Tips to Get past a Relationship Break up (Part 1)

Hi Guys, Happy New Year πŸ™‚ My first blog post in 2017 will be on relationship break ups. This was a topic that I was being asked about so much! I’ve had a lot of people contact me looking for advice on how to get past a difficult break up. So, due to this high demand for this advice, I will be writing two blog posts giving tips to help with a relationship break up.

I decided to break this post into 2 parts, as it would be too long and intense otherwise, therefore this is part 1 of getting past a relationship break up. Below I have included some tips that would be taught to you in a counselling session and of course my own personal tips too!

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Tip number 1: The grief cycle

Break ups are hard, they’ve been described like a death has happened. This is someone you have been seeing most days, talking to everyday and showing you’re most vulnerable side to. Then all of a sudden, you no longer see them and there’s no communication, it can feel like a death has happened, of sorts.

What a lot of people don’t realise is that with a break up comes the cycle of grief. Letting go of a relationship follows the same process as mourning a death. The only difference is, with a bereavement it is a lot more intense and the stages can be longer. However with a break up, you are still going to go through the same stages without you even knowing it, obviously not as intense as it would be for a bereavement.

 

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Have you ever gone through a break up that has been really difficult? One day you wake up depressed and very down, the next you’re so angry at that person, to the point where you feel like you hate them. The next day you’re blaming yourself, you’re looking at everything YOU could have done differently and then the next day is back to anger. Sound familiar? This is called the grief cycle and it is perfectly normal to go through these emotions, whether you experience them all in a day, week or month, everyone is different and the grief cycle can be unpredictable.

The first thing to remember with the grief cycle is that they are stages, however they do not happen in order. You can jump back and forth between stages. Awareness of the grief cycle can help you to process the feelings that comes with each stage in a healthy way. So, being aware of the stages and the ones that you feel you have gone through can be beneficial. Knowing your phases of grief can help normalise your break-up experience.

It’s also important to know that there are no time limits and no rushing the process. It can take time and the only thing you can do is try to get through it. But take heart in the fact that this, like everything else, will eventually pass! There is no right or wrong feelings when it comes to the grief cycle. To be able to reach acceptance, you first need to have gone through the previous stages and have felt each of the emotions that come with each stage to be able to move past it.

 

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A question I get asked a lot is, how do you know when you have reached the acceptance stage? My answer to that is, when you are able to think back on a memory of yourself and your ex and not feel sad nor angry, just see it as a fond memory. When you are able to talk about them in a general non upsetting way, that’s a good indication that you have reached your acceptance stage. Below is an example of the stages involved in the Grief Cycle, have a look and see if any stage looks familiar.

 

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Tip number 2: Surround yourself with family and friends

Surround yourself with family or friends and make time for some feel good activities. These don’t have to be anything ground breaking, anything you enjoy doing, such as going to the cinema or going for coffee. You may not feel up to it, but getting out socialising can be great to help boost yourself back up again. Family and friends can be a great support system to help you to accept what has passed and to help you move on.

Be sure to surround yourself with people that will uplift you, not unhappy ones that will just drag you down! It’s also important to remember that after a break up, your confidence can be affected. Socialising and surrounding yourself with people you love can help with that. If you are eager to get your confidence back, buy a self-help book to keep you motivated.

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Tip number 3: Finding Closure with a break up

Something that you once counted on as very important to your life is now considered over and done. Closure means finality, letting go of what once was. Finding closure implies a complete acceptance of what has happened, being able to transition away from what’s finished to something new.

Finding closure with a break up can be very difficult as you may never be able to get closure through the other person for whatever reason. For example, you may not know the reason why the relationship ended, you may not understand why or it may have come quite unexpectedly, these are just some examples there are many more!

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When you are unable to get closure through the other person, you can still find closure through yourself. A good way of finding closure is by recognising and writing down everything that YOU got from the relationship, whether it be positive or negative. The positives are something that you can take with you from the relationship, but the negatives are everything that you don’t want in your next relationship. Ask yourself,

1: What have you learnt or took from the relationship?

2: How has it changed you?

3: What are the good changes that has happened to you from this experience, for example maybe you’re stronger than you thought?

After knowing all of the above, ask yourself:

1: What/who do I deserve now?

2: What are the qualities that I would like my next partner to have? What are the qualities that are important to me?

3: What are the qualities that you don’t want in someone for your next relationship?

The last question is important as you are learning through experience for your next relationship. Once completed hang on to everything that you have wrote down, so that you will have them for the β€œhard days”, the days when you are feeling down, to help remind you and motivate you to moving on!

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I hope you found these tips helpful and remember that heartbreak is something that everybody has to go through at some stage in their lives, it does get easier as time goes on. These experiences can make you into a stronger person and you’ll be one day grateful that they happened. Remember not to try and do all of the above tips at once, break them up over a few days/weeks, give yourself a chance. Part two of this blog post will be posted soon!

Niamh-Psychotherapist xx

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