply that by how many kids you have together, how close you were/are with your ex’s family and how much you once loved each other. It gets even more painful if there’s a betrayal or infidelity involved. Emotional pain can be excruciating, immobilizing, isolating and feel endless and unbearable.
Healing from emotional pain is different for each individual
There have been volumes written about the subject and your friends will all have advice for you about how to recover from this terrible break up. The truth is, that your journey may not resemble anyone else’s that you know, and you have to heal in your own way and in your own time.
You may wonder if you’ll be able to bear all this pain you feel. Just when you think you may be feeling a bit better, something comes up for you to break your heart afresh. Then you know the healing process still has a long way to go.
Feel the pain
The mind has a way of protecting us from ourselves. If you allow yourself to feel everything, the pain, the sharp feelings of loss and sadness, you are more capable of moving forward than if you try to push your feelings down, numb with other distractions, drugs or alcohol.
The more you avoid the emotional pain and try to separate yourself from the pain, the more danger there is of that coming back to haunt you later on. If you acknowledge the bad feelings, allow yourself to feel them and give yourself permission to be hurt and sad, you can process those feelings and move on. Look for the lessons in the pain and try to learn from this experience. This helps you to see the break up as having a value for you. Instead of feeling like a failure, you can treat the experience like a lesson.
Seek help from a counselor
Talk to a counselor who can help you process the emotional pain surrounding the experience and help give you some perspective on why things went the way they did, and help you to know what to do with your pain and grief.
One of the most healing and loving things you can do for yourself is to explore what makes you happy. It’s not another person. Whatever it is, it’s within your power to realize. Once you begin that journey, you are on your way to healing that broken heart.
Don’t let the pain linger for too long
Be wary of wallowing in those negative emotions for too long because that can hold you back in life and keep you in a negative cycle. Give yourself time to grieve the loss and get through the emotional pain you’re feeling, then look at ways you can heal and move on with your life. Only you can decide what that timeframe looks like. Don’t listen to anyone who says you should be feeling a certain way by now, or why don’t you just stop talking about it? You will know when you’re ready to move on and what that means to you.
Tread cautiously in your new love life
It’s only when you’ve processed through all the grief and sadness you feel that you’re going to be truly ready to consider a new love relationship. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go out and meet people, make friends and be social. That’s part of healing as well. Just be careful about the idea that a new love will somehow heal your hurting heart. You should be able to stand on your own, feeling emotionally strong and healthy before looking to get involved in a new love relationship.
Why bring your unresolved emotional baggage into a new relationship? Give yourself a chance to heal. When you’re feeling emotionally strong and happy, then you will be a much better partner for someone to share life with.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
More by Stuart Fensterheim