How to Get Over your Ex and Breakup According to a Therapist
Everybody has gone through a breakup in their lives. Breakups are usually very painful. They can be profoundly hurtful emotional experiences, and sometimes we are not equipped with the right tools or knowledge in order to deal with such an experience. Sometimes we do not know what to do, and are trapped in an emotional rollercoaster. We might be going from one side to the other; from loving and being nostalgic about our (ex)partner, to hating our (ex)partner. Breakups are a transition, a journey in our lives where we might start to foster more self-love, self acceptance, and figure out what are the things that are important to ourselves. It is a moment of reflection where we can ask ourselves what is the type of relationships we want to have from here onwards. What is the person that we would like to be? In this article, I will help you navigate through the emotional turmoil that ensues after a breakup; we will discuss how can we better cope after a breakup.
Common Feelings after Breakups
A breakup is an emotional rollercoaster. After breaking up with our partner, we might feel that there are so many things that we still need to untangle. We might feel overwhelmed and not be sure of where to start. There are many—often contradictory—emotions that we might feel after breaking up.
Some examples include:
How To Get Over Your Ex and Breakup in a Healthy Way
What are the first things we need to do when we are enthralled in this emotional rollercoaster? Let's focus on three important aspects of dealing with a breakup and moving on from your relationship.
The first aspect is closure. We all have heard about closure and know that it can be an important element in order to move on from a relationship. Sometimes you want some help to achieve closure, and feel as if you cannot move without it. You might feel stuck in the past. Even though your mind and the 'logical' part of your brain is telling you that the breakup is a good thing, and that you are better off without this person and must move on, your heart might still feel in pain. Your heart might still long to be with this person and cannot fathom a life without them. So, these two parts are nor collaborating together and you might feel as if you need closure in order to end this inner conflict.
Sometimes we might feel the need to talk to our ex-partner in order to achieve closure. We might have many unanswered questions that we would like to ask them, and believe that these answers will grant us closure. But, why? Why do we need to talk to our partner in order to move on? On the one hand, it is possible that they do answer all our questions and we leave feeling satisfied. On the other hand, it might be possible that they will not answer the questions we have. They might act avoidant and be annoyed as they are also trying to move on and do not want to unearth the past. So, try not to idolise the idea that if you talk with your ex-partner, they will have all the answers and you will be able to figure out what went wrong in the relationship. This might not be possible. Another plausible scenario is that if you talk to them, you might leave the conversation with even more unanswered questions. They might respond in a way that you did not predict or expect, and you might leave feeling even more frustrated, sad, and confused. Therefore, achieving closure by talking with our ex-partner is not always the best solution.
So, what's next? What do we do with all these burning, unanswered questions that are festering inside our brains? I know it can be very painful to go on about life with all these questions burning inside yourself. I have struggled as well in the past with breakups and my therapy clients are as well struggling to find the answers on their own breakups. What we have figured out is that closure is a personal decision.
Achieving closure is something we must decide ourselves; we must answer our own questions. Perhaps we do not know the right answers, but we choose to answer these questions in a way that suits our inner peace and allows us to move on. If your mind says: "what if my ex never loved me? Why did they reject me? Maybe there is something wrong with me." You must choose the best answers to these questions, you must choose to believe. Believe that this person loved you, perhaps not all the time, but you felt loved by this person at some point in your relationship, right? That is good enough to move on. You might not know why did you exactly broke up, but you both tried hard to salvage the relationship, and gave it your all. This means that there was love there. We must accept that, and answer the questions for ourselves—even if we are not sure that these are the correct answers. We must try to answer the questions in a way that suits our mental health. It is a personal experience and decision. If we wait around for somebody else to give the answers to these questions, we might stay stuck. So, choose to believe, choose to answer your own questions and grant yourself closure.
Another thing that many of us struggle with after breakups is regrets. We might find ourselves asking all types of questions, and blaming ourselves for the end of the relationship. We might think that we should not have done this or that, or reproaching why did we not see certain things earlier on or why did we not act in different ways. In essence, our brain might be bombarding us with all these 'why' questions in the effort to find solutions and finding ways to better protect ourselves. This is how the brain views it; for the brain, regret has a function, it allows itself to better protect you in the future.
While our brain's intentions are honourable, it does not help our sensitive and fragile heart. During breakups, we already have a lot on our plates. You might be feeling sad, stuck, lonely, confused, frustrated, depressed, angry, and grieving—all at the same time. And, on top of that, you are experiencing this amount of influx of regrets. This a lot to handle. All these regrets amount to a an extra level of pain that we must deal with.
Naturally, we do not want to feel this way. We want to diminish the pain as much as possible. So, what can we do? The answer is to practice self-compassion. After a breakup, try to be more compassionate with yourself. You do not need to beat yourself up more. You are already in pain, right? There will always be things that we might have been able to do better when we look back in our past. As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. So, try to manage your regrets, practice self-compassion, treat yourself as you would treat a friend, and, most importantly, forgive yourself.
In order to manage all the regrets and bring yourself some closure, you should try to forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for not knowing better. I know it is really hard. Forgiving ourselves for our mistakes can be one of the hardest things that we have to do as human beings. We tend to think that we have to be perfect, that we have to make perfect decisions, lead perfect lives, and be perfect partners. The problem is that this is not possible. It is unattainable for anyone to be perfect. We are human beings, after all.
We have to learn to practice self-forgiveness when we are not perfect. Learn how to forgive ourselves for not knowing better; for having this wisdom now, but not having it back then. It's okay. We have learned something new. Someday we will enter a new relationship with this novel knowledge and will do better. That is part of being human. We are always learning and always improving. So, do not beat yourself up for your mistakes. We all make mistakes, the key is to learn from them.
Breakups can be a painful emotional rollercoaster. It takes time to heal, but as the old adage says, time heals all wounds. Along your journey, remember that closure is a personal decision; it is a personal action that is up to you. You decide what you need to tell to yourself in order to move on. Also keep in mind that we will always have regrets about our lives. But, we should strive to not get stuck in these regrets. We do not want to end up ruminating over our past mistakes for the rest of our lives. We want to be able to let them be in the past, to learn from them, and then move on without any emotional baggage. So, after a breakup, we must try to forgive ourselves and be more self-compassionate.
I hope this article has been helpful to you and I wish you the best in your self-healing journey. If you ever need a helping hand or a listening ear, here at Antiloneliness we are always happy to help.
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