Surviving through an ended relationship is not easy. It is even harder if you still love the person. Even though heartbreak may feel like the world is ending, the positive point is that the pain does not last till the end of time. This pain also will not keep you from experiencing love again.
Sometimes it happens due to the fault of a partner involved, sometimes it happens by mutual agreement of both partners. Ended relationships bring along with them, a lot of pain, heartbreak and grief. However, according to the Journal of positive psychology, a person starts to feel better after a period of 11 weeks from the time of the end of the relationship. On the contrary, another study has found that it takes around 18 months for a person to completely heal after a marriage ends.
In reality, surviving through an ended relationship is a grieving process. You mourn the loss of the person and the loss of something beautiful. How you mourn and grieve for ended relationships is up to you. This process is different for everyone. No two people deal with grief the same way
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Love is messy
Ended relationships come with their own feelings, memories and unique experiences. You just have to make it through them and reach the other side of the tunnel to start feeling better. This will definitely take time and patience on your part and understanding from people who support you. However, feeling better is possible and within reach.
Most of us are not well equipped to deal with ended relationships. This is primarily because we are never taught about the process of healthy coping after an ended relationship. In this blog post, I will be discussing 23 strategies to help you cope and deal with the ended relationships in the best way possible.
These strategies will not only reduce your pain related to the loss, they will also help you go through the grieving process quickly and move towards having a more satisfying relationship in the future.
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Do not fight your feelings
Ended relationships are often accompanied by a wide variety of negative and powerful feelings like anger, confusion, jealousy, fear, resentment, sadness, etc. The first attempt to deal with an ended relationship involves the person either ignoring or suppressing these feelings completely.
However, you need to understand that if you suppress these feelings, you will only be prolonging your grieving process. There is also a chance that in the absence of proper coping mechanisms, you may get stuck in your grief. Coping in a healthy manner means identifying your feelings and allowing yourself to go through the feelings that hurt. You cannot avoid the pain of the loss, but realising these feelings now, will help you speed up the grieving process. These feelings will also decrease as time passes.
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The five stages of grieving are:
The following are the conditions that may intensify your feelings of negativity like
- Not knowing that there was a breakup coming up
- Being the one who got dumped
- This was your first-ever serious relationship
- Your ex was also your best friend
- Repeatedly running into your ex
- The relationship made you feel complete
- You ex has already started dating someone
- Believing that the world is useless without your ex
23 strategies to cope with ended relationships
Discuss your feelings openly
Holding these negative feelings inside of you will not work. There may be times when discussing your feelings is not an option like when you are at work, in class or in public settings. But there will be other opportunities when you can have a discussion with your trustworthy people about what happened and how you feel. Others may also share their insight into the matter like how they went about the grieving process. It is important that you do not isolate yourself from the world and allow others to support you.
Journal your thoughts and feelings
Journaling is a great way to release all those thoughts which are bottling up inside. If you don’t like talking to others about your problem or if you don’t have people to talk to at that moment, journaling can help you. Sometimes certain thoughts or feelings are too private to even discuss with others. Keep a journal and write down your feelings whenever they become too much for you to handle. Alternatively, you can also start the practice of writing down about your day and your feelings on an everyday basis. Once your feelings are out on a piece of paper, you may see a point that you missed before, or some aspects of your relationship may shine in a new light.
Understand that ended relationships are a part of the dating process
The purpose of dating is to find a suitable partner. Thus, ended relationships as a part of dating. If you don’t find your best match, you need to pick yourself up and keep moving forward. This is the best way to not feel devastated when a relationship ends. Maybe there is something better in store for you. No match is 100% perfect. You need to decide how long you wish to look and what you can live with for the rest of your life. Thus, it is going to take a few trials and errors to find a person who is perfect for you.
Do not personalize the loss of a relationship
It is natural to feel that you might be the reason the relationship ended. However, blaming yourself for too long is not ideal. You may have committed mistakes and made regretful choices in the relationship. However, if you keep on blaming yourself, it will become an endless cycle that will devour you. We are all humans and humans are liable to commit mistakes.
Understand that the ending of the relationship was a result of incompatibility and conflicting needs. It was no one’s fault. Every person in a relationship wants to meet their own needs. Some people are able to fulfill the needs of their partners while others are not. Sometimes communication is great, sometimes not. Therefore there is no point in blaming yourself or blaming your ex either. It is likely that both of you did the best you could. But, things didn’t work out for you.
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Prioritize your self-care over everything else
When we are in grief over ended relationships, we are likely to forget that we need to care for ourselves as well. You may not want to eat or exercise or do your normal self care routine. However,
- eat even if you don’t want to
- sleep for an ample amount of time
- walk around the block
- spend some time in nature
- meet family and friends etc.
Keeping up with your routine will help you get over the loss in an easier manner. If you are finding it hard to sleep, you can opt for herbal alternatives or sleep medication but try to use these for a short period of time. Instead, engage in exercise, meeting friends and family, spending time with your animal companions, etc. Physical activities cause the release of endorphins which make you feel better.
