How to get over a relationship breakup: 13 tips from a psychologist
The author of the article: Naumenko Alexandra Igorevna Family psychologist, child psychologist. Practical experience: 8 years.
We want to love and be loved, we want to create a happy and strong family, to live in abundance and prosperity. But before we find an ideal life partner, many of us are destined to go through a series of partings. Some people take it as a beginning of a new stage in life and find strength to move forward, but for some people the rupture with a loved one is comparable to a serious loss.
Everything will pass…
Of course, time heals even the deepest wounds. But in the present moment it seems that it is impossible to go on living, because the brain is absorbed by the memories of the past, and feelings towards the former partner are still as strong. As a result, we withdraw into ourselves, refuse to communicate with loved ones, given into the power of negative thoughts and anxious expectations, and sink headlong into a depressed emotional state.
Although now you do not understand how to go on after a breakup, but sooner or later the emotional pain will pass. The main thing – do not give up and do everything possible to ensure that this condition does not lead to a prolonged depression and do not impose a mark on future relationships. Life is not over, there are a lot of interesting things ahead of you, and new, no less happy relationships – including.
If you do not have independently survive the pain of loss, we strongly recommend enlisting the support of a psychologist. When you break up this is the right decision. Or at least take advantage of his advice.
If the breakup happened suddenly and on the initiative of a loved one, and the relationship itself is characterized by painful dependence and the need to trust and control the other person, the experience may drag on for more than a year.
How long does it take to get over a breakup?
Many people wonder not only how to get over the breakup of a long relationship, but also how long it will take. Everyone is different and experiences this difficult period in their own way. In turn, the intensity and duration of the experience directly depends on a combination of the following factors:
- type of nervous system;
- the circumstances surrounding the separation;
- The desire and efforts that you are making to start life with a clean slate.
It is believed that it takes from several months to a year to fully recover from a breakup. However, if the breakup happened suddenly and at the initiative of the loved one, and the relationship itself was characterized by painful dependence and the need to custody and control of the other, then the experience may linger for a longer period.
It is much easier to go through a breakup with a loved one if both partners find the courage to admit that the relationship has exhausted itself, and to say goodbye to each other to express gratitude for all the good things that have happened. Of course, this does not mean that people who are able to easily give the other person the desired freedom and part peacefully – robots devoid of human feelings. They just know how to find the resources within themselves that support them in difficult periods of life and experience after parting rather bright sadness than unbearable pain and reluctance to move on.
Psychologist tips: how to survive the parting with a loved one?
We have prepared for you some simple recommendations that will help you quickly leave all the regrets in the past and once again feel the joy of life.
- Give yourself time to mourn, arrange a kind of mourning for the lost relationship and broken hopes for the future together. Try to come to terms with the irreversible changes in their lives, learn to live on a wave of new energy, without love and support partner, which used to count on for the time spent together.
- Out of sight – out of mind. Often after a breakup people try to keep their friendships, believing that this is not a reason to completely remove people from their lives. But do not be fooled! In most cases, former partners agree to a friendship because they can’t bear the thought of a loved one leaving their lives forever. Love under the mask of friendship does not bring happiness, and such friendship will not be real and sincere. Not without reason there is a proverb “out of sight – out of heart”. Much easier to forget a person, if you do not maintain any connection with him. In any case, both partners need time to be apart and set up on an exclusively friendly relationship.
- Take care that nothing will remind you of your ex-beloved. It’s useful to unsubscribe from him on social networks, delete correspondence history and reduce communication with mutual friends. Someone gets rid of joint photos and gifts after a breakup. If you don’t have the strength to part with things, put them in a box and hide them away. Also ask mutual friends if possible not to mention your ex-partner in your presence.
- Remove from the player all the music that remind you of the ended relationship. Replace them with uplifting, uplifting tracks that lift your spirits.
- Clean up the space. Update the apartment: do a general cleaning, rearrange the furniture, new wallpaper. Clean the outside space – a kind of mental cleansing, after which it will be easier to accept the changes.
- Stabilize your emotional state and find the strength to continue to take care of yourself. A regular healthy diet, manicure, walks in the fresh air, physical activity will help keep yourself toned – both physically and emotionally.
- Change your image. Experiment with hair color and length, go shopping and treat yourself to beautiful new clothes and shoes, get rid of things you do not like anymore. External influences the internal – it’s a fact, and very soon you will feel better.
- Support of the environment. After a breakup, people close to you will try to distract you from the distracting thoughts, to get you out of the house, to occupy you with something interesting. Don’t refuse their help, because having fun with people you love is a great way to feel better.
