I’ve heard that the length of a relationship determines how long a person will spend grieving the loss of that relationship. I for one, don’t think it’s the length of a relationship, but how deeply committed to the relationship you became, how strongly you grew connected to this other person. Creating and nurturing strong connections with others is hardwired into female biology, we need it, right down to our core. So it’s normal and understandable that many of us experience feelings for an ex that linger longer than are healthy. Post breakup involves a lot of time in transition and transitions are hard. The first step to getting over past relationship hurts is to acknowledge and accept that healing will take time.
There is a reason periods of transition and change, like a breakup, ignite unpleasant feelings like anxiety and depression. A breakup happens, now what? Breakups leave us sitting with a level of uncertainty, wondering what if, anticipating what may or may not come next. This stage needs time, and time alone. The best thing to do is allow yourself to grieve the loss of the relationship. Everyone grieves differently, so finding ways to help take care of yourself during this rocky transition is key. Give yourself permission to be angry, to be sad to reminisce, etc.
Begin to work in self-care activities that you love. It’s easy when a relationship ends to begin to question why a previous relationship failed, and in turn get into negative, black and white thinking patterns about yourself; ie. I’ll never have a relationship that lasts, this always happens to me, I’ll never find anyone else. Know that while these thoughts are pretty common in the midst of a breakup, most often they are based on the emotions you are feeling at the time and not based on facts. Just because you have the thought, this always happens to me, does not mean that it is a fact. The best way to combat these thoughts is to put them up against their mortal enemy…positive thoughts! Write love notes to yourself on your bathroom mirror, buy a special brand of coffee that you enjoy, spend time with friends or family that support you and truly encourage your fantastic'ness (hmmm, I like that word. Copy right, Elizabeth Carr) to shine through.
Finally, it’s smart to cut communication with your ex, at least for a while. You need time away from this person to heal and having continued connection with them will only make this process harder. This means, no texting, no social media connections, no Googling. Nothing positive can come out of surfing their Instagram page. Not communicating can be difficult if you’re co-workers or have children together. In these cases, limiting contact to only necessary communication, especially right after a breakup is a nonnegotiable must.