Breaking up is not just hard to do; it can be a life trauma on a par with the death of a loved one or overcoming an addiction. While there are few easy solutions.
Here to help with our 10 steps towards mending a broken heart
1. Understand why
We’re all familiar with the first stage of an unwanted break-up; commonly characterised by crying ‘why, why, why?’ into the dregs of an empty wine bottle. But there’s a point to it.
Understanding the reasons a relationship has ended is the critical first step to dealing with the emotional overload.
Try writing down the reasons you broke up; and even if they haven’t been made clear (‘it’s not you, it’s me’ or similar nonsense) try to come up with something credible. Logic can desert us when our heart is broken; and this is the first step to restoring some reason.
2. Go cold turkey
This is one of the hardest parts: most victims of heartbreak find it difficult to let go the hope that their shattered relationship can be fixed.
The majority of break-ups, however, don’t happen for trivial reasons and the sooner we can accept this, the quicker recovery will come.
Stalking your ex on social media and clinging to photographs or other momentos of better times is just prolonging the misery. Even if you both want to remain friends, agree a healthy period of zero contact (three months?), unfollow them on social, delete their number from your contacts and try to make a clean break.
3. Learn from it. Grow
The sensation that you’ll never love anyone in the same way is almost universal when heartbroken and, equally, almost never true.
Failed relationships are life-lessons and if we don’t use the experience to narrow our focus on what we truly want from a long-term partner, it’s been a waste of time.
So think about what worked and what didn’t, and how you can avoid the same pitfalls with your next partner, however far away that might seem.
4. Throw yourself into a project
Perhaps the worst thing about heartbreak, from a mental health perspective, is how it can become the focus of your every waking thought.
Serious distraction is required so try throwing yourself into work, or if that’s too tedious, embark on some home improvements or try to learn a new skill. You may be feeling obsessional anyway, so channel it in a positive direction.
5. Seek out singles, avoid couples
A simple one, this, but the last thing you need is the company of loved-up couples, smugly flaunting their perfect relationships while you wallow in misery.
Grab your single friends and seek the catharsis of a marathon bitching session.
6. Distract yourself
Whether it’s books, film, music (avoid love songs) or advanced crochet, anything that takes your mind off it for a few hours is your friend.
It is next-nigh impossible, for instance, to binge-watch six seasons of The Sopranos and feel like you have some sort of monopoly on unfortunate life choices.
7. Get some exercise
Another obvious choice, perhaps, but endorphins from vigorous exercise are at least if not more effective at combatting the blues than any combination of pills.
Plus, having doubtless had more than the usual recourse to junk food and alchohol, you probably need it.
8. Lay off the booze
Drowning your sorrows is a huge temptation but also the quickest and surest path to making everything worse.
Those desperate, drunken 2am text messages to your ex, the vast ocean of self-pity to drown in, the crippling self-loathing that accompanies a hangover: nothing good can come of it.
9. Lean on your friends
If it’s good for little else, then having your heart broken can at least provide clarity on who your real friends are. Just about everyone has been through it and a capacity for proactive empathy is what sets apart the real diamonds in your friendship circle.
As for those that can’t be bothered providing a shoulder to bawl on, file under ‘unreliable’ and move on.
10. Get back on the horse
Because eventually, you have to. And because it does and will get better with time.
Use your newly acquired wisdom and choose carefully before falling in love again – perhaps, hint hint, with the assistance of a dating site that matches members on 18 dimensions of compatibility?
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