- Find your inner resource. Get away from the image of a victim and the expectation that someone should make you happy. Stop looking for love elsewhere, because the main person in your life is yourself. Become a generator of positive emotions for yourself. Find something you like to do, and what will develop you, make you more confident and happier.
- Do not fill the inner void with a succession of new partners. You need to give yourself time to get over the parting with a loved one and meet your inner emptiness. In fear of pain and loneliness, many people skip over this important phase. Unfortunately, going into the arms of a stranger has the opposite effect and the feeling of emptiness only intensifies. Stay in conscious solitude for as long as you need, and devote yourself to the restoration of vitality, self-development.
- Analyze the quality of your relationships. Think about what has kept you in a relationship. If it’s children, fear of financial insolvency or loneliness, then, first of all, you need to work on issues of personal maturity, not the return of your partner, and it is desirable to do so under the guidance of a psychologist.
- Don’t try to drown out the longing with food, stimulants and alcohol. Not only will this not bring the desired relief, but it will cause serious damage in the form of stress hormones, physiological dependence and overweight. It’s better to set yourself up for the conscious inner work of emotionally ending the relationship and accepting your current state.
- If you sincerely need not only love and affection, but the very person (!) of your loved one, then tell him or her openly, without threats or manipulation. Together propose to work through the problems and grievances that have accumulated during your relationship. Seek advice from a marriage counselor. So you’ll at least be able to admit to yourself that you did everything you could. If your partner is categorical in his decision to leave, then you have only to accept his choice and start living your new life separately.
Psychologist’s perspective: how to experience the parting with his beloved
Experiencing the breakup of a love relationship often consists of the same stages as the reaction to the loss of a loved one.
- Denial. At such a moment, our consciousness cannot accept the fact of what has happened. We make plans, cherish hope and rub ourselves with the idea that the breakup is not final, the other half will definitely make a step toward reconciliation, and everything will be as before.
- Anger. We experience a hidden resentment or openly manifest it. A never-ending stream of accusations or insults poured into the address of the former partner. Often it helps to separate ourselves from the partner, to increase distance. If we do not allow ourselves to feel anger toward the former partner, we often turn the flow of negative emotions on themselves: we blame ourselves for the breakup and convince ourselves that we do not deserve another good relationship.
- Bargaining. We begin to bargain with ourselves or our former partner in an attempt to start the relationship over again. As we live through the breakup, we set ourselves a time limit within which we can get our lover back. So our psyche is trying to cope with the breakup and get used to the new situation.
- Depression. At some point, there comes the realization that it is time to stop making pointless attempts to deny the breakup. And that’s when despair, sadness, and apathy come over us in a wave.
- Acceptance. If we give ourselves enough time to experience this “mental flu,” the painful symptoms gradually fade away, followed by an acceptance of the new situation. We then find the strength to move on, and the past relationships remain in the past, as if they were a completed chapter in the book of life, followed by new and interesting chapters.
People often come to the Center “Here and Now” because of a breakup with a man or woman. Our psychologists are eager to help and do everything in their power to restore peace of mind and balance to their patients.
Materials that may be of interest:
Don’t waste time and don’t turn down the support of a professional psychologist if you feel you don’t have the resources to go through this life situation on your own. Make an appointment for an individual counseling session with a psychologist in St. Petersburg at the Here and Now Center.
How to get over a breakup and why it is difficult to leave a neurotic relationship
A relationship breakup is always stressful and difficult to cope with. And the breakup can occur both in healthy relationships and in neurotic ones. The breakup of a healthy relationship is easier to handle. In such cases, the couple is usually in a dialogue, this decision does not come out of the blue. Most often the decision to break up is made together, the partners are prepared for a change in life, each confident in their abilities, expecting the best of the future and adapted to the new life. Of course, even if the decision was weighted, it takes time to emotionally, physically and from a domestic point of view to separate from the partner, to readjust to a new rhythm. And yet, in this case, it is all experienced as something that can be overcome and move on.
Breaking up a neurotic relationship is more difficult. In this case, within the union, there is no practice of trustful communication, open dialogue, where partners openly express their will and desires. Often partners do not even really know each other, do not try to understand their partner’s motives and feelings. If the breakup and separation come as a surprise, it is very likely that it was a neurotic relationship.
