We all like to think that we're capable of having a meaningful relationship. But when a connection between two people begins to unravel, something essential gets lost. That strong, unbreakable bond that you thought could never be damaged has suddenly come undone. You become aware of the disharmony and you begin to wonder whether love is supposed to be this difficult now that it's over.
When and where does the path to healing begin? How can you even begin to navigate your way?
Refrain from asking ambiguous questions. "What did I do wrong?” “Why don’t they love me anymore?” “How can I win them back?” These questions are unproductive because they focus on someone else who has chosen to move forward in their life without you. Harsh as it sounds, the truth can hurt. However, try to ask self-exploratory questions such as, “What do I want to look out for in my next relationship?” “How can I learn to love who I am again?” “How will I know if I'm ready?” Questions like these can allow you to consider what it is that you are looking for in a committed partnership.
Take time to evaluate what you lost. It's not unusual to become involved in the interests of a companion, but not when it means you put aside your own diversions. You might not be openly aware of the things you gave up for your partner, but now is the time to retrieve those things. Call those friends you let go of, participate in those activities you used to love, get back in touch with the things that make you happy. Whatever it is, do it for you.
Know your support group. Receiving support from friends and family is essential for anyone recovering from a broken heart. At a time when we feel the most alone, there's nothing more important than knowing who we can lean on during our darkest moments.
Be aware of any toxicity that you picked up. Sometimes we consciously or subconsciously take on some of our partner’s negative qualities. This might result in substance abuse, irresponsibility, revenge-seeking, abusiveness, or even worse, being abused.
Try to focus on what you have learned from your experience. Yes, easier said than done but important none-the-less. Even your worst relationships can teach you something vital about yourself. Stop wasting time thinking about what someone else is doing without you. Utilize your energy to focus on empowering yourself. If you sustain emotional pain but can rise above the hurt and find hope for your future, you will realize that you are unstoppable.
Make time for you. Self-care is intentional, not something that is to be realized in hindsight. Set aside time for yourself every day to do something that is meaningful to you. Perhaps that means throwing a blanket into the dryer and then snuggling up underneath it with a good book and a hot cup of tea. Maybe it’s taking a long bath, or unplugging your electronics for an hour to temporarily free yourself from messages and calls. Whatever you decide to do, make sure that you commit to it. Avoid sacrificing your own mental health in exchange for fulfilling the needs of someone else.
Healing from a broken heart takes time but finding ways to use that time constructively is key. If you have not thought about therapy before, think about it now. Therapy can provide you with a way to learn from past relationships so that the future ones can be more promising. It's about renewal and self-discovery and understanding how to be kind to yourself. It's about reminding yourself that all is not lost. It's about reestablishing your identity and coming to terms with who you really are. And mostly, it's about believing that you are worthy and that someday you will love again. Click to learn more about heartbreak therapy
Carly Patterson, MA, ATR-BC, LAC