Dealing with breakup pain: How to get over the end of a relationship

There is hardly anything that can hurt as much as the end of a valued relationship. You normally will experience the greatest pain if you wanted the relationship to continue. But even if you were the one to end it, dealing with a breakup and moving on after the end of a relationship can be enormously difficult. If you shared a home together, had kids together or just hung out a lot, you must now be prepared for some major changes. Even if it doesn’t feel that way right now, the process of getting over a relationship may teach you some valuable lessons. Here are some tips on how to move on with your life. For mental exercises to perform after a breakup, read our Breakup Cleanse book.

Why do breakups hurt so much? Breakups hurt because they take something you valued away from you. When you lose something you really value, your body reacts with pain. We call this kind of pain ’emotional pain’. But emotional pain is, in fact, real physical pain. It activates the same areas in the brain as pain caused by injury. Your brain apparently interprets the loss as a kind of injury. While you deal with your emotional pain, keep the following in mind:

  1. You need to allow yourself to go through the feelings of loss. It’s a grieving process. You can perhaps speed up recovery but you can’t magically recover overnight. It is important to allow yourself to grieve for a while. You might feel angry one moment and sad the next. Whatever you feel, allow yourself to have those feelings.
  2. Seek support from friends. Share your breakup story with close family or friends who will listen. If you keep the story to yourself, you may end up feeling very lonely, and that can intensify the pain.
  3. Don’t stay inside for weeks. Get out for some fresh air and some exercise. Meet friends for coffee or a drink.
  4. Make some changes to your home. Move around your furniture or buy some new items. Make some changes to yourself as well. Get a haircut or a new sweater.
  5. Write a bitch list. Write down your complaints about your relationship and your ex. But keep it to yourself.
  6. After writing your bitch list, write a love list that states what you truly miss about your ex and the relationship. Compare the two lists. You may be surprised to find that the bitch list is longer than the love list.
  7. If you haven’t done it already, stop calling, texting or emailing your ex. Your ex cannot help you get through the pain. He or she is actually the worst person to ask for help. Being in contact with your ex will just prolong recovery, and no convincing, pleading or begging will get your ex back.
  8. You may feel like taking time off from work or school. But this can be counterproductive. Getting back in the swing of things will speed up recovery. If you don’t feel you can perform optimally, inform the relevant parties.
  9. Start dating again even if you don’t feel you are ready. Don’t start a new relationship. But go on some dates. Online dating sites may be a good place to start.
  10. If you are suffering a lot and just can’t get over it, consider seeing a therapist. If you are insured, your insurance might cover most of it.
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