In this situation, the person who did not make the decision to break up is having a difficult and traumatic experience. This can exacerbate chronic psychological trauma, which will “finish off” an already exhausted breakup. Fortunately, the experience can be a turning point in realizing oneself and one’s needs, pathological attitudes and dysfunctional schemes in the field of love (and not only) relationships.
Causes of neurotic relationships
Neurotic love, just like toxic relationships, has its origins in childhood and reflects the relationship with the parents. For example, if a child has suffered from parental coldness, chances are that in adulthood he will look for the same kind of partner. His ideas about love and relationships are associated with detachment, so the colder the better.
Another example: quite often depressed parents (or one of them) instill guilt in their child. This happens automatically and sometimes without the parents realizing that the child is constantly suffering from not being able to make mom or dad happy. Such a child will look for a partner who is difficult to please.
Neurotic relationships differ from healthy ones in that, first, the partner “loves” through suffering, because, unfortunately, he has no experience of a relationship in which everyone is content and happy. He loves those who do not cherish him, push him away and bring him pain. Such relationships hold on to the fact that the person revisits the movies of the past over and over again: even though his partner is cold, they are nevertheless together, which means that it is similar to what happened to him as a child – in his mind this is what love is, which he associates with any kind of suffering, as long as he does not have to be abandoned.
So when such a person is abandoned in adulthood by a partner, the picture of his childhood, in which he was not noticed, not shared with him warmth and not given proper attention, comes to life. His greatest fear of his childhood came to life – he was abandoned after all. The suffering that arises in response is chronic trauma. They are so painful that they make it impossible to look at the situation differently and benefit from it, such as recognizing previous relationships as destructive, drawing conclusions and still finding that person who will honestly love in return.
Protective reactions of the psyche
If the separation has entailed a revival of old aches and pains, the first thing that will stabilize your mental state will be the mechanisms of psychological defense.
- Denial “No, this will pass and we will be together again!” A person who enjoys denial will self-consciously look for signs that he or she is right. For example, a woman may convince herself that although her partner has left her, he has not left her for someone else, which means he does not love anyone and will be back soon.
- Displacement The abandoned partner may say to himself, “Nothing terrible has happened, it hurts and will be forgotten. In this case, this pain can last for several years and become chronic. Those who are able to suppress unpleasant experiences can ignore the internal discomfort and the sensation of unhappiness, as they are used to it as their usual state.
- Regression This psychological defense mechanism can induce a person to throw tantrums – a primitive form of withdrawal of responsibility for what is happening. Or, on the contrary, regressing, the person may literally freeze: emotions, as well as will, appetite, desire to live, disappear. A depressive period may set in.
- Sublimation is well known to those who tend to overlook unpleasant experiences. By sublimating, the person may withdraw completely into work or any other activity that helps them forget and not think about the traumatic event.
- Sharp reactions, aggression to others and autoaggression If the tension in the psyche is high, it will seek an outlet, such as sharp reactions: aggressive outbursts, harsh communication style (for example, at work or while driving), angry posts on social networks, frequent sexual contacts bringing about feelings of frustration, withdrawal into alcohol and drugs.
All of these mechanisms work unconsciously, that is, they do not manifest themselves by the will and desire of the person, but automatically. The mind may say that drinking is bad, but the suffering may be so intolerable that any method that allows at least a little increase in the threshold of pain becomes suitable.
There is another defense that lies at the level of consciousness, which can be controlled and used at the right moment. This is the so-called psychological compensation, which is expressed in adaptive behavior. For example, in order not to meet your ex-boyfriend, you block him in the phone book, in social networks, avoid meeting him. The opposite situation can also occur: in order to better navigate in what is happening and get the most complete picture, the recent partner is placed in the field of vision. Behind this may be a desire to clarify everything down to the smallest detail and once again make sure that “this is really happening.”
Whichever type of defense is triggered, it must be remembered that it is a natural reaction to severe stress, and any psychological defense has an important function – to keep the psyche from being destroyed. It is important that after the defense phase comes the grieving phase, when it is recognized that it is over and it is possible to mourn the pain – this is a natural process while working through the loss of a relationship with a loved one.
How to help yourself
Breaking up a relationship is a big strain on the psyche. We don’t just say “heartbreak” or “soul aches” – the body is actually experiencing serious psychophysiological stress. The cardiovascular system, digestion, hormonal background, sleep and the ability to rest, the natural course of the rhythm of day and night – all this comes under attack.
During difficult changes in life it is very important to remember that you are in an unfamiliar state, and if possible help yourself: eat well, sleep, do exercise to relieve stress, eat those foods that give strength and do not burden the body.
