Whether or not you are into the sentiment, Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. It’s a difficult occasion to miss with every high street chain offering dine in meals for two, deals on flowers, chocolates, its rather inescapable.
You may have a heightened awareness of it all if you’ve recently ended a relationship and you are living with a broken heart.
Ending a relationship can be difficult, particularly if it’s not something you were prepared for or wanted.
This may sound extreme, but the end of a relationship is very similar to the grieving process and what that means to come to terms with and accept your loss.
A relationship coming to an end can mean the end of a hopeful future that you were anticipating that you would have.
This might mean letting go of the idea of moving in together, buying a first home, getting married, experiencing life adventures, starting a family or growing older together.
Living with this loss will take some time and adjustment, particularly when they have played a pivotal role in many aspects of your life.
Often our relationships do not only include our partner, but also other extended family and friends who we get to know and grow to love, so not only do you lose the relationship with your partner, but many others who are also associated this person.
This can feel extremely unfair and isolating, losing so many people, hopes and dreams all in one hit.
Coming to terms with this loss and what your life will look like without them can be a painful experience, but if you continue with the unhelpful patterns of behaviour explored below, you will make the process of getting over heartbreak and moving on with your life much harder for yourself. This will make it problematic for you to process your loss, move on and find happiness, however that might look for you.
If you are feeling stuck and you do want to get over heartbreak, here’s a list of things NOT to do and ways you can take back some control and make the difficult process of a broken heart easier to deal with.
1. Social Media Stalking
Literally no good will come of stalking your ex on social media. If you are looking for evidence that they are unhappy or miserable without you, you won’t find it here. Social media is a highlight reel of all the positive things that is going on in a persons life so you will be disappointed to see pictures of your ex looking happy, having new experiences and generally living what seems like a picture perfect life without you.
Looking for evidence of a new relationship and finding the very thing that you knew would crush you is not going to make you feel better. More often, it actually contributes to feeling worse and can begin to impact how you feel about yourself. With all that time and energy that you are focusing on checking for their happiness, could be time and energy spent working on your own.This can help you to process your loss, move forward and start thinking about the future.
2. Comparing to your other relationships
All relationships are different because we are all different. We have different personalities, different needs, different expectations. We also have our own relationship history which also impacts relationships in the present. Having these differences aren’t necessarily bad, just because you don’t feel the same way about a new partner, it doesn’t automatically mean they or the relationship is lacking in any way. When you do not feel that same ‘spark’ or there seems to be some passion lacking, it’s easy to assume that there is something wrong with your present relationship. If there is a part of you still pining for your ex, this might mean that in your current relationship you are creating distance or not allowing yourself to be fully present. This can prevent yourself from having a real chance of happiness as you are constantly referring to an unrealistic perception of what a relationship should feel like. To constantly compare wouldn’t be fair to them, or to you.
3. Friends with benefits
It might seem like a great idea at the time and the perfect way to start to get over your broken heart. All the sex with none of the emotion, good luck separating that! You might think it will be easy for you creating and keeping that emotional distance by not getting too emotionally attached. Unfortunately, this is not how feelings or emotions work, you could end up developing even stronger feelings and prolonging your heartbreak.
4. Idealising the relationship
It can be tempting to idealise the relationship and remember all of the good times, but the relationship has ended for a reason. Either you, or your ex were unhappy with a large enough part of the relationship to no longer be together. Ask yourself whether you might be intentionally or unintentionally forgetting about all of their annoying habits or traits. Like the way they would put their own needs before yours, or how it felt when they never listened to you or spent quality time with you. It can be easy falling into the trap of wistfully remembering the good times, when actually in hindsight, the relationship wasn’t all that good in the first place.
5. Wishful thinking
If you are living with hope that they will come to their senses and realise what they’ve lost, this is keeping you in a perpetual state of being stuck. This could mean waiting for something that might never happen. In the meantime, life goes on and before you know it they’ve found a way to move on leaving you hurt and nursing your broken heart.
Break ups are never easy but they are not the end of the world. Use the time to identify your own needs and developing your own identity and sense of self so that when the time comes for the right relationship, you’ll be ready.
I’m Lizandra Leigertwood and I’m a counsellor & psychotherapist in St Albans, Hertfordshire. I specialise in understanding, creating and maintaining happy and healthy relationships with yourself and others. If you would like to know more about improving your relationships and wish to arrange a consultation, you can contact me in confidence here.