Dealing with a break up
When an important relationship ends, regardless of who instigated the break up, it can be a terribly difficult time in anyone’s life. At first you may have a lot of sorting out to do – legal issues if divorce is involved and, typically, a million details to organise. Who gets to keep the cat? When is she or he going to collect their stuff from your place? How to write to the friends who invited you to their wedding as a couple and explain that only one of you will be coming along? At some point, all of these practical matters will be sorted out and that leaves you, by yourself, adjusting to a new life on your own.
Is it OK to grieve?
Relationships often come to an end after a long, difficult period when the two parties weren’t getting along. Sometimes infidelity is part of the picture. Often, a couple has to find a way to parent together, even when both of them are angry and upset. In this context, people often wonder why they are grieving when they feel that they should be angry, instead. The simple fact is that they are grieving not just for the loss of someone they once loved – and maybe love still – but for a future they once imagined, a future that will now be very different.
When will it get easier?
First of all, accept that your feelings are normal. Whether you are angry, depressed, or just plain sad, it is perfectly OK to be feeling this way. You have been through a very difficult time, and perhaps the future isn’t clear yet. There is nothing wrong with your emotional experience. Acknowledge to yourself that you have the right to feel the way you do, and some of your burden will be lifted straight away. Secondly, you can use mindfulness techniques to see, hear and accept the feelings you are experiencing, without letting them stop you from living your life. Focus on the practicalities, and forgive yourself for not finding it all easy straight away.
Is it OK to ask for Help?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with reaching out for help when you find yourself struggling to get over a break up. When we go through very difficult periods in our lives, we can become vulnerable to a range of stress-related disorders, such as depression, disordered eating, and other psychological and physical conditions. If you find yourself in this situation, or if you worry that you might find yourself in this situation, reaching out for help is a sign of strength. It means that you know when you need support, and that you are determined to get it.
How Can Therapy Help?
While friends and family members can all be invaluable during difficult times of our lives, sometimes professional help is what we need most of all. Your loved ones may find it difficult to disengage with your former partner – after all, they will have had relationships of various kinds with him or her too – and they may also be struggling to reconcile the new reality with the hopes and dreams they had for you both. If they carry any blame or resentment towards you, they could do more damage than good.
Because they are objective, and were never invested in your relationship in any way, a therapist can help to guide you through the difficult emotions you are experiencing, to understand them, accept them, and find a positive way to work through them and towards the future. They can help you to devise practical coping strategies, understand your emotions, and build on your strengths. They will help you to find a way to move into a future in which you can be happy and fulfilled outside your old relationship.
Everyone – and every break up – is different so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy. Depending on your situation and your needs, we can offer cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness training, and more. Some people start to feel much better very quickly, and for others it takes a little longer. There is no “right” response to therapy. Know, however, that things can and will get easier when you make the decision to put yourself first. We understand how difficult things are for you right now, and we are here to support you.
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