Breaking up is hard to do, and a lot of people experience physical and emotional pain when a romantic relationship comes to an end. There's no one-size-fits-all explanation for why breakups hurt so much, but it's often linked to attachment styles and unresolved feelings.
Understand the emotional and psychological stages of a breakup.
People often experience a wide variety of feelings when ending a relationship. At first, there may be shock, anger, and disbelief that things have ended. As time passes, they may feel grief and sadness in addition to confusion and regret. Understanding the various stages you may go through can help you face the emotions head-on and heal in the healthiest way possible.
Acknowledge and mourn your loss.
A breakup can feel like a death or the loss of something important to you. It’s important to acknowledge that your former relationship and the person you were in it are gone and that it’s okay to mourn this loss. Experiencing feelings like grief, sadness, and regret are normal. Let yourself have time alone and take some space to be with these feelings until they start to reduce in intensity.
Challenge negative beliefs. Get curious.
Breakups can leave you feeling like you’re not loveable or even damaged in some way. It’s important to challenge these beliefs and recognize that although it’s tough, breakups are a natural part of life and relationships. Identifying the negative thoughts and beliefs you have around relationships in a journal can help you start to replace them with new, more helpful ones. HERE is our favorite prompted journal, specifically for grief.
Allow yourself time to grieve and heal emotionally.
After a breakup it is important to recognize that grief and emotional pain are normal. Allow yourself time to fully process your emotions. Don’t rush into things or try to avoid your feelings with distraction, as this may delay the healing process. Acknowledge the loss and take care of yourself by engaging in activities that you enjoy or provide a sense of comfort, such as being outdoors, spending time with friends and family, exercising, journaling, watching movies etc.
Establish healthy boundaries with your ex-partner and build a support system.
After a breakup it is important to establish healthy boundaries with your former partner, such as no contact and/or changing the type of interactions. Start setting boundaries by communicating to them what you would and won’t accept.
It is also important to find support from family and friends who can listen to you and provide emotional reassurance. They can help remind you that you will get through this difficult time and be stronger for it in the long run.