Get into a routine
Ended relationships create a sense of rage and havoc in many aspects of your life. Suddenly it seems that your world has stopped spinning, you have nothing to live for, tomorrow makes no sense. However, the sooner you get back into your regular routine, the sooner you will start having a sense of normalcy. It is not necessary to get into your routine the next day after an ended relationship. Take your time, let yourself feel, but keep working towards bringing that routine back. You can start with something very simple like:
- maintaining your mealtime
- exercising a bit
- Spend some time doing schoolwork etc.
- Make yourself feel better
The whole point of this article is to make yourself feel better. Relationships end. It is a part and parcel of who we are. However, no relationship should force you into depression. The best way to deal with ended relationships is to make yourself feel better.
- indulge in sports
- visit a restaurant you like
- watch a movie with a friend,
- Go on a hike alone or with friends
- Start a new hobby
- Try something new
- Go for a yoga class
- Read your favorite book.
There is no hierarchy to what you should do to make yourself feel better. However, it is best to indulge in activities which you really enjoy. These activities will boost your self-esteem and increase your self-esteem. These two factors are very essential in order to get over ended relationships.
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Cut yourself some slack
You won’t be at your full capacity right after you go through an ended relationship. It is not expected of you to engage in your usual activities for a while. You can give yourself a break from your work or studies or you can indulge in less study. You may take a break from your part-time job or you may take a work vacation.
Some of these ideas may sound pretty drastic to you but it is necessary to take care of yourself in order to heal from the pain of the ended relationships. If you do not allow this time, the pain, memories, guilt, regrets will come back to haunt you later, and then the pain would be much harder to control.
Do not lose faith in relationships
It is natural to feel that a relationship will never work out, people are not trustworthy, they will hurt you. This is not true. This world is made up of both good and bad people. If you think that everyone is bad, you will never have a good relationship again, you will be holding yourself back from different kinds of opportunities that may come your way in the future. You cannot overgeneralize or assume that things will never work out. Keep working. Keep moving forward. The more you meet different kinds of people, the more you will come out of the stigma that everyone is bad. Who knows, you may find your match sooner than you think.
Get rid of the hope that there is still a chance of rekindling the ended relationship
Unless you have very strong evidence implicating a chance of reunification, it is better to not hope that the relationship will mend. In case you hold on to the hope that there is still a future in the ended relationship, you are not allowing yourself any closure.
To move forward, you must stop the following:
- Waiting for a phone call from your ex
- Do not text or email them
- Try to have little to no connection with your ex
- Do not make threats of suicide etc.
Such activities will only increase your emotional distress and make you look desperate. It will also have a huge negative impact on your self-esteem and self-confidence. Life is too short to sit and mope. So pick yourself up and move forward after a breakup.
Do not maintain a friendship with your ex or do not rely on him or her for support
It’s best if you do not rely on your ex for emotional support when you’re trying to move on after a breakup. If you keep seeing the person you were in a relationship with, it will bring back old memories and possible future outcomes. Thus, it is important that you maintain as little to no contact with your ex and provide yourself time to heal.
I am not saying that you should not have a friendship with your ex at all. However, this friendship should come into the picture after a period of a few months. You need to be emotionally strong and self-confident in order to be friends with your ex. It will take a few months for you to get to that stage. Thus, it is important that you maintain no contact with your ex during the period the grieving process.
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Do not use unhealthy coping strategies
There are many ways to cope with a breakup. Some people start to stress eat, indulge in alcohol or drugs, etc. These unhealthy coping strategies do not allow you to deal with your ended relationships. They just delay the inevitable. These options may seem very tempting at the time, but they will not allow you to heal. So, stay away from unhealthy coping strategies.
- Spend time in nature
- Spend time with your friends
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Indulge in self-care etc.
These are the activities which will get you back on your feet.
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List out annoying qualities of your ex
None of us are perfect. We all have qualities that we would like to work and improve upon. After a breakup, the most tempting idea is to call your ex and get back together. However, this is not an option. To prevent yourself from calling your ex, it is best to make a list of the undesirable qualities of your ex. If your ex initiated the ending of the relationship, it may hurt even more to remember him or her and this will magnify your suffering. Thus, make a list of incompatibility factors and look at them whenever you start to miss your ex.
Revenge is not worth it
This brings to mind a quote,
“if you decide to walk on the path of revenge, dig two graves”.
If it was your partner who ended the relationship and hurt you, revenge may seem very tempting. However, it won’t come without its own consequences. Even if you get revenge, it will not make you feel better. You may also harm your own future by doing something that you will regret later like keying your ex’s car, stalking, damaging property etc. In a fit of rage, these activities may seem justified but in reality, such activities would only make you feel more out of control and may even lead to criminal charges.
Do not start partying
The point is not to get away from the party circuit. However, right after an ended relationship, if you start to party, flirt, drink, these activities would only serve as distractions to the real problem. Grieving is important. If you do not take the time to grieve and allow yourself to heal, your next relationship will be bound to fail. Therefore, stay away from the constant partying and allow yourself time to heal.