It is fair to say that not at all stages of stress it is possible to do anything. Sometimes lying flat and looking at the wall is the best way you can help yourself. If possible, take care of yourself – take time off work and order takeout instead of cooking. Try to prepare for yourself the space and time where you can fully surrender to his feelings.
In order for the process of loss to proceed without complications and to end, it is important to honestly go through all of its stages. After the first wave of shock has passed, the aggression stage begins, interspersed with rationalization-the desire to talk to your partner over and over again and thereby improve things (the so-called bargaining stage). These stages can take different amounts of time, and unfortunately, it is impossible to predict their duration.
One of the last stages becomes depression, a less acute but stable condition. It is easily recognized by the loss of energy, dulled feelings and reactions, inability to enjoy oneself, sleep and appetite disorders. Despite its severe course, it is a very important period that prepares us for the final resolution of the situation-the stage of acceptance and the end of grieving.
Unfortunately, there are no prescriptions for how to shorten the most painful stage, but to alleviate your condition, let yourself do whatever you feel like doing. If you want to go away – try to do it, if you want to lock yourself in your apartment – try to take a sick leave. Do not neglect the help of others, but set limits: tell your family and friends, what they can be useful to you and how closely you are ready to communicate now. Ask them not to discuss certain topics with you, not to give you surprises to “wake you up,” and so on. Openly let them know what you need, from household needs to emotional needs. Your sincerity will help set the mood for communication with friends and family, who, unfortunately, do not always know how to behave correctly in such situations.
How to get over a breakup with a loved one
Broken communication is one of the main reasons why partners become estranged from each other and cease to adequately assess the situation. To prevent this, pay attention to whether there is an understatement between you and your partner, reticence of any feelings or facts, or maybe someone in your couple expects their thoughts to be read, and thus evades responsibility? Silence, ignoring, and references to social standards and generalizations (“You’re the man!” or “The wife should. “) destroy trust and intimacy. The specifics of your unique relationship can be replaced by “life’s rules” and public opinion of how things “should be,” which prevents you from following the specific scenario that’s right for your couple.
Not only the degree of closeness and honesty to each other (and to yourself), but also the style of conflict resolution depends on proper communication. Family therapy is built on this idea: starting it, partners learn safe ways to express their desires, sufferings, fears, learn to enter into conflict and resolve it. The therapist, as a referee, observes the dialogue, leads both partners to the fact that they get the result and satisfaction from the interaction.
If you feel that there is no energy left to explain what is going on between you, take several sessions of couples therapy. Pretty quickly it will become clear whether it is necessary to continue working on the relationship or if it is worth ending it. It is important to remember that the therapist is not choosing sides and will not support one partner playing to the detriment of the other. The therapist acts as a translator between two people who, for whatever reason, have begun to speak different languages.
How to avoid a destructive scenario in the future – tips from a psychologist
A favorable psychological climate in a relationship depends, among other things, on how clearly each partner understands his role, namely: for what reason he is in the relationship and why he needs it.
Neurotic or toxic relationships are distinguished by the fact that they are used to reduce the degree of personal neurosis and to work out personal problems. If both partners are aligned in their neuroses, the union can be stable and strong. For example, someone who cares to show control over the most intimate person meets someone who, because of his own childhood traumas, gladly accepts that control.
Another case is when one of the partners does not need to work off the pathological scenario and still meets a less stable person and serves as a constant source of discharge and recharging for him. Then the person who becomes the testing ground for the neurosis is more likely to want to give up the relationship that is draining him or her.
Other roles we play in relationships can be learned through transactional analysis. The basic idea of this method is that each of us takes the position of a child, a parent or an adult in different life situations. Once you know your behavioral patterns, you can correct attitudes and inadequate expectations of the relationship. This is important because a full-fledged and multifaceted strong union is possible when two “adults” meet who know their needs, their boundaries and their weaknesses. Knowing these weaknesses ensures that they do not provoke situations where they can manifest themselves to the detriment of the couple.
All this may seem quite complicated, but in reality in order to have a healthy and strong relationship, you do not need to stock up on theoretical psychology. To choose the right partner, it is important first of all to solve your personal problems, to get to know yourself, to learn your preferences, to understand what attracts and what repels people. Mark for yourself, with whom you can build a strong relationship, and who do not want to see even friends. Do not forget about what is valuable in a relationship, what kind of union you would like to build with another person and how you see your happiness as a couple.
What to do after a breakup:
– Three Lessons Against Depression. How to teach your brain to be happy and healthy.