Bouncing Back After a Breakup

  • Feb 16, 2024
  • Posted by Dr Bisi Laniyan

Bouncing Back After a Breakup

It’s been three months since Sarah parted ways with her long-term partner. While her breakup was amicable, it still hits hard sometimes. Some days, she feels like she’s moved on, but on others, the heartache resurfaces—the agonizing pang in the pit of her stomach—leaving her wondering if she’ll ever stop missing him. Sarah is probably not alone in this.

Breakups are tough, whether you’re 16 or 66. Whether a relationship ends abruptly or through a gradual process, the reality remains unchanged: it has come to an end, which is painful. As much as Sarah wants to bounce back, the journey ahead is proving to be a far more challenging than she ever anticipated.

Ride the Emotional Wave

It’s normal to feel a range of emotions after a breakup. Give yourself permission to feel and respond. Suppressing your feelings won’t hasten the healing process or make the feelings disappear. Remember that emotions are temporary; although they may feel overwhelming now, they will eventually pass.

Is Time Really a Healer?

For most, yes, time can heal, even if it feels slow. It’s tempting to rush ahead into the future, wondering how you’ll move on from this person, if you’ll ever truly get over them, or if you’ll get the closure you want. Focus on each day, and if that’s too overwhelming, break it down into moments. Ask yourself, “What do I need to connect, live, and make it through this moment?”

Write to Release

Sometimes when we’re in the thick of emotions, there can be a temptation to reach out to exes. However, doing so might blur the lines and cause more heartache and emotional turmoil. Instead, write down your thoughts and feelings uncensored. Read them over, and if needed, rip out the page and throw it away. For Sarah, this was cathartic – she was able to release, get things off her chest without involving her ex in the process.

Reflect on Your Resilience

Think about the difficult moments you’ve survived. Even when you felt like you wouldn’t make it through, you did. Draw on those strengths. What got you through those times? Was it particular activities, exercises, a natural quality you possess, or people? Can you lean into those things (or people) this time?

Stop Playing the Tape of the Past

Ruminating is a funny one because as distressing as it can be, there’s a comforting quality to it. The postmortem of past interactions, the endless replaying of conversations, ask yourself if revisiting these memories will feed into negative thought patterns or help you heal? Stalking on social media, indulging in thoughts about what they’re doing or who they’re with, even constantly revisiting ‘good memories’, these things do not serve you well and prevent you from letting go. Accept the space you’re in now and look towards the future.

Pour Back into Yourself

Despite the sadness and pain of this period, breakups present a chance to invest in yourself.  Redirect your energy and love inwardly by reconnecting with the activities and interests that you once loved or bring you joy. Sarah randomly found herself in a pottery class and taking up kickboxing. These activities gave her the space to explore her creative side and meet new people. Make it a priority to connect and nurture your platonic and familial ties; spending time with people that remind you that you are loved, wanted, and accepted. You can find companionship and fulfilment in other relationships.

Is Therapy Necessary?

Therapy can be an additional supportive resource for processing the aftermath of a breakup; it offers you the space to work through feelings of loss and acceptance. In therapy, you can uncover personal values, explore dysfunctional patterns that you notice occur in your relationships. If the relationship was toxic, therapy may be a good place to explore that.

 

I understand that for many, moving forward after a breakup can feel like an uphill battle, much like Sarah’s experience. I know it’s not just about grieving the shared moments but the dreams of what could have been. The end of a relationship is not the end of your story; separate the breakup from your identity and allow yourself to envision a future filled with possibility.

Written by: Dr Bisi Laniyan

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