Stay away from social media
Social media is a part and parcel of our regular life. However, once the relationship ends, you should take a couple of hours to remove the presence of your ex from your social media. This will involve changing passwords on any of your social media profiles that your ex may have known, close off any joint accounts, remove any stored phone numbers, remove your ex from the contact list of all your social media accounts. If your ex continues to be present as part of your social media friends list, you will be tempted to check his or her profile and the emotional turmoil will be much more than you can handle. It is best to go for a clean break as soon as possible.
Do not badmouth your ex
Everyone has faults. No one is perfect. If you want to badmouth your ex, don’t. This is not the correct thing to do when you are healing from ended relationships. You need to rise above. Do not drag yourself down into the mud. This would happen if you badmouth your ex. You can talk to your friends and family about what went wrong in the relationship. But do not talk to your casual friends, colleagues, or people who you are not very close to about the faults of your ex.
Do not stay home
It may seem tempting to just lay around in bed and not do anything. But, it is important that you get out of your home and get some fresh air. You do not have to stay outside for hours. But a change of scenery can definitely work wonders on your mood and help you feel better.
Don’t give yourself a specific time limit to get over ended relationships
Recovering from an ended relationship will take time and it is okay. Do not give yourself a timeframe to start feeling better. Recovery has many stages and it is important that you pass through each and every stage of recovery. Going through the five stages of grief will allow you to emerge as a better person at the end of the long dark tunnel.
Learn what you can from the ended relationships
This may seem like the hardest thing to work through once the relationship ends. However, decoding what went wrong in the relationship is very important before you get into the next relationship. Take your time to heal first. Then, write down a list of everything that you feel went wrong in the relationship and the mistakes which you committed. The point of this exercise is not to blame yourself but to understand the mistakes which occurred and not repeat the same in the next relationship. This learning curve will help you grow as a person. On the other hand, if you choose to self-blame, it will only increase your suffering.
List the benefits of being single
Once in a relationship, no one wants to be single again. However, when it happens, it is best to take life by the horns and move forward. Listing all the benefits of being single can help you realize that being single is not so bad after all. Here are a few ideas to help you get started on your list:
- Now you can put your own needs first
- You control your daily routines
- You are not dependent on anyone
- You can do what you want when you want without having the need to tell your partner everything all the time
- You can devote more time to family and friends
- You can set your own schedule of going to bed and waking up
- You are free of criticism
- You have more freedom
- You can eat what you want when you want
- You can be your own person
Remind yourself that you can survive on your own
When in relationships we forget that we are independent people. It is very important to remind yourself that you can survive on your own and you survived on your own even before you were in a relationship. Relationships are a part of our life and happiness. However, relationships are not the reason you are who you are. You don’t need a relationship to feel complete in yourself. You should be able to stand up and survive on your own whether you are in a relationship or not.
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Go through a closure ritual
Getting closure does not have to hurt. Getting closure means ending the relationship once and for all on a positive note. Performing a closure ritual can be meaningful if you put the time and effort into it. First, give yourself a few weeks or a couple of months to heal. Perform the closure ritual after you feel confident and have regained your self-esteem. This closure ritual may involve writing a letter to your ex or to yourself with your perspective of what went wrong in the relationship, removing all reminders of your ex from the house, burning the photos of you and your ex together and those only of your ex and finally cremating the gifts which your ex gave you. This will not only mark the ending of the relationship from your side, it will provide you peace of mind and will allow you to finally move forward.
You should start dating the next day after a relationship ends, but do not wait forever either. Once you feel whole, confident, and back on your feet, it is time to dip your toes in the dating pool again. Dating again is an important part of moving on from an ended relationship. Now that you have closure from your past relationship, you have worked out what went wrong, and learned from your mistakes, it is time that you open yourself up to allow another person to enter your life. During the initial period, it is better if you keep the dating casual rather than jumping into a long commitment.
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Remember, ended relationships do not define who you are. Some relationships are just not right and they are bound to end. Letting them go graciously and with dignity is better than holding on to it and destroying yourself in the process. To get over an ended relationship, try new experiences, indulge in activities that boost your self-esteem and confidence, and focus on getting closure. Remember, the universe has a plan for everything. Maybe you were not meant to be in that relationship because the universe has something better in store for you. Never lose faith in yourself. You are stronger than you think you are and you will get over this before you know it.
See you in my next blog post
Frequently asked questions
Why do relationships suddenly end?
Most often, relationships end because there is a lack of connection or a lot of miscommunication between the two parties, or maybe the two people were incompatible.
What are the signs that the relationship is over?
The following are a few of the signs which would indicate the ending of the relationship:
- Absence of an emotional connection
- Physical intimacy is not appealing anymore
- The two parties find it hard to agree on anything
- The trust is absent
- The goal of the two people in the relationship do not align together
- The people in the relationship start to imagine their futures without the partner
What should I do after the relationship has ended?
To get over any relationships, indulge in activities that give you time to heal and boost your self-esteem like:
- Give yourself some space and time to heal
- Keep yourself busy
- Indulge in self-care activities
- Talk to your close friends and family members who support you
- Do not indulge in alcohol or recreational drugs
- Set a routine to exercise, sleep properly and eat good food.
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